Today, all Rwandans will gather at their respective villages to celebrate the sixth edition of the annual National Thanksgiving crusade, commonly known as “Rwanda Shima Imana”.
The move was announced by Alex Birindabagabo, the chairperson of the Purpose Driven Ministries’ PEACE plan, the umbrella organization of Christian Churches in Rwanda.
Rwanda, Shima Imana is a national thanksgiving festival organised annually and jointly by Christian Churches.
Birindabagabo explained that the ceremony will be celebrated at village level to allow all Rwandans to come together and thank the Almighty God for his blessings to the country, adding that since 2012 the previous events had been celebrated at National level where some Rwandans would gather at Amahoro Stadium which he said did not benefit all Rwandans in general.
“This year’s event had uniqueness compared to the previous editions. Besides organising prayers for presidential elections in August, the event was decentralized so that it reaches every Rwandan.”
Ahead of the celebration, Rwandans will thank God for peaceful presidential election as well reflecting on the past, present and the future.
Some of the reasons to thank God during the celebration will base on the development of the country, good governance, peace and security that are considered unique blessings unto the country.
“Rwandans have many reasons to thank God. Infrastructure development which benefits all of us should be a chorus for all. Electricity, Water, roads, schools, health centers, and security among others make citizens thank God,” he said.
Rwanda Shima Imana initiative
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.
Its main objectives include providing opportunity for all Rwandans to give God the ultimate credit for the progress the country has made so far, give thanks to God for His blessings, strength and wisdom through which citizens have received all good things and yet to receive more, as well as instilling the culture of thanksgiving to God.
Birindabagabo said that the umbrella had been receiving various messages from Christians begging them to decentralize the event complaining it benefits Kigalians only.
During this year’s celebration, Christians will attend their church services as usual in the morning but in the afternoon they will convene together to celebrate the day.
PEACE Plan chairperson added that the event shows togetherness of church leaders as well as unity among citizens, good understanding between believers from distinctive churches without any discrimination, and promoting partnership between government and faith based organization for all citizens’ interests.
“This partnership among government and Faith Based Organizations show uniqueness and high level of unity of Rwandans that we should always thank God for,” he noted.
Sheihk Salim Hitimana, the mufti of Rwanda, reminded everyone that whatever they achieve, they should not praise themselves because all is from the hands of God, adding that the day reminds people about the values of unity, peace, patriotism as well as creating strong collaboration among Rwandans.
Angelique Mukeshimana, who lives in Ruhango says that she had always wanted to attend the previous editions but failed due to the distance between where she stays and Kigali.
“I really appreciate this change. Through RWANDA SHIMA IMANA, I get the context of all Rwandans who should thank God for what he has been doing for their country. So, the more close to people it is prepared the higher it is attended and practiced,” Mukeshimana said.