Peace Teams News, PO Box 10372, San Antonio TX 78210-0372, Tel: 877 814 6972







SPRING, 2001: Volume 6, Issue 1

Quaker Growth! by David Zarembka

American Quakers, most recently in articles in Friends Journal, bemoan the decline in the number of Quakers (of course, they really mean the number of Quakers in the United States). When I visited Burundi in January 1999, I was told that there were 10,000 Quakers in 70 churches with 50 pastors. Recently I received an email indicating that two years later there are 13,000 Quakers. Our reaction might be that a 30% increase in two years is not possible. But members of the Burundi Team were at Kamenge Church (only one of seventy churches) in November, where 46 new members were entered into membership—another 50 were half way through their training for membership. In Burundi only adults are counted in membership and it takes three years of training before one completes the membership process. Alvin Anderson from Malone College attended a dedication where a Preparatory Church with about 400 members became a full church. Five new pastors, including the first woman, were welcomed at Burundi Yearly Meeting in December and 15 more are studying at the Great Lakes School of Theology in a three-year course held in English (French is the main European language in Burundi). So it is not easy to become a member or a pastor in Burundi. The similarities between the civil unrest in Burundi and the Civil War in England at the time of the rise of Quakers in the Seventeenth Century should also be noted. Lastly, the Quakers tend to be strongest in those few areas of Burundi where the Tutsi and Hutu still live together and have not been segregated into separate communities.

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