THE Archbishop of Canterbury and the RC Archbishop of
Westminster, the Most Revd Vincent Nichols, are backing a
church-led peace campaign in the Great Lakes region of central
Africa, which has suffered more than 20 years of faction-fighting,
genocide, and chaos across three countries.
Archbishop Welby and Archbishop Nichols have sent prayers and
expressed solidarity with the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches
in Burundi, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC),
which have begun a year-long campaign to promote
Conflict across the three countries has caused the deaths of at
least seven million people, and the displacement of many more.
In a joint letter to church leaders in the region, timed for the
launch of the campaign on Advent Sunday, at Goma on the DRC-Rwanda
border, the Archbishops wrote: "We would like you to know just how
much your courage and dignity is admired by those of us who have
followed your trials and tribulations over the past twenty or more
The Archbishops' message was read out at services across the
three countries, and is expected to reach more than half the
region's population of 90 million.
Last month, the Rwandan local-government minister, James Musoni,
met church leaders to discuss the project. In a joint statement
afterwards, they said that the "Peace in Great Lakes" campaign
would "invite the public, especially the youth, to embrace peace
and reconciliation as the only way to sustainable peace and
Among the strategies they plan to use are partnerships between
religious communities, community mobilisation, and joint pastoral
letters from church leaders, to be read out in parishes.