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Rwandan church receives episcopal visitation from the DRC

Sep 18, 2017


Deacon Uwimana Jean Baptiste is interviewd by Bishop Ayule-Milenge in advance of his ordination.

Last month the ACC in Rwanda received a long awaited episcopal visit, as The Right Reverend Steven Ayule-Milenge made the trek east from his home in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  He was greeted at the border by representatives of the Rwandan Church and escorted with some fanfare into the country.

The purpose of Bishop Ayule-Milenge's visit was twofold.  First, his personal presence served to emphasize, both to the local population and the Rwandan government, the connection between the ACC parishes in their country and the wider world. 

Despite the fact that religious organizations must register with the Rwandan government, "pop-up churches" are common, and some have been known to exploit or defraud members.  People therefore look at external connections as an affirmation of legitimacy.  In a country where literacy rates are low and access to the internet is limited, an episcopal visitation makes a significant impression, and the ACC's leadership in Rwanda cited Bishop Ayule-Milenge's trip as an an opportunity to evangelize.

Equally important for the future of the church were the meetings that occurred between the bishop and candidates for ordination.  All in all, seventeen men presented themselves before the bishop--seven to be ordained as priests and ten as deacons.  Bishop Ayule-Milenge has announced his intention to return to Rwanda in November, at which time he expects to ordain each of the candidates.

Mr. Shadrack Niyibizi, one of the candidates for holy orders and the Bishop's representative in Rwanda, reports that the ACC has good relations with the government and is seen as a useful partner in combating hunger and illiteracy.  He hopes that the Bishop's visit will provide a platform for growth and asks for prayers to that effect from the wider church.

For more on this story and others like it, see the upcoming issue of The Trinitarian.


Tagged: rwanda, bishop, acc, ordination, growth