The Protestant Council of Rwanda or “Conseil Protestant du Rwanda” (CPR) is an ecumenical and non profit national council that aims at unity in diversity of the Protestant denominations in Rwanda. The vision of CPR is based on the prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ for the oneness of all Christian believers as God and Christ are one. He said in John 17:21 : “That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you” .
Jesus request (prayer) to His Father in heaven was for absolute unity of his followers to convince the world that he was sent by God, the Father. Therefore, if Christians want to know how to convince the World of Christ and that their religion is of God, then let them first become one as God and Christ are one. Does this mean to form one single denomination to demonstrate their unity ? The answer is absolutely No ! Every Christian denomination has its own doctrinal identity that enables it to spread the good news of Jesus Christ in order to win the lost to Him, and to join other believers in building the kingdom of God among people.
Historically, since 1935, the Protestant Churches of Rwanda-Urundi formed “Alliance Protestante du Rwanda-Urundi” The joining together of protestant churches united the body of Christ and helped the churches to have a strong voice before Belgian colonialists and the Roman Catholic Church leaders.
Due to the political independence of Rwanda and Burundi in 1962, the “Alliance Protestante du Rwanda-Urundi” was replaced by national councils in each country, and the Protestant Council of Rwanda (CPR) was founded on November 06, 1962, and was legally registered by the Government of Rwanda on November 5, 1963. The four churches founder of CPR was the Anglican Church, the Baptist Church, the Free Methodist Church, and the Presbyterian Church.
The major objective of CPR since then was to keep the unity in diversity of Church members, according to John 17:21. CPR had five main pillars : (1) Evangelism and literature ; (2) Education ; (3) health’ (4) Women and Youth ; and (5) Development and wellbeing of people. As time went on, CPR has tremendously grown and achieved its original objectives with good steps in the right direction for the glory of Christ. It has spiritually and physically transformed lives of many Rwandans and bore much fruits both inside and outside Rwanda. CPR has its headquarters in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, and 11 decentralized units in different districts of the country.
Other Protestant denominations and Christian organization that joined CPR are : Church of Friends, Harvest Christian Church, Pentecostal church, Lutheran church, Seventh Day Adventist church, and Salvation Army. The following Christian organizations also became members of CPR : African Evangelistic Entreprise, Scripture Union, African Leadership and Reconciliation ministries, Barakabaho foundation, and Youth for Christ. Today CPR counts 19 member churches/denominations and 5 Christian organizations, that operates in the entire territory of Rwanda with visible activities and outcomes.
CPR celebrated its 50 years golden jubilee on August 16, 2014. According to statistics put together for the event, CPR’s Church members have 3 092 main parishes of about 5 483 112 members, 43 health centers, 9 hospitals, 347 nursery schools, 603 primary schools, 282 secondary schools, 6 universities, 30 hand crafts and technical schools, and 22 multipurpose centers. These are some of the CPR Church member’s contribution to the development of Rwandans.
We truly thank God who has enabled the pioneers of CPR to found it and to leave a good legacy to the new generation. We also thank Him for energizing His servants to keep the unity of His body.
I assuredly wish to tell you that together we have accomplished a lot and we shall do more in the coming years with the help of our Lord Jesus Christ. We dare to say like the Apostle Paul in his Epistle to Philippians, Chapter 4, verse 13 : “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” .