After meeting together to pray, the delegation presented their mission to Archbishop Justin and Cardinal Vincent.
They highlighted the need to foster a climate of confidence and cooperation in the region, stressing the importance for governments to respect the international accords and conventions which they had signed.
They highlighted the necessity of disarming armed groups. They also emphasised that building peace was closely connected with the transparent and effective utilisation of natural resources for the common good.
The delegation described this initiative as a grassroots movement that reached out to those most affected by the conflict and longing for peace. This includes women and girls who have experienced trauma and sexual violence.
In this context, the upcoming global summit on Preventing Sexual Violence In Conflict was discussed. This will be hosted by the UK government and will include reflection on the role of faith leaders in building peace and security.
One member of the delegation said, “This campaign, which brings together Catholics, Anglicans and other faith leaders, is a very important step and an example on building peace.
“We need assistance to accompany this process. The process must involve sharing stories – listening to the suffering of others moves people to pity and compassion. The Church seeks a justice which reconciles and builds peace.”
Archbishop Justin commented on the key aims of the group and commended their vision to work for peace and reconciliation. He encouraged other partners, such as CAFOD and Christian Aid, to continue to support this faith-based initiative as it seeks to build peace.
Archbishop Justin said, “This initiative is inspirational in bringing together different denominations and in working together across the region of the Great Lakes region to build peace.”
Revd Rachel Carnegie, Co-Director of the Anglican Alliance, joined the meeting. Rachel has met with members of the initiative over recent years and has often visited the region.
Rachel said, “It is very encouraging to see the Churches working together, uniting across the countries of the region to build a common platform for peace.
“Through their advocacy this initiative is able to reach out to governments and the international community, while also building the momentum for peace and reconciliation within their local communities.”
The Great Lakes Peace Initiative was formally launched in December 2013 in Goma, Eastern Congo, with representatives from the Anglican and Roman Catholic leadership in DRC, Rwanda and Burundi. It invites wider participation from other faith leaders and their communities.
The delegation, which is visiting the UK and Ireland, includes: Bishop Augustin Mvunabandi and Bishop Kambanda Antoine from Rwanda; Consolate Baranyizigiye from Burundi; and Bishop Fridolin Besungu Ambongo, Denise Mbuilu Malueki and Father Leonard Santedi from DRC.
In the picture: Revd Rachel Carnegie (right) with the Great Lakes delegation at Lambeth Palace.