A letter from Kay Day serving in Rwanda
July 1, 2017
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Dear Family and Friends,
Sometimes it is the simplest things that cause our hearts to sing. The song my heart sang two weeks ago began, “We are one in the Spirit; we are one in the Lord.” I sang this as I sat in an Anglican congregation in Kigali, a building under construction, where I had been invited by a former student to preach. This was not the first time I have preached in a non-Presbyterian service, but it was a powerful reminder that we are called to be one in Christ. The traveling group included one of my Anglican students and his family, who had helped to found the congregation a number of years before, and my Lutheran volunteer for the year (Amy) and my Presbyterian driver. The service was in the “basement” of a church building under construction. It is a city church and will be beautifully appointed when it is finished. The basement is lovely already. My translator for the preaching was the General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, a most affable man who made me feel completely welcome. For the closing of the service the entire congregation went to the unfinished portion of the building to pray for the completion of the project. The president of the congregation highlighted the outreach ministries to the community that are planned for the space. There was no emphasis on the denomination but rather on the needs that will be met for the hurting and the hungry of the neighborhood. After the service we were invited to the General Secretary’s home for lunch and fellowship. We sat in the living room, Anglicans, Lutheran and Presbyterian, sharing stories of ministry, eating, laughing and praying together as if we were longtime friends. I was struck by the amazing bond of Christ that unites us, regardless of time or denomination or culture.
This unity in Christ is modeled where I teach, at the Protestant University of Rwanda (PUR), formerly the Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences (PIASS). The elevation to a university has not changed the composition of the institution. We are still governed by and supported by a collaboration of Presbyterian, Baptist, Anglican, Methodist and Pentecostal churches. As well, in the English Chapel where I pastor, while we are under the Presbyterian Church of Rwanda, we have worshippers from 5 different denominations and 8 different countries. Our president of elders is a Lutheran from Tanzania, and while I was in the States last year his wife, a Lutheran pastor, cared for the congregation in my absence. It is this ease of sharing ministry that is a blessing that comes from our unity in Christ. It marks a loyalty not to a country or a denomination, but to the One who saved us all and who called us all to his work. In the moments when that is reality, there is such a peace and blessing. For that I praise God.
In this spirit I praise God for you who support me through the PC(USA) and make it possible for me to minister here. Your support opens the way for such unity. Thank you. You are truly partners with me in ministry. I pray that you are in places and situations that allow you to participate in this unity of the Spirit, in reaching beyond ourselves to those around us who share the faith of Christ, regardless of labels, to see one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Yours in Christ,
Kay (Cathie to the family)
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