From the Killing Field to the Mission Field
A Prophet Emerges from Rwanda's Pain
Any pastor will tell you that no church is immune to conflict, whether the issue in question is a central point of doctrine or the choice of new carpet. But imagine serving a congregation made up of both the victims and the perpetrators of the most brutal massacre in recent history. In assuming his new post as Archbishop of Rwanda in the wake of the 1994 genocides, Emmanuel Kolini faced huge challenges. How was he to turn a sick, confused, and broken society full of widows, orphans, and prisoners and their families into a reconciled, cohesive society?
Emmanuel Kolini: The Unlikely Archbishop of Rwanda
traces the story of this remarkable man through the impoverishment and racial tensions of his childhood, the years spent in refugee camps, his life as a husband and father, and his ascent through the ranks of Anglican leadership. Based on their friendship of almost ten years, author Mary Weeks Millard shines the light on the inner workings and motivations of a leader who has inspired cooperation between Muslims and Christians, led the way in restoring a nation ravaged by genocide, and pioneered HIV/AIDS initiatives.
"Kolini felt the role of the church should be to pick up the broken pieces of a nation one by one and, by the grace of God, to put them back together. There would be no quick fix. It would be slow, painstaking work, but there could be no other way," Millard says. "As he pointed out, no university could train a person to do such work; it was only through the grace of the Holy Spirit's power that such a miracle could happen."
Prior to his work in Rwanda, Kolini and his wife, Freda, had served for many years in Uganda and Congo. Much of their ministry had been focused on reconciling strained marriages, strengthening families, and training new pastors. These early experiences in the art of reconciliation would be put to the ultimate test in his next assignment.
As the newly appointed Archbishop of his native Rwanda, Kolini was the first leader from any denomination to offer a public apology for the failure of his church to respond immediately to the genocide of 1994-a murderous spree that was carried out with shocking, sickening efficiency while the rest of the world carried on with "business as usual." Kolini inherited a region steeped in pain and bitterness, one in which many of the bishops had long since fled the country and the traumatized people were desperately in need of a shepherd. With God's help, he has met every challenge.
Above all, the success of Kolini's ministry rests on his unwavering commitment to obey the Scripture-a stance that many within the embattled Anglican church have been longing to see. He speaks with the voice of a prophet calling his people to return to biblical truth and is one whose example of personal sacrifice has earned the respect of the world. In a move that turns the North American stereotype of world missions on its head, a growing number of American congregations are choosing to place themselves under the authority of Kolini's province and the missionaries he and other archbishops in the developing world have sent through the Anglican Mission in America.
Times of war, oppression, and adverse living conditions can break a man-or they can forge him into the leader for which the world has been waiting. From the villages of Africa to the gleaming sanctuaries of North America, Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini is that leader.
Emmanuel Kolini by Mary Weeks Millard
Authentic Publishing January 2009
ISBN: 978-1-934068-65-6/239 pages/softcover/$16.99