Bishop Honored with Wilberforce Award

Source: Eric Young Christian Post Reporter, http://christianpost.com

Rwandan Bishop Honored with Wilberforce Award

"Bishop John [Rucyahana] believes that if the Rwandan situation can

be amended by repentance and forgiveness,

and the people there can be reconciled to live together again,

forgiveness can happen anywhere," said Prison Fellowship and

BreakPoint President Mark Earley, whose ministry honored

Rucyahana with the 2009 Wilberforce award on Saturday.

"We recognize that reconciliation is a key to achieving restoration and

criminal justice worldwide, and we applaud Bishop John

for his monumental efforts in Rwanda," he added.

Forgiveness is a poignant issue in Rwanda, a country still struggling

to reconcile after the 1994 genocide that killed as many as

1 million people in as few as 100 days.

The genocide, the worst in the 1990s, was primarily the action

of Hutu extremists against Rwanda's Tutsi minority

and moderate Hutus.

As chairman of Prison Fellowship Rwanda, Bishop Rucyahana

organized the Umuvumu Tree Project to provide genocide perpetrators

the opportunity to meet victims to admit their crimes,

ask for forgiveness, and take steps toward restoration.

"We must forgive now, like Jesus did while He was on the cross,"

says Rucyahana, who lost many members

of his family in the genocide.

"Without God, I would hate such killers with all of my heart,"

the bishop admits.

"But with God, I can truly say that I love them."

In addition to the Umuvumu Tree Project,

Rucyahana has also founded the Blessed Mustard Seed

Babies Home orphanage and the Sonrise School

for children orphaned by the genocide and AIDS.

The William Wilberforce Award, presented annually to

a distinguished Christian leader who has confronted

formidable societal problems and injustices,

is named in honor of William Wilberforce,

the English statesman who waged a 40-year campaign

against the slave trade in Britain.

Source: Eric Young Christian Post Reporter, http://christianpost.com

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