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New Nigerian Bishop Encourages Church Mission Office

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Bishop Mavula makes a point during a recorded interview while visiting the offices of the General Board of Global Ministries.

Bishop Mavula makes a point during a recorded interview while visiting the offices of the General Board of Global Ministries.
Image by: Mary Beth Coudal
Source: GBGM Mission News

By Mary Beth Coudal

New York, NY, May 16, 2007—The Rev. Kefas Kane Mavula, newly elected bishop of The United Methodist Church in Nigeria, visited Global Ministries offices for several days in May to share a vision of hope and come to know mission leaders.

The bishop’s visit followed his attendance at the Council of Bishops meeting from April 29th to May 4th in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
As a young leader in a large and diverse country, Bishop Mavula said he had developed guidelines for his own ministry:

  1. Look to God as your guidance.

  2. Make yourself available to all people.

  3. Listen to everyone, especially those who have been aggrieved and set apart.

  4. Make sure that everyone—without consideration to their status in society—knows they are important.

  5. Consider everyone your friend—young or old, male or female.

Bishop Mavula honed his leadership style as principal at the United Methodist Church in Nigeria Junior Seminary. Indeed, several years ago, when Mavula announced at a school assembly that he would leave his post to become a district superintendent for The United Methodist Church, the students and teachers shouted, “No! No! No!”

“Bishop Mavula is very quiet and very determined… He is compassionate and astute and he will not be compromised by his position,” said Dr. Ethel Johnson, a United Methodist layleader from the United States, who has been an advocate for the United Methodist Church in Nigeria, since 1985.

In a surprising twist, it was on Mavula’s 40th birthday, March 3rd, 2007, that two other candidates for the episcopacy gave Mavula a gift and a big responsibility:  they withdrew their candidacy in order to show unity. Bishop Mavula was elected unanimously.

“Bishop Mavula’s first objective is to bring about reconciliation in The United Methodist Church in Nigeria, even if he does not achieve anything else during his tenure,” said Dr. Caroline Njuki, an Africa office executive at Global Ministries.

The bishop is originally from Nyaja village in Taraba State, He and his wife, Jessica, have six sons between the ages of 3 and twenty.  

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Topic: Communities International affairs United Methodist Church
Geographic Region: AfricaNigeria
Source: GBGM Press Releases
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Date posted: May 16, 1990