March 15, 2005
A UMNS Report
By Elliott Wright*
Rev. Benjamin Boni has been elected the first bishop of the newly
constituted United Methodist Church of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast).
was elected March 12 without opposition by the West Africa Central
Conference meeting in Abidjan, the commercial capital of Côte d’Ivoire.
The new episcopal leader received all 71 of the valid ballots cast on
the first vote (three ballots were invalid).
to the central conference also recognized Côte d’Ivoire as an annual
conference of the international denomination. The country has 800,000 to
1 million United Methodists.
was president of the former Protestant Methodist Church of Côte
d’Ivoire when that autonomous denomination applied for admission into
the United Methodist Church. It was given the status of a mission in
2003 by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, and Boni became
2004 General Conference, the denomination’s highest legislative body,
granted full membership on the basis of the history and organizational
strength of Methodism in Côte d’Ivoire. The church on Africa’s west
coast became a full member on May 7.
“Bishop Boni is my
friend and a friend of mission,” said the Rev. R. Randy Day, chief
executive of the Board of Global Ministries. “We look forward to working
with him in the great ministries already under way in Côte d’Ivoire.”
new bishop was born in Côte d’Ivoire in 1952. He did his basic college
study in Abidjan, and received his theological education at an
ecumenical seminary in Yaounde, Cameroon, where many United Methodist
pastors from West Africa study. He also has advanced degrees in theology
and family counseling from the University of Strasbourg in France.
Boni and his wife, N’Gbesso Berthe Boni, have six children.
*Wright is the public information officer for the Board of Global Ministries.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.