Visit to Ely of the Prince of Peace Choir and Bishop Nathan from Kigali, Rwanda.
Between 10th and 21st October, we were thrilled to welcome to the Ely Diocese the Prince of Peace Choir from Kigali Cathedral, in Rwanda. As the Archdeacon of Huntington, the Ven Hugh McCurdy says, “Having met the choir in Kigali and heard them there, it has been my dream to be able to bring them to Ely. They have blessed us in so many ways which we will treasure in our memories for a long time”.
Prince of Peace Choir Led Worship Across the Diocese
The choir led worship in a number of churches across the Diocese including the Cathedral, for their harvest service, St Andrew’s Alwalton, St Andrew’s Histon, St Andrew’s Impington and St Mary’s Comberton. They also led worship at the Diocesan Synod, the Mothers’ Union Conference and the Bishops’ Study Day. Their joy and enthusiasm was infectious, encouraging even the most reserved to join in with the singing and dancing.
Prince of Peace Choir Visited Schools
The choir also visited a number of schools across the Diocese including King’s Ely, St Bede’s Cambridge, St Mary’s Primary in St Neots’, Dry Drayton Primary School and St Andrew’s Soham. In the schools the choir led worship, taught the children songs (and dances), and shared with them about life in Rwanda. With some of the older secondary school children, they shared their experiences about life following the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. This had a deep impact on the young people and brought to life the work they were doing on forgiveness. All the schools greatly enjoyed the choir’s visit and as one headteacher put it “They were such delightful people and made all of our children feel so special. We simply loved singing, dancing and sharing lunch with them….no one wanted our time together to end”.
History of the Diocesan Link and Bishop Nathan Amooti
Alongside the choir we also welcomed the new Bishop of Kigali, Bishop Nathan Amooti. Bishop Nathan already has strong connections with us as a Diocese. Our Diocesan link with Kigali stretches back to the 1920s and 30s when when a number of young doctors who lived locally and were trained at Emmanuel College responded to the Lord’s call and went out to work in Rwanda. It was through their ministry that the East African Revival flourished. Today in Rwanda that Revival is still having an impact.
Whilst in the UK, Bishop Nathan visited a number of individuals and churches across the Diocese. The visit of Bishop Nathan and the choir has built upon previous visits from Kigali, greatly strengthening our familial bonds. Even though we live and work in very different cultures and contexts, there is much we can learn from each other. The visit has also strengthened the bonds of friendship between those parishes in Ely which are linked to a parish in Kigali as well as the Mothers’ Union which has a longstanding link with the Mothers’ Union in Rwanda.
Thanks to ...
A huge thank you to everyone who made this visit so successful, by offering hospitality, providing meals and transporting the choir. The choir, for most of whom this was their first visit to the UK, were extremely grateful for everything that was provided and were deeply touched by the welcome that they were given. If there are parishes that would like to form a link with a parish in Kigali Diocese please be in touch with Ven Hugh McCurdy, Revd Kathryn Waite or any other member of the Kigali Steering Group.
Written by Revd Kathryn Waite