Saddleback Church to Host Civil Forum on Reconciliation

Pastor Rick Warren will moderate a discussion with Rwanda's president and a Yale professor on post-genocide reconciliation at Saddleback Church Friday evening.

President Paul Kagame will share about his experience with the civil war in Rwanda, while Dr. Miroslav Volf, a native of Croatia, will talk about the Bosnian conflict. The guests will discuss the importance of forgiveness in the face of injustice, reunification, and future development, among other topics.

"These two men share a love for their native countries, and a desire to bring peace and prosperity through the revolutionary power of reconciliation to rebuild," said Warren, founding pastor of Saddleback Church in southern California.

Both men have seen the destruction of genocide first-hand but they have also witnessed their "nearly destroyed" countries get back on the path of reconciliation, "which should be an example to all of us," Warren said.

This is the fourth civil forum, involving influential figures and sensitive issues, Saddleback is hosting.

Last fall, the civil forum hosted then presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and John McCain. The candidates were asked questions on issues that concern Christians, including religious persecution, AIDS, abortion, marriage and stem cells.

More than 6,500 people attended the forum last August at Saddleback's worship center.

For Friday's event, Warren said that the reconciliation stories are relevant to the United States because even though the country has not experienced genocide, it is hurting from division on many issues.

"The forgiveness that President Kagame and Dr. Volf will address is what Christ modeled for us through His words and actions," Warren said. "If we are to become a unified nation, we must live out this type of forgiveness each and every day, among those with whom we both agree and disagree."

Today's civil forum is free to the public.

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