July 29, 2004
By Ezekiel C. Makunike*
Bishop Christopher Jokomo
HARARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — The Zimbabwe Area of the United Methodist Church will soon have a new bishop.
follows the July 16 decision by the current episcopal leader, Bishop
Christopher M. Jokomo, to take a voluntary early retirement for health
Zimbabwe Area comprises the Zimbabwe East and the Zimbabwe West annual
conferences in Zimbabwe, Africa. The announcement came at a two-day
meeting in Harare attended by his Central Africa Conference colleagues,
including bishops from Angola, Mozambique and Burundi.
decision now sets into motion the requirements for the election of a
new bishop for the area. In accordance with the provisions of the United
Methodist Book of Discipline, the denomination’s book of law, an
emergency session of the joint annual conferences will meet at the
Mabelreign United Methodist Church in Harare on July 31 for the purpose
of conducting a secret nominating ballot from among the crop of current
elders within the two annual conferences.
sealed ballot will be opened at the Aug. 19-21 session of the
denomination’s Africa Central Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa.
from the conferences in Angola, Mozambique, Burundi, Zimbabwe and the
emerging annual conference in South Africa will elect a bishop from
among the list appearing on the ballot from Harare as well as any other
candidates nominated from the floor.
suffered a stroke about four years ago and was flown to the United
States, where he received medical attention. During his absence and at
his request, the United Methodist Council of Bishops appointed retired
Bishop Herbert Skeete as an interim leader from December 2002 to
experienced educator and administrator, Jokomo was first elected bishop
in 1992 at a Central Africa Conference session held at the Hunyani
Hills near Harare. He succeeded Bishop Abel Tendekayi Muzorewa, the
first non-missionary bishop of the church, who had then reached his
subsequent re-election made him a bishop for life. He was awarded an
honorary doctorate by the Morningside College in recognition of his
educational and leadership service to the denomination. He is married to
Edith (nee Munjoma), a teacher, and they have two daughters.
*Ezekiel Makunike is a UMNS correspondent based in Zimbabwe.
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