July 2009

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Wall of Names at the Kigali Genocide Memorial

Wall of Names at the Kigali Genocide Memorial

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. 

 

Gary Edmonds

 

Genocide Memorial in Kigali, Rwanda

Genocide Memorial in Kigali, Rwanda

Rwanda will experience an historical and history-making event July 7-12, 2009.

 

Fifteen years after the 1994 genocide and fifty years after the Hutu-Tutsi conflict, leaders of churches from Rwanda, neighboring African countries, Europe and North America will gather for representative repentance and healing. Leaders of diverse church denominations will identify with the sins of their people and nations and confess to one another, and seek forgiveness from each other and God. In humility steps will be taken to walk the way of the cross and break the power of evil in the land. After the church leaders confess, they will meet with the government leaders again in acts of confession.

 

Nehemiah, the rebuilder of Jerusalem, prayed the following prayer, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.”  (Nehemiah 1:5-7)

 

There are spiritual realities that shape our communities and nations. When we break trust with God and each other, there are consequences in the land. A biblical model for Christian leaders is to bear the guilt of the people, confess to God and one another and seek the forgiveness and mercy of the Lord.

 

I’ll send you reports as I have been invited to attend, identify with the sin of our past, and seek the mercy of God. Dr. Chris Hall, Chancellor of Eastern University, will join me from the USA.

 

Stand with us in humility and pray for us and for this historic meeting. Africa, Europe, North America and our world depend on God’s favor! 

 

Gary Edmonds