Long Term Partnership is Vital Claims Archbishop of Burundi

Posted by Colin Corbridge on Fri, 25 Apr 2008 | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

CMS Ireland’s Regional Mission Partner for Mid Africa, Niall Manogue, has recently returned from a visit to Burundi, where he spent time with CMS Ireland’s partners in Gitega and Matana Dioceses.

During his time he had the opportunity to meet Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi and you can listen to an extract of their time together by clicking below or read on for Niall’s reflections on his visit.

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“It’s now two weeks since I returned from Burundi, and I was disappointed to see in the last week, that the country has made the headlines again – for all the wrong reasons.

The last remaining rebel movement in Burundi, the FNL, launched a series of attacks on Bujumbura, the capital city, at the end of last week. During the latest wave of violence it is estimated that more than 30 people have died and I can’t help thinking that it adds to the climate of fear and uncertainty, undermining efforts towards reconciliation and peace.

Sadly, Burundi’s story is not an isolated one – nations all over the world struggle as they make the transition from violence to peace. As we look at the surrounding countries of Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, DR Congo, we see that all have had deal with a violent past or present in order to secure a peaceful future – many are still dealing with it today.

He saw the chance to have partnerships that are mutually enriching, that build each other up, that help us each engage in mission more effectively.

So where does the church fit in with all this? How should the ‘Body of Christ’ respond? During my trip to Burundi a couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be able to spend time with Archbishop Bernard, the Archbishop of the Anglican Province of Burundi.

We had the opportunity to talk about Burundi and in particular in how the country is trying to move along the road towards peace and stability. Reconciliation lies at the heart of what the church is trying to do here. Archbishop Bernard pointed out that the key to peace and prosperity in the future lay in holistic transformation. This sounds rather jargony, but simply means dealing with the social, physical and spiritual needs of the country equally. All across Burundi the church is sharing the good news of Jesus in word and deed.

Treating the sick.

Taking care of the widow and orphan.

Reconciling people to each other and God.

Making disciples.

The church in Burundi knows that this work will take generations. This is not a quick fix solution that will be completed in 5 years. Archbishop Bernard spoke so positively about partnership between Burundi and Ireland, and about the potential to develop more, because he saw the value in CMS Ireland’s philosophy of long-term partnership. He saw something of a shared experience of history between the two places. He saw the chance to have partnerships that are mutually enriching, that build each other up, that help us each engage in mission more effectively.

That’s a vision that I want to be involved in. Wouldn’t it be amazing if, instead of a series of bombings, the news was able to carry stories of reconciliation and revival in Burundi? Wouldn’t it be amazing if we in Ireland could share our stories with Burundi, and could learn from their experience of conflict?

If we take partnership seriously, if we engage holistically, then we move towards a place where that vision becomes reality. It’s a slow process, difficult at times, but one with the potential to transform the world.”

If you want to know more about engaging with partnership in Burundi, please contact Niall Manogue