20 November 2011

Rwanda: Churches Urged to Play Key Role in Community Development

Muhanga — Church leaders have agreed to streamline their activities towards social and economic development in communities alongside spiritual growth of their followers.

The decision was reached during a two-day religious retreat on the role of churches in implementing district development programs.

Pastor Rosette Uwamahoro, the only female pastor in Muhanga District where the retreat was held, said that the church should be awakened to both spiritual and earthly needs of the community.

"This move will give churches a good image as key development partners and their contribution will be evident in the national development strategy," Uwamahoro said.

District officials challenged the spiritual leaders to promote aspects of community development, alongside the spiritual growth of their flock.

Vice Mayor, Fortunée Mukagatana, said that church activities should be in line with district development programs and desist from working in chaotic conditions.

Mukagatana, who presided over the closure of the retreat, noted that most revival churches that have been operating under ground and whose activities are unknown to local government leaders should come up and be recognized.

The retreat also resolved to work closely with the district Joint Action Development Forum (JADF) by registering church activities and monitoring and evaluating their impact to the district development plans, commonly known as Imihigo.

Gonzague Bizimuremyi, the JADF coordinator, said that the move will consolidate activities of development partners and increase their contribution towards community empowerment.

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