Groundbreaking first step for Nigerian church radio

Nigeria Area Bishop John Wesley Yohanna helped lay the foundation for Grace Radio, a new United Methodist radio station in Taraba State.

The bishop, clergy, church members and others attended a groundbreaking ceremony at the denomination’s headquarters in Jalingo on Sept. 18.

“The mission of this radio station is to provide a platform that will provide information, education and entertainment for communities in Taraba State and beyond. We are very glad for this turn of events and we ask that God will give us the ability, power and the capacity to accomplish his mandate here on earth,” Yohanna said.

The AM radio station will be the first faith-based station in the Northeast region, the bishop said.

“(It) will bring peace and unity among United Methodists, Christians and Muslims and other people as well. Our mission is to reach thousands for Christ and touch an untold number of lives,” he said.

Bishop John Wesley Yohanna speaks after ceremoniously laying two foundation blocks for Grace Radio in Jalingo, the capital city of Taraba State in northeastern Nigeria. The project is an initiative of The United Methodist Church in Nigeria in partnership with United Methodist Communications and the United Methodist Radio Network. Photo by the Rev. Ande I. Emmanuel, UM News. 

Bishop John Wesley Yohanna speaks after ceremoniously laying two foundation blocks for Grace Radio in Jalingo, the capital city of Taraba State in northeastern Nigeria. The project is an initiative of The United Methodist Church in Nigeria in partnership with United Methodist Communications and the United Methodist Radio Network. Photo by the Rev. Ande I. Emmanuel, UM News. 

During the groundbreaking ceremony for the building that will house the radio station, the bishop inaugurated a team of specialists who will offer guidance on the different phases of the program, which include construction, equipment procurement, staffing and programming, licensing and the commissioning of the station. The goal is for Grace Radio to be on the air by Aug. 1, 2021. 

The project is an initiative of The United Methodist Church in Nigeria in partnership with United Methodist Communications and the United Methodist Radio Network.

“UMCom is excited to support the launch of radio ministry in Nigeria, growing on the existing United Methodist radio presence in Africa,” said Dan Krause, top executive for the communications agency.

The church operates four other radio stations in Africa: Voice of Hope (Côte d'Ivoire), Radio Kairos (Angola), ELUM 98.7 (Liberia) and Radio Lokole (Congo).

“Through radio outreach, The United Methodist Church in Nigeria can now reach more people to evangelize the Good News and bring more people into relationship with Jesus Christ,” said Krause.

The United Methodist Radio Network, launched in 2015 to support and resource existing and aspiring radio ministries, will provide guidance and expertise to the Nigeria station. The network has active members in almost every annual conference in Africa and the Philippines.

Establishing the station in Nigeria requires a capital budget of 78,000,000 Nigerian Naira ($195,000 U.S.). Through its annual giving, the church in Nigeria has raised about N20,000,000 ($50,000 U.S.) and United Methodist Communications has agreed to match that amount and provide an additional grant to support the initial building and equipment.

Yohanna called on all members of The United Methodist Church to pray and support the project in whatever way possible.

Choir members from the Jalingo Districts Choir sang during groundbreaking ceremonies for a new United Methodist radio station in Jalingo, Nigeria. The plan is for Grace Radio to be on the air in August of 2021. Photo by the Rev. Ande I. Emmanuel, UM News. 

Choir members from the Jalingo Districts Choir sang during groundbreaking ceremonies for a new United Methodist radio station in Jalingo, Nigeria. The plan is for Grace Radio to be on the air in August of 2021. Photo by the Rev. Ande I. Emmanuel, UM News.

The United Methodist Church in Nigeria has long dreamed of establishing a radio station that will reach its growing membership. There are more than 740,000 baptized and affirming members in the country and about 950,000 people attend United Methodist churches every Sunday in Nigeria, according to the episcopal area’s 2019 Conference Journals. More than 65% of members live in rural areas where access to internet, cell phones and other means of communication is lacking.

Radio communication channels remain the easiest and most effective means of reaching members of the church, especially those in rural areas, said the Rev. Bazel Yoila Yayuba.

Haji Dubagari Andamin, a lay leader at McBride United Methodist Church in Magami, agreed.

“It is a thing of joy that this development is timely and necessary in this era where people depend on information to move on. This radio station will go a long way in creating awareness through propagating the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to all nations,” Andamin said.

Ayuka Kubam Kwanshi, a friend of the church and witness to the groundbreaking ceremony, congratulated the entire United Methodist family on the milestone achievement.

“We are forever thankful to our partners for their commitments toward educating and informing the people in the Nigeria Area through this medium of preaching the Gospel,” Kwanshi said.

Baitalami United Methodist Church member Mary Thompson said United Methodists have been looking forward to this moment for a long time.

“We are in dire need of more educative contents and with this achievement, we are confident that we will be well informed as we build the body of Christ.”

Emmanuel and Terah are communicators in Nigeria.

News media contact: Vicki Brown at (615) 742-5470 or [email protected] To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests.

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