Mission and justice team welcomes Burundian partner

For the next three years, Bishop Pie Ntukamazina of the Diocese of Bujumbura in Burundi will serve as an international partner on the Partners in Mission and Ecojustice (PMEJ) Committee of General Synod. His participation will continue a strong partnership between Anglicans in Canada and Burundi, forged by years of exchange visits as well as joint work in development and mission.

Bishop Pie Ntukamazina of Burundi will serve as an international partner on the Partners in Mission and Ecojustice (PMEJ) Committee of General Synod.

Bishop Pie Ntukamazina of Burundi will serve as an international partner on the Partners in Mission and Ecojustice (PMEJ) Committee of General Synod.

“People may think that partnership is made up of development projects and looking for finances,” said Bishop Ntukamazina in an interview, “but relationship is sharing our concerns for how the church is living and also sharing blessings. This is what makes a church.”

Bishop Ntukamazina is in Toronto, Ont., from Sept. 22 to 25 for the first meeting of the new PMEJ committee. Members, who serve a three-year term, were either elected at General Synod last June or appointed by the Primate.

As an international partner, Bishop Ntukamazina will learn more about the work of General Synod’s Partnerships department, which oversees mission and justice work in Canada and overseas. Their work includes the Theological Students International Internship Program,Volunteers in Mission, and advocacy for environmental justice and Indigenous rights.

Bishop Ntukamazina will also have an opportunity to share his reflections with the committee. His presence continues a decades-long tradition for Partnerships to welcome and learn from international partners. From 2007 to 2010 the Rev. Florence Ayban of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines served in this role.

Strong Canada-Burundi connections
For 20 years, the Right Rev. Pie Ntukamazina has served as bishop of the Diocese of Bujumbura, part of the Anglican Province of Burundi. He estimates that there are about 1 million Anglicans out of a population of 9.5 million in the east African nation, which is rebuilding after a decade-long civil war. Bishop Ntukamazina said the province’s priorities are evangelism, training trainers, and development.

During his tenure, Bishop Ntukamazina has witnessed a growing connection between the Burundian and Canadian churches. He worked for many years with Canadian Partners in Mission staff (now part of Partnerships), and his diocese is currently in a companion diocese partnership with the Diocese of Quebec. In 2007, Bishop Ntukamazina was an international partner at General Synod in Winnipeg, Man., and in 2009 his diocese welcomed a Canadian delegation led by the Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz.

Canadian ties with Burundi have been further strengthened by the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), the Anglican Church of Canada’s agency for sustainable development, relief, refugees, and global justice. PWRDF’s work in Burundi is focused on community preventative health. Among other projects, they have helped establish two health clinics that have assisted over 10,000 people through education, treatment, and distribution of supplies such as  malaria-preventing mosquito nets.

Bishop Ntukamazina says it is a privilege to participate in the PMEJ Committee. He believes that in-person visits are valuable throughout the Anglican Communion.

“It is important because we are created in the image of God,” he said. “What makes the love of God more relevant than what we see in each other’s lives through communication and sharing of experiences?”

Other members of the PMEJ Committee are the Ven. Dr. Larry Beardy (Keewatin), Caroline Chum (Moosonee), the Rev. Paul Gehrs (partner from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada), Jennifer Gosse (Military Ordinariate), Cynthia Haines-Turner (Western Newfoundland), Bishop Michael Ingham (chair, New Westminster), Nicholas Pang (Montreal), Anne Patterson  (Ontario), the Rev. Jonathan Schmidt (ecumenical partner from the Canadian Churches’ Forum for Global Ministries), and the Ven. Canon Pierre Voyer (Quebec).

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