Hundreds Throng St. Vincent Cathedral to Celebrate Rev. Fr. John Kalimi’s Ministry

Parent Category: Issue
in Issue 1

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
Pin It

By EADM Staff Writer

In Summary: “When God calls, he also equips his saints for ministry. This ministry is usually among local folks but due to the global nature of God’s call and Jesus’ commission, this ministry can very well be global. That’s exactly what Fr. John Kalimi’s ministry has been for the last 25 years,” (Bishop Jack Iker, December 12, 2015).  

Bedford, Texas--Hundreds of Christians from all walks of life Thronged St. Vincent Cathedral in Bedford, Texas to Celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Rev. John Ssebalugga Kalimi’s ordination to the priesthood. Rev. Fr. Kalimi was ordained in Uganda after he completed his training at the Bishop Tucker Theological College in Mukono. “When God calls, he also equips his saints for ministry. This ministry is usually among local folks but due to the global nature of God’s call and Jesus’ commission, this ministry can very well be global. That’s exactly what Fr. John Kalimi’s ministry has been for the last 25 years,” Bishop Jack Iker, the third Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas   told the congregation that filled St. Vincent Cathedral in Bedford, Texas, during the service to celebrate the silver jubilee  of Rev. John Ssebalugga Kalimi’s ministry last Saturday.

The otherwise solemn mass, at which Fr. Kalimi presided, was attended by a large multi-racial congregation  including a sizeable number of Ugandans who added color to the event as they drew attraction from  other celebrants with their conspicuous traditional attires; kanzus (white tunics) for men and multi-flowered busuuti and designer bitengis by ladies.   “I love your colorful dress with such beautiful patterns of flowers and the distinct elegance it gives you,” one Caucasian lady was overheard complimenting a middle-aged Ugandan lady dressed in busuuti who was flamboyantly walking toward the altar for Holy Communion. 


Basing his sermon on Isaiah’s call; Isaiah 6.1-6, Bishop Jack Iker reminded the congregation that first of all ‘it is God who calls and his call is for serving him in his church’. ‘Secondly’, he added, ‘in making such a call God does not go for the righteous ones  but he picks among sinners and then he cleanses their lips and puts his word in their mouths’. Thirdly, however, the Bishop urged, “since God cannot send the unwilling, His call requires our response just like Isaiah answered in the affirmative when God asked whether he was willing to serve Him. ‘Likewise, when God asked John that question: ‘Whom shall I send?’ John resolutely answered with an affirmation that ‘Here I am, send me’. That is why we are here to celebrate the 25 years landmark of that affirmative response,” Bishop Iker declared to thunderous applause from the cheerful worshippers.

He commended Fr. John Kalimi’s ministry which has impacted two continents; Africa (Uganda and Malawi) and North America (United States and Mexico). On behalf of the Diocese and the entire church, Bishop Iker congratulated Fr. Kalimi upon a quarter a century of faithful service and assured him of their prayers for yet more years of illustrious service.

In recognition of his affirmative response to the call to priesthood and his selfless and meritorious service to the Lord, the congregation of the African Fellowship of St. Vincent Cathedral, clad in their traditional Ugandan attires, sang for him his favorite classical hymn in Luganda and Runyakore titled: Nalyokka ne nkusenga ggwe Omulokozi Katonda (literally translated from ‘O Happy day that fixed my choice, on thee my savior and my God). The words in the hymn clearly expressed the love and commitment Fr. Kalimi has had while serving God and has no regrets whatsoever. In Fr. Kalimi’s honor, the guests were, thereafter, hosted to a grand reception held in the cathedral parish hall.

 A son of the Rev. Elli Mbuya (an Anglican priest) and Mama Jemima Nnambalirwa Kalimi; Fr. John Ssebalugga Kalimi proudly identifies himself as a cradle Anglican. Born and raised in Uganda, he became a teenager during the turbulent days of one of Africa’s most notorious dictators, Idi Amin Dada. Reflecting on how he successfully negotiated the turbulent times as a teenager, he attributes  everything to his spiritual childhood: “I credit the solid religious upbringing to the loving and caring parental guidance our household received during our formative years under the care of both of my parents,” he states with discernable nostalgia in his voice.

Fr. John undertook his preliminary seminary training both at Uganda Martyrs Seminary Namugongo and later moved to Bishop Tucker Theological College Mukono, Uganda. In May 1998, John graduated with a Diploma in Theology from Makerere University Kampala; and in November of the same year he was ordained Deacon at St. Paul’s Cathedral Namirembe.  He returned to Uganda Martyrs’ Seminary Namugongo to teach fellows seminarians while also working on his undergraduate studies. On December 9th, 1990, he was ordained priest in Christ’s holy catholic and apostolic church. In September of 1992, he received his Bachelor of Divinity from Bishop Tucker Theological College

Between 1988 and 1995, Fr. John Kalimi served the Church of Uganda in numerous pastoral and administrative positions – ranging from seminary professor, through parish priest to being the Diocesan Bishop’s personal assistant and chaplain. In September 1995, he received a full scholarship to pursue graduate theological studies at the Episcopal Divinity School and Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. In 1997, he graduated with a Master in Theological Studies. In the summer of 1997, Fr. Kalimi moved to Austin Texas and joined the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest for yet more graduate work in Anglican studies.

“Upon my graduation in 1998, I moved to Dallas to embark on an inner-city ministry in Oak Cliff, within the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas,” Rev. Fr. Kalimi recalls. With 8 years of faithful service behind him, he resigned his position as Vicar at St. George’s Episcopal Church. “In January 2009, I joined the Staff of St. Vincent’s Cathedral, Bedford where I assumed a new pastoral role as Vicar for African Ministries to-date,” he says with a confident smile flashing across his face.

In addition to his duties at St. Vincent’s Cathedral, Fr. John Kalimi is a regular contributor of incisive church related articles to several Ugandan Newspapers; he also frequently travels to Mexico for the annual visitation to La Gran Familia – an orphanage supported by the parishes in the Diocese of Fort Worth. A prolific writer and accomplished church historian, in June 1995 Rev. Fr. Kalimi authored his premier publication entitled “’From Shame to Glory’ – the Story of the Uganda Martyrs” a concise prognosis enumerating the circumstances that led to the massacre of the first Christian martyrs in Uganda. He is concurrently working on the expanded version of that book while at the same time; he is working on another book describing the history of the church in Buganda and Uganda.

Asked to comment on the meaning of this anniversary, Fr. John Kalimi proudly gives the credit to his wonderful parents and congregations in which he has served without whose input he wouldn’t be what he is today.

“I was greatly touched and humbled by the turn up, the solemnity of the service and the Bishop’s words of encouragement. I am so grateful for Bishop Iker’s pastoral leadership, thankful for Dean Reed’s leadership, the collegiality amongst fellow clergy and staff at St. Vincent’s Cathedral, and for all the people who have supported me along the way. Particularly, I am thankful for the congregation of the African Fellowship for their commitment to growing this ministry into a vibrant entity of the greater St. Vincent’s family within the Diocese of Fort Worth. I pray that God blesses me to continue my ministry for another 25 years,” he humbly prayed.

Pin It