|Saint Simon the Cyrenian Episcopal Church||
Feature Article from The Cyrenian parish newsletter, January 2013, Vol. 2, No. 1
Parishioner Profile: Amos Kiyingi
On 1st September 2004, I arrived in New York City to take up another appointment with the United Nations. This followed four years with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, another UN agency in Vienna, Austria, and before that, eight months with the UN peace keeping mission in Kosovo. After I arrived here, I decided to take up residence in Westchester County, as I was not keen on working in Manhattan and also residing with my family in the big city. I lived in Mount Vernon during the first year and moved to New Rochelle in August 2005.
I have studied, worked and lived in several countries over the last thirty five years. These include, Uganda, Kenya, Lesotho, Swaziland, the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Sweden, Namibia, Austria, Canada, Kosovo and the United States of America. In the course of my work with the UN, I have also been detailed for short term assignments at duty stations in the following countries: Belarus, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Italy, Ethiopia, Uganda and South Africa. It is always exciting to live and work in different countries and to get to learn about new cultures and make friends with new people. It can also be a time of anxiety especially in the beginning, as you go about finding the ideal place to stay, the right schools for the children and a welcoming place of worship.
I was born in Kampala, Uganda, into a strong Christian family and was raised as a member of the Anglican Church, which was renamed the Church of Uganda when Uganda attained independence from Britain in 1962.
Church is central to my being and with so many churches in New Rochelle, it took me several months to decide on a regular place of worship. Although St. Simon the Cyrenian Church is only a short distance from my house, I did not become aware of its existence until I talked to a family of parishioners who clearly pointed out to me that it was located on Remington Place, off Webster Avenue. This underlies the discussion we have often had in the Vestry to prominently display the presence of St. Simon’s as it is not readily noticeable by those who use Webster Avenue and Lincoln Avenue, some of the busiest streets in New Rochelle. I started attending St. Simon’s in 2006.
During my stay in Vienna, I was co-opted to join the governing body of the local Anglican Church, an English speaking congregation which is a place of worship for many expatriate families in the city. During my tenure in the governing body, I came to appreciate the issues that arise in the church, be they pastoral, financial or otherwise, and the vital role that this body plays in smoothing the way forward. It was, therefore, easy for me to agree to join the St. Simon’s Vestry, when I was requested, during my first year with this congregation and I have continued to be a member until now. During this time, I have had the pleasure to serve under three very able Senior Wardens and their Junior Wardens. It is this leadership and the deep commitment and strength of the parishioners that has enabled the church to thrive even during periods when we did not have a presiding priest. I have witnessed with admiration the work and functions that the various groups have organized, be they for fundraising or for fellowship, and this has been most effective during this (2012) centennial year.
During my teen years, I was one of over three thousand students from many countries around the world who came to the US on the American Field Service exchange program for one year. It was my first opportunity to travel outside my native Uganda, and during my brief stay in Manhattan before moving to Cleveland, Ohio, where I was to spend a school year with an American family, we visited the United Nations building in the city. I remember being inspired to work for the organization after completing school. I eventually joined the service of the UN after I completed my studies. When I moved to New York in September 2004, I was struck to find out that Tower Hotel, where I had stayed during that first visit to the city was only one block away from my office. It is also interesting that I am completing my active service while in New York City.
I have enjoyed my stay at St. Simon’s, my membership of the Vestry and that of the Men’s Fellowship. I am thankful that Father Lane and his wife have joined us and I wish you all the Lord's blessings in 2013 and always.
After some rest period, I plan to do consulting work in the finance area in my adopted country Canada. I hope to see most of you whenever I am in New Rochelle. (Please contact the church office if you would like to have my private email address.)