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2022 Southern Nigeria Annual Conference



The 41st session of the Southern Nigeria Annual Conference was held at Mcbride UMCN Magami-Jalingo under the leadership of United Methodist Bishop John Wesley Yohanna, Resident Bishop of the Nigeria Episcopal Area.

Held under the theme “…And know that I am God” from Psalms 46:10, the session was attended by 320 clergy and lay delegates.

The Rev. Emmanuel Sajo preached and gave several Bible readings, including Romans 8:35-39; James 3:4-12; Matthew 15:10-20 and Psalm 46:10.

In his preaching, he argued that no one had ever helped God. He supported this claim with II Samuel 6:6-7 which tells the story of Uzzah trying to keep God’s ark from falling. He held out his hands to keep the ark of God from falling. But God was not pleased with Uzzah and struck him dead.

He said many members of the United Methodist Church have become Uzzahs. They think they can help God. He added that at times we have assumed the position of judge to one another. He warned that we can never help God at all. He warned the delegates about where they will spend their eternity.

The guest preacher said he has heard some people say they were born and raised in The United Methodist Church. He asked what is important: our salvation or the church we were raised in? In his epistle, Paul encourages people not to accept any teaching that does not match what they know in the Scriptures.

The preacher ended up asking himself several questions:

Is the recent teaching of our church consistent with the Scriptures? Is what we align ourselves with today in the church part of the teaching we receive in the Bible? He drew the members’ attention to the story of a woman caught in the act of adultery. He asked if, to commit an act of adultery, there did not have to be two parties. When the Pharisees brought the woman to Jesus, where was the man?

During the meeting, delegates noted that the global challenges facing the entire United Methodist Church worldwide have had a negative impact on the Episcopal Region of Nigeria.

They note that certain groups of individuals who are very ambitious in their quest for leadership have recently plunged the Episcopal region into a state of crisis.

The Council of Bishops and the College of Bishops have made frantic efforts to bring about a lasting solution to the crisis. These efforts built on the Abuja, Nigeria meeting that resulted in the just resolutions of Grand Bassam that the bishop was supported by the conference to implement.

However, aggrieved members do not cooperate in resolving the crisis due to outside influences, according to delegates.

Delegates noted that over the years, new mission areas have been established in 13 locations in seven states in Nigeria.

Among the major recommendations made by the delegates was to ask the Bishop and the Cabinet of the Southern Nigeria Annual Conference to convene a special session in the first quarter of 2023.

The Conference invited all delegates to welcome dissenting members if they feel the touch of the Holy Spirit to reconnect with the Church.

Several resolutions were taken during these meetings.

Among these, the conference resolved that it will remain a United Methodist Church until the 2024 General Conference, when the church’s position will be determined, and that if the incompatibility language  in the 2016 Book of Discipline is removed, the Southern Nigeria Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church will have no choice but to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church and join any emerging denomination that will uphold our traditional belief of Wesleyan theology.

On the issue of human sexuality, the Conference requested that the President of the College of Bishops of West Africa convene an extraordinary session of the West African Episcopal Conference to determine the position of the West African Central Conference on same-sex marriage.

The Conference resolved that the issue of giving one-third of the marriage tithe, as recommended by the Legislative Committee on Evangelism, would be brought to the next Conference session for consideration. However, the Conference advised that efforts be intensified on the weekly evangelistic offering in all UM churches in the Southern Nigeria Annual Conference, just as it would with the apportionment and other funds of the church.

Several other resolutions were put forward by the delegates:

  • The Conference also decided that the UMCN Young Women’s Network should retain its status quo under the Youth Ministry and be supervised and advised by the Southern Nigeria Annual Conference Agency.
  • With regard to the Sunday school uniform, the conference decided that each district should print its own uniform provided that a sample of the uniform is provided.
  • The conference voted to approve the 2023 budget with the understanding that errors in the financial report regarding district payments not captured be corrected by the Finance and Administration Department and presented at the special session convened to be held during the first quarter of 2023.
  • The Conference unanimously decided to support the resident bishop in the implementation of the just resolution of Grand Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire to reconnect our members who have disconnected from the UMC because of certain undisciplined behaviors.
  • The Conference noted, in its quest for peace with the second “splinter group” and in its attempt to implement the Just Grand Bassam resolution, that an invitation was extended to the “aggrieved members” for an expanded cabinet meeting involving all the Annual Conferences in Nigeria, but they declined the invitation. Similarly, an invitation was extended to all district superintendents for a cabinet meeting of the Southern Nigeria Annual Conference, but one district superintendent of the splinter group refused to honor the invitation. Again, a letter was sent to all districts through the district superintendent inviting all conference delegates to the 41st session of the Southern Nigeria Annual Conference, but the dissenting faction turned a deaf ear to these calls. In view of the above, the Conference resolved that a special session of appeal would be held in the first quarter of the year 2023 and that open doors, hearts and minds would be extended to them for the last time.

Four deacons were ordained into the order of elders and three candidates were ordained as deacons. Three local pastors were appointed by the bishop, as well as 105 other clergy in full connection and those appointed beyond the local churches.

Dr. Aliyu B. Mbiko, Conference Secretary


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