In 100 days beginning 6 April 1994, between 800,000 and 1 million Rwandans were massacred by their fellow citizens in a precisely planned and well-executed genocide virtually ignored by the rest of the world.
In April 1997, I had the pleasure of participating in a conference in Kabale, Uganda hosted by the Anglican Church of Uganda and attended by a large contingent of Rwandan Anglican clergy. Hearing of the challenges they faced in rebuilding their churches, communities and country, I felt deeply called to learn more and explore how I might join them in their work. For my Master’s Project in partial completion of a Master’s Degree in Creation Spirituality from The Naropa Institute, I chose to study the issue of reconciliation in Rwanda. During the summer of 1998, I spent 3 months in Uganda and Rwanda, speaking with African scholars and clergy, visiting towns, villages and development projects and living with Rwandan families..
The purpose of my Master’s Project was to learn about the history and causes of the genocide, to experience first-hand the challenges facing Rwandans in the aftermath of a genocide engineered by their own leaders, to identify signs of hope and possibility in the midst of these challenges and to explore some of the profound questions raised by these events and the reality of the current situation surrounding Rwanda.
My study of Creation Spirituality greatly influenced both the form of my research and experience while in Rwanda and the questions pondered throughout this project. Starting with a fundamental understanding of all of creation as good and all people made in the image of God, yet with a respect for the darkness that is an integral part of human experience, I am horrified, but not surprised, by what happened in Rwanda—one of the most thoroughly evangelized countries in Africa with more than 90% of the population professing to be Christian. The question many have raised, “how could this happen in such a Christian country,”...