Pastor Lameck Barashinga Is Released From Prison in Burundi

East-Central Africa Division releases official statement on pastor’s release.

The East-Central Africa Division (ECD) is pleased to inform the Seventh-day Adventist Church members and the public that pastor Lameck Barishinga was released from the Bujumbura Central Prison in Burundi on February 10, 2021. 

Pastor Barishinga is a faithful servant of God in the Adventist Church in Burundi. On October 24, 2019, he was arrested and jailed for his faith. Since then, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists has mobilized brothers and sisters all over the world to pray for him and the whole church in Burundi. 

The East-Central Africa Division is grateful to God and thanks both the government and those around the world who have offered the prayers which have made this day of celebration possible. East-Central Africa Division President, Blasious Ruguri said, “I would like us to thank God for protecting his servant. He has answered our prayers. I also wish to acknowledge the efforts of our brethren in ECD and around the world who joined us in this journey of prayer.” 

Looking forward to more blessings in mission, Ruguri urged the church in Burundi to make Philippians 1:6 their motto: “being confident in this, that he who began the good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

President of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church, Ted N.C. Wilson, offered his gratitude about Pastor Barishinga’s release. “We are so thankful to God and the Burundi government for the release of Pastor Lameck Barishinga for whom we have been praying for many months,” said Wilson. “ We praise the Lord for this good development towards a normalization of Seventh-day Adventist Church activities in Burundi so the three angels’ messages can go with increased power throughout Burundi in anticipation of Christ’s soon coming.” 


Further Reading:

Adventist Detainees Released from Burundi Prison, May 21, 2019

General Conference President Ted Wilson Pens Open Letter Alleging Religious Liberty Abuse by Burundi Government, May 14, 2019

Seventh-day Adventist Church Appeals to Burundi Government, May 17, 2019

Commentary: What Seventh-day Adventists Face in Burundi, May 17, 2019


This statement originally appeared on the East-Central Africa Division website and the Adventist News Network.

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“Pastor Barishinga is a faithful servant of God in the Adventist Church in Burundi. On October 24, 2019, he was arrested and jailed for his faith.”

What does “jailed for his faith” mean? I thought Pastor Barishinga was appointed to be the president a year or two ago due to conflict in the church.

every time i read something about this story, i come away with a different impression…as i understand it now, pastor ndikubwayo was removed as president of the burundi mission by the division due to embezzlement and fraud charges, and his acceptance of a position of influence with the government of burundi…pastor barashinga was appointed by the church to replace ndikubwayo…however, because of ndikubwayo’s influence with the government, it wasn’t recognizing barashinga’s appointment as legitimate…the long and short of this story is that adventist followers of ndikubwayo and barashinga were engaging in fighting on sabbaths in our churches, and so the government saw an opportunity to step in to promote law and order by arresting barashinga…

this was in the context of hutu and tutsi infighting and the one-party government of burundi cracking down on all organized religion that they believed was hostile to the state…the government was interpreting all unrest, inside and outside of churches, as a threat to its stability…

if barashinga’s release results in a resumption of fighting in our churches, it may not last long…it seems to me now that somehow, our church in burundi needs to show the government that it can peacefully run its own affairs without posing a threat to the state…maybe the solution is to appoint both ndikubwayo and barashinga to leadership positions in our church, overseen by an outside, and neutral, individual carrying the title of president…

Jeremy, you think Ndikubwayo should be given a leadership position in the church? That doesn’t even make any sense. He went to work for the government and the pastor who took his place ends up doing 16 months in prison. Somehow I don’t think rewarding bad behavior is the answer here.

well, we’re dealing with a tribal situation here…obviously the followers of ndikubwayo don’t accept the charges against him, and believe they were made up in order to replace him with barashinga…unless ndikubwayo or the division confess to corruption, which doesn’t appear likely, church members are never going to reconcile…

so if the answer isn’t to put both ndikubwayo and barashinga in equivalent leadership positions, maybe it’s to put neither of them in any kind of position at all…

I look at some of the longstanding conflicts between people groups in this world as unsolvable this side of heaven. The best we can do is function based on principle and let the chips fall where they may. I’m also not averse to shaking the dust off, moving on, and starting over with people who are willing to function cooperatively. In this case, it seems governmental involvement in the church organization precluded resolutions based on principle so maybe leaving behind and moving on is the only resolution…this challenges me to think outside the box.

I’m not so sure, from what we know, that the burundi government is in the wrong…maybe ndikubwayo really was unfairly targeted by the division, which exists outside the burundi adventist mission…

perhaps two adventist churches are in order, one led by ndikubwayo, and one led by barashinga, with both supported by the GC…in time, maybe these factions can reconcile…

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