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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Faculty & Staff

Visitors, friends remember deceased reverend


The bleak, cold weather matched the mood Tuesday night as many gathered at the A.D. Bruce Religion Center to mourn the passing of the Rev. Israel Ahimbisibwe. The Episcopalian priest, his wife Dorcus and their 5-year-old son Jay were found dead in their Memorial City apartment Monday morning.

As the memorial service began, the Rev. Canon John Newton opened with words of comfort for the audience.

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Students and faculty attend the memorial of Rev. Israel Ahimbisibwe. | Pablo Milanese/The Cougar

“We are not here to understand,” said Newton, “but to pray.”

After a series of prayers, singing and Biblical reflection, the event ended somberly, with many remaining within the chapel to quietly pray. One by one, each member of the audience left to briefly congregate outside and console one another.

Laureen Suba of United Campus Ministry reflected on her past association with Ahimbisibwe, and the general impact death can have on people.

“[He] was a man of great faith,” Suba said, adding that while unexpected death can be the most heart-wrenching, it can bring people together.

After most of the mourners had left, Bruce Twenhafel, manager of the A.D. Bruce Religion Center, still lingered within. Throughout the service, Twenhafel was there offering consolation to many of the visitors in the form of reassuring words and gentle pats on the backs.

Twenhafel had no qualms about expressing his pain, describing Ahimbisibwe as a big man with a big heart — “a gentle giant.”

The Ahimbisibwe couple are survived by their two teenage sons. According to reports by KTRK Eyewitness News, one of the sons is attending a boarding school in California, with the other son currently unaccounted for.

As of this time, the police have revealed no suspects.

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