We received Easter Greetings last week from Shyogwe Diocese in Rwanda. Archdeacon Joseph Sehorona is based in Butansinda Parish, in Hanika Archdeaconry. As well as sending the following video message, Joseph provided a quick update on what is happening within his parish and how the Covid-19 lockdown is affecting his wider ministry.
Joseph also told us that the four churches in his parish area have been closed, as have all places of worship throughout the country. He has been holding Sunday services with his family at home.
Trying to communicate with the wider church family is difficult. Currently, he is pre-recording Sunday services and sending them out via WhatsApp - but very few parishioners have smartphones or access to the internet
Rev Joseph writes:
Pray for Hanika Archdeaconry (10 parishes) as we don't have the necessary basic infrastructure in place, such as an office, means of transport etc, to enable us to serve God’s people well.
As in other parts of Rwanda, many people only get food when they have been able to carry out their daily job. Because of the lockdown, many families within our diocese are facing serious food shortages. Even those of us who are ministers are reliant on weekly offerings for our salaries, and on top of that, the diocese has had to lay off some staff for three months due to limited income.
The future is uncertain for all of us, and we want to thank CMSI for bringing awareness to the challenges poor communities are facing through your special Covid-19 fundraising appeal.
We also want to thank all of our dear friends and link supporters at Seagoe Parish, Portadown; St Donard’s Parish, Belfast; St Mark’s Parish, Armagh; Castlerock and Dunboe Parish; and Killiney Parish for their continued friendship, prayer and support. Our partnership in the Gospel is bringing us together, particularly in these difficult times!
This blog is part of our special 'Voices Of Hope' series - as we seek to provide stories of light during this time of uncertainty and upheaval.