Rwanda genocide reconciliation worker/priest to speak in Sarasota
The Rev. Philbert Kalisa, founder and director of REACH Rwanda, a nonprofit organization working to promote healing and reconciliation among Rwandan people in the aftermath of the African country's history of violence and trauma, will preach at the 7:30, 9 and 11 a.m. masses at the Church of the Redeemer on Sun., Jan. 20. This will be the fourth time Rev. Kalisa has visited Redeemer, which has supported REACH Rwanda for several years via donations and other support from its Missions and Outreach programs.
Estimates of up to 1 million Tutsi Rwandans were massacred by militant Hutus within the shockingly brief period of 100 days in 1994. The genocide was the subject of the 2004 Academy Award-nominated film "Hotel Rwanda," starring Don Cheadle, Joaquin Phoenix and Nick Nolte.
"Fr. Philbert’s organization works to reconcile family members of the victims with those who murdered their loved ones," explained the Rev. Fredrick Robinson, Rector of Redeemer. "Through reconciliation comes understanding and from there we can work to forgive and heal not just our relationships with those who have done us harm, but we can work to heal the world."
REACH (Reconciliation Evangelism And Christian Healing) Rwanda was founded in 1996 by the Rev. Philbert Kalisa, an ordained minister of the Anglican Church. He was born in 1966 to Rwandan parents who were exiled in a refugee camp in Burundi due to the killings and other serious human rights violations against Tutsis which started in 1959. He became an ordained minister of the Anglican Church of Burundi in 1989.
The Church of the Redeemer is located at 222 S. Palm Ave., in downtown Sarasota. For more information, call 941-955-4263, or visit redeemersarasota.org.