United Methodists create new conference in Nigeria

United Methodist Women offer songs during the March 19 inauguration of the new North East Nigeria Annual Conference. Photo by Richard Fidelis, Central Nigeria Conference.
United Methodist Women offer songs during the March 19 inauguration of the new North East Nigeria Annual Conference. Photo by Richard Fidelis, Central Nigeria Conference.

The United Methodist Church, Nigeria Episcopal Area, has inaugurated a new conference.

The new North East Nigeria Annual Conference was celebrated March 19 at the Karim Maundi primary school, a United Methodist school in Karim Lamido. Bishop John Wesley Yohanna of the Nigeria Episcopal Area presided over the event, with the theme, “Come, let us continue with God’s work.”

Carved out of the Central Nigeria Annual Conference as a way to foster development and evangelism, the North East Nigeria Conference was approved last December in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, by the West Africa Central Conference. The newly inaugurated conference consists of 12 districts, 6 mission areas, 124,311 professed members and 88 clergy members.

Those in attendance at the inauguration included the governor of Taraba State, represented by the Rev. John Simon Jatutu; former governor of Taraba State, the Rev. Jolly. T. Nyame; general superintendents of the three conferences; businessmen; politicians and traditional rulers. The new conference’s general superintendent, the Rev. Yehuda N. Zailani, gave a valedictory speech.

A fundraising effort for the conference’s growth and development netted 5,300,000 in naira, the Nigerian currency, or about $17,000 in U.S. dollars. A guesthouse was donated by Mike Dio Jen to support the new conference.

The purpose of an annual conference in The United Methodist Church, according to its Book of Discipline, is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by equipping its local churches for ministry and by providing a connection for ministry beyond the local church.

Eleven years ago, the Gwaten Nigeria Annual Conference, now called the Central Nigeria Annual Conference, was inaugurated by Bishop Nkulu Ntanda Ntambo, the then interim bishop of the United Methodist Church in Nigeria.

With the new North East Conference, Nigeria has four annual conferences. The other three are Central, Southern and Northern. 

Sharon Adamu Bambuka is director of communications, Southern Nigeria Annual Conference.

News media contact: Vicki Brown, news editor, newsdesk@umcom.org or 615-742-5470.

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