The Unitarian Partner Church Program connects a Unitarian church with a church in another part of the world so that each can learn from and be enriched by the other. Churches in North America have partnered with churches in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Transylvania, the Philippines, India, Hong Kong, Burundi, Nigeria, and Uganda.
- To learn about Unitarian beliefs and traditions that are different from our own and to expand our appreciation through personal contact and exchange of ideas.
- To provide our partner with financial, spiritual and moral support.
- To honor our sixth Unitarian principle “The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.”
Our New Partnership Opportunity: The Unitarian Fellowship in Rutana, Burundi
Burundi is a small, land-locked country in East Africa, bordered by Rwanda and Tanzania with a population of 11,000,000. The two official languages are French and Kurundi. The fledgling Unitarian Fellowship located in the small city of Rutana is working to expand its congregation from its original handful of founding members.
We were introduced to the fellowship by Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana, who founded the first Unitarian Church in Burundi. In 2015, he had to flee for his life for encouraging human rights. He now lives and preaches in Canada and devotes much of his life to the support of Unitarians in Burundi and neighbouring countries.
Through emails and phone calls with Rev. Gérard Niyungeko in Rutana, we are exploring how we might be most helpful to their fellowship. As the first collaboration between us, we are supporting the second phase of their Women’s Sewing Project, which sews and distribute quality reusable sanitary napkins. The project not only supports seamstresses, but impacts the lives of girls and women in their community. Up to 20% of girls in some communities cannot attend school because of lack of personal hygiene supplies. Our fundraising will allow the project to purchase more sewing machines to expand their enterprise.
Forum: Unitarian Social Involvement in African Contexts
Our First Partner: The Second Unitarian Congregation of Brassó
After Phillip Hewett, our former minister, visited the Brassó Romanian congregation in 1972, a warm connection between ministers led to our partnering with the Second Unitarian Congregation of Brassó in 1990.
Its congregation of about 1300 are mostly ethnic Hungarians, a Romanian minority that experienced considerable persecution after the transfer of Transylvania to Romania in 1919. Over the last three decades it’s been our privilege support to these oppressed people through fundraising, consultation and visits and to about their rich and ancient culture.