Recently, much has been reported about the challenges being faced by churches in Rwanda, including Harvesters’ ministry partner, the Seira Community Churches. New governmental regulations led to the closing of thousands of churches nationwide because they did not meet stringent building construction standards. The impacts to SCC have been significant with 12 of its 17 churches (as seen here) initially shut down by Rwandan officials. We are thankful that through the giving of our donors, three church buildings have been significantly remodeled and are now open and growing. Also, earlier this year, a completely new church was built in the town of Ruhango to replace the previous building, which had been closed by the government. This new church was dedicated in September.
Currently, support is needed to build nine churches in order to reestablish the SCC congregations. The village of Kivu is a priority location in need of a church. Kivu is located in western Rwanda in a remote, mountainous area. Since the closure of the previous church building, there is nowhere for the local believers to meet as a congregation. Rwandan laws do not allow house churches, open-air meetings, or other typical arrangements that occur in many other countries. The believers there have a strong desire to gather for worship and to have an active church to evangelize their community. Construction cost of an adequate building is $30,500. Due to the remoteness of the location, the price to construct is higher than in other areas. We are praying for supporters to provide the funding needed.
Another aspect of the new laws impacting churches are the educational requirements now imposed on pastors. Essentially, pastors must have a bachelor’s degree in Theology to serve a Rwandan church. The deadline to accomplish this for existing pastors is in three years. Currently, we have two pastors attending Bible College and several others who are capable and willing to obtain their degrees, but need sponsors to do so. A gift of $135 per month will cover tuition, books, supplies, transportation, and other costs in most situations. We ask that you prayerfully consider this urgent need.