Christian ‘vision’ grows in Rwanda |

Christian ‘vision’ grows in Rwanda

Submitted to The Union

A Lutheran pastor in Rwanda, supported in part by a local church, will speak on the state of the faith in the African nation at 6 p.m. today after a potluck supper in Grass Valley.

The Rev. John Rutsindintwarane was born in a refugee camp in Tanzania, part of the Rwandan diaspora of the 1950s that accompanied civil unrest. Conflict culminated in 1994 with the massacre of at least half a million minority Tutsis by Hutus. In 1995, the man returned as an ordained minister to Rwanda with the encouragement of Nevada County resident Tony Waters.

Now, "Pastor John" helps lead the fast-growing Lutheran Church in Rwanda, based in the capital of Kigali, said Pat Baker, a member of Peace Lutheran Church and a local coordinator of the reverend's visit.

"He has a vision — oh, my, he has a vision for the people of Rwanda," said Baker, who has visited the country. Rutsindintwarane has been active in efforts to reconcile Tutsis and Hutus there. He also has been involved with fundraising for church-run schools and the education of girls, Baker added.

"Pastor John" is in the area for continued training with People Improving Communities through Organizing, or PICO, a national, faith-based program with an office in Sacramento.

He will speak at 6 p.m. today at Peace Lutheran Church, 828 W. Main St., Grass Valley (near downtown). For information, call Baker at 530-273-1512.

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Pennies Drive to benefit Hospice of the Foothills

Four times a year, a Penny Drive takes place at various locations in Nevada County for two days. Friends of Hospice Volunteer members sit at tables in front of local merchants collecting monies and giving out information about Hospice services.

All monies collected at the Pennies Drive by Friends of Hospice go directly to Hospice of the Foothills, which has been meeting the needs of patients and families in western Nevada County and the surrounding communities for more than 30 years. The HOF Compassionate Care Home is the only state-licensed, Medicare-certified, in-patient residence in the region providing round-the-clock licensed hospice care, supportive (palliative) care, respite and end-of-life services.

When you see the Friends of Hospice Penny Drive table outside the various merchant stores, please stop by and say hello. The volunteers have information that you may have been looking for, and they will be happy to share it with you. Those who have some change to spare are encouraged to drop it in the jar, as it adds up and can help local patients and families. For information, contact Friends of Hospice at 530-274-5121.

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