Dr. Innocent Justice is a native of Rwanda where he grew up in a Christian family. Despite growing up in a Christian family, faith was not among the core values he experienced as a child until when he converted to a Pentecostal church during his early 20s. Innocent’s experience of a new birth in Christ became a paradigm shift when it comes to the way he views “a claimed faith” versus “a lived faith,” which leads others to Christ.
The civil war of October 1, 1990 and the genocide of 1994, affected every Rwandan who was inside and outside. Innocent lost his half-brother, uncles, father and friends. He found himself in the neighboring country the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) formerly known as Zaire where he lived a tough life in a refugee camp for almost two years.
In November of 1996, the civil war broke in Zaire, which resulted in a mass repatriation of the majority of Rwandan refugees and other thousands fled deep in the jungles of Zaire. Innocent was among those who returned to Rwanda, but he left again in 2001 and went to South Africa. He spent four years in Pretoria, South Africa and came to the U.S. in 2005.
Innocent started his college education at Bluegrass Community and Technical College where he earned an Associate Degree in May 2008. After earning his Associate Degree, he transferred to John Wesley University in High Point, NC.
Innocent earned a Bachelor Degree in Pastoral Ministry from John Wesley University in May 2010, a Master of Divinity (MDiv.) from Duke University in May 2013 and a Doctorate Degree in Ministry (D.Min.) with a focus in Pastoral Care and Counseling from Gardner-Webb University in December 2018.
During his education at Duke Divinity School, Innocent served Duke’s Chapel UMC as an Associate Student Pastor from 2010 to 2013. The Western North Carolina Conference of the UMC commissioned him in June 2013. He was appointed to Blair Road UMC in Mint Hill from July 1, 2013- June 30, 2015 as an Associate Pastor, Lead Pastor at Cedar Grove UMC, Norwood July 2015- 2016, Interim Pastor at Well Springs UMC, Forest City February 2017-June 30, 2017, Lead pastor at St. Paul & Wesley Chapel UMC, in Reidsville from July 2017-June 30, 2018 and Oak Grove, Charlotte from July 2018-Present. In June 2016, Innocent became fully ordained an Elder in Full Connection in the Western North Carolina Conference of the UMC (WNCCUMC).
Honors/Leadership Service/ Awards
2010 – Delta Epsilon Chi- John Wesley University
2010-2013 – Full tuition Scholarship- Duke University
2016 – Doctor of Humane Letters (D.H.L)- John Wesley University Leadership/Service
2016 – 2017- Missional Network Leader- Uwharrie District of the WNCCUMC
2016-2018 – Member of the WNCCUMC Leadership Development Team
2016 – 2018 – Trustee at John Wesley University
2018-Present Member of the Metro District Committee on Ordained Ministry
Innocent served refugees as a volunteer in Kentucky and North Carolina from 2006 until present.