There was drama and pandemonium at Katikaara Church of Uganda in Katikaara Sub-county, in the mid-western Kakumiro District, when a female worshipper was intercepted at the altar with a stolen hen presented as offertory.
The service led by visiting Rev David Mugenyi started on schedule before the irony of Satan’s temptation began playing out to the shock and horror of Christians, according to church warden Jane Muhairwe.
It was at around 12pm and offertory time. Christians filed to the pulpit. And Rev Mugenyi, assisted by church wardens, was at hand to receive the offerings, which by church tradition, is a Christian’s gift to appreciate God’s blessings.
In the Sunday incident, however, a resident of Kyakabinjekere village in Katikaara Sub-county, sprang to his feet and, while shouting, raced toward the Altar to block a neighbour from surrendering his hen to church.
‘‘This is my hen; I know you are my neighbour [but] why did you steal my hen and bring it here in church?’’ said Mr Joseph Lutaalo as he held the suspect by the neck as if to strangle her.
The squabble mortified other worshippers; some craned their necks to catch a glimpse of the parties, while others simply turned away in disgust.
Puzzled church officials for a moment looked at one another in shame and the visiting Reverend, after regaining his composure, admonished the suspect for her behaviour.
Other Christians intervened to restrain the parties from further physical confrontation.
Rev Mugenyi, according to Muhairwe, asked the parties and church elders to resolve the matter outside the House of God.
After crisis talks, the hen was surrendered to the claimant and the woman was ordered to pay Shs150,000 fine, which Good Samaritans reportedly raised on her request.
This was after she confessed and pleaded for forgiveness before the church elders, one church member said.
The priest called the episode “shameful, immoral and illegal” and implored Christians to repent, according to another witness who asked not to be named to speak freely on the matter.