Gary Skinner is the visionary and passionate Team Leader of Watoto Church. During the nation’s civil war in 1984, Gary and his wife, Marylin planted this local church in Kampala, Uganda to speak hope and life to the nation. Today Watoto Church is a cell-based, community church with more than 30,000 people gathering every week to celebrate the value and purpose they’ve found in Jesus Christ. Gary passionately believes that it is the responsibility of the local church to solve community problems. Watoto Church cares for community holistically through over 2,300 small groups (cells) that meet weekly.
In 1994, they founded Watoto Child Care Ministries in response to the cry of millions of children who had been orphaned or left vulnerable as a result of war, poverty and disease. Watoto means “children” in Swahili. Since starting the ministry, they’ve placed thousands of orphans in families, empowered thousands of vulnerable women to reach their own families and communities, rescued babies and former child soldiers, and sent 100 children’s choirs across six continents.
As, Watoto continues to work alongside the most vulnerable in their nation, they aim to rescue individuals, raise each one as a leader in his or her sphere of life; so that, in turn, they will rebuild the nation. In over 35 years, the challenges facing Uganda and Africa have changed, but their vision remains the same. In all of this, Watoto remains a local church, committed to celebrating Christ and caring for community.
Gary, along with his wife Marilyn, are the proud parents of three children and grandparents to seven.