A new communications center will enable United Methodists in Nigeria to communicate more effectively with one another and with the global church.
The office was commissioned May 30 by Bishop John Wesley Yohanna, leader of the Nigeria Episcopal Area, and Dan Krause, top staff executive of United Methodist Communications. The center is in the administrative building of the church’s episcopal area offices in Jalingo, Taraba State.
Good communication is a must in the church, Bishop Yohanna said. The day before the dedication, he described how the world was created through communication, as God spoke creation into existence.
The bishop thanked the communication agency for its funding support for the center. United Methodist Communications provided $11,500 for the purchase of 10 laptops, a projector, copier and printer, smart board, internet connectivity, and one year of communication staffing support.
“Communication is the heart of the church, and it’s the heart of our faith,” Krause said. Methodism’s co-founder, John Wesley, “would be very passionate about communication today” and would be using the new technology to reach people, he said.
Leaders from Nigeria’s four conferences attended the commissioning, along with staff from United Methodist Communications. The center is open to church members, staff and the general public.
The office will enable the church’s staff to learn how to connect via the internet, use Microsoft tools and other resources, and communicate in ways that advance the mission of the church, said the Rev. Ande Emmanuel, assistant to the bishop. The church in Nigeria has more than 180 staff – primarily office staff and heads of programs and boards with the episcopal area’s four conferences, he said.
The world has advanced in technology, said the Rev. Yunusa Z. Usman, conference administrative assistant to the bishop, North East Nigeria Conference. He said he will find two weeks on his schedule to learn computer basics so that he can communicate better.
Joy Julius Sylvester, the director of communication for the episcopal area and director of the center, said the facility will be used for training and development of staff, and it will enable better connection among the conference communication directors. “It will bridge the gap we have always been having” in communication, she said.
Peter Ngai, lay leader, Southern Nigeria Conference, agreed.
“One of the most effective ways of bringing development is through the empowerment of people through communications, which aid learning and grow our relationship with others,” he said.
The Rev. Yayuba Beziel Yoila, conference administrative assistant to the bishop, Southern Nigeria Conference, stated that he can now visit the new UMCResource website with ease.
Driver Jalo, director of the council on ministries for the Southern Nigeria Conference, said the opening of the center has created an environment for learning and communication, and it will be a blessing for those who don’t have computer knowhow.
Sharon Adamu Bambuka is director of communications for the Southern Nigeria Annual Conference. Tim Tanton, chief news officer of United Methodist Communications, contributed to this report.