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United Methodists to elect new bishop for Zimbabwe

 


United Methodists to elect new bishop for Zimbabwe

July 29, 2004        

By Ezekiel C. Makunike*

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
Bishop Christopher Jokomo

HARARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — The Zimbabwe Area of the United Methodist Church will soon have a new bishop.

This follows the July 16 decision by the current episcopal leader, Bishop Christopher M. Jokomo, to take a voluntary early retirement for health reasons.

The 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.
 
Jokomo’s 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.

The sealed ballot will be opened at the Aug. 19-21 session of the denomination’s Africa Central Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Delegates 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.

Jokomo 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 December 2003.

An 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 retirement age.

Jokomo’s 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.

News media contact: Linda Bloom·(646)369-3759·New York· E-mail: newsdesk@umcom.org.

 

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