Workshop on climate protection in Rwanda
The United Evangelical Mission (UEM) – African Region – organized a follow-up workshop on the Role of Churches in Addressing Climate Change with an exposure visit to RDIS’s environmental protection projects in Rwanda, from 14th to 16th November 2018. The hosting Church was the Anglican Church – Shyogwe diocese.
This sub-regional workshop was organized by UEM in collaboration with six member Churches: four dioceses of Anglican Church (Butare, Shyogwe, Cyangungu, and Kigeme), CBCA, EPR, ELCT-NWD, ELCT-KAD and ELCT-ECD.
More than 25 participants from the six churches shared about their actions and projects (achievements, challenges and further recommendations) for environmental protection in the past two years as a follow-up workshop on UEM Recommendations for Climate Change, which were endorsed by UEM leaders in workshops that were held in March/2016 and September/2016 in Nyamata Rwanda and in September/2017 in Dar es Salaam.
During the opening session the UEM Executive Secretary African Region, Rev. Dr. John Wesley Kabango relayed heartfelt greetings and appreciations from the headquarters of UEM in Wuppertal to the participants. He used that opportunity to underline the importance of the follow-up workshop as well as the ongoing UEM’s “United Action” Campaign in Africa and Asia.
The host of the workshop, Bishop Rev Dr. Jered Kalimba from Anglican Church – Shyogwe diocese started his opening remarks and morning prayer by inviting the international guests in Rwanda and particularly in Shyogwe diocese. He said; “I welcome and invite you to plan together on how TO BE BLESSINGS TO OUR NATIONS and TRANSFORM THE LIVES OF OUR PEOPLES.”
Bishop Kalimba reminded the workshop participants about the reconciliation with the creation by bringing back the Garden of Eden. He said, “In Genesis 2:15, we read that the Lord God placed the Man in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and guard it. God made also a suitable companion to the man to help him.” He continued by saying: “… We are steward of God’s creation and of our own lives. However hard and complicated it may be; we have to build and protect our environment anyway.”
Later in his opening remarks, he underlined some points such as Unity, Creativity & Ownership, and UEM Recommendations for Climate Change.
With regard to unity, he said; “The member Churches of UEM have to live in Unity, speaking the same language and looking at the same direction. The Bible says that two are better than one. Together we are stronger, acting alone you are weaker.”
He also stressed on the importance of sharing experiences. He said; “We are here to share experiences. Christian Ethics teach us to share what we have as the first Christians in Acts of Apostles were doing. We thank God for what EAR and EPR Churches are doing together in addressing climate issues. Let us see how we can bring this experience to our different churches.“
The UEM Vice moderator and Bishop of ELCT-NWD, Rev Dr. Abednego Keshomshahara in his closing remarks thanked the participants for their attendance and participation. He said; “It is said, that Dr. Martin Luther once said; ‘If I am told that the world ends tomorrow, I would still plant a tree today’. What a big hope against the challenges we face today in view of global warming. This encourages us to work hard in our Churches and families with regard to climate protection.”
He continued by saying; ”Frank Benjamin once said, ‘We have to work as if we shall live forever, but pray as if we die tomorrow.’ It is better to go back home and implement our recommendations for further improvements of protecting our globe, which eventually protects us.”
Bishop Keshomshahara concluded his remarks by saying the success stories and progress attained so far should motivate us to pursue further the envisaged goals in partnership with UEM, One for the Climate and other players/actors. He thanked God for enabling workshop participants to start and end well the workshop.