First United Methodist Bishop in Nigeria, Done Peter Dabale, Dies in U.S Hospital

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Council of Bishops of The United MethodistChurch
Bishop Roy I. Sano Executive Secretary

Maryland Ave. NE
Washington, D.C.20002

(202) 547-6270

August 27, 2006

Contact: Stephen Drachler
(615) 742-5411 office
(615) 456-4710 cell
[email protected]

First United Methodist Bishop in Nigeria, Done Peter Dabale, Dies in U.SHospital

HOUSTON The first United Methodist bishop of Nigeria, Done Peter Dabale, died on Saturday, Aug. 26, in The Methodist Hospital in Houston, Bishop Janice Riggle Huie, president of the denomination's Council of Bishops, announced today.

Bishop Dabale, 57, was admitted to the hospital on Aug. 14, where he was diagnosed with liver cancer, Huie said. He had flown from Nigeria to Houston for diagnosis and treatment. Once in Houston, his condition deteriorated rapidly and unexpectedly, she said. He died from complications related to the disease.

"Peter Dabale was a pioneer in The United Methodist Church in Nigeria," Bishop Huie said. "Under his leadership, United Methodist churches worked to help people of all faiths in a country that has been torn by conflict. The church in Nigeria has shown tremendous growth. Before he was elected bishop, there were about 10,000 United Methodists in Nigeria. Now there are more than 400,000 members of the church there."

Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer of the Iowa Area, who worked closely with Bishop Dabale for a number of years, called the Nigerian bishop "an intensely focused person who led the growth of the church in Nigeria. The church in Nigeria has a fullness of life that reflects his intensity. The people of Nigeria live the gospel, not only through proclaiming the word, but in meeting human needs by operating clinics and schools for all people."

Bishop Dabale had been scheduled to take early retirement in 2007. He was elected the first United Methodist bishop of Nigeria in 1992 after serving as general superintendent of United Methodists in the West African nation. He was ordained by Bishop Akila Todi.

He was born was born April 26, 1949, in Nyabalang-Yotti, of the Jereng District of Adamawa State, Nigeria, West Africa. He and his wife, Kerike Christiana Dabale, have 11 children: Rebecca, Dearsley, Lulah, Maran, Kaka, Wehnam, Dony, Yoknyam, S. Danjuma, Omega, and Sadique. His daughter, Yoknyam, "Love" Dabale, a student at DukeDivinitySchool, Durham, N.C. was with him when he died.

Coming from a village and a family where young people did not attend school, Bishop Dabale's career was as varied as his education. He worked as a nurse, held administrative and teaching positions in the field of agriculture, and held pastoral, teaching, administrative, and episcopal positions in the church.

Bishop Dabale earned numerous degrees and certifications. His higher education began at the GovernmentAgricultureSchool in Yola, where he received a Certificate in General Agriculture. He also received a Certificate of Nursing from the NursingSchool at Numan, where he was a nurse and ward assistant at Numan GeneralHospital. In 1980, he traveled to BarneveldCollege in the Netherlands, where he earned an international diploma in animal husbandry. He earned a diploma in Theology from the TheologicalCollege at Bukuru-Jos. In 1987, he received a D.D. in Theology from the GbarngaSchool of theology in Liberia.

Bishop Dabale also studied agriculture and theology at the University of Alabama. He was the officer-in-charge at the Experimental Farm Centre Numan. He taught at a government school in Zing, at BanyamBibleCollege and at the Kakulu Bible Institute, where he also served as principal. All are in Nigeria.

He served as district superintendent of the Muri East District (EUB), and he did pastoral work in Zing and Yonko, Muri East, all in Nigeria.

He is the author of books on organic farming, animal production and agricultural development. He also authored a book on faith and technology.

Bishop Dabale was a delegate to the 1992 General Conference in Louisville, Ken., and was serving as general superintendent of the United Methodist Church, Nigeria, when he was elected to the episcopacy by the West Africa Central Conference on August 14, 1992.

Bishop Dabale was a member of the board of governors of the Theological College of Northern Nigeria, chairperson of the Christian Association Nigeria, in TarabaraState; a member of the Taraba State Peace Committee; a member of the Advisory Committee for War Against Indiscipline and Corruption, TarabaState; and a member of the Northern Nigeria Elders Forum (Christian).

Funeral arrangements are pending in Nigeria. Cards and expressions of care may be sent to the Family of Bishop Dabale c/o the Texas Annual Conference Episcopal Office,

5215 Main Street, Houston, Texas, 77002
. The Texas Conference will forward all expressions to Bishop Dabale's family.

(Editors: A photo of Bishop Dabale is available in United Methodist News Service's Photo Gallery. There are instructions for downloading high and low resolutions photos from the site. /interior.asp?ptid=2&mid=904)

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