CVC Multi-Cultural Ministry
History & Vision
In the winter of 2021, as CVC was returning to a sense of normalcy following the disruptions of the pandemic, the Lord saw fit to bring to our worship service a small group of African men who were looking for a church home. These men found a welcoming and kingdom-minded environment, and we found in them a genuine love for Christ and a hunger for worship of the one true God.
Immediately a relationship started that grew into a love and appreciation for one another and a desire to partner together in the Gospel. Within a matter of weeks we had worked out an agreement with them to hold a worship service on Sunday afternoons in their native Kinyarwanda language. We have been averaging around 50 attenders in this service for more than six months.
We do not view this as two churches meeting in one building. These brothers and sisters are part of our church family. We pool our resources, fellowship together, pray together, and serve together. We have been taking them through our membership process and so far have 23 who have joined in membership at CVC.
What a tremendous blessing it is to worship with brothers and sisters who are so different from us, from different sides of the world, and yet who have been "called to the one hope that belongs to [our] call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."
The Suffering of the Banyamulenge
Written by Novalyn Thomas, Edited by Jon Hearing
Franck Ngarambe, a church member and part of City View’s Multi-Cultural Ministry, was recently asked to offer insight into the violence faced in the areas where many of our new congregants have come from, specifically the violence and genocide happening in the Itombwe-Minembwe, Uvira Highlands, and South Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Franck emphasizes that “Our church members are from this part of the world. It’s with a broken heart that I endeavor to raise compassion and awareness for those suffering in this crisis.” It is important for us as a church to understand these issues that our brothers and sisters are facing
There is an ongoing systematic extermination of the Banyamulenge community by various groups (such as the militia group known as the MAI MAI) who wrongly label their victims “immigrants” or “invaders.” Their objective is to eliminate the entire Banyamulenge tribe in the eastern region of the Congo. Despite having lived in these regions peacefully for centuries, the Banyamulenge have become a lightning rod for the discontent and hatred that has been growing for many years, hatred spurred on by a rising political crisis and resulting civil war in the DCR. Banyamulenge communities have been targeted, murdered, wrongfully imprisoned and slaughtered, with key periods being from 1964-67, and 1991, 1996, 1998, 2004 and 2017 to the present. This strategic genocide is taking place in the villages in the Highlands of Minembwe, Uvira (Mugeti, Murambya, Kajembwe, Irango, Nyakirango and Gahuna, Bijombo, Cyanzovu and Kinyoni).”
These attacks follow a pattern: they target and kill the people in these villages, burn their houses and destroy crops and precious livestock in order to starve any survivors to death. They kill indiscriminately, targeting children, elderly women, and men who are not able to run away from the attacks. These violent tactics are intended to be especially devastating in a culture where farming is a way of life. Despite many who claim otherwise, it should be emphasized that this is an ongoing humanitarian crisis. The genocide is often discussed in the past-tense, but it continues to this day in these villages, as well as others. There has been no attempt by global leaders to address these events, or seek to intervene on behalf of the Banyamulenge.
In addition to the Banyamulenge, tribes such as the Babembe, Bafurero, and Banyindu are victims of this violence; and in the High Plateaus of Minembwe, there has been official sanction to displace these populations. Astonishingly, many of those who carry out these instances of violence are members of the same communities that they target. These individuals have been radicalized by the politics of the MAI MAI, which draws members from many tribes in the South-Kivu province. They are also joined by the Interahamwe (the Hutu’s who fled Rwanda after they carried out the Rwandan genocide of the Tutsi in 1994).
These attacks continue against a backdrop of weak state authority, a complex and unstable political transition, and the complicity of the Congolese army. Even with the presence of the world’s largest deployment of an international peacekeeping force, the region continues to plunge into deeper violence and economic insecurity. These attacks take place in a region where the regular Congolese army and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) are deployed but are unwilling to prevent or intervene during these attacks.
This ongoing violence has triggered an extreme humanitarian crisis in this remote corner of the DRC which remains largely unreported. Credible sources have pointed to around 210 villages burnt to ashes from Bijombo to Minembwe via Itombwe and Kamombo. Consequently, internally displaced local populations can be estimated at 120,000 people. Schools, health facilities and churches have been and are continuing to be totally decimated and local populations are increasingly impoverished in this region. To date, more than 200,000 cows have been killed or stolen by looters and other violent groups, eliminating one of the most vital sources of food and income. Multiple reports indicate that around 100,000 people are without access to safe drinking water. Additionally, the food shortage in these regions is devastating, with almost 700,000 people at risk of starvation. The conflict is so serious that health services and education are grinding to a halt.
Last October, City View hosted a prayer conference with multiple speakers who work to address these issues, such as Rose Mapendo, a Congolese Human Rights activist. Rose operates women’s empowerment centers in eastern Congo, and is currently building a home for those who have been widowed and orphaned by the continued violence and genocide in the regions highlighted. There are several organizations that work to address the violence being faced by the Banyamulenge and other persecuted ethnic groups in the DRC, including:
Mahoro Peace Association (mahoropa.org)
The Rose Mapendo Foundation (rosemapendofoundation.org)
Gatumba Refugees Survivors Foundation (gatumbasurvivors.org)
Donations to these foundations support independent efforts to address the negligence of the United Nations and their refusal to intervene in this ongoing humanitarian crisis.
This crisis hits home for many of those attending our multi-cultural services on Sundays, and therefore our church bears the responsibility to pray for, encourage, and support our brothers and sisters in Christ. What can you do? Educate yourself on these events. You can read about the crisis at the web addresses above or hear about them firsthand by listening to those who are familiar with it in our afternoon service. You are encouraged to attend one of these multicultural services, which are held at 1:30pm on Sunday, and join our brothers and sisters in prayer for their country and their people, and to witness their trust and confidence in the Lord’s provision, and their heart for his glory.