Madagascar: Churches working to restore peace

Two years ago the idyllic island of Madagascar, home to some of the most pristine ecology in the world, fell into a political crisis that split the nation - and severely threatened the unity of the church.
Rev. Lala Rasendrahasina
Rev. Lala Rasendrahasina, president of the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar and a member of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee, was violently beaten and detained briefly by the military following the transfer of power of former president Marc Ravalomanana and his government in March, 2009.

But churches have not been standing idly by during this time, according to Rasendrahasina.

“The church has had to mediate between politicians but because of various factors, the results have not always been as successful as we would hope,” he said.

Recently, a seminar for peace and reconciliation has been organized by the national council to encourage and work with all people in Madagascar through the teaching for forgiveness in order to restore and maintain peace.
The initiative comes despite the various “persecutions” experienced by the church in the political violence of recent years.

“The Churches in Madagascar will continue to educate the people in the people in the whole field of moral and ethical behaviour and thinking, because there were many values which were destroyed and badly treated during the crisis”, he concluded.

Approximately 45 percent of the population of Madagascar is Christian with Protestants and Catholics almost equal in number.

- from a WCC release