The Anglican Peace and Justice Network (APJN), under the regional leadership of the Rt Revd Pie Ntukamazina, Bishop of Bujumbura, brought together delegates from 18 countries for meetings in Bujumbura, capital of Burundi.
While in Burundi they visited the site where Bishop Pie and members of his diocesan staff were abducted by rebels in 2004 and the Memorial of the Martyrs of Brotherhood at Buta, Bururi, where 40 young seminarians - Hutu and Tutsi - were massacred in April 1997, having chosen to die together.
Two widows gave their testimonies, describing the terrible atrocities witnessed during the war and how they had received support from the widows’ group organised by Mothers’ Union in Bujumbura diocese. The Rt Revd Martin Nyaboho, Bishop of Makamba diocese, reminded delegates that such stories could be reported thousands of times across the country and region and that poverty is rampant in all communities.
A central part of the gathering was reports from different areas of conflict, among them Sudan, Palestine, Korea and DR Congo. The role of the Church and other initiatives for reconciliation were shared by delegates. Bishop Pie Ntukamazina commented, “There is a desire to develop and deepen a theology of reconciliation in the Church both to better understand the important ministry already going on and to strengthen Christian approaches to pursuing peace and justice. The Gospel of reconciliation should be preached and lived in order to transform our communities and strengthen unity even in diversity in the Anglican Church worldwide. The APJN is a good tool to promote this ministry.”
Pervading the event was prayer and worship. Delegates joined members of the cathedral congregation for an opening service of Holy Communion at which the Rt Revd Sixbert Macumi, Bishop of Buye diocese, presided and Bishop Pie preached, as well as Sunday morning worship at which the preacher was the Rt Revd Micah Dawidi, Bishop of the diocese of Juba, Sudan. There was individual prayer ministry for those carrying the pain of the situations from which they had come.
A communiqué and report were agreed by delegates. Summarising the event, the Revd Canon Brian Grieves, Secretary of APJN, said that it had produced a ‘surprisingly rich communiqué and a report that will be a helpful resource for the Anglican Communion as it identifies models for conflict transformation’.
Item from: The Anglican Church of Burundi