It has been 49 years since Uganda gained independence from Great Britain, and on Sunday, the Joy of God Ministries International & Ugandans in Covenant hosted an Independence Day Celebration Fellowship at New Covenant Church on Germantown Avenue.

Nearly 100 attended the event that Ugandans in Covenant President/Chairman Paul Senkungu opened with a presentation about Ugandan history from its independence until today. The first song of the event was the African nation's anthem which, Senkungu noted, "says so much of what Uganda is supposed to be."

Attendees' chants filled the room, as did a call to action to help Uganda "heal from its disparities." They were asked to "pray for Uganda and help the country in any way possible because they need it right now."

The event featured an announcement from African Community Television Network that a 24/7 African station will be launched in the region this upcoming Sunday.

Minister Jacky Senyonjo, billed as the top gospel singer in Uganda, performed three songs and shared details of her visit, about which she deemed Center City "amazing."

There was a potluck dinner featuring American and Ugandan foods including lamb and chicken stew, non-American sweet potatoes, Indian flatbread Chapti and Cassava, a Ugandan staple crop.

"This event is for everyone to feel a sense of togetherness. A sense of fellowship," Senkungu said.

From a practical standpoint, free health screening and consultations were offered. Doctors who set up medical aid stations to administer rapid HIV tests and checked for high blood pressure and other health concerns. Those who received the health screenings were able to do a follow up whether they had health insurance or not.

"Philadelphia immigrants are more likely to seek health services when diseases have advanced or become harder to treat," Dr. Helena Kwakwa said. "Dealing with migrating to America and learning a new culture; health is usually last on the agenda. But we need to make it a priority."


for NewsWorks