Joining the Presbyterian Church of Rwanda to Dedicate a New Church
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God... Psalm 100
In writing about the Presbyterian Church in Rwanda in Mission Stories from Around the World, Marj Carpenter, trustee emerita of The Outreach Foundation, tells of how her heart was devastated by the destruction of the churches and the loss of life and leaders during the 1994 genocide. But she had hope that the Rwandan Presbyterian Church (EPR) would be rebuilt again.
In partnership with First Presbyterian Church, Nashville, and other Presbyterians from across the U.S., The Outreach Foundation joined with the Presbyterian Church in Rwanda in an historic and strategic building effort. The new Kanombe church building was dedicated on July 24, 2011 - a reminder for me of Marj’s mission stories and her hope for Rwanda. Finally, the Presbyterian Church of Rwanda is vibrant again, and growing by leaps and bounds.
Psalm 100 was the theme chosen by the Kanombe congregation for the dedication of their new sanctuary. Twenty-three people from First Presbyterian Church were present at the celebration.They not only participated in the dedication but also in getting the building ready for the celebration, painting and cleaning alongside members of the congregation at the beginning of the week. Then, on Saturday there was a service in which the Kanombe pastor baptized twenty-eight new believers and added nine other members to the congregation.
The choirs were excellent, including the visiting Imani choir from a partner congregation in Dar Es Salam, Tanzania. Many guests from all over East Africa were in attendance, including the President of the EPR and the Vice-Mayor of Kicukiro District. The Rev. Stuart Gordon of First Presbyterian Church preached, and he read Psalm 100 in the Rwandan language (Kinyarwanda) which impressed us all. The church was packed with approximately 1,100 people in attendance! The new church replaced an old building with a seating capacity of only 200.
This congregation has a huge number of very active youths, and their outreach to the community is outstanding. As part of the Kanombe congregation’s mission plan and objectives, the replaced old building was renovated to house a preschool for disadvantaged kids. Today, more than twenty children, mostly mentally challenged kids who are unable to cope with the normal school environment and would be otherwise left behind, are being cared for. The congregation welcomes gifts through The Outreach Foundation towards this ministry.
Moreover, the Kanombe congregation has reached out to a poor area of the city called Busanza in the Kicukuro district. The congregation is preparing to begin the construction of a sanctuary and a vocational training school for poor youths who cannot afford or have no access to university education. The church and the school will bring much needed infrastructure to the area and will equip the people there with skills for economic empowerment. The goal is to participate together with others in the process of developing the people of Busanza – mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually – by providing life skills through biblical teaching and both formal and informal educational programs. As of this writing the new church building in Busanza is funded. Funds are still needed for the vocational school.
We truly shout for joy to the Lord, thankful for our partners here and in Rwanda who are changing lives in Jesus’ name.
The Outreach Foundation