They came to bring a message of hope.
"You are not alone. We are with you. But above all, God is with you. It was he who brought us here," said Kyamanywa.
The local congregation, formerly known as the Church of the Apostles, left the Episcopal Church in December 2004 after failing to resolve its differences with the Diocese of Lexington and the national denomination over doctrine, including the authority of scripture and the denomination's increasingly liberal views on sexual morality
The Episcopal Church General Convention's decision in 2003 to accept the consecration of Gene Robinson - an openly partnered gay priest with family and church roots in Jessamine County - as the bishop of New Hampshire sent shock waves throughout the 70 million-member world-wide Anglican Communion. Anglican provinces in Africa, Asia and Latin America threatened to severe ties with the American church, and, as some U.S. congregations began to leave the Episcopal Church, bishops on those continents formed bonds with some of those parishes.
Last year, the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi, archbishop of the Church of Uganda, accepted Apostles into his province, and the parish was assigned to Kyamanywa's diocese. The church's rector, the Rev. Martin Gornik of Lexington, and its deacon, Anna Gulick of Wilmore, were accepted as clergy in the African church, after they were defrocked by the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington.
Kyamanywa's introduction to the local congregation came at a dinner Saturday night that featured Kentucky barbecue and bluegrass music, as well as a performance of African rhythms by the Lexington Children's Drum Choir.
Gornik introduced Kyamanywa by saying, "I want you to listen to this man, especially those of you who come from the evangelical tradition and are suspicious of Anglicanism."
Kyamanywa is, he explained, a bishop who represents orthodox, evangelical Anglican Christianity.
The bishop began by thanking the people for their hospitality.
"Peace said, 'I think we have come to our brothers and sisters,'" he remarked.
He then delivered a sermon on mission, saying, "Our God is a God of mission" To underscore that assertion, he quoted John 3:16, which says that God sent Jesus into the world so that whoever believes in him "should not perish but have everlasting life."
"Mission is what fills the gap between the spoiled creation and the new creation," he said.
Kyamanywa said Jesus' 12 disciples were faithful to the mission of spreading the gospel and thereby "turned the world upside down."
He implied that God expects no less of his disciples today.
Sooner or later, he said, mission will cause conflict, and that is evident in the experience of Apostles.
The bishop said the Ugandan diocese is calling its outreach to churches in the United States its "Macedonian mission" - a reference to the biblical story about Christians in Macedonia who asked the Apostle Paul to "please come and help us."
"We are coming here to encourage and support you," Kyamanywa said. "Don't be discouraged."
The bishop again quoted the Gospel of St. John: "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not comprehend it."
As the Body of Christ, he said, it is the mission of the people of God to "go on shining."
On Sunday morning, Kyamanywa preached a sermon on Satan's temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, and Jesus' use of the Bible to refute him. He also served communion at the church's regular worship service at Veterans Park Elementary School. Afterward, he and Peace were lunch guests of Ruth Anne Reese, an Asbury Theological Seminary professor, and her husband, Alfred Haase, at their home. They were joined by several members of the local church, including Gulick, who questioned the couple about the Ugandan church and its ministry.
One thing Kyamanywa emphasized is that his church's ministry is "holistic." Its purpose is to propagate the faith and strengthen its members spiritually, as well as to carry out missions of mercy, such as teaching children, dealing with Uganda's AIDS crisis and helping the poor.
"This is what our Lord Jesus Christ did," he said. "When people were hungry, he gave them food." But he told them the food would sustain them only a little while, and that he could give them "the bread of life," and they would hunger no more, the bishop noted.
On Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Broadway Baptist Church, Kyamanywa will lead a confirmation service for members of Aposles Anglican Church; St. Andrews Anglican in Versailles, which is also part of the Church of Uganda; and St. Patrick's Church on Harrodsburg Road, which is part of the Anglican Mission in America.
All three area churches have members who are from Jessamine County, and a most of the clergy and staff of Apostles and St. Patrick's are either residents of Jessamine or have connections to Asbury Seminary.
Editor's note: Randy Patrick, a former resident of Jessamine County, is a member of Apostles Anglican Church and a candidate for confirmation.