Hundreds of Christians turned up at St.Johns Cathedral Kabarole on Sunday for the funeral service of Asta Balya Amooti, the widow of the late Bishop Abel Balya. Asta Balya died on Friday at her home in Bunyonyi in Hakibale Sub County, after suffering a stroke a year ago. Balya was the first African Bishop in East and Central Africa who spread the gospel in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo and Sudan. He died in November 1979 at the age of 102.
Balya was the first African Bishop in East and Central Africa. He died in November 1979 at the age of 102.
Asta Balya died on Friday at her home in Bunyonyi in Hakibale Sub County, after suffering a stroke a year ago. She was aged 87 years.
Addressing mourners, Bishop Reuben Kisembo of Ruwenzori Diocese described the deceased as a strong Christian woman who spread the gospel of reconciliation and unity. Bishop Kisembo explained that after the death of Bishop Balya, the deceased emulated her husband by engaging in pastoral work in different parts of the region.
Bishop Kisembo said that Asta played a big role to unite Christian women in Rwenzori Diocese under the Mothers Union. The bishop also remembers her contribution to the completion of Balya Church of Uganda located in Bunyonyi and Bunyonyi Junior School.
Uganda's Ambassador to South Sudan, Brigadier Ronnie Balya, who is the head of the Bishop Balya family, described his mother as a counsellor who advocated for peace and reconciliation among residents of Bunyonyi.
Brigadier Balya, the former Director Internal Security Organisation (ISO) director general told mourners that while growing up, their mother was also a disciplinarian who worked tirelessly to build a strong Christian foundation in the home.
Asta Balya was born in 1930 in Rwebisengo Sub County, Ntoroko district.
She studied at Kyebambe Girls' School and later taught at the same school for more than twenty years. In 1957, she got married to Bishop Balya after the death of the bishop's first wife, Ketura Byanga, in 1952.
In 1985, six years after the death of her husband, Asta was elected head of the Mothers Union for Ruwenzori Diocese, a position she held for 15 years.
She will be laid to rest on Monday at Bunyonyi. According to Brigadier Balya, his mother requested to be buried at her home and not at St. John's Cathedral where her husband was laid to rest.