Crises BUM me out
East-Central Africa Division Releases Statement on Burundi Mission Crisis
Crises BUM me out
The leadership of the East-Central Africa Division (ECD) released a statement on June 29, 2019, regarding the ongoing crisis surrounding leadership at the Burundi Union Mission (BUM) and the arrests of multiple Adventists. The conflict centers around the former president of the BUM, Joseph Ndikubwayo, who was removed from office and had his pastoral credentials revoked in November 2018, but remains in control with the backing of the government.
Catch me if you can
Over the last three years, the ECD claims it worked to address a growing leadership crisis before deciding to replace Ndikubwayo with Pastor Lameck Barishinga last fall. Ndikubwayo then refused to leave the church offices, even though he had been stripped of his position and credentials. With the support of the government of Burundi, who continues to treat him as mission president, Ndikubwayo gained direct access to church financial accounts. The denomination has accused Ndikubwayo of “embezzling church funds and accepting a position within the government that ‘contradicts church doctrine.” The most recent statement and call to prayer from the ECD accuses the government of Burundi of beating and arresting Adventist members loyal to the ECD. It mentions documented evidence against Ndikubwayo which shows “unauthorized misuse of church funds and their use for the purposes[sic] of currying political favor against the church.”
Let my people go..
The conflict culminated with the arrest of twenty-two Adventists, including Barishinga, in May 2019. President Ted Wilson issued an open letter and call to prayer, accusing the Burundi government of “illegal interference” and “systematic religious liberty abuse.” Ganoune Diop, director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty for the world church also released a statement condemning the arrests. The government of Burundi released the Adventist detainees after several days.
Word on the street is...
Adventist church leadership in both the ECD and the GC remains firm in their position that the government of Burundi has abused religious freedom by inserting itself into their decision to remove Joseph Ndikubwayo as BUM president. They state that because the Burundi office is a mission, the ECD had every right to appoint a new president to that position, instead of holding a local church election. However, reporting by Adventist Today describes a situation that is much more complex. Their report raises questions about the timing and legality of Ndikubwayo’s removal, politics at the division level which may have influenced the selection of Barishinga, and whether the arrests in May were due to religious persecution or because of several physical fights that had broken out in various Adventist churches. Further, it reports that the Interior Minister of Burundi has accused Diop and his delegation of changing their position after reaching an agreement with the government. Unfortunately, this crisis does not appear to be close to resolution yet.
Loma Linda University Health Appoints Dean of the School of Medicine
On July 1, Tamara Thomas, MD, stepped into her appointment as Executive VP for medical affairs and dean of the Loma Linda University School of Medicine. Thomas was announced to succeed to Roger Hadley, MD, at the end of June. Thomas seems well prepared for her new role as an emergency medicine physician with seven years of experience as the school’s vice dean for academic affairs. The former dean, Hadley, announced his plan to step down in March and will serve as a newly-elected member of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Board of Directors. “Loma Linda University School of Medicine has a special mission. I feel honored to step into this important role. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to healthcare and research, as well as educating the next generation of physicians,” Thomas says.
Milbert Mariano Named New Academic Dean at PUC
Step Up 2
Milbert Mariano, a graphic design professor at Pacific Union College (PUC), has been named the new VP for academic administration and academic dean. He has taught for 25 years including 12 years serving as the department chair for the school of visual art. An alumnus himself, Mariana has been deeply embedded in the culture of PUC since his college years. Mariano served as an advisor and sponsor for student committees, coordinated an annual workshop for high school students, and served on several committees such as the Cultural Engagement Taskforce and the Academic Standards & General Education Committee.
Contributors: Emily Weber, Kristen Browning