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Saddleback Church to Host Civil Forum on Reconciliation, Sept. 25

Rick Warren Moderates Discussion with Rwandan President Kagame, Yale Professor Miroslav Volf on Forgiveness, Post-Genocide Nation Re-building

Contact: Kristin Cole, A. Larry Ross Communications, 615-289-6701

LAKE FOREST, Calif., Sept. 23 /Standard Newswire/ -- Dr. Rick Warren and Saddleback Church will continue the tradition of promoting civil discourse on Friday, Sept. 25, by hosting the Saddleback Civil Forum on Reconciliation, the fourth in a series of civil forums featuring high-profile influential figures discussing current significant, yet sensitive issues. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, and Croatia-native Dr. Miroslav Volf, Yale professor, will share how the transformational power of reconciliation reunified their peoples after debilitating genocides.

From their respective experiences in the devastation of civil war in Rwanda and the Bosnian conflict, both special guests understand the necessity of reconciliation and rebuilding. President Kagame was elected President in 2003, following the country's first-ever democratic, multi-party elections. Prior to his distinguished career as the Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School and Founder and Director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture, Dr. Volf was raised in the Balkans before the Croatian War for Independence that ended in serious ethnic cleansing.

"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 the Orange County, Calif. mega church and author of the best-selling book, "The Purpose Driven Life." "They have seen first-hand the influence that forgiveness and non-violence have had on Rwanda and Croatia -- countries that were nearly destroyed and are now in the process of being unified, which should be an example to all of us."

In a dialogue moderated by Warren, President Kagame and Dr. Volf will discuss the importance of forgiveness in the face of injustice, and its significance in recovery, reunification and future development. They will share the story of their peoples and the resiliency that enabled their liberation and ultimate triumph and the role of reconciliation in that process.

"While the U.S. has not experienced something as devastating as a national genocide, our nation is hurting and as a result, divided on many issues," Warren added. "The forgiveness that President Kagame and Dr. Volf will address is what Christ modeled for us through His words and actions. 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."

The free event will be held in the main auditorium of Saddleback Church on Sept. 25 at 7:00 p.m. PDT, and is open to the public. Tickets can be reserved at (949) 609-8331 or at

The Saddleback Civil Forums were established to promote civil discourse and the common good of all. The Saddleback Civil Forum on Reconciliation will be the fourth such event hosted by Saddleback Church, following the Saddleback Civil Forum on Holocaust Survivors in April 2008; the Saddleback Civil Forum on The Presidency featuring presumptive presidential nominees Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain discussing issues of leadership, held in August 2008; and the Saddleback Civil Forum on Global Health honoring President George W. Bush with the first "International Medal of PEACE, " held on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, 2008.

"In addition to my primary calling to proclaim the Gospel message, these Civil Forums further my three other life goals: helping individuals accept responsibility, assisting the Church in regaining credibility and encouraging our society to return to civility," Warren explained.

Founded in 1980 by Warren and his wife Kay, Saddleback Church is located in Lake Forest, Calif. With an average weekly attendance of 22,000, it is one of the largest churches in America. For additional information about the Saddleback Civil Forums, visit

ON-SITE CREDENTIALING/SET-UP: Working press credentials may be obtained through on-site contact Brett O'Donnell at 434-426-0064 or Media check-in will be located outside of the front of the Saddleback Church Worship Center. Working press can arrive as early as 5:30 p.m., but must be set by 6:30 p.m. A broadcast-quality sound feed will be available.

NOTE TO EDITORS: for more information about Pastor Rick Warren and Saddleback Church, visit