Escape from Burundi a harrowing tale for Unitarian reverend

Kelowna Unitarians host fundraiser to help church reverend forced to flee his native homeland of Burundi to escape persecution.

  • Oct. 9, 2016 5:00 p.m.

Unitarian Reverend Ndagijimana Fulgence is coming to Kelowna to speak about his life experience growing up and ultimately fleeing for his life from his homeland of Burundi in Africa.

It’s a horrifying and dramatic story of torture, persecution and one man’s desperate effort to flee an oppressive regime to save the lives of himself and his young family

It could be the making of a fictional Hollywood screenplay.

But for Unitarian Church Rev. Ndagijimana Fulgence, it’s anything but a fictional tale.

Fulgence, who became an ordained minister in 2011 founded the Unitarian Church Bujumbura, Burundi, a Central African community torn apart by civil unrest and years of civil war.

But the young reverend soon discovered that he and his church were being targeted by the government. Without warning, he was kidnapped and tortured, threatened with jail time and even death.

Immediately Unitarian communities around the world mobilized putting pressure on the Burundi government to release Fulgence.

Eventually, Unitarian supporters would play a key role in helping the reverend, his wife and child escape persecution and leave the country.

Today,  Fulgence lives in Canada where he is completing his one year internship to become a fully recognized Canadian Unitarian minister.

In Kelowna on Saturday, Oct. 22, the Kelowna Unitarians will host a special evening with Reverend Fulgence. The public is invited to hear him speak about his amazing personal story.  Tickets are $20 and include a social hour and dinner.

“We’re thrilled to be putting on this extraordinary evening. The reverend’s story is inspiring and powerful and one that needs to be shared,” said  Audrey Pekrul, president of the Kelowna Unitarians.

The evening is being put on as a fundraiser to support the reverend and his family.  Seating is limited.

For more information, or for tickets, call the Kelowna Unitarian church at 250-763-7212.

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