North Burundi Field

By Hakizimana Eustache

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Hakizimana Eustache

First Published: April 22, 2022

The North Burundi Field (NBF) is a part of the Burundi Union Mission in the West-Central Africa Division of Seventh-day Adventists. It was organized in 2002, and its headquarters is in Quartier Kanyami, Ngozi, Burundi.

Territory: Burundi; comprising the East Burundi, North Burundi, North-West Burundi, and South-West Burundi Fields.

Statistics (June 30, 2021): churches, 502; membership, 195,144; population, 12,241,000. 

Statistics of Churches, Companies, and Membership From 20021

Year Churches Companies Membership
2002 38 51 15,711
2003 43 56 16,827
2004 45 61 18,294
2005 49 56 19,484
2006 52 67 20,962
2007 57 75 23,291
2008 66 84 26,146
2009 70 86 27,705
2010 75 86 28,729
2011 76 97 29,807
2012 79 106 31,323
2013 82 107 19,313
2014 88 112 21,419
2015 95 111 23,134
2016 97 112 25,189
2017 101 124 28,519
2018 106 130 38,673
2019 106 135 40,072
2020 107 135 40,239

As the table shows, from 2002 to 2020, NBF had an increase of 69 churches, which is an average of 3.6 churches per year; an increase of 84 companies, which is an average of 4.4 companies per year. For the same period, NBF experienced a membership growth of 24,528, which is an annual average of 1,290 members. NBF houses the very populated provinces in the country; namely, Kayanza and Ngozi, where the population density is respectively 470 inhabitants per km2 and 450/km.2 This means that the Adventist Church in Burundi still has a large unreached mission field.

Though the Seventh-day Adventist presence is felt in each province, the level of church growth does not follow the same trend everywhere. For instance, the Adventist ratio in Ngozi is 0.5 percent. In the provinces of Karusi and Kayanza the Adventist ratio is 0.6 percent. The provinces of Muyinga and Kirundo have an Adventist ratio of 1.1 percent and 1.3 percent respectively. Based on this data,2 the NBF can be still considered an unentered area.

Organizational History

It was during the General Assembly of the Burundi Attached Territory, which was convened on September 26, 1999, that the idea of organizing the NBF was born. It has been materialized by the action no 43/99: “voted to recommend to Africa and Indian Ocean Division (AID) to accept the reorganization of Burundi Association into three fields: North Burundi Field, East Burundi Field, and West Burundi Field.”3 The General Assembly was chaired by Carlyle Bayne.4 He was assisted by Nteziryayo Samuel as secretary and Ndikubwayo Joseph as recording secretary.

AID recommended upgrading the Burundi Association to Burundi Union Mission on Tuesday, May 28, 2002. By the action 02-272, a vote was taken to request the General Conference to study the upgrading of Burundi Association to Burundi Union Mission, which would consist of three fields: North Burundi, West Burundi, and East Burundi.5 It was expected that at the end of the last quarter of 2002, the process should be finalized.

It had followed that by the action 02-359, and AID has recorded and filed the request from the Burundi Association for appointing officers for the three fields.6 The officers of East Burundi Field, North Burundi Field, and West Burundi Field have been elected by merging the secretariat and the treasury into one office. Ngiriyumunyugwa Eliazar has been appointed as North Burundi Field president with Bampige Elias as his secretary-treasurer.

On September 16, 2002, the constituency meeting was convened. Delegates from all organized churches and evangelical districts of the field were joined by Charles Montille7 and Carlyle Bayne as envoys from AID to organize the North Burundi Mission. On that day the NBF was organized.

Since its organization, NBF did everything to consolidate its status. Besides the evangelism program, it embarked on a journey of strengthening its educational system. When it got organized, the entire mission had one primary school of Kabogo located at 230 km from the headquarters of the mission. Todays NBF runs four8 secondary schools. Those educational institutions constitute the evangelism centers.

The Impact of the 2019 to 2020 Leadership Crisis

NBF has been negatively affected by the 2019 to 2020 leadership crisis that occurred at the union level and shook the whole Seventh-day Adventist Church in Burundi. The NBF executive secretary Ntirandekura Pascal and treasurer Nkundumpe Bangaya Albert got involved in the dissident movement and rebelled against the official union leadership. They also drew some pastors and church members, intending to make the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Burundi their own company and seize the church finances. Of the 17 evangelical districts that comprised NBF, 11 were impacted by the dissident insurrectionary movement. At that time those evangelical district leaders and local church members who refused to join the dissident movement were excluded from the church.

The leadership crisis lasted two years. Since 2020 the church in Burundi has resumed its activities and continues to guide and care for members who still need help to recover from the blow caused by the insurrectional movement. The church members and leaders work together to remain firm and faithful in their commitment to God and preaching of the gospel until the return of Jesus Christ.

List of Presidents

Ngiriyumunyurwa Eliazar (2002-2010); Bidandaza Benjamin (2010-2015); Ntunzwenimana Enoch (2016-2021).

Sources

Records of Burundi Union Mission Archives, Kiriri, Bujumbura, Burundi.

Records of West-Central Africa Division Archives, Lot, Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Secretariat Annual Statistical Report 2002-2020. North Burundi Field Archives, Quartier Kanyami, Ngozi, Burundi.

Notes

  1. North Burundi Field Archives: Secretariat Annual Statistical Report 2002-2020.

  2. République du Burundi, Ministère des Finances, Institut de Statistiques et d’Etudes Economiques du Burundi (ISTEEBU).

  3. Burundi Union Mission Archives, Association des Eglises Adventistes du 7eme Jour au Burundi, Assemblée Générale (Session), Dimanche, 26 Septembre 1999.

  4. Carlyle Bayne was then the Stewardship Department director of African and Indian Ocean Division, Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

  5. Africa and Indian Ocean Division Mid-Year Committee as of Tuesday, May 28, 2002, Action 02-272, Burundi Association Upgrading, West-Central Africa Division Archives, Lot, Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

  6. See African and Indian Ocean Division Committee as of Thursday, July 25, 2002, Action 02-359, Burundi Association, Appointment of Officers for the 3 Missions.

  7. Charles Montille was then executive secretary of African and Indian Ocean Division, Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

  8. The schools are : Lycée Pearson de Rubuye, Lycée Christos de Kobero, Lycée Adventiste de Rusenyi and Lycée Hancock de Kinyami.

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Eustache, Hakizimana. "North Burundi Field." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 22, 2022. Accessed February 27, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=EJHZ.

Eustache, Hakizimana. "North Burundi Field." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 22, 2022. Date of access February 27, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=EJHZ.

Eustache, Hakizimana (2022, April 22). North Burundi Field. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved February 27, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=EJHZ.