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Hotel Rwanda hero silenced

12 September 2007

by Bill Bowder

THE ARCHBISHOP of Rwanda, the Most Revd Emmanuel Kolini, has exercised his influence in the United States by telling a Chicago church to cancel a speaker.

Archbishop Kolini told All Souls’, one of the parishes that has seceded to the diocese of Rwanda, to cancel its invitation to Paul Rusesabagina, the hotelier made famous in the movie Hotel Rwanda. He had been instrumental in saving the lives of 1200 Tutsi during the 1994 genocide.

The President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, has taken exception to the film portrayal, saying that Mr Rusesabagina survived only because he was not being hunted. Mr Rusesabagina has, in his turn, criticised the president for sustaining corrupt businessmen.

Archbishop Kolini argued that to allow Mr Rusesabagina to speak in a church under his jurisdiction would strain relations between the Church and the state in Rwanda.

The Revd J. Martin Johnson told Christianity Today: “The bigger reality for us is having to accept the whole concept of obedience, and that is a harder cultural pill to swallow than I realised.

“My initial response was to say ‘Can they tell us what to do?’ We just have to say, ‘Okay, fine, sorry,’ and that’s what we have done.”

The Rwandan House of Bishops has announced that it intends to consecrate three more bishops to further its work through the Anglican Mission in the Americas. The Revd Terrell Glenn, the Revd Philip Jones, and the Revd John Miller are to be consecrated on 26 January.

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