Burundi Chooses New Primate

Archbishop-elect Sixbert Macumi

By Mark Michael

The Rt. Rev. Sixbert Macumi, Bishop of Buye, has been elected as the fifth Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church of Burundi. Macumi, 53, will succeed Archbishop Martin Nyaboho, the church’s primate since 2016, when he is installed on August 21.

Macumi is from Muyinga province in Northeastern Burundi, and answered a call to ministry when still a young man. He studied at the Theological Institute of Matana, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1996. He taught for several years at Buye’s Bishop Barham Theological College and at All Saints Cathedral, and served as diocesan secretary from 1997-2000. He later pursued further theological studies at Uganda Christian University.

After his return to Buye, Macumi coordinated the diocesan department for evangelism and worked to expand the Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade across the province. In 2005, he was elected as the third Bishop of Burundi. Macumi is married to Clothilde Muhimpundu, a primary school teacher. They have three daughters.

The Diocese of Buye was the first to be established in the Anglican Church of Burundi, in 1965. An Anglican mission was established there by the Church Mission Society in 1936, as British and native missionaries moved into the area from neighboring Rwanda, under the influence of the East African Revival, which began at Gahini, an Anglican mission station in what was then the Belgian colony of Ruanda-Urundi in 1929.

The Anglican Church of Burundi has about 900,000 members, which is about 8 percent of the small nation’s population. It became an independent province in 1992, and has continued to grow steadily.

The province is part of the Global South Anglicans network, but has been much more engaged in the Canterbury-based Instruments of Communion than its neighboring and historically linked provinces of Rwanda and Uganda. Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, a former primate, served as chair of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission for Unity, Faith, and Order in the 2010s. Some of the church’s bishops, especially Seth Ndayirukiye, the Bishop of Matana, have advocated that the province strengthen its ties to the GAFCON Movement.


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