Two missionary Doctors of Church Missionary Society (CMS), Arthur Stanley Smith and Leonard Sharp, started their mission trips to the Eastern area of Gisaka in Rwanda in 1914-1916 from Kabale, in Uganda. In 1922, they reached Rukira via Kigali and Geoffrey Holmes, Captain from the British army, started the mission at Gahini in 1925.
In 1926, Reverend Halord Guillebaud baptized the first converts at Gahini. Reverend Harold started the translation into Kinyarwanda of Christian literature. Other missions were started in 1931 by Reverend Geoffrey Holmes at Kigeme and reverend Verity and Dr.Tarbot at Shyira. In 1935-1936 there was a spiritual revival that commenced at Gahini and expanded to East Africa, Europe and other parts of the world such as India.
In 1965, the name of the church changed from CMS and became “Eglise Anglicane du Rwanda, (E, A, R) Anglican church of Rwanda. The first Diocese of Rwanda was formed in 1966, under the leadership of the first Rwandan Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Adony Sebununguri. On October 18th, 1979 the church adopted the name of “Eglise Anglican au Rwanda (EER) Anglican church of Rwanda, and was still under the Province of Rwanda, Burundi and Boga Zaire.
On 7th June 1992, the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda (PEAR) was formed with four Dioceses of Kigali, Butare, Shyira, and Byumba, and the Most Rev. Augastin Nshamihigo was the first Primate. As time went on, five other Dioceses of Shyogwe, Kigeme, Cyangugu, Kibungo and Gahini were added which formed nine Dioceses.
Last but not least, the second Archbishop of PEAR was enthroned in 1998: The Most Rev. Emmanuel Kolini. Significant to note, in an extra-ordinary meeting held at St.Etienne Biryogo on November 27/ 2007, the College of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Rwanda reached a resolution to change the name of the church from the Province of the Anglican church of Rwanda to the Province of the Anglican church of Rwanda. The resolution was unanimously approved by the Provincial synod on November 29/ 2007. In just over 26,340 square Kilometres are 180,000 Anglicans, out of a quickly growing population of 8.7 million.
The Church has a role as a healing ministry to the many traumatised people in Rwanda and to reconciliation, restoration, and rehabilitation. The Church has also been involved in rural development, medical work, vocational training, and education.
Rev. Anastase Mashyaka
The Acting Provincial Secretary