Benjamin Titus Roberts (1823-1893) started as a lawyer before becoming a Methodist minister. Disagreements arose over the church’s emphasis on holiness and clergy practices. In 1860, Roberts and others like J.W. Redfield founded the Free Methodist Church, seeking a return to core Methodist beliefs. Roberts led the church as General Superintendent until his death in 1893.


In 1935, missionary J.W. Haley opened the work in Equatorial Africa at Muyebe, Burundi. Other missionaries soon joined the Haleys. Hundreds came to the Lord, so that within 20 years Burundi became Free Methodism’s largest conference. Tragedy hit the church in 1972 during inter-tribal conflict within the country when many of the church leaders were killed during a retaliatory move against intellectuals and scholars. Another uprising in 1993 caused loss of many members. The church began almost immediately to rebuild and has continued to grow steadily in spite of continuing political unrest. It was given full general conference status in 1999.


An Ordained Minister of Burundi Free Methodist Church, Bishop Prof. Elie Alexandre Buconyori and his wife Joy Buconyori have been blessed with four children, one daughter and three sons. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theological Studies from Kenya Highlands Evangelical University; a Master of Arts Degree in Christian Education from Africa International University; and a PhD in Education Studies from Trinity International University. At the time he passed on, Bishop Buconyori was the president of Hope Africa University, the Bishop of Burundi Free Methodist Church and the President of the Free Methodist World Conference.


Rev. Deogratias Nshimiyimana is an Ordained Minister in Burundi Free Methodist Church since 1994. He is married to Mrs. Lea Nzeyimana, they have 7 children and 6 grandchildren. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Bible and Theology, a Master’s Degree in Christian Education and a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching. He has served the Church in various capacities including presiding the Free Methodist Council of Bishop for 8 years Currently, he is the President of East and Central Africa Free Methodist Area Fellowship, he is also the Bishop of Burundi Free Methodist General Conference since 2014.