World church leaders in Burundi to help promote peace

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby meeting with Burundi's president Pierre Nkurunziza

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby meeting with Burundi’s president Pierre Nkurunziza in Bujumbura.

The leaders of the World Council of Churches (WCC), All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) have visited Burundi in an effort to see how they can help restore peace.

Speaking to Afrika Reporter at the end of their 4-day tour (March 1-4), the head of the clergy delegation, Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of the WCC said “we knew something before, that there are many challenges in the country and we learned that Burundi is confronted with the political violence which is a big risk for the stability of the country and the entire region. So we are here to support those who take the lead in the national dialogue and to see how we as international ecumenical church partners can be supportive.”

Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit maintained as religious leaders, they are advocating for peace through faith.

“Churches and religious communities can play a role if they are not biased and keep a higher level of interest of the whole people as the standards and not the interests of one group against the other,” he said, adding that churches should unite to support peace efforts and a real dialogue.

The delegation made their solidarity visit to Burundi to express commitment to work with all religious leaders and all peace-seeking people of Burundi to secure a lasting peace and stability in Burundi.

The religious leaders included the representatives of the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran Church in Germany, All Africa Conference of Churches and the Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa.
They met with several government officials, members of the opposition, religious leaders, members of international and humanitarian organizations as they discussed ways the country can overcome the current crisis.

In a related development, UK’s Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the World Anglican Church Leader, also visited the East African nation.

At the end of his trip to Burundi Saturday, Archbishop Welby called for the reinstatement of aid to the country by western nations and other development partners.

The head of the Anglican Church also appreciated efforts by Burundians to restore peace to their country.
“My impression is that most people are willing to pay the cost of reconciliation which is a long and painful process,” he said