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Formalities and celebrations as Burundi’s new Archbishop installed

Posted on: August 22, 2016 10:21 AM
Archbishop Martin Blaise Nyaboho is installed on as the fourth Archbishop of Burundi during a service yesterday (Sunday, 21 August) in in Bujumbura’s Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Photo Credit: Guy Nasasagare / Anglican Church of Burundi

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The new Archbishop of Burundi, the Most Revd Martin Blaise Nyaboho, was installed on Sunday at a service in which legal formalities were mixed with a sense of real celebration. Archbishop Nyaboho was elected as the as the fourth primate of the province in June. He succeeds Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, who has retired after 11 years in the post.

During the service, in Bujumbura’s Holy Trinity Cathedral, Archbishop Bernard summarised the history and the development of the Anglican Church of Burundi; and said that the growth of the Church was due to Christians working together with God. “We did it together, and God was with us,” he said.

He congratulated Archbishop Martin and prayed that God would bless his ministry.

The Church of England’s Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, preached the sermon, sharing insights from the biblical ministry of Jeremiah, who was called by God not to be a priest, as expected, but a prophet.

Like Jeremiah’s ministry the role of an Archbishop is hard, Bishop Paul said. The new Archbishop would face opposition even from those he would have expected to be supportive. He encouraged Archbishop Martin to remember God’s call to him and promise always to be with him as he works to extend God’s Kingdom through personal, community and national restoration and transformation.

Bishop Paul also challenged the whole church to be faithful to God’s call and pray and work so that all people find a welcome in God’s Kingdom.

The secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, also took part in the service. He said that Archbishop Martin was taking up office at a tough time in Burundi and also within the Anglican Communion.

Referring to the Church as “beautiful but fragile”, Dr Idowu-Fearon presented Archbishop Martin with a glass jug that if dropped would easily break. “Don’t break the Church,” he said, “but keep the focus and unity of the Province”.

He applauded the hard work and exemplary leadership of Archbishop Bernard, saying that his years of effective and productive ministry were cause to praise God.

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Describing the Church as “beautiful but fragile”, the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, presents Archbishop Martin with a glass jug that would break easily if dropped, saying: “Don’t break the Church, but keep the focus and unity of the Province”.
Photo: Guy Nasasagare / Anglican Church of Burundi

The Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Revd Jackson Ole Sapit, was himself installed only last month. Representing the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), he called for “unity, love and dedicated service for the people of Africa.”

The service attracted a wide range of church and civic dignitaries, including the First Vice-President of the country and the President of the Senate – as well as many Senate members. A government representative praised the Church for its contribution to the development of the country over many years and promised to support the Church in its mission.

Other guests include the Archbishop of Rwanda, the Most Revd Dr Onesphore Rwaje; the Revd Benjamin Musoke-Lubega, from Trinity Church, Wall Street, in New York; the Revd Canon Grace Kaiso, general secretary of CAPA; and the Rt Revd Sadock Makaya, the Bishop of Bishop of Western Tanganyika in Tanzania.

There were also representatives from the Church Mission Society (CMS), Mothers’ Union and the Church of England’s Diocese of Winchester, which has a companion link with the Anglican Church of Burundi.

The Anglican presence in Burundi was established through the work of CMS in the 1930s. It grew rapidly as a result of the East African Revival. Today it has some members from an estimated population of just over nine million people in Burundi.

The province, which was established in 1992, has seven dioceses. Its major concerns include peace and reconciliation, advocacy, education, health, literacy and financial education, and community development.

The Church is committed to mission and evangelism and is concerned to support theological education and training for ministry.

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Archbishop Martin Blaise Nyaboho is installed on as the fourth Archbishop of Burundi during a service yesterday (Sunday, 22 August) in in Bujumbura’s Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Photo: Guy Nasasagare / Anglican Church of Burundi

At yesterday’s service, Archbishop Martin expressed thanks to those who had taught, trained and encouraged him throughout his life. “I am what I am because there are people who contributed a lot to my life”, he said.

He expressed his deep appreciation and thanks for Archbishop Bernard’s 11 years as a Primate.

Looking to the future, he said the Church will go ahead with preaching the Gospel, teaching and baptising, fighting injustice, working for love and protecting the environment so that all people can live as free human beings.

He expressed his gratitude to the Anglican Communion and to the Archbishop of Canterbury for the support received and clearly stated that “the Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi is, and will always be, a full part of the Anglican Communion.”