[PHOTOS]: Archbishop of Canterbury declares Gahini regional heritage centre

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The Archibishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev. Justin Welby, blesses a child as the faithful welcome him to Gahini Diocese in Kayonza District on Saturday. (Photos by Sam Ngendahimana)

The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverand Justin Welby, has described Gahini Hill in Kayonza District as the “most beautiful place and the birthplace of the Anglican Church in the Great Lakes Region.”

During his visit to the seat of Gahini Diocese on Saturday, Welby, who heads the Anglican Church in the world, declared the hill a Regional Revival Heritage Centre.

Rwanda Anglican Mission movement established its first station at Gahini in 1925 and grew through the revivals of the 1930s and 1940s, spreading across the globe.

It is believed that the Holy Spirit manifested on the hill of Gahini in 1936, and the historical spiritual movement started then, spreading through Uganda, DR Congo, Burundi and Kenya, through Australia.

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Rev. Welby (C), Archbishop Rwaje (R) and Bishop Birindabagabo arrive at Gahini Diocese for the ceremony on Saturday. 

On his arrival, Rev. Welby, accompanied by top officials of the Anglican Church, toured various sites that show how the Holy Spirit manifested in the area and how miracles were performed over the year leaving the place special as it went through various real revival steps.

Welby visited the Fellowship House where he laid a foundation stone of the East African Revival Heritage Centre.

The Fellowship House is a grass-thatched church and an old building where christians used to pray from and is believed to be where the Holy Spirit manifested for the first time.

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The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev Justin Welby and other clerics pin this thumbs at the Covenant at Gahini Hill on Saturday

He also visited the Wall of Miracles, which, according to the Bishop of the Gahini Diocese, The Rev. Alexis Birindabagabo, had spilt into two parts having cracks from top to bottom for over five hours only to disappear as the authorities were looking for ways to repair it.

It was a prophecy that the church would be divided into two if nothing is done, he told the visitors.

Rev. Welby also toured the new diocese that is still under construction and said he was impressed both by the shape and the way it is being constructed.

‘The river that feeds the faithful’

Gahini Diocese has more than 60 parishes and 280 sub-parishes with over 100,000 members, according to officials.

In his sermons, Rev. Welby said Gahini is the river that feeds the faithful with the Holy Spirit, a river that will never end and he encouraged them to keep praying for the betterment of the world.

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A plaque to declare Gahini as the East African Heritage Centre.

He said, over the years, Christians in his home country (England) have been decreasing and asked people of Gahini to pray for them and for the church in general.

“I am overwhelmed because there is so much development happening here, and it is the development of the sprit, of the body and of the mind, it is development of the whole humanity,” he said.

“I (Gahini) it is the most beautiful place as it is the hill where the East African revival begun which was the development of the church and we praise the Lord. It means it is a place which showed the reality of God in the life of the Anglican church.”

Welby said he was inspired and convinced to spread the word back in England and whenever he is doing church services.

“It was a place of inspiration and illumination. It will be a place of pilgrimage more than tourism,” the head of Anglican church said.

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Students from Gahini Secondary school greet Welby on his arrival at the diocesan headquarters.

Gahini’s new diocese will be completed by May and other areas will be developed to make it more attractive, according to Birindabagabo.

“We are blessed to have the head of Anglican church at the global level here and declared this place as spiritual tourist heritage centre, we will be receiving various people who will share with us how God operated miracles on them and this will boost our spirit. I hope it will also boost our incomes,” said Perouse Mukankuranga, a Christian.

Onesphore Rwaje, the archbishop of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, urged the faithful to always be Christians and be the mirror and the light the community and the world in general.

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The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev Justin Welby.
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Welby and Bishop Onesphore Rwaje pray for Gahini after laying the foundation stone at the centre.

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