Seventh-day Adventist Church appeals to Burundi government

Seventh-day Adventist Church appeals to Burundi government

May 14, 2019  |  Silver Spring, Maryland, United States  | 

Bujumbura pinned on a map of Africa

Seventh-day Adventist world church president Ted N.C. Wilson has issued an urgent appeal for prayer following the recent arrest and detention of 22 Adventist leaders and members in the central African nation of Burundi. The arrests were ordered by the national government and follow six months of illegal interference on the part of the Burundi government in the administration of the Adventist Church in that country. 

“I call on all Seventh-day Adventists to pray for our church members in Burundi, for religious liberty in that country, and for the release of all those improperly imprisoned Seventh-day Adventists,” said Wilson in a statement issued May 13. “Please pray until we see God’s mighty hand changing this dire situation in Burundi.”

Among those arrested was Lamec Barishinga, who was duly elected in November 2018 as president of the Burundi Union Mission. The national government of Burundi, however, has refused to recognize the change in leadership and has continued to support the former union mission president. 

“The situation in Burundi is both complex and sensitive and is being driven by many different forces—some of which we are aware of, and some of which we have yet to fully understand,” said Ganoune Diop, director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty for the Adventist world church.  Diop recently headed a delegation of Adventist world church leaders to visit government officials in Burundi. 

“The recent arrests have made it clear the government of Burundi is interfering in the selection of Adventist Church leadership and is acting contrary to the principles of religious liberty,” said Diop. “This is a breach of Burundi’s human rights obligations under international law.” 

The Adventist Church in Burundi has some 186,000 members who are active in community service and outreach programs throughout the country. Seventh-day Adventists uphold the Bible as the Word of God, and accept Jesus Christ as their only Savior. They teach that church members are to be good citizens, obeying the laws of the land, and are to honor and pray for government leaders. Adventists believe they are called to follow in Christ’s footsteps, meeting people’s needs physically, socially, and most important, spiritually.

Wilson has extended a personal message to Adventist Church members in Burundi, telling them they are not forgotten by their worldwide church. 

“Your world church family, with millions of members globally, is praying for you,” said Wilson. “Stay faithful to God’s biblical truths as you claim the following Bible promise: ‘Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’ (Joshua 1:9).” 

With the arrests last week, Pastor Wilson is now asking for the support of the international community in securing the release of the detained Adventists and for the return of the Union Mission administrative offices to the duly elected church leaders.

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1 thought on “Seventh-day Adventist Church appeals to Burundi government


    It’s a wonderful action to pray for church members in Burundi. But General Conference has the first responsibility, in this crisis in Burundi. When children fight, the father has to intervene and listen to them both sides. General Conference failed that responsibility. Burundi Government has nothing to do in Adventist conflict today in Burundi but they try to help what General Conference could do. As we know, there is no bad treatment to 2 Pastors detained because of security instability in the church they are accused, but we pray for that they can be realesed as soon as possible. All we know is that religious liberty in Burundi and SDAdventist belief is 100% respected, even the president of Republic he is a preacher.

    My humble proposition to solve that problem which is not easy because of the character of the conflict. The problem is according the report, that one of staff members of East-Central Africa Division in Kenya is also involved in missing of 200 million Burundi francs, that is why the delegation from that Division could not do his job as mediators, come to an agreement or meet the other side. The Conflict is on a high risk of ethnic problem which is behind. It’s not only payers but to make a concrete action before it’s become too big.
    Pastor Ted wrote: “…the Burundi government has increasingly harassed and abused the Seventh-day Adventist Church by imprisoning, beating, and intimidating Seventh-day Adventist church leaders and members” this is not correct and it can make conflict more complicated.

    3 proposal, which are: 1. General Conference to send a new delegation which is not involved in Burundi Crisis, and not East-Central Africa Division, talk with both sides, its good because to side respect the structures of the Church worldwide, find an agreement through mediation and finally have agreements with the Burundian state. The conflict in Burundi SDA is on a high risk of ethnic problem… After 6-month conflict, Pastor Ted ask only for prayer… this is not good at all. GC has to do something than prayer.

    Japhet Legentil Legentil, sda Church member in Sandnes.

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