From the Worldwide Faith News archives

AACC - WCC's Samuel Kobia Calls for Church Confession Rwanda

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Fri, 09 Apr 2004 19:06:21 -0700

All Africa Conference of Churches
Tel: 254 - 20 - 4441483, 4441338/9 7 Fax: 254 - 20- 4443241, 4445835 7
General Secretariat: Waiyaki Way,
P.O. Box 14205 , 00800 Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya


By Mitch Odero

NAIROBI, April 8 - The Church needs to undertake a collective confession 
for letting Rwanda down when genocide erupted 10 years ago.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) General Secretary Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia 
told a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya today.  Rev. Kobia who arrived in 
Nairobi yesterday with a WCC delegation on an ecumenical visit to Kenya and 
Rwanda stated "we must confess that we failed to address genocide when it 
took place.  We could have used the moral authority of the church and we 
could have strongly spoken out, but we did not."

Rwanda yesterday marked the 10th anniversary since genocide erupted in 1994 
at a ceremony attended by several heads of states in Africa.

The General Secretary who was flanked by the WCC African President Dr. 
Agnes Abuom and the General Secretary of the All Africa Conference of 
Churches Rev. Dr. H. Mvume Dandala noted that 95% of Rwandese are 
Christians, "yet genocide was carried out by them".  He asked "is our 
Christianity deep enough or just skin deep in Africa?"

One of the questions Africa will have to answer, he went on, is, "about 
ethnicity.  On one hand, our ethnic identity brings riches of diversity but 
should that identity also be the source of our conflicts?"

He went on to express concern on the increasing incidences in Kenya and 
much of Africa about the rape of children terming the trend as "an 
abomination to the sanctity of life, open disgrace to God and the human 

Rev. Kobia underlined that the abuse and molestation of children "is a 
grave crime whose impact will have deep consequences in the soul and psyche 
of generations to come."

He pointed out that in Africa "we have always had a sacred regard for 
children as a gift from God.  It is not only un-African but also inhuman to 
see how the African girl child is helpless in the hands of rapists and 

Rev. Kobia stressed that rape as a weapon of war "is not just an issue 
which can be faced from legal retribution but must also be understood as a 
spiritual matter", he said adding that the graciousness and majesty of 
every given society "is justified by the way it treats the most vulnerable 
among their people especially children."

Rev. Kobia travels 200 kilometres from Nairobi to his home district, Meru 
tomorrow where he will mark the 100th day since he took over his new 
posting at WCC.  He is accompanied by his wife Ruth and Rev. Andre 
Karamaga, WCC Executive Secretary for Africa.

They will be joined on April 13 by the WCC Moderator, His Holiness Aram 1.


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