News Archives

United Methodists express concern on tensions in Cote d’Ivoire

 


United Methodists express concern on tensions in Cote d’Ivoire

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS file photo by Mike DuBose

The Rev. Benjamin Boni (right) and the Rev. R. Randy Day announce May 7 that the Protestant Methodist Church of Cote d�Ivoire is joining the United Methodist Church.

Nov. 22, 2004    

NEW YORK (UMNS) — Although scattered reports indicate its own church leaders are safe, the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries has expressed concern about continuing violence in Cote d’Ivoire.

The latest violence erupted Nov. 5 after the government there broke a cease-fire with rebels and attacked a French camp, killing nine peacekeepers and an American aid worker, Robert Carsky. France destroyed much of the Ivorian Air Force in response, according to news reports.

In a statement released Nov. 22, board officials noted that Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), in West Africa, is home to about 1 million United Methodists.

“We have had limited contact with church leaders there since the outbreak of violence, and we are unable to put into context some of the scattered reports we have received,” the statement said. “We understand that the leaders and pastors of the United Methodist Church of Cote d’Ivoire are safe and are working to bring calm to a volatile situation.

“One report indicates that United Methodists provided aid to persons injured in street clashes between the French military and Ivorian protesters. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has offered assistance to be used in the care of civilian victims.”

The Rev. Benjamin Boni, superintendent of the United Methodist Church there, has been in consultation with other religious leaders to bring about stability.

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS map

In a Nov. 10 statement – broadcast on Ivorian television and radio – Boni condemned the killings and called for an immediate stop to the violence.

“The United Methodist Church of Cote d’Ivoire shares the sorrow and pain of all the grieving Ivorians, French and American families,” said Boni’s French-language statement. “The church regrets the extent of the killings and massacre that characterized this time of uncertainty. The church wishes a prompt recovery of all the wounded.”

He also urged the expatriate population to stay in what he considers a “welcoming and hospitable land.” Thousands of French people and other Westerners have fled the country since the violence began.

In praying for a lasting peace, the clergyman quoted Psalm 34:6-7: “This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord, and was saved from every trouble. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him and delivers them.”

“The north-south tensions in Cote d’Ivoire are longstanding and involve economic as well as political and, perhaps, religious factors,” the Board of Global Ministries’ statement continued. “The country is the world’s largest producer of cocoa, and news reports indicate sectional conflict over control of the crop. Much of the north is controlled by groups considered ‘rebels’ by the government of President Laurent Gbagbo, which holds sway in the south.”

The north is heavily Muslim, while the southern part of Cote d’Ivoire is largely Christian.

The former autonomous Protestant Methodist Church of Cote d’Ivoire was received into full membership of the United Methodist Church during the 2004 General Conference, the denomination’s top legislative meeting, last May. Church leaders approached the Board of Global Ministries several years ago, requesting mission status in order to become part of a worldwide church rather than continuing as a national body.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org.


 

Ask Now

This will not reach a local church, district or conference office. InfoServ* staff will answer your question, or direct it to someone who can provide information and/or resources.

First Name:*
Last Name:*
Email:*
ZIP/Postal Code:*
Question:*

*InfoServ ( about ) is a service of United Methodist Communications located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. 1-800-251-8140

Not receiving a reply?
Your Spam Blocker might not recognize our email address. Add this address to your list of approved senders.

Would you like to ask any questions about this story?ASK US NOW


Contact Us

This will not reach a local church, district or conference office. InfoServ* staff will answer your question, or direct it to someone who can provide information and/or resources.

Phone
(optional)

*InfoServ ( about ) is a ministry of United Methodist Communications located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. 1-800-251-8140

Not receiving a reply?
Your Spam Blocker might not recognize our email address. Add InfoServ@umcom.org to your list of approved senders.