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Ruanda meets Düsseldorf

(from left) Matthias Schmidt (GMÖ Bergisches Land), Karl Federschmidt (church officer for schools, church circuit Düsseldorf), Bishop Jered Kalimba (EAR in Rwanda), Heinrich Fucks (Superintendent church circuit Düsseldorf), John Wesley Kabango (Executive Secretary Africa, UEM), Martin Fricke (church circuit Düsseldorf). (Photo: UEM)

Since 1978 and thus for more than 40 years the partnership exists between the church district Düsseldorf of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland and the Shyogwe diocese of the Evangelical-Anglican Church in Rwanda. The church partnership is supported by the UEM in Wuppertal. In September of last year, the anniversary celebration of the long-standing partnership took place, in which many people involved in the partnership took part with their families. A few months later, on 17 March 2019, the intensive and comprehensive evaluation of the concrete partnership measures took place.

It was stated that the partnership between Düsseldorf and Shyogwe is successfully supported by highly motivated and committed persons in positions of responsibility. Both partnership groups actively participated in the partnership relations and shaped them in a transparent way. It became clear to all participants that the partnership has its raison d'être, as it serves the well-being of the people of Rwanda. This is particularly true of Rwandan society, which is still dealing with the 1994 genocide of the Tutsi ethnic group. For example, the construction of an infrastructure for orphans, widows and the church community as a whole was supported. In addition, more than 50 pastors and parish leaders were trained in theology and holistic development with the help of educational projects in order to be able to help people in need within the framework of social work and parish service.

Superintendent Heinrich Fucks of the Düsseldorf church district and Bishop Jered Kalimba of the Shyogwe diocese as well as the members of the evaluation committee thanked all those involved for their support of the exemplary German-African partnership. These included committed individuals and church members, donors, schools, teachers, pupils and all those who in one way or another made the partnership work possible. "With the active participation of each individual person a social change is taking place in Rwandan society and not least both sides have learned from each other through exchange and intercultural encounters. Thank you for your time, your financial support and your attention to the needs of the people of Rwanda," said Bishop Kalimba. He stressed that there is still a great need to continue working together in order to maintain what has been achieved.

Finally, the participants exchanged views on the future of the partnership and the prospects for the future. The challenge was to find committed people in the future who would like to contribute to the partnership between Rwanda and Düsseldorf.

Rev. Dr. John Wesley Kabango, Executive Secretary Africa

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