- Church of the Province of Rwanda
Province de L'Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda Primate Onesphore Rwaje Territory Rwanda Website http://www.pear-hq.org.rw/ Anglicanism Portal
The Church of the Province of Rwanda is a province of the Anglican Communion, covering 9 sees in East Africa. The current primate of the province is Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje, consecrated Dec. 12, 2010.
Church of the Province of Rwanda is also known as Province de L'Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda. The former name of the province, L'Eglise Episcopal au Rwanda was changed by action of an extraordinary meeting of the Provincial Synod at St Etienne Biryogo on 27 November 2007.
The Church of the Province of Rwanda traces its roots to two missionary doctors of the British Church Missionary Society. Arthur Stanely Smith and Leonard Sharp began a mission movement in Rwanda during the first two years of World War I. In 1926, Halord Guillebaud baptised the first converts at Gahini.
In 1992, the Province of the Episcopal church of Rwanda (PEER) was formed consisting of four dioceses, Kigali, Butare, Shyira and Byumba with the first Archbishop being Augustin Nshamihigo. In 1998, Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini was enthroned.
At start of the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, Archbishop Nshamihigo and Bishop Jonathan Ruhumuliza acted as spokespersons for the government in a news conference, blaming the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front for the genocide. The war left the church and the nation in ruins. Since peace has returned, the Church has embarked on a program of spiritual healing for thousands of traumatised people. Kigali Anglican Theological College (KATC) was started in February 2006 as a response to the training needs of the Anglican Church of Rwanda in post Genocide Rwanda and is staffed by pastors from several dioceses in Rwanda, local staff, one CMS Britain Mission Partner and a number of visiting lecturers from partners from the UK and the USA. The college states that it strives to provide quality Christian training to the next generation of Christian leaders for Rwanda and, in turn, to assist in the development of the whole country. The School of Theology was the first to open in the custom-built buildings situated in an area of new development not far from the capital city, Kigali. A Language School was opened in 2006 to meet the language needs of Francophone students needing to study in English. In 2008, there were around 40 students studying in both the School of Theology and the Language School.
Today, there are over one million Anglicans out of an estimated population of 8.7 million.
The polity of the Church of the Province of Rwanda is Episcopal church governance, which is the same as other Anglican churches. The church maintains a system of geographical parishes organized into dioceses. There are 9 of these, each headed by a bishop.
Worship and liturgy
The Church of the Province of Rwanda embraces three orders of ministry: deacon, priest, and bishop. A local variant of the Book of Common Prayer is used.
Doctrine and practice
The center of the Church of the Province of Rwanda's teaching is the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The basic teachings of the church, or catechism, includes:
- Jesus Christ is fully human and fully God. He died and was resurrected from the dead.
- Jesus provides the way of eternal life for those who believe.
- The Old and New Testaments of the Bible were written by people "under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit". The Apocrypha are additional books that are used in Christian worship, but not for the formation of doctrine.
- The two great and necessary sacraments are Holy Baptism and Holy Eucharist
- Other sacramental rites are confirmation, ordination, marriage, reconciliation of a penitent, and unction.
- Belief in heaven, hell, and Jesus's return in glory.
The threefold sources of authority in Anglicanism are scripture, tradition, and reason. These three sources uphold and critique each other in a dynamic way. This balance of scripture, tradition and reason is traced to the work of Richard Hooker, a sixteenth century apologist. In Hooker's model, scripture is the primary means of arriving at doctrine and things stated plainly in scripture are accepted as true. Issues that are ambiguous are determined by tradition, which is checked by reason.
Unlike many other Anglican churches, the Church of the Province of Rwanda is not a member of the ecumenical World Council of Churches. In disregard for the Windsor Report, it also maintains a missionary organization, the Anglican Mission in the Americas, within the jurisdiction of fellow members of the Anglican Communion.
- Anglicanism, Neill, Stephen. Harmondsworth, 1965.
- Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda Website
- Kigali Anglican Theological College Website
- Anglican Communion Provincial News
- Anglican Communion Province Information
Churches in the Anglican Communion
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