[ACNS source: Episcopal Church of Burundi] Christians across the denominations united last week to pray and fast for the country that has suffered from 10 years of war, during which nearly every family has lost a friend or family member.
Peace marches took place through the streets of Bujumbura, Burundi's capital, and the towns of Gitega and Makamba.
Throughout the week, meetings with prayer for the nation were held with Government and Church leaders at the highest levels, including the President, Domitien Ndayizeye, and the Speaker of the Parliament, Dr Jean Minani. In his address, Dr Minani said,"I pray that this House of People's Representatives should become a House of God."
The week culminated on Saturday and Sunday afternoons in Celebrations of Peace in stadiums around the country.
In Bujumbura Dr K A Paul, from Global Peace Initiative in USA, urged the Church to repent, to turn to Jesus the Prince of Peace, and to allow the transforming grace of God to restore hope and trust between the people of Burundi. He commended Church leaders on the unity they displayed.
The initiative was organised by a committee comprised of representatives from most of the denominations, Catholic and Protestant.
The Rt Revd Bernard Ntahoturi, Anglican Bishop of Matana diocese, said, "This event took place in the month of October when the people of Burundi remember the assassination of the first Prime Minister of Burundi on the 13 October 1961, the first inter-ethnic killings on the 18 October 1965, and the assassination of the first democratically elected President on the 21 October 1993. The Churches organised this event to seek healing from God for wounded lives, cleansing of the land, and reconciliation for those in conflict. Restoring peace is a journey and we call on our friends in Burundi and abroad to walk with us."