Last year, the government suspended the activities of very many churches across the country over the lack of basic of infrastructure, hygiene, safety standards as well as issues related to their legal status. In Kigali alone, about 714 churches were closed while the number rose to 800 across the country. The crackdown that was ordered by Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) received mixed reactions. Close to a year later, it is estimated that almost half of these places of worship have been reopened, having met the standards. However, the story is not all about the reopening, according to some clergymen; it is also about how the closure helped the churches to delve into efforts to improve their premises, maintain hygiene, among other things that they perhaps would not have done hadn’t they faced the tidal wave of closures. Pastor Viateur Murekezi, a church leader at Pentecost Church Cyahafi Parish in Nyarugenge District is one of the various church leaders whose churches were closed in 2018. His church was suspended over noise pollution and lack of enough toilet facilities for the congregants. Murekezi said that the closure has been a trigger for the development of the church. His church improved the toilet facilities, put up soundproof gear and expanded the parking space. “Worshiping should be done in an organised way. A place of worship should meet standards. Exercising your freedom of worship should not encroach on other people’s rights. That’s what I learned while the church I led was closed,” he said. Bishop Dr Fidele Masengo, a pastor at Foursquare Church (was not closed) told The New Times that the closures reduced chaos in churches. He said that after the closures, some pastors quit the ministry and opted for other jobs, which to him perhaps demonstrated the lack of commitment. “I can’t judge a pastor who quit their church. However, everyone can now see that the chaos in churches has decreased which is very constructive,” he said. Local government authorities say that there has been a big improvement in the standards of the churches since the closures. Justus Kangwagye, the Head of Political Parties and Civil Society Department at the Rwanda Governance Board told The New Times that a large number of the closed churches have been reopened having met the requirements in terms of safety, hygiene, infrastructure, and legality. “I can affirm that Rwanda showed a good example to other countries when it comes to ensuring hygiene” he said. He also reflected on the lack of legal status by the some churches as well as poor infrastructure. Among these, he said that today churches are established and registered in an orderly manner, unlike in the past where people would just establish churches anyhow. Church structures that were in poor shape and could be a risk to congregants were some of the issues that prompted the closures as well as some inadequacies such as lack of parking lots, which would force the church members to park on roadsides - causing traffic difficulties. Retired Anglican Bishop, John Rucyahana, who is also the president of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC) told The New Times that after the closures, pastors got the time to reflect on their activities and the safety of those that they were leading.