In a blog update from Burundi, the Archbishop of Dublin, The Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, has shared how he was inspired by a visit to a community maize project in the rural highlands of Burundi.
Matana Diocese supports a Church-based agricultural co-operative in the village of Vitezi. It sees Anglicans, Roman Catholics and Pentecostals working together as one family, using parish land to grow and process maize. Archbishop Michael writes:
‘The communities were clear about their differences from one another. They were also clear that whatever might separate their community, they will fight it. I could only hear a voice in the direction of parochial and community life in Ireland in this utterance of determination.’
Archbishop Michael is in Burundi on a partner visit facilitated by the Church Mission Society Ireland (CMSI). He is accompanied by CMSI’s Mission Director, Jenny Smyth, and former CMSI Trustee, Revd Dr Paddy McGlinchey, of the Church of Ireland Theological Institute.
Having arrived in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, on Friday 13th, the team travelled to Makamba Diocese on Saturday, where they joined the Archbishop of Burundi and Bishop of Makamba, The Most Revd Martin Blaise, at his brother’s wedding celebration.
On Sunday morning, the team brought greetings and participated in a Eucharist service in Makamba Cathedral. Archbishop Michael also preached, with Archbishop Martin interpreting. His message was well received and he was even congratulated on his Burundian-length sermon.
After visiting diocesan projects in Makamba on Monday, the team travelled to Matana Diocese – a global partner of CMSI – where they have been hosted by Bishop SethNdayirukiye, learning more about the diocese and visiting the maize projects. On Wednesday, the team return to Bujumbura for the final part of their programme.
Speaking about the first part of the visit, Archbishop Michael said:
“Jenny, Paddy and I have had a most interesting and inspiring introduction to Burundi. At every point we have found the Church to be lively and joyful and the people inspiring in their faith and witness.”