Serenity Centre evolved from the ministries of Missionaries of Africa, Holy Cross and the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in Uganda. In their evangelization activities, they realized that alcoholism was widespread and yet almost nothing was being done to help the victims. In 1985, Fr. Maurice Gelinas (RIP), M.Afr., began Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) fellowships in Kampala. He contributed articles in Leadership magazine, later on collected in the book “Alcoholism and You” (Pauline Books).He also counseled some sufferers, especially priests and religious, and began to advocate to Bishops for a treatment Centre.
In 1992, Fr. Anthony Wach, S.J., provided hospitality to a few addicted priests in the Jesuit community in Nsambya. With the help of Fr. Gelinas, diocesan Fr. Augustine Minaani, and Holy Cross Bro. Fred Cosgrove, a program was put together, entailed on daily reading and guided reflection on AA materials, some counseling, and attendance at AA meetings. Aftercare involved continued homework back in their dioceses and regular return visits to Kampala. Several priests began their recovery. However, due to lack of the AA support away from Kampala, most of the recovering priests soon relapsed.
In 1998, Br. Fred Mercy, S.J., with experience in running a hostel for alcoholics in Portland, USA, arrived to help in full-time treatment. He brought together other concerned people and sufferers from around the country and offered some weekend charismatic-style retreats on the AA program. He then gathered some helpers and began Mercy Centre where more people could reside and follow a deeper program of recovery, including some job counseling. Meanwhile, another Jesuit, Fr. Jim Egan (RIP), arrived in 2000 and began to assist. Fr. Jim knew AA very well and he soon had many members seeking his counseling services. By January 2001, 18 people had undertaken their recovery.
In 2001, Congregation of the Holy Cross invited Fr. Steve Newton from USA, also with long experience in AA Program, to visit and advice. Fr. Steve, then heading the Wilson Foundation (for addiction treatment in Africa), soon offered to start a more professional Centre. He began by initiating a network of people already active in the field around Uganda. Five Ugandans from this newly formed network (National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Council-NADAC) soon went to South Bend, India for a six months training with Life Treatment Centre.
Wilson Foundation gave support to Mercy Centre and invited it to be part of its more extensive plan. However, shortly after and very unexpectedly Fr. Steve and his foundation withdrew due to personal reasons. Unfortunately, at the very same time (May 2001) Bro. Fred Mercy also left Uganda. It was as if the dream of Fr.Steve (starting a more professional treating Centre) was going to fail. Remnants of interested people gathered to see the way forward. They soon agreed to take responsibility, but the centre needed to start smaller and be self-sustaining. Meetings followed to formalize the centre’s existence as an approved NGO.
On 1st August, 2001; Serenity Centre opened in Nsambya in the home of its first director. This residential treatment centre, the first of its kind in Uganda, could only squeeze in 5 clients. Within six months, the Centre moved to nearby in a nicer and more accessible facility that could hold up to 12 residential clients. The centre then shifted to Munyonyo in a more comfortable house that could hold up more than 12 clients, with a yard and view of the lake; with Rev.Fr.Fulgens Katende as Acting Director. In June 2006, Serenity Centre shifted to Kawuku (Bunga) in a house that could accommodate up to 18 resident clients with a bigger compound.
As the Centre was growing in numbers, there was a need to expand the Board to strengthen its governance and thus Fr. Brendan Jordan MHM (RIP) was brought on board and became the chairman. Fr.Brendan`s dream was to see Serenity Centre settling in a permanent home in a spacious environment that could accommodate 80 patients on residential treatment program.
In 2009, a piece of land was acquired in Kabulamuliro with the assistance of His Grace Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Kampala, for Serenity Centre to construct its permanent home. In the period of four years, Fr. Jordan Brendan (RIP) achieved his dream and Serenity Centre home with a calm natural environment was officially opened on 19th March, 2012.
Our Vision, Mission, Goals & Core Values
A world free from Substance dependencies.
To provide a Continuum of holistic (Bio psychosocial-spiritual) services to the individual, family and entire
Individuals and communities affected by substance abuse empowered with skills and opportunities to maintain sobriety.
a) Honesty: We uphold truthfulness and straightforwardness in our services and hold our staff and associates to the highest standard of integrity and good conduct. We believe that honest hearts produce honest actions.
b) Empathy: being compassionate and unconditionally caring for all those entrusted in our care is part and parcel of our daily routine services. This helps us to better understand our clients and build the ability to meet their needs.
c) Acceptance: we are tolerant and patient with all situations as presented and accept ourselves, others and reality exactly the way they are without denial or judgement. We allow our own and others’ feelings to be as
d) Respect: We foster trust and mutual admiration and have a high regard for the worth of all treating everyone with due consideration and concern. We understand that we share a common community and behavior of activity.
e) Time management: we believe in accounting for everything we do. We promote doing the right thing at the right time with the right people in the right environment supports effective and efficient service delivery.
f) Professionalism: we promote attitudes, skills, good judgement and polite behaviors which exhibit
SC is the pioneer treatment facility for substance dependents, with multi-disciplinary skilled and competent addiction professionals in handling substance use disorders and other addiction related illness founded on spiritual values.
SERENITY CENTRE’S NICHE
All-inclusive customer care and quality professional services.