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Burundi diocese breakaway rumours ‘fake news’

27 January 2023

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THE Archbishop of Burundi, the Most Revd Sixbert Macumi, has denied “false rumours” that his Province is to break with the Anglican Communion and align with GAFCON.

Archbishop Macumi wrote this week to the Secretary General of the Communion, the Rt Revd Anthony Poggo, on behalf of the House of Bishops of Burundi.

He said that reports that the Province would move to GAFCON were “not true”, and described them as “fake news from people whose intention is still unknown”.

His letter did not mention the College and House of Bishops’ proposals, announced last week, to offer services of prayer and thanksgiving for same-sex couples and bless same-sex civil marriages in church (News, 20 January). Archbishop Macumi’s letter did say, however, that the Anglican Church of Burundi would “always remain a member of the Anglican Communion and well committed to observing the biblical truth and Christ centred teachings and messages that are proclaimed to the world as it is recommended in Matthew 28.16-20 and as long as the 1/10 Resolution is observed”.

Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference rejected homosexual practice as “incompatible with scripture”. At last year’s Lambeth Conference, the Archbishop of Canterbury said that the “validity” of the resolution was “not in doubt” (News, 5 August 2022).

Archbishop Macumi’s letter continued: “I would like also to take this opportunity to inform the Anglican Church worldwide that the constitution of the Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi . . . is much clear on being a member of the Anglican Communion, and such decision cannot be changed unless Diocesan Synods, the House of Bishops, and the Provincial Synod, which are the Anglican Church organs for decision-making are consulted and therefore approve it.

“This means that whoever will not follow this procedure would be considered as a deviant to the Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi.

“In conclusion, I strongly reaffirm that the Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi is and will remain a member of the Anglican Communion much as the biblical truth is observed and the Good News of Jesus Christ is faithfully proclaimed.”

In his response, Bishop Poggo wrote that Anglicans in Burundi were a “much loved part of our Anglican communion of churches. . . I do not know who is responsible for circulating these false rumours, but they seek to sow seeds of discord and disunity and distract us from our focus of being God’s Church for God’s World.”

GAFCON Primates accused the former Archbishop of Burundi, the Most Revd Martin Nyaboho, of betrayal, after he attended a gathering led by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, in 2015 (News 30 January 2015).

“I thank God for the ministry of Archbishop Sixbert and his co-bishops in Burundi, and of their faithfulness, and the faithfulness of their priests, deacons, and congregations to the gospel of Christ,” Bishop Poggo wrote.

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