|A UMNS file photo by Mike DuBose
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
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.
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.
a statement released Nov. 22, board officials noted that Cote d’Ivoire
(Ivory Coast), in West Africa, is home to about 1 million United
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.
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.”
Rev. Benjamin Boni, superintendent of the United Methodist Church
there, has been in consultation with other religious leaders to bring
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.
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.”
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.
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
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.
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 email@example.com.