Continental Biblical Leadership Initiative Hails Application of Bible in Rwanda

Government officials and different clerics pose for a group photo along the African Biblical Leadership Initiative (ABLI) Forum in Kigali, Rwanda, on October 23.

At the 9th African Biblical Leadership Initiative (ABLI) forum in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, the application of scripture in the process of healing and reconciliation following the 1994 genocide has been recognized with appreciation as a model for other citizens of other countries to emulate.  

“Every country, could learn from Rwanda's experience in using the Bible as a tool to help heal the wounds of trauma and bring about reconciliation,” the legal representative of the Bible Society of Rwanda, Archbishop Antoine Kambanda told participants at the start of the three-day meeting October 23.

“We have discovered the power of forgiveness leads from death to life,” he added.

At the meeting, a survivor of the 1994 genocide recounted her experience to participants expressing the need for forgiveness as part of healing from trauma.

“I am a person who has forgiven. I deeply hated myself, I was desperate, I hated Hutus, but then I was taught the word of God and I wanted to contribute,” Alice Mukarulinda said.


“You have to forgive or you will not be forgiven in heaven,” she said in reference to Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount, where Christ speaks of love for enemies and the need to forgive.

Addressing the gathering, Rwanda’s Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente commended the Church’s contribution in the country's journey of unity and reconciliation saying, “It is commendable that the Bible society and the Churches worked hand in hand with government and non-government institutions. This partnership brings about community development social welfare in society.”

Established in 2009 as a partnership between a coalition of Bible Societies and Christian ministries, working together with the Africa Area Office of United Bible Societies (UBS), ABLI seeks to apply Biblical principles to empower and inspire leaders of all backgrounds to address specific challenges within their communities.

“ABLI wanted to deny and change the dark image of Africa that was often prevalent in Western media,” Archbishop Kambanda noted.

The  Archbishop of Kigali told the gathering of about 1000 delegates from 25 countries around the world that their “key mission and vision as Bible society in Africa and beyond, is not limited to only translating the bible, publishing and distributing it, we also contribute to the holistic transformation of African leadership and societies in order to build strong Christian values and live biblical principles empowering the upcoming youth leaders with strong Godly leadership principles.” 

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The Kigali forum was convened under the theme: “From trauma to triumph: Synergize leadership for healing and harmony.”

Speaking to the conference's theme, the Director of Training and Mentoring at the American Bible Society's Trauma Healing Institute, Dr Phil Monroe said overcoming trauma begins with listening. 

“While pastors are designed to speak, if we don't listen first, we may preach the wrong message,” Dr Monroe said.

“Jesus our healer enables us to listen and lament and show that the Bible is written first and foremost to traumatized people, not to tell them to just cover up their pain, but to bring them to the cross, because it's at the cross that trauma and triumph come together” he emphasized. 

The ABLI forum has previously been held in African countries such as Ethiopia, Ghana, Cameroon and Eswatini, formerly the Kingdom of Swaziland.


Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.