For over 100 years, Orthodox Christian missions across Uganda have been economically dependent on the generosity of the Orthodox Church abroad. However, that appears to be changing with the founding of a new mission centre in Kampala, Uganda. Saint John, the Wonderworker Orthodox Christian Mission Center, was officially established on Palm Sunday 2022 with the blessing of the late Metropolitan Hilarion (Karpal) of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. The main goal of this mission is to create an economically independent and self-sufficient group of local leaders. By encouraging the Sacramental life, educating the faithful in the fullness of the Orthodox Way, and through multiple Church services a week, Saint John the Wonderworker Mission Center is giving the local Church and Her leaders the necessary prescription to enter deeper into a life of Faith and Love in Christ. This is the first step toward the mission's goal. It does no good to create self-sufficient leaders who are not one with Christ and in communion with His Holy Church.
To undo decades of dependency on outside mission groups, Saint John the Wonderworker Mission Center is attempting to give the local Church leaders the tools and resources necessary to help grow the Church in their communities. This is done through various projects supported by non-profit Orthodox Africa. Orthodox Africa is helping to create regenerating sources of income through local projects such as a pay-to-stay parking lot, winemaking, and raising pigs, to name a few. The local Church leaders must break their dependency on outside help. By not strictly relying on donations from outside groups, Saint John the Wonderworker Mission Center hopes to mentor and train a group of local leaders without the traditional economic constraints that have impeded the growth of the Orthodox Church. Saint John the Wonderworker is the first mission centre of its kind.
The Saint John of Shanghai Mission Community
Throughout East Africa are scattered the remnants of Orthodox missions that failed to empower the local population to rise and take charge of their local Church communities. By empowering the future leaders of the Church through education and self-run businesses, Saint John the Wonderworker is looking to set up the Orthodox Church in Uganda for generations to come. Hieromonk Silouan (Brown), the director of the Mission Center, frequently comments on the difficulty of preaching Christ's Gospel to people who are starving and may not know where their next meal will come from. By addressing the poverty of the Orthodox Christians of Uganda and helping them set up projects to generate income, the Mission Center can focus on what is most important, entering into a deeper relationship with Christ.