United Methodist Bishop J. Alfred Ndoricimpa dies in Kenya
Aug. 1, 2005
Bishop J. Alfred Ndoricimpa
By United Methodist News Service
United Methodist Bishop J. Alfred Ndoricimpa, bishop of the
denomination's East Africa Conference, died July 29 at a hospital in
The death was reported by the office of the United Methodist Council of
Bishops, which received word from the Rev. Lazare Bankurunaze, the
bishop's assistant. Ndoricimpa had checked into the hospital three weeks
Bishop Peter Weaver, the council's president, sent a message of
condolence to the bishop's wife, Sabina. The council had not received
further details about Ndoricimpa's death or funeral services as of Aug.
Born in 1944 in Mihama, in the Rutana Province of Burundi, Ndoricimpa
first became a pastor with the World Gospel Church, a U.S.-based
interdenominational group with a Wesleyan doctrine. In 1980, the church
became the Evangelical Episcopal Church and he became its first bishop.
In 1982, Ndoricimpa led the negotiations for the Evangelical Episcopal
Church to join the United Methodist Church, which became effective
during the denomination's 1984 General Conference in Baltimore. In
August 1984, the Burundi Annual Conference became a part of the United
Methodist Africa Central Conference.
Ndoricimpa was forced to move to Kenya in March 1994, after the 1993
assassination of the first democratically elected president in Burundi.
Since he had served as spiritual advisor to President Melchoir Ndadaye,
he was warned that his life might be in danger.
The exile in Kenya was to last for six years. In a 1999 interview with
Mulegwa Zihindula, writing for the United Methodist Board of Global
Ministries, the bishop said it had been difficult leaving his church and
his people to live in another country. "I receive thousands of letters
from Burundian refugees in Tanzania and elsewhere looking for
assistance, but I am not able to help them," he added.
In June 2000, Ndoricimpa returned to Burundi, escorted by U.S. Bishop
David Lawson and Mozambique Bishop Joao Somane Machado, and received an
enthusiastic welcome from church members. His permanent return to
Burundi came a few months later. By then, the conflict between Hutu and
Tutsi tribes had claimed some 200,000 lives.
During his time in Kenya, the bishop continued to work with the church
in Burundi and expanded mission into Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and
Sudan. Those areas are now part of the East Africa Conference.
Ndoricimpa repeatedly had been denied a visa to enter the United States,
which prevented him from attending meetings of the Council of Bishops
and other events, such as General Conference.
Ndoricimpa and his wife, Sabina Ngeza, married in 1972, and had one daughter and one son.
*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interview with Bishop J. Alfred Ndoricimpa
Exiled bishop returns to Burundi
African bishop again refused visa to enter U.S. for meeting
East Africa mission profile
All Africa.com: Burundi