Clerics move to fulfil qualifications as new law goes into force

L-R: Born-again senior clerics Bishops Charles Rwandamura, Fidèle Masengo and Albert Rugamba pray for their colleague at Bethesda Holy Church at Gisozi in Kigali. Sam Ngendahimana.

A new law that sets the minimum education requirements for preachers of the word of God was recently passed and now faith-based organisations are working on how to upgrade their pastors who do not meet the threshold.

According to the new law, church leaders must hold a degree in religious studies or any bachelor’s degree with a valid certificate in religious studies from a recognised institution.

The new requirements were put in place to restore order within faith-based organisations.

This year, hundreds of churches across the country were shut down after they were found to be operating in ways that put Rwandans at risk or had unqualified or shady preachers.

In a move to up their game, some churches are putting more efforts in educating their pastors by offering religious related courses and leadership.

The Anglican Church which operates 2,300 churches and has over 450 pastors in the country has started to expand the Kigali Anglican Theological College based in Kabuga.

The expansion is envisaged to accommodate the growing demand for training in theology.

The certified institution will offer diplomas to those who complete their 3-year programme.

According to the Archbishop of the Anglican Church, Dr. Laurent Mbanda, the church is building more housing to have their students live and study in-house.

“The college was not able to receive many students but we started expanding the infrastructures. In September, the college will be able to receive a total 300 students and accommodate them as well,” Mbanda said.

The senior man of God added that churches should not wait for the Government to intervene but should instead make it their own priority to have pastors that are qualified to serve.

The Archbishop pointed out that enhancing the quality of education for church leaders is a demonstration of effective leadership within Faith-based organisations.

Mbanda further disclosed to The New Times that the Anglican Church is planning to a top-notch theology university to serve the region.

On his part, the spokesperson of the Pentecostal Church in Rwanda (ADEPR), Euphrem Karuranga, said that their organisation, too, is encouraging Christians to enroll for their programmes even though they do not plan on being pastors.

ADEPR operates five schools and a theology institute with three campuses – in Kigali, Rusizi, and Rubavu.

Olivier Munyansanga the Dean of the faculty of theology at the Huye based Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences (PIASS) said that it is soon opening up a Master’s programme.

PIASS is predominantly an undergraduate programme offering degrees in theology with a mix of ethical and leadership training.

Pastor Emmanuel Tuyisenge of Eglise Libre de Pentecôte au Rwanda, explained to The New Times that a pastor with a degree is more likely to serve efficiently compared to those without.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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