|Done Peter Dabale, church's 1st Nigeria bishop, dies
Bishops Done Peter Dabale (left) and Janice Riggle Huie pray during
opening worship at the 2004 General Conference in Pittsburgh.
A UMNS file photo by Mike DuBose.
Aug. 28, 2006 | HOUSTON (UMNS)
The first United Methodist bishop of Nigeria, Done Peter Dabale, died Aug. 26 at the Methodist Hospital. He was 57.
Bishop Done Peter Dabale
Bishop Dabale was admitted to the hospital Aug. 14 and was diagnosed
with liver cancer, said Bishop Janice Riggle Huie in an Aug. 27
statement announcing the news. Huie is president of the denomination's
Council of Bishops and leader of the church's Houston Area.
Dabale had flown from Nigeria to Houston for diagnosis and treatment.
Once in Houston, his condition deteriorated rapidly and unexpectedly,
Huie said. He died from complications related to the disease.
"Peter Dabale was a pioneer in the United Methodist Church in
Nigeria," Huie said. "Under his leadership, United Methodist churches
worked to help people of all faiths in a country that has been torn by
"The church in Nigeria has shown tremendous growth. Before he was
elected bishop, there were about 10,000 United Methodists in Nigeria.
Now there are more than 400,000 members of the church there."
Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer of the Iowa Area, who worked closely with
Bishop Dabale for a number of years, called the Nigerian bishop "an
intensely focused person who led the growth of the church in Nigeria.
The church in Nigeria has a fullness of life that reflects his
intensity. The people of Nigeria live the gospel, not only through
proclaiming the word, but in meeting human needs by operating clinics
and schools for all people."
Bishop Gregory Palmer
"Bishop Done Peter Dabale was one of a generation of bishops who put
their hearts and souls into building up the United Methodist Church in
Africa," said the Rev. R. Randy Day, top staff executive of the United
Methodist Board of Global Ministries. "He often found himself in
challenging, even hostile, political and social environments in Nigeria,
yet his energy and determination remained strong. The bishop was a man
of vigorous faith and action. We are in prayer for his family and the
church in Nigeria."
Dabale had been scheduled to take early retirement in 2007. He was
elected the first United Methodist bishop of Nigeria in 1992 after
serving as general superintendent of United Methodists in the West
African nation. He was ordained by Bishop Akila Todi.
He was born April 26, 1949, in Nyabalang-Yotti, of the Jereng
District of Adamawa State, Nigeria. He was married to Kerike Christiana
Dabale and had 11 children: Rebecca, Dearsley, Lulah, Maran, Kaka,
Wehnam, Dony, Yoknyam, S. Danjuma, Omega and Sadique. His daughter,
Yoknyam "Love" Dabale, a student at Duke Divinity School, Durham, N.C.,
was with him when he died.
Coming from a village and a family where young people did not attend
school, Dabale's career was varied. He worked as a nurse, held
administrative and teaching positions in the field of agriculture, and
held pastoral, teaching, administrative, and episcopal positions in the
He earned numerous degrees and certifications. His higher education
began at the Government Agriculture School in Yola, where he received a
certificate in general agriculture. He also received a certificate of
nursing from the Nursing School at Numan, where he was a nurse and ward
assistant at Numan General Hospital. In 1980, he traveled to Barneveld
College in the Netherlands, where he earned an international diploma in
animal husbandry. He earned a diploma in theology from the Theological
College at Bukuru-Jos. In 1987, he received a D.D. in theology from the
Gbarnga School of Theology in Liberia.
Dabale also studied agriculture and theology at the University of
Alabama. He was the officer-in-charge at the Experimental Farm Centre
Numan. He taught at a government school in Zing, at Banyam Bible College
and at the Kakulu Bible Institute, where he also served as principal.
All are in Nigeria.
He served as superintendent of the Muri East District (Evangelical
United Brethren), and he did pastoral work in Zing and Yonko, Muri East,
all in Nigeria.
He was the author of books on organic farming, animal production and
agricultural development. He also authored a book on faith and
Dabale was a delegate to the 1992 General Conference in Louisville,
Ky., and was serving as general superintendent of the United Methodist
Church, Nigeria, when he was elected to the episcopacy by the West
Africa Central Conference on Aug. 14, 1992.
He was a member of the board of governors of the Theological College
of Northern Nigeria; chairperson of the Christian Association of
Nigeria, in Taraba State; a member of the Taraba State Peace Committee; a
member of the Advisory Committee for War Against Indiscipline and
Corruption, Taraba State; and a member of the Northern Nigeria Elders
Funeral arrangements are pending in Nigeria. Cards and expressions of
care may be sent to the family of Bishop Dabale c/o the Texas Annual
Conference Episcopal Office, 5215 Main St., Houston, TX 77002. The Texas
Conference will forward all expressions to the family.
News media contact: Stephen Drachler or Tim Tanton, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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