The Rwanda Provisional Conference of The United Methodist Church held a special annual conference session at Gisozi United Methodist Church in Kigali, Rwanda, on Oct. 9.
Bishop Daniel Wandabula of the East Africa Episcopal Area presided, welcoming delegates from the five districts within Rwanda.
The theme of the special session was “I will build my church,” the same as that of the regular annual conference, which was held July 28-31.
Wandabula said “the main and unique agenda of this special session of annual conference” was to elect delegates to General Conference and the Africa Central Conference. He noted that according to a new formula, “each delegate is required to get 50% plus 1 of the total number of all voting delegates present.”
Among the 89 official delegates who attended the regular annual conference in July, 72 attended the special session: 45 clergy and 27 laity.
The Rev. Marc Baliyanga, dean and legal representative of the Rwanda Provisional Conference, welcomed Wandabula and complimented delegates for the large turnout at the special annual conference.
In his sermon, from Mark 4: 35-41, “Jesus calms the storm,” Wandabula highlighted several important points:
- Storms come from our rebellion or disobedience to God.
- Others can cause storms in our lives.
- Storms come simply because we live in a fallen world.
- There are storms caused by the devil.
- Sometimes storms come quickly and unexpectedly.
- Some storms are severe.
- We need Jesus in the boat.
- Sometimes the most violent storms bring the most blessing.
- Jesus alone is able to calm storms.
The bishop ended his sermon urging those in attendance to look to Jesus in troubling times. “You and I and Jesus will team up and make the trip together,” he said.
During the special annual conference session, delegates voted for two 2020 General Conference delegates: The Rev. Marc Baliyanga (clergy) and Adeline Nyiramahirwe (laity).
Five clergy alternative delegates were elected: The first reserve clergy delegate is the Rev. Alexis Nzabonimpa, followed by the Revs. Augustin Bahati, Francoise Kankindi, Felicien Dusengimana and Innocent Gisimba.
Five alternative laity delegates were elected: Gorette Bayavuge is the first reserve laity delegate, followed by Scovia Murungi, Pelagie Dusabemariya, Zachee Bideli and Pacifique Byicaza.
Delegates of the special session also elected six persons (three clergy and three laity) who will represent the Rwanda Provisional Annual Conference to the Africa Central Conference in Maputo, Mozambique, in 2020.
— Alexis Nzabonimpa, Conference Secretary for the Rwanda Provisional Conference.