Lutheran Church of Rwanda
Who is the Lutheran Church of Rwanda and what are its ministries?
The Lutheran Church of Rwanda
The Lutheran Church of Rwanda (LCR)
, a member of the Lutheran World Federation
, is a rapidly growing new Lutheran church body. Started by Rwandan refugees returning from Tanzania after the genocide of 1994, its 40,000 members and 17 pastors are organized into 18 parishes with 75 congregations.
The LCR describes its mission as: “Inspired by God’s love for humanity and challenged by our faith in Jesus Christ, we are called to witness the love and grace of the Almighty to all humanity, proclaiming the Gospel and affirming the Kingdom of God on earth. We are called upon by God to minister to the sick, the poor, the suffering, and to make peace among all people in pursuit of life everlasting.”
The Rwanda School Project
The LCR and its local congregations work to renew Rwandan communities in the wake of the 1994 genocide, which left one million people dead, the nation collapsed, and the infrastructure destroyed. Rwandan Lutherans reach out to both refugees and those who stayed in Rwanda. The LCR engages in creating sustainable peace and reconciliation by coordinating and conducting seminars and workshops for community and congregational leaders. Rwandan Lutherans are building their church and renewing their country.
The LCR is also strengthening its foundation for growth by developing church systems and structures and providing support and training for its leaders. As Rwanda shifts from using French toward the English language in commerce and government, the LCR is establishing an English-speaking secondary school.How do the Lutheran Church of Rwanda and the ELCA accompany one another in ministry?
National Youth Gathering in Rwanda
Through the churchwide ELCA Global Mission unit, the ELCA relates to and is in bilateral relationship with over 80 companion churches and institutions. The ELCA Global Mission unit stewards a church-to-church relationship with the Lutheran Church of Rwanda. This relationship is deepened and extended by the LCR’s relationship, through the ELCA Companion Synods program, with the ELCA Sierra Pacific Synod.Churchwide funding
through the ELCA Global Mission unit supports key priorities identified by the LCR and emphasizes building the capacity of the LCR in all areas of the church. The ELCA accompanies the LCR by supporting a missionary helping to develop an English-speaking secondary school, which will also provide continuing education for pastors, evangelists and lay leaders. The ELCA works with the LCR to improve financial management systems for the national church. The ELCA and the LCR also work together to train farmers and to ensure food security, and in peace-building and reconciliation. The one ELCA missionary personnel serving in Rwanda works in the secondary school.
In Rwanda, the ELCA also funds signifcant work through the Lutheran World Federation (LWF)
, a global communion of 140 churches (including the ELCA) and 68 million people that is grounded in a common Lutheran faith. The LWF provides space for Lutherans from around the world to share joys, challenges and expertise as they seek the healing of the world. ELCA World Hunger
funds help to support the Department for World Service (DWS), the LWF's relief and development arm, and the Department for Mission and Development (DMD), which focuses on holistic ministries through which the church participates in God's mission to all creation.
ELCA World Hunger funds support the LWF Department for World Service program in Rwanda
Rwanda: the context in which the Lutheran Church of Rwanda serves
- improving poverty and sustainable livelihoods
- peace and reconciliation
- civic empowerment
Rwanda gained its independence from Belgium in 1959. The most densely populated country in Africa, Rwanda has almost 10 million residents. Official languages include Kinyarwanda, French, and English, while Kiswahili is used in commercial centers. Ethnically, the country is 84% Hutu, 15% Tutsi, and 1% Twa.
About 90% of Rwanda’s population is engaged in subsistence agriculture. Food production often does not keep pace with population growth. Major exports are coffee and tea. The 1994 genocide destroyed Rwanda's economic base and severely impoverished the population, particularly women. However, Rwanda’s economy has regained pre-1994 levels, although poverty levels are higher now. Rwanda’s economy is dependent on substantial aid money.
For up-to-date information on Rwanda, type “Rwanda” into an online search engine or visit: