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Leading by example in Rwanda

PC(USA) mission co-worker models the life of a servant-leader

by Kathy Melvin | Presbyterian News Service

LAKE KIVU, Rwanda – Rwanda is best known for the genocide that swept the country more than 23 years ago, leaving the nation with an impoverished and traumatized population. But Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission co-worker Kay Day is focused on the future, not the past. And she believes the thoughtful theological leaders she and others are working to train will build the future.

Day works as a professor of theology (biblical interpretation and homiletics) at Protestant University in Rwanda (PUR). The institution is supported by five Protestant denominations, including PC(USA) Rwandan mission partner the Presbyterian Church of Rwanda. The school opened in 2010, but its roots go back to the founding of the School of Theology of Butare years earlier. Students study divinity, education and community development. The school strives to produce graduates who will contribute to Rwanda’s spiritual, intellectual and socio-economic life and become pillars of reconciliation, mutual respect and societal development.

The Rev. Elisee Musemakwelli, vice chancellor of the university, believes Day models the teachings of Christ inside and outside the classroom and is helping to grow the church. “Youth are present and participating in the activities of church,” he said from his office in Kigali. He calls the PC(USA) partnership “a blessing” and said, “Day is a valuable member of our community.”

Day works to model servant leadership for her students, but emphasizes that Jesus is the one and only true leader of the church. “We are following him,” she says. “He was a servant leader. We need leaders to follow that example.”

Prior to serving in Rwanda, Day was a mission co-worker in Malawi. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in English from Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, a master of divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and a master’s in English from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. She is a member of Pittsburgh Presbytery.

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