The fifth edition of the annual National Thanksgiving crusade, commonly known as “Rwanda Shima Imana,” will this year be held in at least all sectors of the country.
This was announced by Bishop Alexis Birindabagabo, the new chairperson of the Purpose Driven Ministries’ PEACE Plan, the umbrella organisation of Christian Churches in Rwanda, on Friday.
Birindabagabo replaced Apostle Paul Gitwaza, whose three-year term ended this year.
This year’s National Thanksgiving crusade will take place at the Amahoro Stadium in Kigali on August 7 under the theme, “Rwanda shine forth your light to the nations,” while the organisation has also discussed with provincial clerics to organise similar events at the grassroots level.
“For the first time, Rwanda Shima Imana is going to be held in all corners of the country,” said Birindabagabo, adding that they were trying to make sure that every Rwandan is reached.
“Honestly speaking, all previous events have been held in Kigali and it felt as if it was Kigali Shima Imana. But Kigali has a population of one million out of 12 million Rwandans across the country,” he added.
South African renowned gospel singer Solly Mahlangu will be the guest worshiper, alongside a mass choir of about 700 people, from different churches, including local gospel artistes, according to Theophile Kamanzi, national coordinator of Rwanda Shima Imana.
“There are a couple of new things in this year’s edition of Rwanda Shima Imana, and quite many things to thank God for; such as security, prosperity, God’s protection over our country and many more social, economical and political milestones,” said Kamanzi.
“None of us can ignore the fact that we have ascended from ashes, as Rwandans, to be where we are today. Rwandan Shima Imana is one way of instilling unity and reconciliation. And the event unites us together as churches and believers to reflect on the goodness of God.”
Rwanda Shima Imana was inaugurated in 2012. It is organised by the Christian Churches in Rwanda through Rwanda Purpose Driven Ministries’ PEACE Plan.
It brings together all Christian faith-based churches and denominations across the country to worship and give Thanksgiving for many things, including Rwanda’s recovery from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
This year’s Rwanda Shima Imana is expected to involve a big number of Muslims, too, according to Kamanzi.
“Previously we have always invited the Mufti and other Muslim preachers, but their attendance has been low.
However, this time round, they have promised to join us in thanking God, for all he has done for Rwanda,” Kamanzi said.
Birindabagabo noted that believers do not only thank God through worship, “we also engage in social-economic activities that seek to empower people and communities. We have decided to partner with the public to accelerate the development of our country.”