People often tell me that their favorite part of Redeeming Administration is the saint stories that end each chapter. Sometimes knowing the trials that others have gone through make our own feel a bit more manageable. Or, at the very least, we know that we have companions in the vast communion of saints who can sympathize with whatever bizarre stuff we encounter. This coming week, we mark the feast of the little-known saintly administrator, Joseph Mukasa Balikuddembe, who I talk about in chapter 8 of the book. Balikuddembe oversaw the Bugandan king’s court in the 1880’s. He shares his memorial with 22 other Ugandan martyrs, including his more well-known colleague Charles/Kaloli Lwanga, all of whom died at the order of the king over a nine month period in 1885-1886.
Balikuddembe exercised leadership to the best of his abilities under the most constrained and complicated of circumstances. The story of his time in the king’s court is a story of European colonization, abuse of power, sexual abuse, changing norms, cultural misunderstanding and miscommunication. So many of the themes that administrators are wrestling with in 2021 are themes he would have understood as well. And so I suggest we remember him and his companions in a particular way this coming week. For more on Balikuddembe’s story, check out my preaching here and download a prayer service that you can use in your community on June 3rd.