All Saints Church Algarve has its legal beginnings with Rwanda through the Concordat, providing episcopal oversight for us, but God was definitely calling people to make a more personal connection with this ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’ and its people.
Most directly, a working relationship with the Diocese of Kigali and the Anglican Cathedral of St Etienne in the capital Kigali.
This started with the now Revd Jackie Nevill’s own calling, her strong feeling God wanted her in Africa, thoughts of ordination, and an invitation after Ministry Training a few years later, to attend a pre-ordination retreat in Kigali, and then her ordination in December 2007.
Two members of our congregation were also very much involved with forging our links with Rwanda, they signed the Concordat on behalf of All Saints, and were present at Revd Jackie’s ordination to represent All Saints and give her their personal support.
For Revd Jackie, ordination began a series of visits, both personal and official as she was now leading the congregation of All Saints Church.
In 2015, after many invitations to work in Rwanda, the time was right, and Revd Jackie became resident in Kigali, and used her knowledge of liturgy and Anglican practice to train men and women going through the ministry. Later she was responsible for the English services in Rebero Parish, until her return to Portugal, and then England in 2019.
The late Bishop John Ellison became All Saint’s Episcopal Delegate. A retired Bishop, who formerly worked extensively in Paraguay. He was known to Archbishop Kolini of Rwanda, and when All Saints needed oversight a bit nearer to home, he asked him to become his delegate. Bishop John put much time and energy into guiding and caring for All Saints even though he was supposed to be retired. We owe him a huge debt of gratitude.
We are now delighted to have Bishop Andy Lines as our Episcopal Delegate having been appointed earlier this year (2020).
Forging Links between Algarve and Rwanda
As a direct result of Revd Jackie’s time in Rwanda, a member of All Saints visited in 2014, and another in 2016, and they both visited together in 2017.
One of our younger members spent a month in Rwanda with Revd Jackie during her holidays from University.
New links were beginning to be formed.
As a result of the visit in Jan 2016, an interchange of prayer requests started, and has continued to this day. All Saints Newsletter goes to our contacts in Rwanda, and we receive their news through emails. We can be friends on Facebook and communicate through WhatsApp and Skype. Our brothers and sisters in Rwanda, who have little compared to us, have been very welcoming and generous. Thank God, for this opportunity to link with them.
Rev Manasseh and Catrin Tuyizere were our first visitors from Rwanda and visited us a second time on their honeymoon in 2014. Manasseh was ordained priest in 2017 and is Diocesan Administrator at St Etienne. They have two daughters.
All Saints sponsored a young girl from 2009 for her education in primary school. Her mother was grateful for our support at a time when it was difficult for them as a family. She is now doing well at secondary school.
Sending our love with Teddies. In 2014 Revd Jackie and another member of All Saints arrived on a visit to Kigali with hundreds of small knitted teddies from the two congregations. These were given to the children of the Cathedral Kindergarten and some to mothers with babies through Mothers Union.
In 2017 there was a special contingent of Revd Teddies, knitted by a Lagoa congregant, that were given to Bishop Louis, Revd Manasseh and Rev Jean-Paul.
As a direct result of our ties with Rwanda, and the diocese of Kigali, our Church has been forming a close link with the Church at Kanyinya.
Kanyinya is a small community on the outskirts of Kigali. A very needy place where many people settled who could not afford to live in the city. Where returning Rwandans who had gone to Tanzania to escape the genocide, returned also settled. There was and is much need.
However God has a plan for that place and its people, and with a growing congregation, at the time of Revd Jackie’s visit, they stepped out in faith, stopped renting a building, and used the rent money to buy land, and build their own Church. This was where we could help by fund-raising to help them realise their vision.
From meeting on the land in the open air, carrying plastic chairs every Sunday from their homes to sit on, a roof became erected, a container purchased to house the chairs, a building constructed to house the Pastor and family, and long drop toilets installed. All Saints part funding a lot of this work.
During the visit in 2017, we saw the installation of a beautiful wooden cross funded by two members of All Saints. They were blessed to be part of the lively and enthusiastic worship, blessed to share food with these humble and hospitable people.
Land near to the Church has recently been purchased by the government and housing is being developed there. So God had a plan when that Church was planted in that small community, because one day it will be a thriving town, full of people.
Our link with Kanyinya Church was strengthened when having returned from their trip in 2017, our members had a few ideas to help. Four large water tanks were needed to harvest the rainwater during the rainy season.
So, they held two ‘Flavour of Rwanda’ events to raise funds. They cooked a typical Rwandan meal and shared news and photos from their trip.
“We hoped to raise enough money for one tank but thanks to everyone’s generosity at both lunches, enough was raised for all four plus the installation costs”!
Ordinations November 2017
The main reason for the timing of our members visit was to represent All Saints at the ordination of Jean Paul Usabyimana, who All Saints had sponsored through Theological College.
They were privileged to be able to attend the Ordination Service of Jean Paul in the Cathedral of St Etienne in Kigali, Rwanda. It was also very special that both Manasseh Tuyizere and Cedric Kanana, (now Pastor of Kanyinya Church) were being ordained priests on the same day.
Rev Jean Paul conveyed his ‘huge and grateful thanks for the support of All Saints during his time at theological college’.
He worked extremely hard in order to achieve all that he has. He is an exceptional man and was an exceptional student. Our representatives were very proud to be at his ordination service, and to join him, his family and friends for lunch afterwards. He is held in very high regard by everyone. Evident in the numerous speeches that followed from people like his Sunday-School teacher, his neighbours as he was growing up, and of course his Mother. They all saw something special in him even as a young boy.
Jean-Paul was really thrilled with the handmade and beautifully stitched stole which was a gift from All Saints designed and donated by two of our long standing members.
All Saints Church are now sponsoring a second ordinand – Charles Kalimba. Charles started his ordination course in 2018 at Uganda Christian University, Kabale Branch in Uganda. He already has a BA in Rural Development and has been leading a chapel in Nyamata Province as a Catechist.