US Tycoon to Build Religious Broadcasting Empire in Rwanda

HQ for “the rest of Asia and Africa”

From the Kigali New Times:

President Paul Kagame yesterday held talks with the founder of Family Christian Network (FCN) Decarol Williamson, who promised to build a US$20m Television and radio network in Rwanda. Speaking to the press shortly after the meeting, Williamson’s personal assistant Joshi Uruashi said that Williamson reiterated his willingness to build a modern television to be set up in Gacuriro, Gasabo District that would serve as headquarters to the rest of Africa and Asia.

…Family Christian Network, whose headquarters are in Costa Rica, Central America has over the years reached out [to] ten million people.

FCN is a ministry of Fore Christ, which Williamson founded after a religious experience in 1974. Its website explains:

In August of 1974, Dr. DeCarol Williamson was thrown to the floor by the awesome power of the Holy Spirit. He was instantly delivered and healed from both alcohol and drug addiction. While on the floor he received a Vision from God.

The vision was “to build A Global Army Fore Christ”:

…Williamson believes that like in the day of Pentecost when the church was in one place with one mind and in one accord there will once again come a fresh baptism of power.

Following the example of Paul and Barnabas who made tents to support themselves in ministry, Dr. Williamson founded many companies with the blessing of the Lord and is using these companies to fund the majority of the ministry’s activities so that the ministry would depend on God and not man. God is leading others now around the world to support the army “Fore Christ” to help facilitate this last day revival of God and meet the needs of the poor and suffering.

In fact, Williamson has his own corporate website, where we learn that DeCarol Williamson Enterprises (based in Wilmington, North Carolina) consists of more than fifty companies, ranging from construction through to horse breeding and golf – in fact, his golf package holiday service is named “Fore Travel“, echoing his “Fore Christ” religious venture. FCN has had an interest in Rwanda since 2005, as these rather dull legal documents show.

Details about Williamson are scarce, although he is described as a Vietnam veteran and a USA International Director of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International. His full name is Odell DeCarol Williamson Jr, and he is obviously named for Odell Williamson (most likely he’s a grandson), who developed the Ocean Isle Beach area of North Carolina after returning from World War II. There is now a Odell Williamson Auditorium and Odell Williamson Municipal Airport, but the name is not without controversy: in 2004 a local weekly named the Indy made mention of

…one [of] North Carolina’s most prominent developers, Brunswick County land tycoon Odell Williamson…[who] was indicted in June 1999 on charges of using his position on the N.C. Board of Transportation to direct public road projects to benefit his private developments. (A judge ruled in December 1999 Williamson was medically unfit to stand trial, ending the case.)

The website of the North Carolina Real Estate Commission has the detail that someone named Odell DeCarol Williamson of Ocean Isle Beach (one assumes another relative of the evangelist) had had his broker license suspended in 1996 for “drug related offenses”.

A 1999 news report from Nicaragua has a short profile of DeCarol Williamson and his mission:

El Ministerio Para-Cristo, Inc., es un organismo que se define sin inclinación denominacional, es decir, no se identifica con bautistas, pentecostales, Asambleas de Dios o cualquier otra organización. Tampoco es nacionalista ni étnico.

However, although his ministry is not related to any particular organisation, he is not apolitical at home: records (e.g. here and here) show various donations made by his wife Jan through DeCarol Williamson Enterprises to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

12 Responses

  1. This makes me think of Rick Warren and his recent concentration on poor Rwanda. I wonder if there will be a war of ministries all racing to see who can rescue the most miserable country on earth first. Have you heard anything from Rick Warren about this, or any sense of how these groups will interact with each other?

    I love your work. Thank you.

  2. Decarol Williamson is a family friend, I’m from his home town. contact me if you need info

  3. […] in February I noted the plans of another Christian broadcaster to reach across Africa, in that case from […]

  4. Recent commentator: I can’t allow unsubstantiated allegations to remain on this site.

    • I am the oldest of Dr. DeCarol Williamson’s seven children. I love my father dearly and if I can say anything with certaintly about my father it is this: Even in the most difficult of circumstances he has kept the faith. He has been obedient to the vision God placed in his heart so long ago. This has been at a great cost. I’m not just speaking of material costs, but his willingness to put himself in the position to be a target of misunderstanding and scruitiny. He is a man who knows where is strength comes from. He is a man I am not just proud to call my father but also my brother in Christ, Jesus.

      • Outstanding testament of a son for his father, as well as for his Christian brother. Well done. ❤

  5. permitame saludarlo en el nombre de nuestro señor jesucristo.
    felicitarlo y bendecirlo , por la gran obra que hace , y eso me demuestra que es un verdadero siervo de DIOS NUESTRO PADRE.
    quiero decirle que veo a travez de la tv sus predicas aun que no siempre , porque una televisora local se cuelga del satelite ,y entonces eso me entristece mucho , porque se que ud predica la palabra real y de verdad.

    me despido con un abrazo y lo bendig

  6. I will say that I am not a religious man and in fact I question everything and everyone, but through a chance encounter I had the fortune to me meet deCarol and spent 1 day with him. In that day I can say I met a man who truly believes in what he is doing, is honest and trusting, and though he is a religious man he never once preached or even asked about my faith, for no reason but kindness he opened himself and his home up to me and my girlfriend and asked for nothing in return but a moment of friendship. Do I know every detail about DeCarol? No, and I dont need to. He is a good man and I will always be thankful for that day and for his friendship.

  7. I had the pleasure of producing Dr. Williamson’s daughter, Jordan’s wedding reception at the Isles Restaurant on November 8, 2008. It turned out to be one of the most memorable, though logistically challenging, productions I’ve ever directed, featuring an inimitable “Wrestlemania” grand entrance after the meal which was in the large dining room in a separate area. Great wedding reception! Jordan and her husband are creative folks. Dr. Williamson is blessed.

  8. meeting Dearol in Washington 1962,he invited us to stay in his condiminium at OceanBeach We were to meet him at 9 am He rang at 8 to give the following story, Hehad woken at 6 to read the word of God, at 7 he had rung his manager to offer his house to live in! And to take over his office ! at 7.30 he was rung by a Missionary “Are you FREE, De Carol? We need you to lead our Far East Asia Mission. ” “Yes” said De Carol. “Oh good, can you start on Thursday?” “Yes” said the now freed Man! So he rang to say, could we make it a bit later as he had a few things to do seeing as how he was to leave for the Far Eastern Asia Mission in was it Malaysia, I forget !! This man OBEYS GOD

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