Looking back on the Archbishop’s visit to Anglicans in Burundi, Rwanda, DRC and Kenya
Tuesday 7th March 2017Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby made an official visit to the Anglican Church of Rwanda and spent time with the Primates of Burundi, Congo and Kenya in their Provinces.
In most parts of Africa rain is considered a blessing, so there was joy when Archbishop Justin arrived in Burundi during a tropical downpour.
The Archbishop was greeted at Bujumbura airport by the Primate of Burundi, Archbishop Martin Nyaboho, at the start of a week-long visit to Africa to meet with fellow Primates in four Anglican Provinces.
The purpose of the visit was to spend time with the Primates of Burundi, Congo, Rwanda and Kenya; to hear about and see the work of the Church in each Province; to discuss future opportunities for the Anglican Communion in the world; and to pray together.
The trip comprised an official three-day visit to the Anglican Church of Rwanda, and fraternal visits to the Provinces of Burundi, Congo and Kenya.
Also at the airport to receive the Archbishop were the Bishops and their spouses, as well as the Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Dr Jean de Dieu Ndikumana.
While in Burundi, Archbishop Justin and Archbishop Martin broke the ground for a new Christian university in Bujumbura. Archbishop Justin also met with Provincial staff working to tackle gender-based violence and HIV/AIDS.
In a meeting with Burundi’s House of Bishops, the Archbishop was informed that many parts of Burundi have been affected by famine, and that the impact of the poverty is being felt across the nation. The Archbishop updated them on various developments in the Anglican Communion, and also shared with them about the Thy Kingdom Come prayer campaign taking place around the Communion between Ascension and Pentecost this year.
The next leg of the trip was an official three-day visit to the Anglican Church of Rwanda, where Archbishop Justin and Mrs Welby were hosted by the Primate of Rwanda, Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje.
Archbishop Justin visited the East African Revival Heritage Centre in Gahini, which he described as the “most beautiful place and the birthplace of the Anglican Church in the Great Lakes Region.” During his visit the Archbishop declared the site a Regional Revival Heritage Centre, and spoke of the impact that the East African Revival had had on his personal faith.
In a sermon, the Archbishop said that Gahini is the never-ending river that feeds the faithful with the Holy Spirit. He encouraged them to keep praying for the betterment of the world, and for the building up of God’s church for His glory.
During his time in Rwanda the Archbishop also attended the Rwanda University Youth Convention in Kigali, joining Archbishop Onesphore, bishops, clergy and young people.
Archbishop Justin preached at the Sunday service, which was attended by over 3,000 worshipers, most of them students and youth. The service marked the end of the three-day conference, which was organised by the Rwanda Anglican Student Association (RASA).
From Rwanda the Archbishop and Mrs Welby travelled to Goma, DRC, to visit new Primate of Congo, Archbishop Masimango Katanda. The two Archbishops spent time discussing reconciliation and opportunities for the Anglican Communion to serve the world.
While in Goma the Archbishop met with the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) team, which is headquartered in Nairobi and was visiting DRC. Secretary General Canon Grace Kaiso outlined the role and mission of CAPA in encouraging provinces in unlock their potential.
CAPA briefed the Archbishop on a tool they have been developing for mapping resources, enabling congregations to identify existing professionals for the mission of the church — for example, groups of doctors who might work together in a holistic mission.
The Archbishop then went to greet church leaders and Christians at Goma Cathedral. He was received by hundreds of school children, youth and church leaders. After a formal welcome by the Diocesan Bishop of Goma and also by the Primate of Congo, the Archbishop and Mrs Welby addressed the congregation.
Archbishop Justin and Archbishop Masimango then visited Tearfund office in Goma to meet with staff and hear about their work.
Finally, the Archbishop paid a courtesy call on the Governor of North Kivu, Julien Paluku Kahongya. They exchanged ideas on peace and reconciliation.
Speaking in DRC, the Archbishop said: “Something I see every time I visit is that the Anglican Church here has lots of vigour, life and lots of spirit. It uses this spiritual force in its work tackling violence against women, in contributing to reconciliation, education, healthcare and development in the towns and villages where it works.”
From Goma the Archbishop and Mrs Welby were flown to Kigali by the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF). In Kigali the Archbishop visited Kigali Anglican Theological College (KATC), where he addressed staff and students of the college.
The Principal of the KATC, the Revd Canon Dr Antoine Rutayisire, welcomed the Archbishop and outlined the unique modular programme of KATC, which is aimed at meeting the special needs of an untrained clergy.
Amid a heavy downpour, Archbishop Justin and team departed for Kigali Airport to fly to Nairobi for the final leg of the visit. The Archbishop and Mrs Welby were hosted in the Province of Kenya by the Primate, Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit, who was enthroned in June 2016.
The Archbishop spent time in discussion and prayer with Archbishop Jackson, and met with his team. He also visited All Saints Cathedral, Nairobi, where he was received by the Provost, the Very Revd Canon Sammy Wanaina.
While in Nairobi, Archbishop Justin attended a meeting of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) to discuss the ongoing crisis in South Sudan. The meeting was convened by the Chair of CAPA, the Primate of Central Africa, Archbishop Albert Chama.
While in Nairobi, the Archbishop met with the British High Commissioner, Nic Hailey, who briefed him on the famine affecting many countries in the region, as well as the upcoming elections in the country. The Archbishop assured him of his prayers.
Archbishop Justin also briefly met with the former Primate of Kenya, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, who is now Chair of the Kenya Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).