LUBUMBASHI, Democratic Republic of the Congo—United Methodist Church bishops serving the church in Africa issued a statement Sept. 7 declaring their intention to stay in the denomination despite differences on the issue of human sexuality.
“Notwithstanding the differences in our UMC regarding the issue of human sexuality, especially with our stance of traditional and biblical view of marriage, we categorically state that we do not plan to leave The United Methodist Church and will continue to be shepherds of God’s flock in this worldwide denomination,” said the bishops in the statement.
The bishops indicated that while some of their colleagues and friends have left or intend to leave our UMC, “we have prayerfully discerned that we will continue to be part of this denomination which has nurtured us throughout our lives. We will continue to work in ministry with all our brothers and sisters throughout the world, remembering not to forsake the fellowship of our sisters and brothers.”
The bishops also voiced support the ongoing discussion for regionalism, which would ensure that Africans would be accommodated in the way and manners in which Africans want to worship the Lord.
They also voiced support for the decision by the Council of Bishops to request General Conference sessions in 2026 and 2028.
“This will be necessary for smooth transitioning as our denomination emerges from the disruptions of COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of disaffiliations.”
Bishops who signed the statement were as follows: Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa, president of Africa Colleges of Bishops; Bishop Gabriel Unda, president of Congo Central Conference College of Bishops; Bishop Daniel Wandabula, president of the Africa Central Conference College of Bishops; Bishop Benjamin Boni, president of the West Africa Central Conference College of Bishops (was not present but approved the statement); Bishop Mande Muyombo, North Katanga-Tanganyika-Tanzania; Bishop Daniel Lunge, Central Congo Area; Bishop Joaquina Nhanala, Mozambique Area; Bishop Jose Quipungo, Angola East Area; Bishop Gaspar Joao Domingos, Angola West Area; Bishop Warner Brown, Sierra Leone Area (interim); Bishop David Yemba, retired; and Bishop Nkulu Ntanda Ntambo, retired.
Three of the 14 bishops in attendance did not support the statement: Bishop Owan Tshibang Kasap, South Congo Area; Bishop Samuel Quire, Liberia Area; and Bishop JohnWesley Yohanna, Nigeria Area.
To read their statement, go here.