Stephen has just returned from a week’s teaching in Cyangugu, Rwanda. Bishop Nathan Amooti, the Anglican Bishop of Cyangugu, invited Stephen to teach a module on Judaism and Christianity at the new Diocesan Theological School, which opened in March.
The mission of the school is to equip clergy and lay-leaders for service in the Church of Rwanda. In particular, the School is training lay-leaders who live and work in rural locations. The level of teaching provided is adapted to meet the needs of those with little or no formal education as well as those who are gifted academically.
The aim is to create a pool of future leaders of the church. Until this year, the diocese has lacked any means of providing formal theological training for clergy or lay-leaders and catechists.
The old Cathedral building is now being used as the new theological school. However, the school and indeed Diocese, still lacks a library for study and research. Stephen delivered a suitcase full of theolgical books for the new college library.
The number of students the school is able to accommodate is dependent on funding. In this initial year, 15 students are being trained. Thankfully, all clergy and lay-leaders have a copy of the Kinyarwanda Bible and most of them also have the Kinyarwanda translation of the NIV Application Study Bible.
The objective of the school is to ensure every church leader receives basic theological training in ministry, evangelism and discipleship, to develop their full potential and raise up leaders for the Diocese.
Revd Rik Mager, a mission partner of the Dutch, Reformed Mission League (GZB), is the coordinator for the theological training programme as well as new school.
The Diocese of Cyangugu is located in the southwest of Rwanda and has 17.000 communicant members and is growing fast. It was founded in 1992 and is one of the youngest in the Anglican Church of Rwanda. The Diocese includes the eastern shore of Lake Kivu, the city of Rusizi and Kamembe, as well as communities living in the Nyungwe Rainforest to the east.
The majority of the population practices subsistence farming. In some areas people walk up to four hours to attend services in their parish churches. Bishop Nathan has a simple criteria for identifying those suitable for ordination. He expects lay leaders to plant a new church before he will consider ordaining them.
Besides the witness of the Christian church, traditional African religion as well as new sects are having a detrimental impact on people’s faith hence the need for a systematic discipleship program and formal theological training.
Rwanda is a land locked country located in the East Africa bounded by Uganda, the DRC, Burundi and Tanzania with a population close to 12 million. Rwanda is increasingly stable, politically. Some of the parishes care for large numbers of refugees from the surrounding countries placing an additional burden on them financially.
If you wish to support the work of the Cyangugu Theological School, Stephen would be pleased to introduce you to Rik Mager, the coordinator. Please send a message via the Contact page.