At the opening of Burundi Annual Conference session, the Right Honorable Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Sinzohagera the legal representative of the United Methodist Church in Burundi delivered a strong speech of hope and church‘s progress in Burundi.
He said, « Let us first of all praise our God the Almighty, who is merciful forever, and who enabled us to gather here as a board of the Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church in Burundi. Let us join to cheer for Him! »
He thanked the resident Bishop for coming to chair these activities of the Annual Conference. He requested the church to express their gratitude towards him with applause for his effort.
« God did us a favour by giving us a bishop who cares for us and who loves us very much as a Church here in Burundi. May God bless him! », Honorable Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Sinzohagera said
He added, « We also met just as apostles and elders met in Jerusalem to trace a good way for the people of God during their time (Acts 15:6).This Annual Conference is a good opportunity for us to make adequate decisions which are liable to honour our Church ».
He reminded the church that in a five-year plan , as the Burundian Annual Conference, church members set the objective of making the United Methodist Church that is vibrant, holistically functional and self-reliant economically.
He insisted, « No one else could achieve this objective except ourselves as leaders, chosen by God to serve the people he has entrusted to us. We must therefore act, each according to his vocation, and in the light of the Holy Spirit. We take this opportunity to ask superintendents to adopt the good habit of producing daily reports on the achievements at the level of parishes in order to encourage one another. We would like to see the good accomplishments of our Church posted on its websites. »
Honarable Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Sinzohagera added , « We are holding this Annual Conference, after our Church has saved its face. In the recent crusade held in Kayero-Rutana district, we managed to reconcile as believers. Let me remind you that, guided by the Spirit of God, we confessed and forgave one another, and we declared that henceforth we form a truly United Methodist Church, promising that no one will ever again be able to divide us ».
« Furthermore, you have to know that if we choose to unite, we will achieve a lot of progress. But if we get divided, we will destroy ourselves; for every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation! So, it is not the time to seek to ruin ourselves. Rather, let us be aware and know that this is the time of obvious victory and progress because our leader is Jesus Christ who triumphed. » He advised.
He reminded, « Dear Pastors, heads of districts and parishes, you know that you are servants of the people of God. We would like you to be good leaders who love and care for God’s flock. But if you say to yourselves: “our master is taking a long time in coming”, and then you begin to beat and ill-treat the sheep that God has given you, remember the word of Jesus when he said that: “The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.” (Luke 12: 46). So, let us be careful in this mission of servant that God has entrusted to us, knowing that we will be accountable to Him. We call upon you once again to take advantage of this unity by carrying out spiritual and material development projects. Nehemiah says, “Come, let’s rebuild Jerusalem’s wall, so that we will no longer be a disgrace!” (Neh. 2:17). We call on you too to come and rebuild the United Methodist Church so that we may no longer suffer disgrace»
Honorable Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Sinzohagera told the delegates to get rid of old behavior of expecting what the church should do for them and instead think of what they should do for the church. He continued to say that some church members wait for benefits from the church rather than to think about their contributions towards the church and because of that he told them that in this conference they will compromise and fix amount of contribution that will be given by every member to begin with this year of 2021.
He also comforted members of Kayero-Rutana districts who lost their lovely superintendent the late Rev. Niyimubona Zacharie.
He thanked the Government of Burundi for its support to Churches, and particularly to the United Methodist Church in Burundi. He promised to always support the Government’s projects. « the objective of the United Methodist Church in Burundi is to get in all the provinces of the country in the coming years and carry out various projects which should contribute to the development » he said. The church has already many projects going on in different parts of the country and some are underway to be started.
« Let us recall that we have come to this conference at a time when the whole world is threatened by covid-19. We thank God for keeping on protecting our country Burundi. If God had not been on our side, we would be suffering a lot. Nevertheless, we urge you to keep on praying, but also to follow the advice given by the Ministry in charge of Public Health with regard to protective measures against this scourge. You should even get tested regularly to find out about your health » he concluded.