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Mid-Africa News

September – December 2007

TRAINED TO LEAD How is a leader formed? What support do they need? What gets in the way? Key questions for CMS as we work alongside churches in Rwanda, Burundi, Congo and Uganda to support the training of potential leaders and further equip those already in leadership. This issue we move from city to

Photo: Dick Seed/CMS

village and back again, giving voice to the experience of those training others to lead.

Kigali Anglican Theological College (KATC) is one of the seeds of hope to grow from the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide. Even 13 years on, Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini’s belief that “one of the reasons for the genocide was the poor theological training of church workers” is an underlying motivation for the leadership development that mission partner Dick Seed and others are offering at KATC. “In the short time our students have been with us, we’ve noticed a huge growth in their confidence,” Dick reports. We see an excitement amongst them as they discover the richness of opportunity they have in their theological learning. It’s empowering. One student returned from speaking in church this week and told me, ‘I have a new depth in my preaching.’ “The churches our students will return to need pastors who have the tools to interpret scripture, who can understand where the people are and take them forward in their

Christian walk. Their training has a major impact on the congregation in an environment where education is valued. The credibility of the church is diminished with an uneducated pastorate. “ William Challis, chairman of the CMS Mid-Africa Forum, draws a similar conclusion from teaching visits to Matana Theological Institute: “The new government in Burundi is making education a priority; primary schooling is now free; secondary schools are springing up all around the country and there are new universities in Bujumbura. The Church must have welleducated leadership, capable of making a decisive contribution in witness to and teaching of new generations of increasingly literate people.“

Living a Different Model Being able to do things differently is a strength that marks out future leaders and changemakers. Mission partners Miranda and Roger p2

Welcome The story is told of an African bus driver who, bus full, was speeding along the highway. After about an hour, he stopped and turning to his passengers said: “I have two pieces of news for you, one is good news and the other is bad news. First the bad news: we are lost. I have no idea where we are. Now the good news. Even though we‘re lost, we are making good progress. We’re cruising at 120km/hr which means we shall be where we do not know very quickly.” A cautionary tale for those involved in strategic leadership and one which is well heeded by the clergy and mission partners I spoke to for this edition. Their energy, far from being directionless, is focused on the vital role leadership development has in the future of the African church. In this issue we also focus on our partners in Rwanda. Their programmes, which include training and capacity building, require your support and prayer. Let’s give it as we read, reflect and respond. Laura Harvey, editor.

ABOVE: CMS Students working in the Library. From right to left Bertha, Ephraim and Flecian all students in their second year at KATC.


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 Bowen were based at Mantana where they noticed the marriage of Eularie and the Rev Pontien Ribakare offering a new model for Christian couples and families. “Having experienced another culture to their own (Pontien was a CMS scholar at Mukono University, Uganda) they are able to do things differently to the Burundi way. It is very rare in Kirundi culture for couples to share their finances, or talk and pray together on a weekly basis, asking forgiveness of each other when they need to and submitting their lives to the Lord,” explains Miranda. “Pontien and Eularie work together, and the solidity of their relationship, their energy and compassion offers a real model of Christian leadership. They pretty much run an open house for orphans and people with AIDS, and we have seen that grow.

Pontien and Eularie Photo: Miranda Bowen/CMS

Pontien has now been appointed to head the Mission and Ministry team for Matana diocese. He is supporting pastors in the parishes, strengthening their ministry by mentoring and coming alongside them, and trying to meet some of their educational needs. Miranda reflects, “In terms of the leadership of Matana diocese CMS has had a major hand. Their support has gone back a long way and it’s been very effective in providing leaders for today and for the future.”

Photo: CMS

“I have a new depth in my preaching”

“Eularie heads up the diocesan AIDS work, and was able to help me set up Small Projects For Burundi. I saw her confidence build because she was able to do something practical and physical to help people in a way that really complemented the moral support she was giving through education and prayerful, pastoral counselling.”

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Roger Bowen teaching at Matana.

Kingdom Maths Stephen Burgess, CMS Regional Manager for Mid-Africa also sees the long term impact of theological training as he travels in the region. In Uganda he recently met with five clergy who had been CMS scholars. All five are now in senior positions within Kinkiizi Diocese teaching and developing others. Their spouses had been sponsored by CMS to attend a training course at Bishop Barham University College (BBUC) and were keen to share how useful it had been in helping them to complement their husband’s ministry. On the same visit Steve met Frank Turyatunga from Kigezi Diocese, a student at BBUC, who was so thrilled and challenged to be given a CMS scholarship to study theology that he decided to tithe his allowance, so that a less well off relative whom he was looking after could complete her secondary education. The cascading effect of wellresourced training continues at every level. Many MidFrank Turyatunga, Ugandan Africa News CMS scholar. readers will have Photo: Steve Burgess/CMS followed the developing ministry of Bishop Titre Ande. When the Anglican Church in Congo decided to create a theological college, a CMS scholarship enabling the Rev Ande (then college principal) to do his PhD in Birmingham allowed ISThA to gain the academic status it needed to be recognised as a private college. ISThA’s counter-cultural witness during the civil war that was to follow offered a different model for community life. “Even during the fighting we had Hema and Lendu students working together. It was a very different reality to the violence happening on the streets outside,” Bishop Ande explains. “When students first come to the Bible school from their villages they may eat and live in tribal groups and it’s an opportunity for the staff to challenge those attitudes and encourage them to eat together. We want to build trust and understanding so they are soon living in the same room with brothers from other tribes.”


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Photo: Laura Harvey/CMS

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Catechists as catalysts Now responsible for the diocesan education plan, Bishop Ande highlights the urgency of improving training for lay ministers, who form the frontline of pastoral care for their communities. “In Aru, almost 80 per cent of pastors and catechists were not able to finish their primary education. Yet these are the ones who really take care of the people and who are looking after the new Christians. They are a huge training priority as they are already training others.” It is a priority which stretches across the region and one which CMS is looking for resources to respond to. In Rwanda, Bishop Onesphore Rwaje of Byumba diocese explains how lay pastors struggle to survive in an area where most people are subsistence farmers: “The local congregation will be too poor to do more than partially support their catechist. He will have to earn money or grow food to support his family’s needs. If the harvest is not sufficient he may need to leave to work elsewhere, and then the whole church suffers.” Bishop Rwaje reflects that while his government may be investing in physical development of communities, social and spiritual development is the responsibility of the church. He uses a metaphor of physical vision to describe the perspective needed by visionary leaders: “We must have people who see with two eyes, not one. Yes, we need HIV/AIDS training and awareness programmes – but who will counsel those orphans? My priority has been – and still is – the training of leaders at the grassroots.”

Mission partner Louise Wright sees a similar commitment to community and to learning at the tiny Bible School building behind her home in Kalima, DRC. Here men and women combine their study with other jobs and service to the local congregations. Funding is scarce and the effort put into obtaining basic necessities remarkable. A few years back Louise gave the students a cutting from the banana tree in her garden. It now grows in the grounds of the Bible school and the fruit has been sold to buy chalk for the blackboard. How many of us in the UK would grow a tree and sell its fruit to provide chalk to help us learn? There’s a powerful reminder here of the long road walked by so many of the students who will become the future leaders of the Church in Mid-Africa. From fruit tree to theological college and beyond – will you help them make the journey? G

In Aru, almost 80% of pastors and catechists were not able to finish their primary education

Photo: Dick Seed/CMS

Mission partner Meg Guillebaud runs the diocesan in-service training for catechists. It has three phases and takes seven years, allowing students time to work for their families between 3–4 week blocks of study. Bishop Rwaje stresses, “Leadership training is more than academic. Our catechists are respected in the community and

Louise Wright with Kalima Bible School students and the banana tree.

are catalysts to bring people together. They provide the leadership for reconciliation and community projects, as well as leading the church.”

A student in the new library at Kigali Anglican Theological College.

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Rwanda: Partners in healing and disciple After the 1994 genocide the question lingers: “How could such appalling acts have happened in a country that is 80% Christian?” The answer, sober and painful, is that the Christian faith didn’t penetrate to the heart of society.

Photo: Dick Seed/CMS

LEFT: Kigali Anglican Theological College (KATC) opened in March 2006 and is working with its first 35 students to develop leaders committed to transforming Rwandan society. CMS mission partners Caroline and Dick Seed, based at KATC, are equipping pastors so that they can help their communities cope with deep wounds which have yet to be fully healed.

Photo: John Henderson

Our partners in Rwanda are addressing nothing less than the discipling of the nation. Through reconciliation ministries and projects focusing on core social and spiritual needs they are challenging and helping people to live from a deeprooted biblical worldview rather than a secular or a tribal worldview.

LEFT: Solace Ministries began in 1995 in response to a call based on Isaiah 40:1. “Comfort, comfort my people says your God.” Their wide-ranging ministry stretches from counselling and evangelism to HIV/AIDS education, community based development and care for orphans. Their services are sought all over the country, especially in the area surrounding Kigali. BELOW: Widows frequently walk 40km to be listened to or to participate in training.

ABOVE: Solace counselling with HIV/AIDS patient. BELOW: Widows’ weekly meeting in Kigali.

BELOW: Making soap from red palm oil.

Photo: Jon Henderson

Photo: Jon Henderson

C


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Photo: CMS

Photo: Bertha Schoonbee/CMS

pleship

Over the last two years CMS has given grants to Scripture Union Rwanda for youth work and to help raise awareness on HIV/Aids through their schools programmes. We’ve also supported the translation of “Choose Freedom”, a life skills training book, so that it can be used in the local language in young people’s classes.

Photo: Don Langford

ABOVE: Gahini Hospital celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. Since its founding in 1927, it has been the site of spiritual as well as physical healing for generations of Rwandans. CMS mission partner Wim Schoonbee describes the celebrations as, “A chance to remember the way the hospital has really impacted on the spiritual life of the community around it, and give thanks for its reputation as a beacon of loving care in Rwanda.”

BELOW: RDIS chicken raising project.

CMS have been supporting Rural Development Interdiocesan Services, (RDIS), in providing effective training for catechists. RDIS projects are the initiatives of Christians who are actively standing against the residue of hatred and destruction in communities. As well as offering training on unity and reconciliation to church leaders, there is emphasis on training groups to develop an economic activity. The project acts like a “cord binding them together”, reinforcing the work they have done in healing seminars, and enabling people to see the tangible benefits of reconciliation.

Photo: Laura Harvey

oil.


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Photo: Wim Schoonbee/CMS

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A different kind of light Mission partners Bertha and Wim Schoonbee serve at Gahini Hospital, Rwanda, where Wim is an eye and general surgeon and Bertha works with blind children needing rehabilitative care. Here she shares an insight into that rehabilitation and news of her burgeoning sideline as a sports coach.

ABOVE: Mileè with her sister (left) and carer (right).

She realised there was much more in this child than she'd ever seen

“The same was true of Sorange, a three year old whose granny was convinced she was slow-witted and that there was little hope for her. Sorange spoke only a few words and couldn’t yet hold a cup to drink from. She was very aggressive because she was so frustrated. This is often the case when children first arrive. They bat your hand away when you try to help them because they only know their own dark world. Part of our role in those initial sessions is to discipline with love in order to reduce the aggression. It takes a lot of patience but eventually they will learn to hold a cup of water at the same time as you hold it, instead of hitting it away in frustration. Then we work on exercises to strengthen their leg muscles – essential if they’ve always been carried. Exercises with rubber balls and other physiotherapy help them get the feel of being upright. The first time they walk they are very afraid, so we give them a push cart to help support them and to lessen the fear. “Sorange’s granny was so depressed when she brought her in. It was amazing to see her hope restored as she realised there was much more in this child than she’d ever seen. In fact, she was so heartened that a fortnight later I saw her comforting a devastated new mother who had just heard her baby would never see. She was able to give her some encouragement by sharing with her the skills that Sorange had been able to learn in just two or three weeks.

“There's another kind of light which can come into these childrens’ lives. The facilities are here, and we're able to offer hope to the children and those who look after them.” Confidence Pitch The secondary school in Gahini is one of only two in Rwanda to take blind students. Discovering that many of them had little to do in their spare time Bertha took a punt on the internet. Typing in “blind sports” she came across “goalball”, a sport created for blind players, using a heavy ball containing bells, and raised pitch lines (made of rope) so that people can feel their way on the court. Miraculously, on the day she was explaining to the students that they didn’t yet have the right equipment, a donation of a goalball arrived! Learning to play has provided lots of exercise and enjoyment for the blind students, whilst as coach, Bertha has got to know the students more closely and is delighted at how their confidence levels have soared. Photo: Bertha Schoonbee/CMS

Photo: Bertha Schoonbee/CMS

ABOVE: Bertha works with Sorange.

“Our big role is teaching carers how to stimulate blind children. Often three and four year olds come to us unable to walk, talk or feed themselves, because their families have always carried them and done everything for them, not realising that they could enable the child to be more independent. This was exactly what had happened with Mileè, an under-stimulated four year old we worked with during the last year. The transformation we saw was dramatic. After six months she was able to walk with some support.

ABOVE: Jean-Pierre makes a save in goalball.

Games take place by the road, so draw many local spectators. “At first,” says Bertha, “they may be laughing at the idea of blind people playing a technically demanding game like this but as someone explains what is happening you can see their admiration growing. What’s more, the students love it because it makes them feel part of their community. All the primary school students know the names of the blind secondary school players now!” G

RIGHT: Ndenge, an orphan who is also crippled, makes paper for cards and is able to contribute to his school and boarding fees.

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Photo: Bertha Schoonbee/CMS


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Mid-Africa round-up

Clergy visit to Rwanda The Rt Rev Paul Butler, Bishop of Southampton and CMS Trustee writes: “I love visiting Rwanda! This November (6th–21st) I and Paul Thaxter will be leading a team of nine to visit all nine dioceses (in pairs). Nearly all the team are clergy and for most this will be their first time in Rwanda. Our aim is to discover more of what God is doing through the Anglican Church in Rwanda. As we do so we hope also to learn more of what God wants of us all in our ministries in the UK, and how we might encourage deeper partnerships between churches here and there. The visit is a joint CMS/Winchester Diocese venture. It is quite complicated logistically so please pray for us all.”

Ian Smith in Rwanda.

Kigali bound New mission partners Richard and Sue Kellow are heading for Rwanda, where they will join the Seeds at Kigali Anglican Theological College (KATC). Richard will teach English to the students as well as setting up an English department which will provide English Language training to learners from outside the college. Sue will look after Emily, their new baby, whilst Richard, Sue and Emily Kellow. exploring how she can best use her skills as a speech and language therapist, working with children who have severe learning difficulties or hearing impairments. Retiring honour Congratulations to the Rev Canon Roger Bowen who was made a Canon of Matana Cathedral after many years of mission partner service alongside wife Miranda. Apology: In the May–Aug edition we included a photo of Bishop Ande of Aru diocese rather than the intended photo of Bishop Eraste of Muyinga diocese. We regret this error.

Photo: CMS

Pat Brooks at the 2006 conference.

Old friends at CMS Ireland Ian Smith is now settling into his appointment as Director of Mission. He writes, “CMS Ireland looks after Mid-Africa Ministry’s former responsibilities across Ireland. Things are going very well and one of my first appointments to make has been that of Regional Mission Partner for Mid-Africa. This is an amalgam of what CMS Britain used to call Area Co-ordinator and Regional Manager. The annual Mid-Africa conference will take place at Newcastle, Co Down, from 7–9 September. Why not come and join us?” Details from Mavis Spiers: mavisspiers@cmsireland.org

Photo: CMS

Photo: Steve Burgess: CMS

Conference call Act now if you’ve still to book a place at High Leigh for this year’s Mid-Africa Conference on 16–18th November. Our speaker is the Rev Don Brewin, who until his recent retirement was the UK Director for Sharing of Ministries Abroad. SOMA has extensive experience of sending and receiving teams worldwide on short-term mission within the Anglican Communion. His theme is Outlines for the Future, and he will be speaking on patterns for the church and for mission based on readings from Revelation 4–7. Fill out the enclosed form to book your place or contact: Nick Fane, 1 Woodshears Drive, Malvern, Worcs, WR14 3EA. Tel: 01684 566601. Email: maconf@fanes.co.uk. The conference centre is easily accessible from either the M25 (Junction 25) or Broxbourne railway station.

Photo: Darron Lawer

Bringing you up to date with mission news throughout the region.

Roger and Miranda Bowen with Archbishop Ntahoturi.

Prayer Group contacts: Exeter: Jean Hurford 01392 259107; Whipton (Exeter): Beryl Robbins 01392467827; Hove: John Puttock 01273 721319; Liverpool: Gill Prescott 01514745661; Worthing: Pat Moss 01903 243649; Southport: Irene Carr 01704 544418; Bristol: Sue Morse 01179628741; Gt Baddow: Linda Lane 01245 472075; Maidenhead: Paul Darrall 01753 695604; York: Marion Smith 01904 793727; Salisbury: Margaret Court 01722 328 039.

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Making the big picture work locally Ian Smith reports from Shyogwe Pineapples are a favourite fruit in Rwanda. The problem is that they all ripen at the same time. Rich and luscious, they become the staple food for a short while. There are so many that much of the fruit goes to waste, whilst a small number are sold by traders in the markets of Kigali – at little profit to the growers. The Rural Development Service of Shyogwe Diocese has encouraged the growers to form cooperatives to collect and process the pineapples into concentrated juice or jam. This is then sold to shops and hotels in Kigali, reaping a handsome profit. It has proved so successful that already there is enough in the kitty to justify the Pineapple Associations being able to set up their own bank accounts. This in turn enables safer and more regular trading practices. The result of all this has been that the growers are able to share in the profits. Instead of living on subsistence levels they are able to put money aside to pay for such things as schooling, or medical insurance.

When a CMS short-term team arrived to see the project last October they were not only impressed by the vision, they were amazed by the faith of those responsible. Having set up a juice extraction unit in Gitarama, they investigated machinery to process the fruit. The advice was to buy industrial machinery but the cost of this was way beyond their means. They have been advised that when they have 100,000 pineapples it will be worth their while. At present they are not producing these volumes. Many would have given up at this stage but the Rwandans are saving up by producing on a smaller scale. It is so small that their entire output depends on one domestic Kenwood mixer! All their crops depend upon this one machine continuing to work without fault. I was amazed at this startling picture of a group of people grasping the big vision, and then setting out to achieve it by working at the micro level. It is a parable of mission. We know what could be achieved but feel constrained by the magnitude of the task. By seeing the global picture, and then attempting to serve God in small ways locally, great things will be achieved. G

Check out prayer :: space Photo: Zhzheka/www.flickr.com

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There’s a new online area that reflects the prayer needs of the CMS community of mission around the globe operating at www.cms-uk.org You can visit for information and reflection, print off the most up to date requests for use in your prayer group and subscribe to updates for your feed reader. Why not explore next time you’re on line?

CMS Interchange Prayer: Lord, as you have entered into our life and death, And call us into your death and risen life, Continue to draw us, we pray, by the power of your Spirit, Into an exchange of gifts and needs, joys and sorrows, Strengths and weaknesses, with your people everywhere; That united we may be obedient to your commission, And together enjoy the promise of your presence. Amen.

Mid-Africa prayer groups will be further resourced by prayer :: space. Why not join a group near you – or start another? See page 7 for current contact details. NEW Mid-Africa home page: www.cms-uk.org/midafricaregion

Mid-Africa News - Sep-Dec 2007  

Christian mission in Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. Magazine from the Church Mission Society (CMS).