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Diocese team help grow discipleship in Africa

A Diocese of Carlisle team has just returned from a two week trip to help boost discipleship in Africa.


The four-strong group visited Burundi and Rwanda to help lead conferences about the Rooted in Jesus discipleship course, developed especially for use in African countries.

The team was lead by the Ven Kevin Robert, Archdeacon of Carlisle. He was joined by the Revd Derek Price, vicar of St Paul’s Barrow, the Revd Julia Powley, Priest-in-Charge of Harrington and Distington, and Sarah Richardson a trainee GP from Barrow.

As part of the trip the team also visited Rwanda’s Genocide Memorial Museum, built in memory of the one million people who lost their lives following the 1994 genocide when Hutu extremists massacred members of the Tutsi population.

Kevin said: “It was a deeply harrowing visit to make and it broke our hearts to see. The museum is built on the grounds where 250,000 Tutsis are buried.

“But it helped prepare us for the tragic personal stories that we were to hear over the next five days and for the ministry that God led us into amongst the young people.

“At one point I asked for a show of hands of those who were orphans. So many young people in their 20s and 30s are orphans as a result of the genocide and also because of AIDS.”

The trip was based around two conferences – one held in each of the countries.

The aim is to help build discipleship in Africa with the introduction of a 48 unit Rooted in Jesus course developed for church leaders in Africa.

Kevin added: “A lot of people in Africa profess a faith but do not necessarily have access to all the teachings that they need.

“This course is a great way to help them; to give them the interactive resources which they can take away with them to help discipleship and deepen people’s faith.

“There’s a saying that in Africa faith is a mile wide but only an inch deep. People there need the help to develop their faith and that’s what the Rooted in Jesus course is looking to do.”

Nearly twenty years after the Rwandan genocide Kevin says there’s now a sense of revival in the country, one which was felt by all the team members.

“I lived in Africa many years ago, in southern Sudan for a year,” he explained, “and I have a love for Africa but I had never visited Rwanda before.

“What’s happening there now, bearing in mind recent history, is wonderful. There’s a real sense of people living their lives for God, not messing about with God.

“We saw such humility in people. I’ve never been to a place where there’s such a depth of worship.”

Before flying to the Rwandan capital, Kigali, the team spent a week in neighbouring Burundi at the invitation of the bishop of the Diocese of Bujumbura.

A similar Rooted in Jesus conference was also held there for pastors and church teachers.

Kevin said: “It was a wonderful thing to see people come together at the conference, learn more about the discipleship course and see them leave with a spring in their step.

“The trip was a wonderfully uplifting experience for us all. I was sitting with one of the team members at the airport in Rwanda and they told me what they’d experienced had made it the most important thing they’d done in their life.”

For further information please contact or Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Officer, on 07984 927434 or at

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