|Gay and Christian in
|Gay and Christian in
OBJECTIVE OF VISIT TO KIGALI, RWANDA
This 8 day trip to Kigali is Other Sheep's first time in Rwanda. The purpose of this trip was to scout out
Kigali, the capitol of Rwanda, for possible clergypersons who would be interested in the ministry of Other
Sheep. We had no leads in Kigali and only one lead in Rwanda (in western Rwanda: a fellow pastor
friend that Rev. Makokha had contacted).
1. An anonymous pastor, senior pastor of his church and director of a training institute for on-
going education for area pastors
- Contact information: (withheld)
- How we met: During our first full day in Kigali, we had a chance meeting on the streets of Kigali; we
were asking for directions to a restaurant.
- Activities accomplished with this pastor
- Wednesday, July 16, 6pm Showed him our PowerPoint presentation on the Bible and
homosexuality in our hotel suit. He initiated conversation on his idea of having a pastor's
seminar in which we would show the presentation he had just seen
- Thursday, July 17
- Morning: breakfasted and discussed the pros and cons of having a Pastor's seminar at
this juncture. The anonymous pastor decides to go ahead with the seminar
- Morning: The anonymous pastor goes with us to meet a UMC pastor who is situated
very close to our hotel
- Rest of the day: we go to three possible places for a conference room; we print
invitations at a photocopy
- Jose meets the pastor at photocopy to finish and pick up the invitation; the pastor and
Jose meet with Steve at the hotel to finalize plans for the Pastor's seminar
- We conduct a seminar in a local hotel conference room from 8:30 – 12noon using our
PowerPoint presentation in which we covered: Kenya Other Sheep, what is sexual
orientation, and the five verses in the OT that incorrectly translate kadesh as
homosexual (sodomite). 35 pastors attend. The host pastor translated the seminar
into K Rwanda
- Lunch with together with the pastor and evaluate the seminar and discuss possible
- Met with the pastor in the afternoon to discuss ideas of reaching other pastors through
education; made plans for translation of PP Notes.
- Jose downloaded The Blue Book (Mt. Kisco, NY, Presbyterian Church study on
homosexuality) to give to the pastor. Cost to print around $35.00 US.
- In the evening, the pastor met with Jose and Steve to receive The Blue Book and a
photo copy of names and contact of pastors who attended the Sat. seminar. The
pastor plans to meet Jose and Steve to accompany them to the airport the following
morning (at 4:30am) [which he did].
- Present and Future Plans with anonymous pastor and Other Sheep East Africa
- The pastor has accepted the position of Other Sheep Coordinator for Central/North/South
and East Rwanda (all but western Rwanda) and Burundi. He is in fellowship with the
Coordinators of Other Sheep East Africa.
- The pastor has made plans together with Steve and Jose for the translation of the PowerPoint
Notes on the Bible and Homosexuality into the K Rwanda language. 10 million people in this
part of Africa speak K Rwanda. Translation and the final form is to be completed by
September 1 for review by Steve and Jose and, if willing and able, Pastor J. Elie Gasana,
pastor of western Rwanda, and new co-Coordinator for Western Rwanda and Dem. Reb. of
- After the completion of the translation, the pastor will begin teaching the content of the PP
Notes to pastors in Kigali – about three to five pastors at a time. In turn, these pastors will
teach other pastors.
- Discussed the need to be licensed by the government as a recognized organization in
Rwanda; this would necessitate having an official office.
- Discussed the pastor's desire to see Other Sheep in Rwanda involved in some specific
humanitarian ministry such as working with orphans or HIV-AIDS. The pastor expressed his
concern that society sees LGBT people in a different light: those who are contributing to
society and ministering to the needs of their fellow Rwandans.
2. Pastor J. Elie Gasana (denomination withheld) and Pastor Agustin Bahati (Church of God in
Africa in Rwanda), both from western Rwanda
- Contact information for Pastor J. Elie Gasana
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- phone: (+250) 08812329
- Contact information for Pastor Agustin Bahati
- email: email@example.com
- phone: (+250) 0844 3155
- How we met Pastors Gasana and Bahati: Rev. John Makokha, UMC pastor and Other Sheep
Kenya Coordinator, contacted Pastor J. Elie Gasana, a personal friend in ministry, about Other
Sheep and Other Sheep East Africa. Pastor Gasana, with his fellow pastor friend Pastor Agustin
Bahati, traveled to Kigali by bus to meet us, Sunday, July 20, 2008.
- Activities accomplished with Pastors J. Elie Gasana and Agustin Bahati (an evening, July 20, and
morning, July 21, visit)
- Sunday evening, July 20, in our hotel suite, we showed them the PowerPoint presentation on
the Bible and homosexuality. Pastor Gasana is fluent in English, French and K Rwanda;
Pastor Agustin does not speak English - he is fluent in French and K Rwanda. Jose Ortiz and
Pastor Gasana translated the PowerPoint into French for Pastor Agustin
- Monday morning, July 21, we breakfasted with Pastors Gasana and Agustin and discussed
reaching western Rwanda and the Dem. Rep. of Congo through a pastor there with whom
these pastors are in contact. We told them about Pastor Alexandre Fire of Kigali and our
Other Sheep East Africa plans with him. Pastors Gasana and Agustin return to western
- Present and Future Plans with Pastors J. Elie Gasana and Agustin Bahati and Other Sheep East
- Pastors J. Elie Gasana and Agustin Bahati accepted the position of Co-Coordinators for
West Rwanda and for the Dem. Rep. of the Congo. They are in fellowship with the
Coordinators of Other Sheep East Africa.
- Pastors Gasana and Bahati will focus on reaching western Rwanda and into the Dem. Rep. of
the Congo. They will begin their work for the DRC by first translating the PP Notes into
French and by working with a fellow pastor in the DRC who has expressed interest in the
ministry of Other Sheep.
3. Student president of a student organization that addresses international human rights of a
college in Kigali [name of student, organization and college withheld]
- email: [withheld]
- phone: [withheld]
- How we met [name withheld]: Sunday, July 20, after visiting a particular church service [church
withheld], Jose Ortiz and a Ugandan Pentecostal Christian lay leader visiting us from Kampala and
working with us here for two days, walked onto the campus [name withheld]and struck up a
conversation with the president [name withheld] of an international human rights interest student
group [name of group withheld].
- Activities accomplished with the president of the student group
- Tuesday, July 22, at the college of [name withheld] in a two hour meeting arranged by the
group president [name withheld] Steve Parelli and Jose Ortiz of Other Sheep presented their
PowerPoint presentation on the Bible and homosexuality, with opening remarks on (1) gay
Christian in Other Sheep East Africa, especially in Nairobi; (2) sexual orientation and related
terms, especially commenting on the sciences and psychology; (3) homosexuality in the
States: from evangelical spawned marriage amendments to state constitutions to California's
recent ruling on gay marriage, especially noting that Jose and Steve will be married at the end
of August and the benefits that will bring them; and (4) asked each student (six male students
were present including the student leader/president) to give his religious affiliation and his
understanding of homosexuality. (At this point in the meeting the PP on the Bible and
homosexuality was shown.) At the end of the meeting, Other Sheep materials were given to
the students. Jose made a cam corder recording of the students comments.
- OBSERVATION (1) There was an obvious change in disposition towards homosexuality after
the PP on the Bible and homosexuality was shown; but prior to the PP, the six students all
expressed opposition to homosexuality, some quit strongly. The first half of the meeting
covered the above 4 points and in the sequence reported above: that is, (1) our report on
gays in Nairobi, (2) general remarks on the findings of science and psychology and (3) the
issues in the States between evangelicals and those who are accepting, preceded our asking
them to comment on homosexuality: Our preliminary remarks seemed to only embolden them
to express their feelings against homosexuality (one calling for the "eradication" of
homosexuals). At this juncture in the meeting we went to the PP on the Bible and
homosexuality and the response following the PP was completely different: Following the PP,
the question being asked was how we can give this information out.
- NO CONCLUSION is being suggested here. That is to say, if the PowerPoint had been on
the findings of the sciences and psychology (a more in depth study than our general remarks
on the sciences and psychology), or on civil human rights, perhaps the change of disposition
of the students towards homosexuality would have been observed as well (education is
education). But we can say that to introduce the Bible (addressing their assumptions based
on the Bible) proved to be a formidable argument for reconsidering the acceptance of
homosexuality with these students.
- Present and Future Plans with the president of this college group
- The president [name withheld] plans to reproduce the materials and have other students
interact with the material
- If interest is shown, the group president would like to see students become proponents of
understanding homosexuality and homosexuals.
- The group president plans to keep in touch with Other Sheep and Other Sheep East Africa
4. Additional formal and informal meetings with individuals
- Wed., July 16. Local radio station. We left information about Other Sheep East Africa. We
reported that Rev. Kimindu, Anglican priest, was going to Lambeth. We were granted a meeting with
a significant personnel who advised on certain matters pertaining to our mission in Rwanda and
gave us the contact information of the Anglican Primate.
- Thursday, July 17. Visited UMC minister whose church is [description withheld]. He heard our
remarks on Other Sheep and our personal stories and received our materials and expressed that
he would seriously read over the materials.
- Friday PM – Monday AM, July 18-21. We received a closeted gay Christian lay leader from
Uganda who was here to observe and participate in our work, an individual we had met last year
while in Kampala. We obtained a mattress from the hotel. He used the "sitting room" area of our
suite for lodging and sleeping. Jose cam recorded his testimony.
- Sunday, July 20. Jose and our Ugandan friend visited an Anglican church in the morning
[specifics withheld]. (Steve stayed at the hotel, exhausted from the previous day's seminar having
spent half the night editing his PP to include a report on OSEA.) They spoke with the priest
following the service. He refused to receive any of the materials that were being offered him and
advised Jose to make an appointment with the Arch Bishop
- Tuesday, July 22. Jose and Steve meet with the Primate The Most Revd Emmanuel Musaba
Kolini in his office. Report: He graciously received us; we shared our personal stories and the
ministry of Other Sheep and Other Sheep East Africa; we told him about Rev. Kimindu, of course.
Kolini asked about a bishop in Kampala who he knows is gay friendly and we commented on the
extent of our connectedness with the Kampala bishop. The conclusion/ our observations: Kolini
states that he does not agree with our position but that he believes in remaining friends with
everyone and gave the example of a friendship he holds as very dear though the two disagree on
this topic; Steve Parelli expressed concern that the Anglican church in Africa would at the very least
not remain silent when homosexuals in Africa are unjustly treated and even physically abused; to
that Kolini expressed his position on the genocide here in Rwanda that all concerned should remain
friendly and continue to seek peace; in expressing himself this way, Jose Ortiz and Steve Parelli
observed that he was making a claim that he does reject violence. Later, after the meeting, Jose
and Steve observed that if violence comes to homosexuals in Africa, that Kolini needs to hold to his
expressed purpose of non-violence and to apply that position to homosexuals; frankly, Steve and
Jose felt he skirted the whole issue of violence towards homosexuals by diverting the conversation
to the genocide without making direct comment to the abuses homosexuals have suffered and are
presently suffering in Africa; nonetheless, we feel we could personally hold him accountable to his
own remarks of non-violence if he remains silent whenever homosexuals suffer physical abuse in
- Tuesday, July 22. Jose and Steve meet by chance for a second time an American from a
University in California who is here on a humanitarian mission. She requested that we email her
the PP Notes on the Bible and homosexuality to share with a Rwandan who expressed to her his
objections to the message of Other Sheep.
END of Report
|- Jose Ortiz and Steve Parelli OUT in Africa -
a REPORT on their Other Sheep work in Kigali, Rwanda
-working on behalf of Other Sheep East Africa-
from Tuesday evening, July 15 to Thursday morning July 24 8 full days
Written, Tuesday - Thursday, July 22 & 24, 2008, in Kigali, Rwanda
by Steve Parelli, Other Sheep Executive Director
NOTE: Where names and contact information appear in this public report, it is because the individual has
indicated that he desires to have his name and contact information listed on the Other Sheep website,
www.othersheep.org. In every case in this report where the name and contact information is given, the person
named has accepted the position of an Other Sheep coordinator.
VISIT Steve and Jose!
Visit the Other Sheep web site of the Executive
Director, Steve Parelli (at right in photo), and his
partner Jose Ortiz.
|This web page was constructed July 24 & 25, 2008, Entebbe, Uganda
Visits made to this web page since its publishing, July 27, 2008
|NOTE dated September 4, 2008: The anonymous pastor in part one of this report (who
was formerly named in this report as per his request), emailed Other Sheep, September
4, asking that his name be removed. He supported his decision by stating that
homosexuality is not in accord with the constitution of Rwanda and also not with his faith.
|Correspondence with the supportive,
yet understandably conflicted pastor of Rwanda
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, September 15, 2008 10:48 AM
To: [email withheld]
Cc: 'Jose Ortiz'; 'firstname.lastname@example.org'; 'email@example.com'; Anne Baraza (Khadudu2000@yahoo.com); Anne Baraza
(Khadudu2000@yahoo.com); Emmanuel Kamau (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: RE: Your request to remove yourself from the work of Other Sheep
Dear Pastor [name withheld] of Rwanda,
We are very happy that we met in Rwanda and for the time that we spent together and for the seminar you
hosted inviting your pastor friends. We have come to think of you as a personal friend and a dear minister of
the good news of Jesus Christ.
Jose and I understand, as you raised the question, that Rwanda, like other African countries, may have laws
that prohibit individuals from living in accord with their sexual orientation. Our first morning with you, over
breakfast, we discussed with you our concern that if you went ahead with the seminar that you were
suggesting that it might jeopardize your ministry by virtue of associating yourself with us in so pubic a way.
We were careful to let you know we are a gay couple which we clearly defined (as having sex together like a
married, heterosexual couple). As you recall, we discussed these things. So, yes, we do understand the
danger of being pro-LGBT in Rwanda. We were then, and are now, very concerned for you as an individual and
we wish above all to keep you from any harm.
Our concern for Rwanda is that, because of the misuse of the Bible, innocent individuals who are homosexual
will suffer, unable to live a life free from discrimination and free to love as they were meant to love. We
believe that homosexuality is neither a sin nor a sickness. Neither the Bible condemns homosexuality as we
understand it today, nor does psychology and the social sciences see it as an abnormality that must be
addressed. In Rwanda, as elsewhere, homosexuals are victimized by a cultural bias that religion has
instituted and underpinned by its erroneous teachings (as based on the Bible). Our presence in East Africa
was to be a voice in religion calling for a re-examination of what the Bible says; and we do this for the civil
rights of marginalized gay and lesbian people.
That the constitution of Rwanda has married itself to the accepted religious thought of the church that says
homosexuality is an abomination before God, is unfortunately a misguided constitution. A free society is only
free if all its people are protected by the constitution. Therefore, no government should discriminate
according to race, tribe, ethnicity, gender, sex, religion or sexual orientation. Unfortunately, Rwanda is
discriminating according to sexual orientation. Homosexuals are not free in Rwanda to love as they were
meant to love.
As per your request, we will keep any reference to you by name or denomination off the Other Sheep
website. Unfortunately, because you did give permission when we were in Kigali to put your name in the
report, we did publish a report with your name. We will, of course, go into our website and remove your name
from the web page. However, the Internet is such that because it received your name already in association
with the Report, that the Internet -- like a huge encyclopedia that retains everything -- will list your name
whenever anyone "Googles" it even though you are still not on the web page. How or why the Internet does
or does not remove this information, I do not know. I regret this and don't know what to do about this. But,
be assured, that your name will be removed from our website as per your current request.
We hope to keep in touch with you by email over the days and months and that we can keep the conversation
open between us regarding homosexuality and what the Bible does or does not say. Just like Rwanda was one
time a county in which there were two fighting people -- so, too, does religion and government war against and
discriminate against people whose sexual orientation is not heterosexual. This is a crime against humanity,
so I believe. Individuals suffer; and not just the homosexual only, but also family members and friends who
buy into the discrimination.
Just one final thought: The constitution of any country cannot write a law that will result in the
non-existence of homosexuals. Homosexuals exist. It is natural. It is. Homosexuality is not a crime, it is a
state of being; homosexual is how some people are essentially as a human being. It would be like making
left-handedness illegal and then declaring that there is therefore now no left-handed people in Rwanda
because the law forbids it. Be assured, there are in Rwanda many, many homosexuals, and they are suffering
at the hands of an unjust constitution. No human being should be excluded from his country based on his or
her sexual orientation. That is discrimination. Jesus came to set the captive free: that includes any people
(like homosexuals) who are marginalized by the rest of society. The ministry of Jesus is to minister to the
outcasts, the poor and feeble. Homosexuals are the outcasts of Rwanda. Just as Jesus stood in his day
against the religious leaders and said they erred because they did not understand the Scriptures -- the
same can be said today of Rwanda: They treat homosexuals as outcast because they do not understand the
Again, we will continue to be in touch. Jose sends his greetings. Give yourself to the study of good books in
this area of homosexuality. Personally, I did not see your point of I Tim. 3:1-3; I suppose you were
referring to a "bishop must be the husband of one wife" (and therefore homosexuality would not be a
"Biblical" choice). On the other hand, does that mean that because you are single at this stage in your life
that you should not be a bishop or pastor because you are not "the husband of one wife"? That you should
wait until you are married before you are a minister? You see how we need to be careful when we use a
verse. I Tim. 3:1-3 isn't talking about homosexuality, to be sure. And I'm not even certain that I Tim. 3:1-3
is a prohibition against a plurality of wives for the average husband? Maybe Paul is talking only what is
practical: Perhaps, it is not wrong to have more than one wife, but that it is not practical to have more than
one wife if you are going to be a bishop? I say perhaps. We must be careful that we do not make any one
Bible verse carry more weight than it was intended to carry. Though I am an Evangelical by up-bringing, I
have backed away from "proof-texting" everything. I believe we must be careful that the Bible does not
become Idolatry -- that is, to make the Bible more than God ever intended it to be as if we have not a
Trinity but a Quad-unity (4 persons in the God-head: The Father, The Son, the Holy Spirit and the Bible) -
be careful of Idolatry, in this case, the worship of the Bible which is called Bibliolatry.
Rev.* Steve Parelli, MDiv
Executive Director, Other Sheep
2962 Decatur Ave., 5D, Bronx NY 10458
Other Sheep is an ecumenical, Christian ministry working for the full inclusion of LGBTs within their respective faiths worldwide.
Other Sheep connects people with people and resources.
*Defrocked by a local Baptist church for openly being gay and for entering into a committed gay relationship.
- STEVE PARELLI and JOSE ORTIZ REPORT ON THEIR MINISTRY IN KENYA, RWANDA and UGANDA, July
4 - August 5, 2008
Report - "What the
speakers said at the
After reading this email from the
pastor of Rwanda - - - scroll
down for his "change of heart"
email to understand the presure
he is under to conformn to the
accepted view of homosexuality