NAMIREMBE: There was an atmosphere of singing, joy, praise and worship as Rt. Rev. Samuel and Maama Allen Balagadde Ssekkadde celebrated 50 years of marriage. To them, it was a thanksgiving service, a testimony of the power of God’s grace, of faith, fidelity and a family anchored in God.
Vice President Jessica Alupo represented President Museveni at the church ceremony.
In his remarks, the President extended warm congratulations to Bishop Samuel and his dear wife, Maama Allen Balagadde Ssekkadde, upon reaching the milestone.
He thanked Balaggadde for inviting Mama Janet and him as they thanked the Almighty God, for the blessing of marriage and life.
“It is, indeed, befitting that you hold such a thanksgiving service to thank the Almighty God for bestowing his great mercies and blessings upon your family and marriage,” the president said.
The President quoted the Gospel of St. Luke; of ten lepers who received healing of their affliction from the Lord Jesus Christ. After the healing, only one man, who was even a Samaritan, returned to Jesus, to offer thanksgiving; the other nine simply went away. In Luke, chapter 17, verses 17-18, Jesus asks:
“Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?”
This, the President said, teaches us that the Almighty God is always delighted whenever one of the believers recognizes Him as the source of their blessings.
He added that “a journey of fifty years in marriage is a great blessing that many couples yearn for.
The President used the occasion to remind Christians that the thanksgiving serves to show that God is the author of marriage. “God created the institution of marriage as the basic unit of society. It is a beautiful and fulfilling gift from God, because life starts from the union of man and woman”, Museveni added.
Museveni noted that marriage gives man an opportunity to be a partaker in God’s work of creation, citing the fact that a strong and enduring family is a product of strong marriage and family ties.
The President used the special occasion to encourage young couples to build lasting and fruitful relationships.
“This is important because it gives stability and focus and enables you to serve and build the nation,” he said.
He applauded Bishop Samuel and Maama Allen Balagadde Ssekkadde for setting a good example for the young generation.
The day’s preacher, Rt. Rev. Steven Mwangi, Bishop of Nakuru who acknowledged he had known the couple for over 25 years said today was a reflection of God’s love, recalling a conversation of the couple’s wedding day 50 years ago. “The wedding suit was stolen suit, an undersized replacement was found, the wedding was chaotic then, but today is a manifestation of God!”
“Our friendship has been depeened; that’s why I was invited to come and celebrate this 50 years of walking together. We have learnt alot from them including humility”, the Bishop added, as he attested to their love for God and people. “Infact Bishop Balagadde is called a man of the people”, he remarked.
Rt. Rev. Mwangi said that Bishop Balagadde and Maama Allen had found divine favour. “When you walk with God it gives you assurance that God is always with you and all things are possible but when you choose to walk without Him it is a total struggle in the darkness. So we cannot do without God”, he remarked, further advising couple to continue to be faithful to one another and to God.
In his speech Rtd Bishop Balaggadde thanked God for the achievements so far registered adding that he was humbled before God. “As we stand here before you, we would like to thank everyone for joining us as we celebrate the Golden anniversary,” Balaggadde said.
The couple has six children and grand children,who all joined him. He thanked his wife Allen for being so patient with him throughout these years.
Allen thanked Samuel for being so patient with her. “I give glory to God and I want to pledge that we shall continue to preach the word of God especially in the coming years,” Allen said.
Archbishop Stephen Kazimba congratulated bishop Balaggadde and wife upon the achievement and handed them a certificate marking 50years of marriage.
Earlier, the Queen of Buganda, Slyvia Nagginda congratulated the couple and thanked them for mentoring them spiritually, as the royal couple prepared for their wedding. She said a celebration of 50 years is a reflection of God’s faithfulness. “Unfortunately today, marriage is being watered down rather easily. People from different backgrounds come together in a marriage Union but forget that their could be challenges in marriage. Put God in the midst of all marriages,” Nagginda counseled.
Several religious leaders, including serving and retired Bishops were present. Other dignitaries present included Ministers Beti Kamya and Joyce ssebugwawo, the Queen of Buganda Slyvia Nagginda, alongside several royals from the Buganda Kingdom, Justices of the High Court, members of the business fraternity, among others.