Twenty-six kilometers north of the town of Lira in northern Uganda, in the Anglican Diocese of Lango, a quiet displaced person’s camp called Barlonyo lies inconspicuously next to the River Moroto. The tranquil setting belies its horrible distinction as the location of one of the largest single massacres committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) during its 23-year insurgency in Northern Uganda. In the space of less than three hours on the late afternoon of 21 February 2004, over 300 people were brutally murdered by LRA rebels and an unknown number were abducted.
I won’t describe the depth of human evil unleashed by the LRA. You can read the official report here.
Last week, the Very Rev. Andrew Rowell, a trustee of the American Anglican Council, and I visited the Diocese of Lango. We spent time with the Right Rev. Dr. Alfred Olwa, the bishop of Lango, and their leadership teams (clergy and lay). After Dean Andrew laid a wreath at the memorial site, he walked to a church built on land donated by a woman whose husband was killed at Barlonyo. She was among the congregation who met Andrew+ that day,singing, dancing and delighting in the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ—the Gospel of healing and reconciliation that endures all things, through his blood shed on the Cross for us. How can you explain this powerful witness to the peace of God rising up from the ashes of such evil?