Our Approach to Reconciliation

Wherever we look in our world today, we see ethnic conflict.  As large units like the old communist block broke up, individual people groups cried out for autonomy and individuality.  People who had, for generations, suffered injustice quietly did so no longer.  Today they demand justice.  Powerful nations reacted defensively, trying to hold onto supposed superiority.  In other parts of the world power struggles have erupted between ethnic groups, sometimes resulting in attempts at "ethnic genocide."

Is there an answer to all this pain?  Is there any hope for our sinful, hurting world?

We believe strongly that there is hope, because we believe in the God of hope (Ro. 15:13). Hope is part of His character - He cannot be otherwise.  God has a strategy to use His church to be the agents of healing and reconciliation in the different nations.  But first, the church must be healed.

Rhiannon Lloyd began developing our approach to reconciliation in Rwanda in the wake of the horrific genocide of 1994.  On her initial visit, Christian leaders from different denominations and ethnic groups gathered to talk about the failure of the church and the resulting current needs.  A crucial question was asked:  In a nation where 85% of the population attends church, what role can the church play in the healing of the nation?  In looking for an answer to the question, they themselves encountered God's healing love, and miracles of healing and reconciliation began taking place.  From this, the vision was born to gather church leaders from every denomination to look at the role of the church in bringing healing, forgiveness and reconciliation.  Because of the responsiveness of church leaders to those trial sessions and their enthusiasm for the teaching to be heard in every town in Rwanda, three-day workshops for church leaders began.

This workshop, developed by Dr. Rhiannon Lloyd, is now being run actively by Africans in Rwanda, Congo, Burundi, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Uganda and South Africa. It seeks to bring healing and wholeness to communities suffering from ethnic bitterness and hatred. People from differing ethnic and church backgrounds are invited to encounter God and one another at heart level. In a safe environment, they are encouraged to experience healing and are able to develop new perspectives and attitudes. They are equipped to influence others to demonstrate new perspectives and attitudes.

The principles used in this workshop may be found in the article: Healing the Wounds of Ethnic Conflict, by Dr. Rhiannon Lloyd, Joseph Nyamutera and Anastase Sabamungu. You may also download a powerpoint presentation of the principles and methods of the workshop as they are used in South Africa. (When asked for the password, just click on "Read Only.")

The Results:

In Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burundi, Hutus and Tutsis and other tribal groups have listened to one another's stories of terrible suffering.  They have asked forgiveness of one another for lifelong suspicions and hatred.  They have wept in one another's arms.  They willingly visited one another's churches and communities, sharing testimonies of forgiveness and reconciliation.  This even drew the attention and support of the local government authorities.  Now inter-ethnic, inter-denominational teams have taken over the work in all 3 nations, and are training similar regional teams to take the message of healing and reconciliation to their local communities. They have carried the message to Kenya, Uganda, Southern Sudan, and Ivory Coast.

Testimonies:

"This has been a journey from despair towards hope.  God has birthed hope in me again."

"I didn't pick up a machete, but in my heart I was still a killer.  Now my heart has been relieved and I am changed."

"The seminar had a big impact on my life.  There is no tribe, no skin colour; before God we are all one."

"I thank God for this seminar that has helped me to be healed of a wounded spirit."

We can go from here and really impact people in our community.  I feel a real peace in my heart, more than ever before."

Healing the Wounds of Ethnic Conflict Manual:

A manual containing the basic seminar teaching content is available for your download. Our prayer is that you may use our material and will find this approach helpful in any situation of ethnic (or indeed any other) conflict.  It is humbly offered to you for the purpose of promoting healing and reconciliation. More Information