The UEM mourns the sudden death of Pastor Dr Jean Samuel Hendje Toya last night at the age of 63. The theologian, who came from the Evangelical Church in Cameroon (Eglise Evangélique du Cameroun, EEC), established the first African regional office of the UEM in Kigali (Rwanda) in 1996 as its first regional coordinator. In the course of the genocide in Rwanda, he coordinated the relocation of the African regional office to Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania) in 1998, where the office is located until today. After his service with the UEM, he returned to the EEC in 2008, which he led as president from 2017 to 2021.
In the difficult period following the genocide in Rwanda and in the face of the refugee crisis and war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Hendje Toya developed and implemented the first regional programmes for peace, reconciliation, development, theology and contextual mission. Through his committed leadership in the African region, he made an important and valuable contribution to the new vision and mission of the UEM in three continents. Together with other colleagues from the region, he laid the foundation for today's self-reliant and self-confident identity of African member churches of the UEM.
The UEM will always remember him as a dear friend, valuable colleague and committed advocate for the transformation of the German Mission Society into an international fellowship of churches with its holistic approach to mission.
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