Youth representing the six dioceses of the Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi met for one week from 17–21 April 2006 for training in peace building, justice, and truth and reconciliation in a post-conflict context.
Supported financially by the World Council of Churches, the training was part of an on-going project to rebuild respect and mutual trust among the youth of Burundi in order to see the nation transformed. It was also designed to encourage them to commit themselves to be agents of peace individually and on behalf of their communities.
Meeting in the Lycée in Matana, the young people, between the ages of 15-25 years, had occasion to consider and discuss some of the critical issues facing Burundians at this point in their history.
The main speakers were the Archbishop, the Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi, the bishops of the dioceses of Bujumbura and Makamba, the former Provincial Secretary, a lay person from the Church with experience in politics in Burundi, and a Human Rights activist.
Throughout the week the participants were challenged to commit themselves as Christian youth to the process of transformation. This was applied to their personal lives, with particular emphasis on the area of sexuality. The Church should be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church without frontiers. Families and communities should be transformed through changed attitudes and positive relationships. In the country transformation would occur as young people mobilized themselves to use their energies, resources, education, dreams, and hopes in peace-building, restoration of culture and tradition, reconciliation, and the pursuit of truth and justice. As youth they were encouraged to make responsible decisions, to practice discipline, and to be determined in the pursuit of goals.
There were opportunities for informal worship and fellowship, and discussion in small groups followed by plenary sessions. The Archbishop provided an open time for questions. Those who were successful in the Bible knowledge quiz each received a Bible. The football match held mid-week resulted in a resounding victory for the local team!
Finally the participants were sent back to their dioceses to train and equip others, and to witness to their faith as Christian youth. Before they left they asked the Church to organize other meetings in order to continue discussions on the theme of peace and reconciliation. As one participant said, “Burundi needs a godly, educated generation of leaders to proclaim the Gospel and to influence decision–making in the Church and the nation.”
Article from: EAB Press