World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

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Rwanda

Ecumenical Organizations and Councils

WCC member churches based in Rwanda

WCC member churches present in Rwanda

Note: The list of churches present in countries is still in development.
 

The original inhabitants of today's Rwanda are the Batwa, Bahutu, and Batutsi. The territory was attributed to Germany at the Berlin conference in 1884, and became a Belgian protectorate after World War I. The colonial powers fomented and exploited rivalries between the population groups. The history of Rwanda before and since independence, in 1962, has been dominated by the conflict between the Bahutus and the Batutsis, which culminated in the 1994 genocide. About 1 million Batutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred. The Patriotic Front took power, and some 2 million Hutus fled to neighbouring Congo and other countries. The new government invaded Congo, in pursuit of the perpetrators of the genocide, and to support the rebellion against Congo's president Mobutu. Rwanda has continued to play a major role in the conflict situation in the Great Lakes region. Elections in 2003 helped to stabilize the internal political situation. The Catholic Church is the majority church in Rwanda. Among the other churches the Anglicans, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, and the Seventh-day Adventists are the largest. The churches have struggled to come to terms with their responsibility in the genocide. Some Christians and local churches stood up against the killings, others were party to it. Many new churches and Christian groups have proliferated, especially Pentecostals. Some are establishing themselves and have sought association with the Council of Protestant Churches. There is also an Evangelical Alliance, affiliated with the WEA.

 

A multimedia portrait of Rwandan churches during the time of the genocide can be viewed on the 'Keeping the Faith' website.