In Rwanda, a land marked by animosity and killing, church leaders from Germany, UK, Netherlands, France, Belgium and the USA met with more than 150 pastors, church leaders and government officials from Rwanda and surrounding African nations July 7-12, 2009 in Gitarama, Rwanda. These clerics came together to confess the role of their respective countries in the events of the 1994 genocide. Together they acknowledged that their nations and churches had been instruments in planting seeds of hatred and division in Africa, and they had failed to respond as peacemakers during and after the killings.
Executive Secretary Fatuma Ndangiza of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission called upon church leaders to take responsibility of what happened in 1994 and fully participate in the reconciliation process. “The state embarked on the reconciliation because the church failed. If the church had done what it ought to, this commission would be left with little to do because you have access to the population,” remarked Ndangiza. “If reconciliation is to be achieved, everybody has to acknowledge their responsibility in the divisions that culminated in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.”
Today Rwanda is moving towards Mu Amateka Mashya which literally means “the New History.” Church leaders from around the world are recognizing that the brokenness of the land is first and foremost a spiritual problem. They are examining themselves, owning their sins, confessing before God and others their culpability, and striving to turn from their wicked ways to obey God’s word and promises. 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 was used as the guide throughout the days together in Gitarama.
Will you join the process of reconciliation and healing of the lands and nations? This is the call to those who follow Jesus the Reconciler. You may read the confession that I offered publically on behalf of international delegates before a stadium-filled audience on July 11(click here). Own it for yourself and share it with others.
With God’s mercy and grace, we will live to see a New History of healing and life for the land and people of Rwanda and beyond – even in our own communities and nation.