A Lutheran pastor in Rwanda, supported in part by a local church, will speak on the state of the faith in the African nation at 6 p.m. today after a potluck supper in Grass Valley.
The Rev. John Rutsindintwarane was born in a refugee camp in Tanzania, part of the Rwandan diaspora of the 1950s that accompanied civil unrest. Conflict culminated in 1994 with the massacre of at least half a million minority Tutsis by Hutus. In 1995, the man returned as an ordained minister to Rwanda with the encouragement of Nevada County resident Tony Waters.
Now, “Pastor John” helps lead the fast-growing Lutheran Church in Rwanda, based in the capital of Kigali, said Pat Baker, a member of Peace Lutheran Church and a local coordinator of the reverend’s visit.
“He has a vision — oh, my, he has a vision for the people of Rwanda,” said Baker, who has visited the country. Rutsindintwarane has been active in efforts to reconcile Tutsis and Hutus there. He also has been involved with fundraising for church-run schools and the education of girls, Baker added.
“Pastor John” is in the area for continued training with People Improving Communities through Organizing, or PICO, a national, faith-based program with an office in Sacramento.
He will speak at 6 p.m. today at Peace Lutheran Church, 828 W. Main St., Grass Valley (near downtown). For information, call Baker at 530-273-1512.