Burundi Head of Seventh-day Adventist Church Arrested by Government — and More News Shorts

In this week’s news round-up, the head of the Adventist Church in Burundi is arrested, Adventist students are injured during a street protest in Liberia, a pastor and his wife in Nebraska become U.S. citizens, and measles exposure occurs at a camp meeting in New Zealand.

Burundi Head of Seventh-day Adventist Church Arrested by Government. Lamec Barishinga, the head of the Seventh-day Adventist church in Burundi, was arrested by the Burundian government while making arrangements to travel to Nairobi for a church meeting, General Conference president Ted Wilson has said. “The recent arrests have made it clear that the government of Burundi is interfering with the selection of SDA leadership and is acting contrary to the principles of religious liberty,” said Ganoune Diop, Director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty at the GC.

Wilson has written a letter to SDA faithful in Bujumbura encouraging them to be strong in the face of State brutality. “The images of suffering SDA faithful, who are victims of police brutality, have touched our hearts,” Wilson’s letter reads. “We are aware of the intimidation of our members and the abuses and violence they are facing.” He added that all atrocities have been well documented. “The horrible sight of a woman dragged and beaten on the floor of a church has stirred indignation. Human beings created in the image of God and loyal citizens of the country of Burundi should never be treated in such a manner. This is certainly beneath the dignity of Christians.”

The SDA Church is one of the oldest churches in Burundi with 186,000 members. From Standard Digital, “SDA cleric arrested in Burundi crackdown.”

Monrovia SDA Students Injured During Street Protest from a Separate School System. Some students of the Seventh-day Adventist High School and J.J. Roberts United Methodist Church High School in Sinkor, Monrovia, received injuries from the stones and the tear gas while police were trying disperse protesting Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS) students from the streets. Several parents and school administrators rushed to help the students who had fallen and gotten injured. According to one SDA Cooper Hospital staff, some of the students were treated for suffocation from the tear gas while others had wounds to be dressed. From Front Page Africa, “Liberia: Seventh-Day Adventist Students Victimized in MCSS Protest.”

Nebraska Seventh-day Adventist Pastor and His Wife Become U.S. Citizens. Nelson Rossi, a Seventh-day Adventist pastor, and his wife Carmen became American citizens recently in Omaha, Nebraska. The husband and wife first came to the states from Brazil ten years ago. Arriving first in New England for a pastoral job, they eventually landed in Omaha. All the while, they were working through the system, striving to be Americans.

"It's the most powerful democracy in the world, so to be part of this is wonderful; it's really wonderful,” says Nelson Rossi.

"For me it's a huge privilege to be here, especially because I've been learning the language and the culture,” says Carmen Rossi.

Thirty others took the oath of allegiance with the Rossis. The common theme from the country's newest citizens was that the process is stressful, but Nelson Rossi was inspired to keep going. "My son became a citizen before us; he's a soldier, became an American soldier, and that inspired me to go through this process more and more. Because it's hard, but when I saw them and their dedication to the country, that inspired me a lot,” says Nelson Rossi. From 3KMTV News Now Omaha, “32 immigrants become American citizens in Omaha.”

New Zealand Measles Exposure Occurs at Adventist Camp Meeting. Around 1,200 children and adults who attended a Seventh-day Adventist camp meeting in Rotorua, New Zealand, may need to be quarantined after being exposed to measles because a child with the virus attended camp at Tui Ridge Park on October 5 and 6. Doctors are optimistic that the measles outbreak has peaked and may now be on the decline.

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) said it is working with organizers of the camp and other public health units around the country to alert those who attended the camp to the risk. Dr. Julia Peters, ARPHS clinical director said, "If camp-goers are not immune, they will need to stay home in quarantine from today until the end of October 20." From Newshub, “1200 people exposed to measles at Rotorua church camp.”

Please note: Spectrum news round-ups are an aggregation of regional, national, and international publications around the world that have reported on stories about Adventists. As such, the accuracy of the information is the responsibility of the original publishers, which are noted and hyperlinked at the end of each excerpt.

Pam Dietrich taught English at Loma Linda Academy for 26 years and served there eight more years as the 7-12 librarian. She lives in Yucaipa, California.

Image Credit: Wikipedia.org

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9973

Regarding Pastor Rossi, I will only say, with all my bias, that Brazilian citizens make very good American citizens… LOL :wink: :innocent:

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What is really going on in Burundi? According to CIA Factbook: “Burundi is a densely populated country with a high population growth rate, factors that combined with land scarcity and poverty place a large share of its population at risk of food insecurity. About 90% of the population relies on subsistence agriculture. Subdivision of land to sons, and redistribution to returning refugees, results in smaller, overworked, and less productive plots. Food shortages, poverty, and a lack of clean water contribute to a 60% chronic malnutrition rate among children. A lack of reproductive health services has prevented a significant reduction in Burundi’s maternal mortality and fertility rates, which are both among the world’s highest. With two-thirds of its population under the age of 25 and a birth rate of about 6 children per woman, Burundi’s population will continue to expand rapidly for decades to come, putting additional strain on a poor country.”

Since Burundi is a majority Christian country with 2.3% SDA’s what is the reason the country is targeting the SDA church? I don’t think I am seeing the whole picture? I don’t think Wilson is addressing the cause behind the arrest of SDA leaders?


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I agree that it seems like there is more to the story. Catholicism is the majority Christian religion there. The link above cites a source from the 90’s stating that the State requires Saturday morning community service and that the SDA’s were targeted for challenging the State.

According Religion Week, Oct 2019 the Burundi government became involved into church matters due to severe internal conflict over who will lead the church. The trouble the church is experiencing is due to their own failure to find a way forward to peace and harmony. No doubt the bases of this conflict is who will control the church bank accounts?



Indeed, the answer is always “follow the money.”


Someone from our denomination told me a few days ago exactly that, that the Adventist leadership became so dysfunctional and so complicated and so violent that the government had to intervene in order to avoid maybe some assassinations.

Do we still learn about people by seeing their fruits? Apparently the Burundi government did! …


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