In his latest blog, Richard Thomas from HOPE Church Worcester talks us through his latest trip, and shares some encouraging stories of how the Offering from last year’s Catalyst Festival is being used to help raise up, equip, and release leaders across East Africa:


For our latest trip, we visited Life Ministries Christian Church in Kampala at the end of last year. This was the latest of a number of visits to dear friends that we have known for over 17 years; an apostolic group of churches led by Emmanuel Rucyaba.


We have been partnering with our friends in their Leadership Training School with a desire to see 100 leaders trained between 2015 and 2020. On this occasion we taught a group of pastors from Tues – Fri on Ephesians and the Ephesians 4 ministries. What an enthusiastic and receptive group! Drawn from very varied educational abilities, and languages – it makes both teaching and Q&A great fun!


The 2017–18 graduation was at the end of my second week; a further 32 graduates passed, with a few less able others receiving certificates of attendance. This makes a total of 67 trained and “graduated” elders and church planters since 2015; a great investment from HOPE Church Worcester and Catalyst. Before the additional investment from the Catalyst Festival Offering, we were only able to train about 12 a year. The graduation came at the culmination of their biannual National Convention, held in their large church school playgrounds.



Over 300 attended…arriving in groups throughout the first 3 days in true African style! It was a great week of vibrant worship, news and preaching – all translated into Lugandan and English with mics, and then into small subgroup clusters for various tribal languages. Groups were present from 153 churches, some from DR Congo, S Sudan, Rwanda as well as all parts of Uganda.


As well as seeing the latest work on the school, we also visited the nearly completed church-built hospital and were able to teach in the local base church, as well as the newest of their church plants. It is a great privilege to be working with such an incredible group of people and to hear news from the surrounding East African nations.



Coming up next, in February we are gathering a small group of apostolic leaders from many East African nations, in Entebbe, to learn together and receive teaching from David Devenish, and others, on the theme of “Servant Leadership”, which promises to be a great time together – please do be praying as we gather, and for all the work we are involved with across East Africa.

By Richard Thomas

Richard is a senior leader serving HOPE Church in Worcester, U.K. He travels extensively in the UK and overseas teaching about the Bible and leadership, including supporting a pioneering movement of churches in Uganda.