[PHOTOS] Murekezi: Thanksgiving is a responsibility for all Rwandans

Rwanda's recovery process and gains registered over a short time despite the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi is reason enough for every Rwandan to thank God and pray that He helps us sustain the momentum.

Rwanda’s recovery process and gains registered over a short time despite the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi is reason enough for every Rwandan to thank God and pray that He helps us sustain the momentum.

This was said by Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi as he presided over the fifth edition of National Thanksgiving Crusade, commonly known as Rwanda Shima Imana, at Amahoro National Stadium yesterday.

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Prime Minister Murekezi waves to the congregation on his arrival at Amahoro National Stadium for the Thanksgiving prayers yesterday. / Timothy Kisambira.

The annual event brought together thousands of believers, church leaders, senior government officials and international visitors.

It is organised by Christian Churches in Rwanda through Rwanda Purpose Driven Ministries’ PEACE Plan.

Premier Murekezi conveyed a message from President Paul Kagame, hailing the churches for their role in national building and pledged government continued support to the churches.

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A cross-section of lawmakers read the bible verses during the National Thanksgiving Crusade at Amahoro Stadium. / Timothy Kisambira.

Quoting from scriptures, the Prime Minister said that every Rwandan should find time to thank God both as individuals in their families and at national events like Shima Imana because the country would not be where it is today had it not been for God’s guidance.

“We are thankful to God because he has been with us day and night towards our struggle to promote unity and reconciliation, moving toward self-reliance and national dignity, we are on course and no doubt we will achieve all,” Murekezi said.

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The congregation read the bible during Shima Imana. / Timothy Kisambira.

Prime Minister Murekezi said that despite the role of churches in building social cohesion among Rwandans through various programmes, a lot is still to be done to ensure that all Rwandans are better off and live in harmony.

“The churches’ responsibility is to keep supporting the nation in social economic development, play a role in solving social conflicts, malnutrition, especially in children, while upholding national security and promoting Ndi Umunyarwanda programme toward sustainable unity and reconciliation,” Murekezi said.

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A member of congregation gives a testimony during the fifth edition of National Thanksgiving Crusade at Amahoro Stadium. / Timothy Kisambira.

An exemplary nation

Referring to the recent events Rwanda successfully hosted such as the African Nations Championships football tournament, the World Economic Forum on Africa, the AU Summit, among others, the premier said that these events brought to Rwanda thousands of foreigners, and all had a peaceful stay another reason to thank God.

He said such act of thanking God is an opportunity to thank him for having made Rwanda a better nation and should be taken to grassroots level to ensure all Rwandans are reached and have the opportunity to thank God.

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An usher collects offertory during the fifth edition of National Thanksgiving Crusade, Shima Imana at Amahoro Stadium. / Timothy Kisambira.

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, Rwanda Shima Imana was held under the theme, “Rwanda, shine forth, your light to the nations.”

Bishop Alexis Birindabagabo, the chairperson of the Purpose Driven Ministries’ PEACE Plan, referred the culture of not thanking God to ignorance, spiritual blindness or simply being ungrateful.

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Nyarugenge choir sing during the crusade at Amahoro Stadium yesterday. / Timothy Kisambira.

“Despite all, Christians keep asking for blessings, if you want to be blessed by God, one needs to be thankful first for what they already have been given,” said the Anglican cleric.

This year, the event was held at local level in various corners of the country, where more than 1,000 centres were created and brought people together for thanksgiving in their respective community.

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