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Friends of Burundi 

Annual General Meeting 


Present William Challis (Chairman), Hugh James ((HJ) Hon Sec), Keith Anderson (Treasurer), Pam Brooks and Sue Finlayson (Co-Secs) plus 42 members

 The meeting opened in Prayer

1.       Apologies were received from David and Harold Adeney, John Auton, Sally Foulkes, Alison Gill, Janet Greenland, Grace and George Hamber, Ken and Valerie Jones, Margaret Leverment, Andrew Maclay and Ruth Shillitoe

2.       The Minutes of the inaugural meeting held on 19 November 2005 were approved by the meeting and signed by the Chairman as a correct copy.

3.       Matters Arising

Friends of Burundi London meeting was held on 22 April– A brief account of the meeting appears in the Annual Report with a fuller account on the website:

HJ expressed thanks on behalf of that meeting to Alison Gill who organized the event. 

4.       Election of Officers

It was PROPOSED by Paul Bell and SECONDED by Brian Wright with all members in agreement that all the current Trustees, Office Holders and Committee Members be re-elected to serve for the following year.

5.       Constitution Resolution 

Hugh James explained how Andrew Maclay was seeking to gain charity commission approval of our Constitution, so that we become a registered charity and donations will be able to be Gift Aided.  Early in the process, Andrew realised that the aims and objects approved at last year's meeting would not be acceptable to the charity commissioners and the committee had then approved an alternative form of words, which had been circulated to all members by email.

However, in a recent letter, the charity commissioners had also failed to approve these aims and objects, but had suggested that the application would be acceptable with the following amended aims and objects:

 “The Friends of Burundi agree that the Objects of this association shall be:-

  1. The advancement of the Christian religion by supporting the Church in Burundi in its witness to God’s love in Christ and by encouraging members and young Christians in the UK to support the Christian Church and work in Burundi.
  1. The furtherance of such other charitable purposes as the trustees in their absolute discretion determine, including the advancement of education, relief of poverty and relief of sickness.”

The committee believed that these amended aims and objects would still allow us to undertake all the work that had been intended.  There was a brief discussion, in which people mentioned certain reservations and preferences.  However, as none of these would change what the association intended to do, it was suggested that it was best to accept the suggested Aims and Objects as they had been recommended. 

it was PROPOSED by Vivien James and SECONDED by Marion Wright with all members present in agreement and with no abstentions that the Resolution as set out above be accepted.

HJ stated that the Constitution otherwise follows the Charity Commissioners’ Model Constitution which can be found on their website:

6.       Patrons

William Challis announced that Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi and Mrs Jane Williams, the wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury have expressed their willingness to become Patrons.  The meeting expressed their appreciation.

7.       Financial Report

Keith Anderson reported that he now has a cheque book for the FoB Account and as soon as charitable status is granted subscriptions for the 3 years 2005 – 2007 of £10 per year will be requested and can be received – probably early in 2007.  Members are respectfully asked to consider contributing the total for the three years of £30 per person.  It was suggested that where married couples can afford to do so, both should pay the subscription, but if not, one should be the member and pass details to the other.  KA said that once the Charity number is allocated, Gift Aid can be claimed.

8.       New members were asked to sign up and give e-mail address where possible as all correspondence is sent via e-mail.  HJ said some e-mails had not been received because they had been caught by SPAM filters.  Members’ SPAM filters can (and should be) set to accept FoB e-mails.

Hugh would welcome suggestions as to what could be included on the Friends of Burundi website (www.friendsofburundi)  On behalf of members Pam Brooks thanked Hugh for his excellent work in setting up the website. 

9.       Updates on Projects

The possibilities offered by certain projects which might be supported once we had funds were introduced.  Mary Sharpe gave an update on the translation and publication situation concerning her father’s book “Great Truths from God’s Word” which will be a resource to Barundi pastors and will cost £700 to publish 1000 copies. 

Keith Anderson mentioned the need in the new Muyinga Diocese. Georgette reported that equipment had been stolen and needs to be recovered.  Bicycles are requested by the Diocese.

Steve Burgess reported that Buhiga Parish in Gitega Diocese are training catechists and are short of funds.  The Diocese also wants to set up TEE.   It was noted that a Matana Institute 2nd year student is from Buhiga

Jane and Ralph Hanger (African Pastors Fellowship) reported that 14 or 15 commentaries are now available in Kirundi plus a topical concordance, Bible surveys and Rosemary Guillebaud’s Hebrews commentary.  These are heavily subsidised but Pastors are charged a small amount. They are being taught how to use the commentaries.

10.     Visits to Burundi

Joan Botterill and Sue Finlayson gave brief reports on their visits to Burundi and their stay with Pat and Pam Brooks.  They had visited the Archdeaconries with the team, met some Barundi workers and learned of the trauma suffered by the country. Joan was reminded of the verse from Matthew 12 “a bruised reed …

Georgette Butera gave details of the ACTS school Project in Karuzi that she had visited and been involved with.

Anne Grimwood is going out in Feb 2007 with Pat and Pam.  She is a qualified nurse and midwife and hopes to share her skills.

Steve Stordy gave a comprehensive report on his visit to Burundi mainly to the coffee growing sector.   Please pray for:-

  • Economic Development – otherwise the cycle of violence and poverty will continue
  • Coffee Industry which is being liberalized and privatised
  • Government following the elections – there are human rights violations following the alleged coup attempt
  • President Pierre to give strong leadership – key decisions to be made
  • The 100,000 Internally Displaced Barundi – for re-integration, peace and reconciliation and for the 340,000 awaiting repatriation from Tanzania

Steve had visited Buye Diocese.  Please pray for

  • Bishop Sixbert to be a good shepherd
  • New leaders and for Pastors to return following the split
  • Conditions at the Lycée which are horrific and difficult
  • Overflowing Primary Schools following the Government decision to offer free primary education
  • Bishop Barham College catechists
  • Bishops Sixbert and Erasto regarding their request to come to Canterbury for training.  (It would be an encouragement to them if funds could be found for the trip)

Nyenkanda Health Centre, Gitega has been built but there are no drugs or equipment

Makamba Diocese had suffered deaths following the floods.

Steve enjoyed revisiting the Matana team including the Bowens and other leaders.

WC thanked Steve for his Report and reminded members that ongoing prayer requests can be sent to Warren and Wendy by e-mail.

11.     Contacts with UK Barundi

Pat said that they are in touch with Barundi in Portsmouth , Oxford and London .  How do we get alongside them?  We need to find out from them what their needs are, and invite them home.  

There being no other business William Challis thanked everyone for coming and Pam Brooks closed the meeting in prayer.


Draft minutes of the inaugural meeting and photos of the new committee


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