With generous funding support from the United Thank Offering as well as from our own Commissions for Community Outreach and Congregational Revitalization and Development, the diocese was able to create the position of Missioner for Community Engagement in the summer of 2017. Canon Adrien Niyongabo accepted the call to this position, and his presence among us already has greatly enriched our understanding of what we are about when we seek to engage our neighbors. Please take a moment to get to know Adrien and his work!
Missioner Adrien Niyongabo
Missioner for Community Engagement
Adrien is originally from Burundi, where he received his degree in Sociology from the Université du Lac Tanganyika. From 2004-2015, he worked as co-founder and national coordinator to develop and implement the first Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (HROC) program in Burundi to help deal with the aftermath of generations of interethnic violence—periodically erupting in genocide—between the ethnic Hutus and Tutsis. As part of that work, he supervised over trainee-led community workshops on community trauma healing with internally dispalced people (IDPs), returnees, and ex-combatants who began to reestablish relationships. Once HROC was established in Burundi, Adrien worked to help spread use of the HROC model to Rwanda, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. During the same period, he was also leading the Quaker Peace Network's efforts both in Burundi and across the region.
In 2015, Adrien came to Indiana to earn a Masters Degree in International Peace Studies at the Kroc Institute of the University of Notre Dame. His work there continued to focus on his passions for community well-being, promotion of human hope and dignity, and the healing, reconciling and empowering of community members. Adrien received his MA from Notre Dame in May of 2017.
When an advisor told him that we were searching for a Missioner for Community Engagement, Adrien was attracted to the opportunity to help us discern what Asset-Based Community Development would look like in a variety of different contexts. We, in turn, were drawn to Adrien's combination of deep spirituality with concern for more the practical details of training and community development. We are delighted to have been able to invite Adrien to join our Diocesan Staff!