In May 2016, Sandrine Umukunzi attended Uganda Gathering. The conference focused on how the church can respond to the challenges of gender-based violence, street children, conflict and reconciliation and other issues affecting Uganda today. Below, Sandrine shares her reflections on the gathering.
My name in Sandrine and I am from Rwanda. I work as a community development facilitator at Rabagirana Ministries, a partner of Mercy Ministries International. My organisation has a passion to see the church in Rwanda become a source of lasting peace, unity and light for the nations, to the glory of God.
I was impressed when I found out about Uganda Gathering, especially by the main theme of how the church can bring holistic transformation to communities. The experience of attending this gathering could increase people’s eagerness to bring transformation through churches. The church is made up of people who should light up the world.
The highlight for me was learning about the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the role the church can play in helping to meet them. I realised that the church cannot be part of something that it knows nothing about. This is a problem, as you can find church leaders who don’t know about these goals.
I learnt the importance of keeping myself updated and being concerned with what is happening around me. I was personally challenged by this. When I got home from Uganda Gathering, I was passionate about thinking through how I can learn about things happening in my community and how I can be an agent of transformation. I plan to meet with the local church leaders and look together at the SDGs and other government policies on poverty reduction.
Right now in my role at Rabagirana Ministries, I am working with single mothers’ groups and struggling schools. It is very encouraging to see churches realise that there are marginalised people in their communities, including single mothers, and to see them reach out to these people. The churches are now the ones facilitating these single mothers’ groups.
Uganda Gathering was so empowering. It was a blessing to me. Thank you.