Primate of Rwanda defends mass closure of churches

By Madeleine Davies | Church Times

The closure of thousands of places of worship in Rwanda has been defended by the country’s Anglican Primate, Dr Laurent Mbanda, who said that “the picture being painted is different from what we see and know in the country.”

About 8000 official and unofficial churches, and 100 mosques, have been closed for failing to comply with health, safety, and noise regulations, says Christianity Today, which reports that legislation adopted last month stipulates that pastors must have a degree in theological education from an accredited school, and must not urge their followers to fast for long periods. Churches must also explain their sources of funding, and donations must be kept in a known bank account.

The Secretary General of the Rwandan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Fr Martin Nizeyimana, told the Catholic News Service this month that “most Catholics are shocked and disappointed. . . If measures are taken to protect the safety of people, this is good, but they should be explained, so people don’t just arrive and find their church closed.”