One of the things that I’m doing in Rwanda is research for my .MLitt dissertation at St. Andrews, due to be completed this summer. It’s been an interest of mine for some time to write about the ways the church has helped to heal the nation since genocide in 1994. The events leading up to that time were closely intertwined with religious teaching, and with a church that was largely silent and timid, and in many cases, in league with the government. This meant that the devastation was spiritual in nature, and not just political, and that healing must also be spiritual, and not just economic or social (as if those things can be separated).
Much has been written already on the genocide, and on the rebuilding process. But most of the recent literature has focused on economic and business vitality, to the exclusion of spiritual issues. So I’m doing interviews, mostly with pastors, on how the church has sought to foster healing and rebuild community in the wake of ethnic devastation. I’m learning a lot, and getting some new insights into this.
For instance, I spoke with Pastor Maurice, who works in healing and reconciliation with the Kigali diocese, and survived in the city in 1994. His own journey of healing shapes how he approaches the restoration of relationships and wholeness in those who experienced loss and suffering, and continue to struggle.