“Can a woman really be an effective Vicar of a rural parish?” That’s a question many people have, but the Christians of Kizinga Archdeaconry in Kigezi Diocese know the answer to that question is, “Yes.” They believe it because they’ve seen it in the person of Rev. Lydia Atuyambe.

“I have been born again for 45 years and have served the Lord in ministry for 42 years,” Rev. Lydia said. “In all those years, through the many challenges I’ve faced in parish ministry, I’ve learned that salvation is all about patience. God is patient with us, and I have learned to be patient with His people, while still pushing hard to be faithful to God’s calling on my life.”

Rev. Lydia Atuyambe was nominated by Erican Turyahama to be the Church of Uganda’s Facebook Woman of the Year for 2018. The Ministry of Gender’s focus for Women’s Day this year is on “Empowerment of Rural Women and Girls.” So, we invited the COU’s Facebook community to nominate a clergywoman serving as a parish priest in a rural community.

We received several other excellent nominations (you can read about them in the post below), but we could only choose one. Rev. Lydia also received a “Comment” in support of her nomination from Chriss Emmyson Byamugisha and this put her in line to receive this honour.

Rev. Lydia has served in five different parishes. In each situation she has “preached the Word in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4.2) and “done the work of an evangelist.” (2 Timothy 4.5) Her Diocesan Secretary, Rev. Canon Obed Turihohabwe, said, “You know, Bakiga men can be tough and stubborn. But, they’ve seen the faithfulness of Rev. Lydia and they respect her and support her.” “Sincerely,” he added, “everywhere she has served, she has performed consistently; the parish flourishes spiritually and people rush into the parish with eagerness because it is well led.”

As a result of Rev. Lydia’s ministry, more young people are sensing a call from the Lord to serve in full-time ministry – including young ladies. Soon, more Archdeaconries in Kigezi Diocese will know from firsthand experience that, surely, ladies can be effective leaders and vicars of parish churches.

To Rev. Lydia and all women on this 2018 Women’s Day – “Well done, good and faithful servant!” “Do not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season you shall reap.” (Gal 6.9) Finally, “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Cor 15.58)