Friday, February 12, 2010


The following is a report that was sent to Archbishop Haverland from a priest in Rwanda, Fr. Phanuel, related to a fund drive.
Fr. Hart

God is His abounding mercy and unlimited provision and protection continues to uphold and expand ACC MISSION IN RWANDA. The mission that started in September, 2008 with the training of ten elders and started officially with a Sunday Mass on January 4, 2009 has grown to four strong parishes and two small worship centers. In Saint Mark Busumba we opened the center with 10 adults and fifteen children and by February 08, 2009, adult members were 25 and the children 22 and now we have 36 adult members and 32 children.

Some members of Saint Mark, standing for benediction towards the end of Sunday Mass

In Saint John Rwanyakayaga, the place where we bought the land, the center began with 35 adults and by the time we resumed our worship services on February 08, 2009, adults were 42 and the children were 26 and now we have 70 adults and 37 children.

Father Phanuel Munezero administering the blood of Jesus to parishioners at Saint Mark Busumba. This church is two miles from the border of Rwanda and DRC.

Saint Stephen Gihorwe worship center began with 14 adults and 12 children and by February 08, adults were 16 and children were 18 and now we have 20 adults and 22 children.

Father Phanuel Munezero mistering the blood of Jesus to parishioners at Saint Mark ACC Mission

In Saint Francis Butare, the worship center began with 8 adults and 13 children and by February 08, 2009, there were 12 adults and 19 children and now we have 35 adults and 23 children. In addition to this worship centers which have matured to parishes, we have opened two worship centers. The reason was that some parishioners used to walk an average of 14 miles to and from the church every Sunday. Thus, I decided that they remain in their respective places and start worshipping every Sunday. Resultantly, we have two new worship centers in Cyanzarwe and Kirambo.

In the year 2009, God provided for three major needs. We bought two pieces of land for church buildings in Saint John Rwanyakayaga and Saint Francis Butare and we had a humanitarian activity where we distributed beans and maize to parishioners. In this year we got the money to build our first church building in Butare. Due to the growth that we have in our different parishes, we have different needs.

This year we are trusting God to provide funds to buy two pieces of land for our remaining two church buildings namely Saint Mark Busumba and Saint Stephen Kareba and to start building our second church building in Rwanda. We also hope to begin our farming project in all the parishes that we have in Rwanda.

The parishioners of Saint Mark during the mass in a rented demolished building in Busumba.

One of the urgent needs that need financial support is to buy a piece of land for this church and to build a church building. These two are part and parcel of the requirements of the Rwanda Government for ACC Mission in Rwanda to get a civil personality.

As ACC Mission continues to grow both numerically and spiritually we do need enough clergy members to nurture and manage this growth.

These are some of the elders who are undergoing thorough training in ACC doctrines and worship and they are looking forward to being made deacons in April 2010 when Bishop Garang makes an Episcopal visit to ACC Mission in Rwanda.

(Question: The English word "elder" cannot mean in this context πρεσβύτερος (presbyteros) inasmuch as these men are postulants. May we assume it is used for elders of the Rwandan village?

Within an hour the answer came: "Yes, Father, 'elder' is a senior male member of the congregation, with status in the village.")

In the course of the year 2009, ACC mission carried out different humanitarian activities namely distributing beans and maize to the needy parishioners and villagers in our four churches and two centers.

Father Phanuel Munezero distributes beans and maize to parishioners at Saint Mark ACC in Busumba.

However some parishioners and villagers were caught unaware and they did not bring containers to carry their shares of these long-awaited and highly needed blessings.

But this did not prevent them to carry their share because they used whatever was at their disposal. This woman used a piece of her cloth to carry her share.


Anonymous said...

Fr Hart,

Thanks for sharing this. It is always encouraging to see God's work through the ACC in different parts of the world.

Doubting Thomas

Anonymous said...

The Anglican Catholic Church is turning into a true missionary church! To God be the glory!

Sean W. Reed said...

The article has:

"...These are some of the elders who are undergoing thorough training in ACC doctrines ..."

What are ACC doctrines? Are these ACC doctrines part of what is referenced in the ACC position for communicants:"We call upon all the communicants of this church to believe without reservation that deposit of Faith that has been given to the Anglican Catholic Church?"

Sean W. Reed

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I wrote, inserted into the article:

Question: The English word "elder" cannot mean in this context πρεσβύτερος (presbyteros) inasmuch as these men are postulants. May we assume it is used for elders of the Rwandan village?

In answer to my question, I received this answer:

"Yes, Father, 'elder' is a senior male member of the congregation, with status in the village."

So, for those who notice these things, the word "elder" is used according to its cultural meaning in that part of Africa. Fear not; we have not adopted the Geneva Discipline.

RC Cola said...

This is great! To see the Holy Ghost at work in a country devastated by war in recent memory is encouraging.

Anonymous said...

The "elders" will be surely be instructed that the Anglican Catholic Church, like its ancestress the Church of England, has "no faith of its own" but the Universal Faith of the Undivided Church.

While most comments here rejoice in the spread of the Gospel, sadly one comment is a querulous nitpicky attack on a brave priest who speaks English as his second language and is (I devoutly hope!) innocent of petty threadbare arguments. This priest faces Islam and paganism daily and is above such mean-spirited behavior.

Shame on you, Sean Reed!


Fr. Robert Hart said...

Whether or not Sean Reed meant to come across as he did, we have established the fact about elders as a word in African culture, vs. "elders" as meaning priests. One word with two definitions was used quite properly in context.

The rest of the answer to me read as follows:

Father Phanuel Munezero is a remarkable young priest. His father was a Protestant pastor. Eight of Father Phanuel's nine siblings were killed in the Rwandan genocide, and his parents died accidentally in shelling in refugee camps in Congo. His basic education was in French. I met him after he had lived one year in Kenya - where he first encountered English - and his English was nearly perfect. In addition to these two European language he knows Greek, Hebrew, Swahili, his mother tongue (Kiyrwanda), and several less well-known African languages. He is the father of three, and until some of the men mentioned above are ordained, he alone has the spiritual care of our six congregations in Rwanda.

Everyone who has met Father Phanuel is impressed by his evident devotion, transparent sincerity, and conformity to the sufferings of Christ. The same is true of Bishop Wilson Garang in Sudan.


John A. Hollister said...

Normally, one would wish to avoid personalities and restrict observations and comments to facts and principles. However, in the face of the slyly derogatory tone of Sean Reed's comment here, which reflects adversely upon the sincerity both of Fr. Munezero and his people in Rwanda and on those who have reached out to assist them, there is something I must point out.

It is clear just from his past comments on The Anglican Continuum that he is not in sympathy with the attempts of the Continuing Church to maintain and foster traditional Anglicanism. It is also clear from his comments here, and even more from his comments elsewhere, that he is a supporter of the TAC's announced move to Rome.

Well and good. He is entitled to both those viewpoints but his comments here must be read with a consciousness of his biases elsewhere. In other words, he is evidently here not to learn, not to enlighten, not to share, but merely to snipe.

I must therefore contrast his attitude toward us with the attitude many of us here have expressed toward his favored project, viz., the TAC's absorption
by Rome. No one has criticized Rome for reaching out to those who may wish to join her nor, so far as I can recall, has anyone criticized those who may wish to go in that direction.

All that has been said here is that those who are considering setting out on the Romeward journey should do so with a clear understanding of what lies at the end of it, which is a Roman identity and not an Anglican one. Any statements and representations that have been criticized here have been those, not by Rome but by others, that misrepresent what is foreseen in Rome's documents and is possible under Rome's structure and culture.

That is a stark difference in attitudes and purposes. So it is disappointing to read Mr. Reed's pointless and callous denigration of the efforts of brave Christians who are struggling to maintain the faith under exceptionally adverse circumstances.

Nor is it possible to think of Fr. Munezero and his heroic people without also recalling their neighbors in the Congo and why those neighbors found it necessary to approach the ACC in order to receive any care and attention whatever.

So perhaps Mr. Reed should confine his comments to things that do not, in the end, reflect negatively on those to whom he himself has given his allegiance.

John A. Hollister+
John A. Hollister+

Fr. Robert Hart said...

It appears that Fr. Hollister means what he says twice over, just as John Hancock took a stand in a big way.

And, I agree with the chancellor's words and spirit. A report from a mission under fire seems a most inappropriate context for taking potshots at the ACC.

By the way, this report was part of a fund drive for the mission work in Rwanda. I hope that has not dropped from view.

Kipkorir said...

I will wish to get the contacts of Fr. Phanuel. As alluded above, he is a true devotee of christ extremely humble and down to earth. He radiates hope to everyone around him.

To start with, I met him while he was a student at Scot Theological college in Kenya (In the year 2003 )and was on time out in Eldoret where he was fellowshipping at a local church there, around Moi University in Eldoret where i was also a student. we shared quite a lot with him team of two other students Jacob Kipturu and a lady I only remember the name violet.

I have tried to trace this short time friends for quite a while now and I am glad to pick his face and where he currently serves in his home country. kindly get me his contacts