The Church of Uganda which evolved from the Native Anglican Church (NAC) from Colonial days is well distinguished by its characteristics of three sections traditionally refereed to as houses; the house of Bishops, the house of Clergy and the house of Laity.

The House of Bishops

This house begins at the Diocesan level because below that level, you may normally not find a Bishop. Even in most Dioceses you may find only one Bishop – the incumbent. When it is an old established Diocese, you may find retired Bishops or even assistant bishops. The Bishops and the Clergy form the ordained ministers in the church and the majority of the people usually not professionally trained in church matters make the base of the church triangle – the Laity.

Though the minority, the church leaders, the Bishops form the apex of the church and the lower houses take orders from the Bishops. The apex body of the church of Uganda – The Provincial Assembly, so to speak the Parliament of the Church of Uganda has good membership in all the houses. When you put together about thirty three sitting Bishops, the Archbishop, the retired Bishops and Archbishops, you have close to fifty Bishops or sometimes more. Then the Clergy and Laity also form good numbers at the apex body.

The Head of Laity

Every location which congregates for the purpose of worship and does it regularly from an Archdeaconry, Parish or Sub Parish, like those at the Cathedrals must constitute themselves into an administrative order which includes the Head of Laity.

Below the head of laity are other church elders who serve as wardens, ushers and other members who form the executive of the church order.

The head of Laity at all levels should normally be a communicant and therefore if married should be a wedded wife or husband with one spouse. He or she should be well acquainted with church norms and someone of integrity in his community.

The term of office is four years renewable. In the hierarchy, there is the Head of Laity of the lowest level of the congregation, Parish, Archdeaconry, until you get to the Diocesan Head of Laity who is the chairperson of the house of Laity. When the Province assembly meets, it also chooses the Provincial Head of Laity.

Roles of the Head of Laity

St. Paul talks a lot about the church order right from the Bishop down below to people who take responsibility in the lower levels. 1 Timothy chapter 3 verse 1– He talks about the office of a Bishop. In1 Peter chapter 5 verse 1 to 5 – the Head of Laity is the chief warden who should liaise the Laity with the ordained ministers of the Church. He or she should listen to the ordained church leaders and to the Laity he leads to maintain harmony in the body of Christ – the Church. Should play the role in keeping both parties comfortable at he place of worship and places of residence of church leaders. Take a leading role in church meetings advising where issues seem not to be clear. The Head of Laity should therefore be well informed in matters of church policy and should be a good reader of the word in order to keep ahead of the challenges that are likely to emerge in the church. He or she should be a Charismatic leader in order to be accepted at all levels of the congregation.

The Head of Laity should try to be out of scandals; financial, moral and social in order to lead the Christians exemplarily. So in short, he or she should uphold the doctrines of he Bible and keep to the norms of the church.

Finally he or she should be a prayerful person so by the help of God, he does the work of God without partiality.

Jotham T. Bamuhiiga Apuuli, Head Of Laity Ruwenzori Diocese