ORIGINS

The Evangelical Church of Central Africa (ECCA) started in 1989 by a number of prominent leaders who were previously ministers in the Association des Eglises Emmanuel (AEC) or the Association of Brethren Churches in Burundi, a denomination that was started in the 1950s by Mr. Carl Johnson, an American Brethren missionary from Florida, US. It initially started as the Communauté des Eglises Evangéliques des Frères en Christ (CEEFC) or the Community of Evangelical Brethren in Christ Churches.

The newly-born denomination held in October of the year 1989 a General Assembly meeting whereby Pastor André Nzaniye was elected as the first Moderator or Superintendent, Pastor Sylvestre Hakizimana as his deputy, Mr. Prosper Ndabishuriye (a former Campus Crusade for Christ National Director) as the Secretary General, Mr. André Ndikumana in the position of Treasurer, while Mrs. Fabien Ndorimana, John Gahungu, Tharcisse Mpawenayo, Etienne Ntamasabiro, and Jérémie Ndayishimiye were appointed as executive committee members.

In 1994, the CEEFC General Assembly decided to change this appellation and then became the Eglise Evangélique de l’Afrique Centrale (E.E.A.C) or the Evangelical Church of Central Africa (ECCA). The big idea behind this change of name was about focusing the vision in a new and particular way. Hence this denomination assigned itself the mission of winning the Central Africa region to the Lord and making as many as possible disciples of Christ as the ECCA in this particular region of Africa, through church planting. However, because of the civil war that broke out in Burundi in October 1993, resulting into mass killings and thousands of people fleeing in neighboring countries, this mission was seriously hampered.

On October 4, 1998 the ECCA conducted the first ordination of ministers. On this event 6 pastors were ordained. Those were namely Reverends André Nzaniye, Sylvestre Hakizimana, Tharcisse Mpawenayo, Etienne Ntamasabiro, Jean Ntahombaye and Jérémie Ndayishimiye. Those were the first pillars in the leadership of that denomination. Four of those are now leading the ECCA’s four presbyteries. Those are namely Rev. André Nzaniye, serving as the superintendent of the Southern Presbytery, Rev. Tharcisse Mpawenayo leading the Eastern Presbytery, Rev. Jean Ntahombaye in Western Presbytery and Rev. Sylvestre Hakizimana, overseeing the Northern Presbytery. The second ordination occurred on February 22, 2004 whereby 13 more pastors were consecrated as parish pastors. On October 19, 2011, due to a crying need of ministers in a growing denomination, 43 more ministers were consecrated as pastors to serve the ever-increasing number of congregations in ECCA. Nevertheless, despite the presence of all those ordained ministers there is still a felt need of more workers because new churches are born year after year.

 

POLITY

The ECCA is an evangelical denomination by doctrine. This means that the ECCA shares the same cardinal doctrines with all other evangelical churches. In fact it inherited this heritage from the Brethren backgrounds from which it was started. In a region where Charismatic and Pentecostal churches are thriving, the EEAC stands out as a conservative evangelical denomination. Though in general this denomination believes in the functioning gifts of the Holy Spirit, the ECCA Sunday services are not marked by speaking in tongues, prophecy or ecstatic worship. Sound Bible teaching is central in all gatherings and all members encouraged to lead lives that are aligned to the truth of Scripture.

The structures of the ECCA follow the Presbyterian pattern. This means that this denomination is divided into kirk session, parish, and presbytery levels. The top leader of this denomination is the moderator, who is elected for a 5-year term renewable only once. The other members of the head office are the Deputy Moderator, the Secretary General and the Treasurer, all of them, like the Moderator, elected for a 5-year term renewable only once.

 

STATEMENT OF FAITH

  • The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, the only inerrant, perfect rule of faith and deed. The Bible was uniquely, verbally and fully inspired by the Holy Spirit and written without error in the original manuscripts. It is the supreme and final authority in all matters on which it speaks.
  • There is only one God, and man shall worship only him alone; God is Spirit, self-existent, and omnipresent, distinguishing himself from all other gods and the created: God is infinite, eternal and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and love.
  • There are three Persons in the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; He is triune God, one in Trinity, (and each is) equal in power and glory.
  • God created all things visible and visible by the power of his Word, and preserves and governs them, but God in his nature causes no sin, he acts [all things by his plan] according to his own will and governs all things to fulfill his purpose wise and holy.
  • God created man, after his own image in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness with dominion over every living thing. All men of the world are of one sole source: they are of the same origin and they are brothers and sisters.
  • Our first parents, being given the freedom to choose between good and evil, through the temptation, transgressed the commandment of God. All mankind, descending from Adam by ordinary generation sinned in him and fell with him in his transgression. The man has intentionally committed sin. Therefore, we are justly liable to God’s just displeasure and punishments in this world and that which is to come.
  • God sent his eternal, only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to the world to save man from sin, and the corruption and the punishment thereof, to give eternal life in his infinite love: in Jesus Christ God became flesh and through him can man be saved. The eternal Son became true man and possessed two distinctive personhoods in his nature, eternally as true God and true man, in two distinct natures, and one person forever. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance, born of her, yet without sin. He obeyed perfectly the law of God, offered His body, became a true and perfect sacrifice and satisfied divine justice. For the purpose of reconciliation between God and man, He was crucified on the cross, died and buried. On the third day He arose from the dead. He is sitting on the right hand of God making intercession for his people. Thence he shall come for the resurrection of the dead to judge the world.
  • The Holy Spirit being out of God the Father and God the Son, works salvation in man, convicts man of his sin and misery, enlightens man’s heart to know Christ, renews man’s will, exhorts him, empowers him to accept Jesus Christ who offers man the Gospel in grace/freely, and also works in us to bear in us to bear the fruit of God’s righteousness.
  • Before God created the world, he elected in his love his own people to make them holy and blameless, and He predestined and adopted his children through Jesus Christ according to his pleasure and will, to the praise of the glory of his grace bestowed freely in the one he loves. However, the perfect salvation offered freely is so ordered to all mankind that they may repent of their sins, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior, rest upon him and follow him, obey the revealed will of God, and be humble and conduct themselves in holiness, to the extent that whoever believes in Christ and is obedient unto him shall be saved. The particular benefits that are accompanied with justification, adoption as God’s children, sanctification and glorification are for the believers who are assured of God’s salvation and joy in this world. The means of grace to the call of the office by the Holy Spirit are the Bible, sacraments and prayer, in particular.
  •  The sacraments instituted by Christ are baptism and Holy Communion: Baptism of washing water is to be administered in the name of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is the sign and seal of joining us in union with Christ, and the promise for our generation and renewal by the Holy Spirit, and God’s possession of us. Baptism shall be administered to those who make confession of faith in Christ; the Holy Communion, as the partaking of the bread and the cup, shall be served in remembrance of Christ’s death with which the believers are in union. The Holy communion shall be observed by God’s people until the day of the Lord’s coming, and is a sign of a promise of more faithful service unto the Lord, and a sign of communion with the Lord and his people, who believe in him, and rest upon his atonement from which God’s benefit flows to us. The benefits of the sacraments are not found in the sacraments themselves or in any virtue of him by whom the sacraments are being administered, but only in the blessing by Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit in those who by faith receive the sacraments.
  • All believers shall dutifully join in church membership with instruction, have fellowship with one another among the believers, observe the sacraments and other ordinances, obey all the laws of the Lord, pray always, observe the Lord’s Day as holy, assemble with believers to worship the Lord and listen attentively to the preaching of the Word of God, render offerings as God provides us abundantly, share with one another the mind of Christ, share also the same with all other people, endeavor to promote the expansion of the Kingdom of God upon the whole world, and wait expectantly for the appearance of the Lord in his glory.
  •  The dead shall receive the reward according to the good and evil done in this world before the judgment of Christ when they will be resurrected in the last day. Those who believe in Christ, and are obedient unto him shall be truly forgiven and accepted by him in glory.

 

VISION AND MISSION

 

Vision

To bring people to Jesus Christ and disciple them in all ways so that, all together we may  glorify God, our Father.

Mission

Reaching the whole Central Africa with the saving Gospel of our Lord Jesus, and this mission being accomplished mainly through evangelism and Church Planting

ACHIEVEMENTS

Since its inception, the ECCA assigned itself five major objectives as found in its constitution: (1) Planting new churches, (2) writing and distributing Christian literature as a means of evangelism, (3) making disciples, (4) enhancing education by starting primary or secondary schools and Bible schools as well, and (5) community development. Besides ministry in the area of church planting and evangelism, the following are some of major achievements the ECCA has made in the social area.

  • The ECCA built a primary school in Rweza Parish (next to the Capital City) and this school operates in partnership with the Burundi’s ministry of education. However, this project is somehow incomplete because there are two more classrooms to be built.
  • A micro-credit project mostly for widows and some other vulnerable women has supported more than 150 women from our four presbyteries from 2002 until its closure in the year 2007. The project was known as the TABITHA PROJECT.
  • Since the year 2003 to date, more than 200 children from vulnerable families have received material and financial support for their schooling. Thus, those children received uniforms, school books, bags and shoes.
  • During the days of civil war (1993 – 2005) the ECCA in collaboration with the local and international NGOs has given relief support to hundred of internally displaced people in various parishes. More than 1,000 were concerned by this program.
  • The ECCA, with the collaboration of Burundi’s Ministry of Health, organize workshops on HIV/AIDS awareness and on how this pandemic can be curbed.
  • The ECCA has built a dispensary in Ruziba (in Bujumbura City). This facility has been operating since the year 2008. It includes inpatient and outpatient services and it has been formally authorized by Burundi’s Health Ministry.  Another facility of that kind is under construction in a place called Ndava – Busongo.
  • The ECCA, with the collaboration of a Korea-based mission organization, built the Gethsemane training center. This facility is used to train pastors and other church leaders as well as hosting other kinds of ministries.
  • Recently all the local churches of the ECCA contributed to give relief support to about 120 families of people who survived serious inundations that ravaged the Northern part of Bujumbura city. The material help amounting to $ 2,000 and consisting of foodstuff and clothing was distributed to those people early in April 2014.

 

FUTURE PLANS

In evangelism and church planting

  1. Doubling the number of existing local churches by the year 2025 and thus reaching the target of a 50,000-adult membership.
  2. Continue the training ministry for our church workers to be able to meet the ministry needs of a growing denomination. Thus, we have already started a Bible school to serve this purpose.
  3.  Continue cross-cultural ministry by planting more churches in neighboring countries. Thus we will plant more churches in DRC and start new churches in Rwanda.

 In social ministry

  1. Starting a local Foundation that will assist our church in the area of social development. The constitution that will regulate this project has been drafted.
  2. Constructing the two missing classrooms at our Rweza Primary School. Blueprints are already available for this project.
  3. Building at least a primary school in each presbytery.
  4. Constructing and running a Christian boarding secondary school in our land in Bubanza Province.
  5. Constructing two nursery schools in Bujumbura. Blueprints for the project have been already made.
  6. Extending the services and facilities at our Ruziba Dispensary to possibly change it into a fully fledged hospital.