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Consecration service - two new Bishops stand before the Archbishop, flanked by the Bishop of Makamba, left, and the Bishop of Bujumbura, right.
Photo No. : P051108-1
Click for enlarged photo

Bishops of the Anglican Church of Burundi with Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi and the two newly-consecrated Bishops.
Photo No. : P051108-2
Click for enlarged photo

Inauguration of New Diocese & Consecration of Two Bishops for Anglican Church of Burundi
EAB PRESS 051108-1
November 8, 2005

[EAB Press - Burundi] The 5-6th November 2005 was a memorable and historic weekend for the Anglican Church of Burundi as the new diocese of Muyinga was inaugurated and two new bishops were consecrated. The Rt Rev Eraste Bigirimana was consecrated and installed as Bishop of Muyinga. The Rt Rev Sixbert Macumi was consecrated and installed as Bishop of Buye.

The colourful and joyful ceremonies for the consecrations and inauguration of Muyinga diocese took place on Saturday 5th November in the stadium at Muyinga.

The Archbishop of Burundi, the Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi, presided, along with Rt. Rev Samuel Ndayisenga, retiring Bishop of Buye diocese, Rt. Rev John Nduwayo, Bishop of Gitega, Rt. Rev Pie Ntukamazina, Bishop of Bujumbura, and Rt. Rev Martin Nyaboho, Bishop of Makamba.

A high point in the ceremonies was when the Archbishop and gathered Bishops laid their hands on Rev. Eraste and Rev. Sixbert. Each received the symbols of office – a Bible, a cross, a ring, and, as they were installed, a staff. As Archbishop Ntahoturi presented Bishop Eraste and Bishop Sixbert to the congregation there was spontaneous applause and drumming. Songs from various choirs added to the celebrations.

In his sermon based on Jesus’ encounter with Simon Peter after the resurrection, Archbishop Ntahoturi spoke of Simon’s call and the transformation that that call entailed as Simon became Peter, the Rock, an Apostle challenged to love Jesus completely, and commissioned to take care of the flock of Christ. He said that for Bishop Eraste and Bishop Sixbert the challenge and commission are the same. They should also endeavour to be channels of living water even in difficult circumstances. Their work must include the ministry of healing and reconciliation. Calling on the congregation to support the new bishops the Archbishop said, “It is time that every Christian from every congregation knows that they have been called to be harvesters in God’s harvest. This is a call to the priesthood of all believers.”

The new diocese of Muyinga is the sixth diocese in the Province of the EAB and will serve the parishes in the north-eastern areas of Cankuzo and Muyinga that stretch to the border with Tanzania. It is a predominantly rural area and consists of 10 parishes and numerous sub-parishes.

Asked about his thoughts on becoming the Bishop of the new diocese, Bishop Eraste admits that he faces a big task but he knows that God will help him. “It is a calling, a blessing from God”, he says. Among his priorities are the training of pastors and the building of a Bible School. He is also looking forward to working with all people, especially the pastors and lay Christians of the diocese.

The installation of Bishop Sixbert as Bishop of Buye took place on Sunday 6th November in the Cathedral of All Saints in Buye. In his sermon the Bishop of Gitega, the Rt. Rev. John Nduwayo, expressed thanks for the ministry of Bishop Samuel Ndayisenga. He reminded the congregation of the importance of prayer and their responsibility to pray for their leaders and to serve God. He encouraged Bishop Sixbert that he has received his authority from Jesus who has promised to be with him always and whose power is unlimited. He said, “Feel that God will always be with you, be it in difficult or easy times.”

Bishop Sixbert becomes the third Bishop of the oldest diocese in the Province of the EAB. Buye diocese was inaugurated in 1965. Asked about his vision for the diocese, he says that he wants to give priority to evangelism. He is realistic, however, about the many challenges that include extreme poverty, AIDS, the results of the war, and the affects of the recent drought in the northern part of the diocese.

“I want to see in Buye diocese a Church that serves God, His people, and the whole world, so that it may become God’s Kingdom. Being a Bishop is to be a servant or a shepherd and to show the love of Christ, who died for us, towards those for whom I have responsibility.”

Reviewing the weekend, Archbishop Ntahoturi said, “It has been a great weekend for the Province, and we thank God. We need however to continue to pray for the whole Church, and especially for the work of reconciliation.”