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Archbishop's tribute to Burundi's Anglican Church

Monday 18th July 2005

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams - who is on an official four-day visit to Burundi - has praised the work of the Anglican Church in trying to promote peace and reconciliation after years of violence and bloodshed.

On arrival in the capital, Bujumbura, Dr Williams, told waiting journalists that the church had much to celebrate:

"The aim of my visit is to affirm and praise the work of the Anglican Church here in Burundi, but also to show that we pray and we care for the needs of the nation and we hope that the church, under its news leadership, will continue the great work that it has done for reconciliation and development here. So we are here to celebrate with the church; we are also here to learn what we can do to assist the process of reconciliation."

Burundi saw elections in early July following a turbulent and violent period in its recent history.

Dr Williams who is being accompanied by his wife, Jane, was given a traditional African welcome with drums and dancers.

Later, in a sermon at the enthronement of the Rt Revd Bernard Ntahoturi as the new Archbishop of Burundi, Dr Williams said there was still much for the Church to do:

"To be an apostle, a pastor, a teacher, is to carry Christ in the need and suffering of Christ's world which he loves. And it is to help create a church that carries these burdens and never runs away. Here in Burundi as you minister with hope and joy in a situation of such need, the Church and all its leaders must pray for the strength to support and sustain and inspire a while society as it grows in justice and maturity. And you can do that only if you know, every hour of every day that you are supported by Christ alone. Depend on him in faith and you will fully play your part in helping this nation to be transformed and led towards God's peace and justice."

The Archbishop's schedule today (Monday) includes a meeting with students at the city's university. Mrs Williams will be visiting a Mothers' Union literacy project in Gatumba and the university hospital in Bujumbura. The party will attend a reception hosted by HE the British Ambassador.

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