‘Walk for Rwanda’ set for local trails on Sept. 16

Peace Lutheran Church members Barbara Gable, left, and Jim Line, are inviting fellow hikers to walk easy local trails – including Grass Valley’s Litton Trail – on Saturday, Sept. 16, to support community building in the African nation of Rwanda.

September 8, 2017 – Local trails and community services in Rwanda come together at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, in a fundraiser hosted by Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley.

Participants will walk local trails that day – and they’ll be asking friends and neighbors to sponsor them.

Organizers hope to raise $1,000 to support grass-roots efforts in Rwandan villages that improve the lives of ordinary people, said Jim Line, chairman of Peace’s Rwanda Connection Committee. That’s the amount of money the committee donated to the work in Rwanda last year, and they hope to match or exceed that level, Line added.

Walkers will gather at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, at Peace Lutheran Church, 828 W. Main St. (near downtown) for a short rally, then carpool to the three nearby trailheads. Participants can walk just one or all three, as they choose. The Alan Thiesen Trail in Alta Sierra, the Litton Trail in Grass Valley and the Hirschman Trail in Nevada City are fairly short and level, Line added. Trail hosts from Peace will offer support until 12 p.m.

The Bear Yuba Land Trust offers information about the three trails on its trail portal, www.bylt.org/trails.

Every penny raised in the “Walk for Rwanda” will support the work of the Rev. John Rutsindintwarane – or “Pastor John,” as Peace members call him. Pastor John helped restart the Lutheran Church in Rwanda after the 1994 genocide and has been active in helping ordinary people there start schools, health clinics and a women’s cooperative making roofing tile.

Peace’s connection to Rutsindintwarane dates to 1995, when a former church member met Pastor John at a refugee camp in Tanzania. Since then, Peace has supported the pastor and the Lutheran Church in Rwanda in different ways as he helped refugees return to their country, seek reconciliation with former enemies and rebuild their country. He now is the Rwandan church’s assistant bishop, but takes no salary for that work, Line said.

And the connection to local trails? Line and fellow Rwanda committee member Barbara Gable love to walk and hike. “We want to promote local trails and encourage people to walk and invite others to join them,” Line said.

Donations may be made at www.PeaceLutheranGV.org or sent to Peace Lutheran Church, 828 W. Main St., Grass Valley, CA 95945; please write “Walk for Rwanda” in the memo line.

Trina Kleist is youth & outreach coordinator for Peace Lutheran Church and may be reached at tkleistwrites@gamil.com or (530) 575-6132.