Posted on August 3, 2012

‘Bona Fide Rock Star’: Archbishop of York’s Controversial Evangelical Preacher Brother

Amy Fallon, Telegraph (London), July 26, 2012

“Pastor Robert is preaching today,” said a woman at the entrance to the 10,500-seat auditorium, where his flock must pass through airport-style security, complete with metal detectors and armed police.

The buzz is for Robert Kayanja, the younger brother of the second most senior figure in the Anglican Church, John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York.

Back in his native Uganda, Mr Kayanja has become one of the richest and most famous evangelical preachers.

But while Archbishop Sentamu preaches in the stately calm of York Minster, his brother’s performances have a rather different flavour.

Mr Kayanja claims to be able to work miracles; indeed he describes himself as a “miracle baby” who would have died at birth along with his mother but for God’s intercession.

At his church in Kampala, Uganda’s capital, he has the delirious audience in the palm of his hand.

“Say it’s gonna happen: in my clan, in my family, in my village, I’ll be the richest!”, he boomed. “In my community, in the name of Jesus, you are about to own estates!”

“You are about to own land! You are about to be the chief in the corporation! You are about to be on the top. Remember this: you are the head and not the tail!”

While Archbishop Sentamu frequently denounces consumerism in Britain, back in Uganda, his brother glorifies the quest for riches.

“Someone say ‘I am on a mission today, in the name of Jesus. I will dominate my field! I will be the smartest. I’ll be the most intelligent, I’ll prosper! I’ll be the most wise. I am rich! I am wise! I am the head! Hallelujah!” continued Mr Kayanja. “Oh lift up your hands and clap your hands to Jesus, my God. Wooh!”

Again and again, Mr Kayanja urged his flock in one of the world’s poorest countries to dig deep and donate to his church. “Just to let you know,” he announced, “we need 100,000 Euros (£80,000) to buy dishes and equipment for the satellite”.

The idea was to launch a satellite TV channel to spread the word, a project Mr Kayanja hailed as “exciting, incredible, marvellous and supersonic”.

Anyone who donates will be rewarded, promised Mr Kayanja. “You might not have been born rich but you can be born again rich IN CHRIST ALONE,” he recently told his followers on Twitter.

As well as the largest church auditorium in East Africa where Mr Kayanja controls two children’s homes and a primary school, along with a Bible college and the Miracle TV station.

He has published more than 20 books, including “Purpose”, which boasts of his prowess at miracles. “The most amazing miracles have been witnessed with the blind, deaf, dumb, lame, lunatic (and) people with hunchbacks” all being healed by the “power of God”, reads the book.

James Onen, a local radio presenter, described Mr Kayanja as a “bona fide rock star of evangelical Christianity in Uganda”.

Other pastors have been known to urge followers with Aids to abandon antiretroviral drugs and rely on prayer. “To his credit, Robert Kayanja is actually critical of pastors who tell their followers to stop taking ARVs and pray instead,” said Mr Onen.

But the Archbishop’s brother is unabashed about his supposed miracle-working. “He himself is known to frequently engage in miracle crusades, where purportedly many people are miraculously healed,” added Mr Onen.