Mid-Africa Ministry (MAM)

Mid-Africa Ministry (MAM)

An introduction to the history of Mid-Africa Ministry (MAM), which fully integrated with Church Mission Society in 2002

Ruanda Mission founder Dr AC Stanley-Smith, his wife and family pictured on a motorcycle in 1924.

By Rosemary Keen

Mid-Africa Ministry, often known as MAM, was originally named Ruanda Mission (CMS), began as part of the Church Missionary Society [CMS] and its two pioneer missionaries worked for CMS before going to Rwanda [Ruanda]. 

Dr Leonard Sharp and Dr AC Stanley Smith were convinced of God’s call to work in Rwanda and offered to CMS for that work. They were sent at first to Mengo Hospital in Uganda, but in December 1916 made an exploratory visit to Rwanda. In 1917 the CMS Uganda missionary committee received an appeal for medical help from Rwandans in Rwanda and Kigezi. The CMS committee in London were unable to agree to this expansion of work because of the lack of funds, but the two doctors began to raise funds independently and by 1919 were able to guarantee support both for four years’ work and for a hospital. There were some remaining difficulties over staffing and finally the Kigezi district of South West Uganda was suggested and agreed as a place to start rather than beginning in Rwanda itself. In 1920 the CMS Committee in London accepted the doctors’ offer, the work to be accountable to their Uganda missionary committee.

In the early days support was given and organised by Friends of Ruanda, but in 1926 the Ruanda Council was formed as a CMS committee in charge of the administration of the work. In 1929 it took full financial responsibility for the mission, though it was not separated from the CMS mission in Uganda until 1933.

The main places of work are Gahini (1928), Shyira and Kigeme (1932) in Rwanda; Kabale (1921) and Bunyoni (1931) in Uganda; Matana and Buhiga (1935) and Buye [Ibuye](1936) in Burundi.

Other places where MAM mission parters have worked include: Rwanda: Butare (Astrida), Kigali, Nyamata, Shyogwe; Uganda: Budo, Bwama, Bwerinyangi, Gayaza, Kabarole, Kisiizi, Mengo, Ndeje, Remera, Rugarama, Rukingiri; Burundi: Bujumbura, Gitega, Kibimba, Kivimba, Muyebe, Nyankanda and Vugizo (overlooking Bujumbura); Tanzania: Bugufi.

MAM fully (re)integrated with Church Mission Society (CMS) in 2002 and CMS is its legal successor.

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