Thursday, October 1, 2015

Freedom for Mission: A Word from Sam Bass About 'Walk with Rwanda' and the Rwandan Church

Walk with Rwanda reminds us that Church of the Apostles was born of mission

Our Church of the Apostles exists today because missionaries came to America in the early 2000’s from Rwanda to rescue priests and churches who could no longer commune within the Episcopal Church and other major denominations that were turning away from Christian orthodoxy. Rwandan Bishop John Rucyahana is quoted by Rev. Thaddeous Barnum in his book Never Silent as saying, “(Y)ou Americans brought the gospel to us years ago and now here we are bringing it right back to you.”

Though Apostles and other American churches have remained in close relationship with the Rwandan church, a majority pulled away when the Anglican Mission in America formally ended ties in 2012. With those churches went most of the budget the Province of Rwanda had grown to depend upon for their ministerial and administrative staff, leaving the church vulnerable to disintegration.

For the past two years I have worked with our Archbishop and his team of American, Rwandan, and Kenyan Anglicans to make the Anglican Church of Rwanda financially sustainable. The stakes are high for Rwanda. The Anglican church represents almost 10% of the country’s population and it provides essentially all of the nutritional, educational, and medical services for the country’s poor. A strong church is vital for the country, both spiritually and practically.

Our team’s mission is to raise $2 million from Anglican churches, individuals, and foundation donors throughout this  country and Rwanda to fund the construction of a multi-use office building on land owned by the Province in downtown Kigali. Once built and leased it will provide sufficient cash flow to fund ideal budgeted operations for the Province for years to come. Our website provides both a summary and an in-depth strategy for our project. You might also enjoy the video by Brandon Walsh, leader of our team in Kigali.

An equally important component of our mission is to form a company based on a model known as the Church Commission of Kenya. It has worked exceptionally well for the Anglican Church of Kenya for decades. The company will be comprised of gifted business people and developers who will act as the business arm of the Church to professionally develop property and to ensure optimal stewardship and development of the resources God has provided His Church.

We at Apostles are truly blessed to walk with Rwanda. Ask anyone who has been and he or she will eagerly share how much we learn from them spiritually. Their glowing faces and genuine joy amidst their physical poverty brightly proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives. As Jim Dotson says “the more we walk with Rwandans, the more we see our Lord for who He is.” It is not an overstatement to say that we need to walk with Rwanda.

We are so grateful to the Freedom for Mission team, the Leadership Team, and every member of Apostles for so generously supporting Walk With Rwanda.

--Sam Bass

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