Trevecca Nazarene University

Award presented to Rwandan social justice leader

Jamie Casler (right), director of the Morsch Center for Social Justice, presents the 2011 Advancement of Social Justice Award to the Reverend Celestin Musekura.

Trevecca’s J. V. Morsch Center for Social Justice presented its 2011Advancing the Cause of Social Justice Award to the Rev. Célestin Musekura, PhD, founder and president of African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM, Inc.), on Tuesday, September 20, 2011, in a special chapel service. The event was co-sponsored by the Office of the University Chaplain.

Dr. Musekura was born and reared in Rwanda and has a special passion for achieving healing among the Hutus and Tutsi tribes of that country.  An ordained minister in the Baptist Church, he earned his bachelor’s degree at Highlands Bible College, a master’s at Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology in Kenya, a master’s of sacred theology and a PhD in theological studies at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas. His doctoral research concerned contemporary models of forgiveness, and he specializes in communal forgiveness.

According to Jamie Casler, director of the J. V. Morsch Center for Social Justice, Dr. Musekura was chosen to receive this award because he exemplifies the kind of servant-leaders that the Social Justice Program wants to prepare.  He said, “The Morsch Center for Social Justice is dedicated to preparing  students to be engaged in a wide range of restoration and reconciliation activities—both here and internationally.  With their efforts to bring healing and restoration on several levels—to individuals, families, and societal systems—Dr.Musekura and ALARM model the kind of biblical restorative justice that we promote in the Morsch Center. We are very pleased to honor Dr. Musekura.”

In accepting the award, Dr. Musekura expressed how surprised and humbled he was by this recognition. He said, “When I told my colleagues in eight countries in Africa about the award, they expressed how this award encouraged them. It made them know that people in the U. S. know about our work in Africa, and we are grateful.”

Musekura spoke in three chapel services (Monday night and Tuesday and Thursday mornings) and in some classes. He said, “My message is to encourage Christians to make sure our identity in Christ supersedes all other identities—tribes, groups, races, economic classes, party affiliations.  In Rwanda, two tribes killed each other because their tribal identities superseded their Christian identity. Unless we Christians live out our identity in Christ in the way we seek social justice, the cause of Christ will be hindered.”

More information about ALARM is available here.