Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church Press Release
An agriculture initiative for Africa launched by the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries two years ago has been renamed in memory of the late Bishop John K. Yambasu of Sierra Leone. The bishop, who died on August 16, 2020, following a traffic accident in Freetown, was instrumental in starting the effort to improve food security and strengthen farm communities across the continent.
Bishop Yambasu was the vice president of Global Ministries, the worldwide mission, relief and development agency of the denomination, and president of the denomination’s Africa College of Bishops.
The late Bishop John K. Yambasu speaks to attendees during the ‘Multiplying the Loaves: The Church and Agriculture in Africa” summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa in January 2019. The summit brought over 80 people together in an effort to address topics surrounding Africa’s agricultural sustainability and explore best practices for the future.
The designation of the Yambasu Agriculture Initiative came as part of a tribute to the bishop during closing worship at the annual meeting (held virtually) of Global Ministries’ directors on November 12. It was announced by Bishop Hee-Soo Jung, episcopal leader of the Wisconsin area and president of the board. “The naming of this important agricultural ministry in honor of our colleague recognizes his strong commitment to the eradication of hunger and to the economic improvement of the farm communities across Africa. He presided at the initiative’s first meeting in Johannesburg in 2018.”
The work of the Bishop Yambasu Agriculture Initiative will evolve from a pilot project underway in Sierra Leone, according to Roland Fernandes, general secretary of Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).
“The naming of the Agriculture Initiative for him allows us to continue and honor Bishop Yambasu’s legacy of commitment to farmers in Africa,” Fernandes said. “It also provides a way for us to accompany farmers as they strive to support themselves and their communities. It extends our efforts to connect the church in mission through care of the creation and sustainable development.”
Bishop Joaquina Nhanala, resident bishop of the Mozambique Episcopal Area, was appointed by the Council of Bishops to the board of directors and will serve as vice president of Global Ministries.
To support this initiative or to make a gift in Bishop Yambasu’s honor, visit https://umcmission.org/advance-project/982188/.
The late Bishop John K. Yambasu speaks to attendees during the ‘Multiplying the Loaves: The Church and Agriculture in Africa” summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa in January 2019. The summit brought over 80 people together in an effort to address topics surrounding Africa’s agricultural sustainability and explore best practices for the future. PHOTO: Anthony Trueheart
When Bishop John Yambasu tragically died in a traffic accident in August of this year, he left behind an epic legacy of love and service, but he also left a huge hole in the hearts of the many people he led and inspired. The Child Reintegration, Mercy Hospital, and Missionary Training Centre staff members have been especially devastated by his loss. They decided to hold a very special ceremony to honor the bishop and reignite their commitment to his ministry of transforming the lives of vulnerable children and families in Sierra Leone.
The ceremony, called "Carry the Light" was held on September 29th at the CRC and included all staff members from the CRC, Mercy and the MTC. At the event, one big candle represented the Bishop's light, and each staff member lit an individual candle from that light, symbolizing the continuation of the bishop's vision and mission. The staff members took the candles home, so that they will continue to be a visible memento of the CRC and Mercy staff members' recommitment to their mission.
The Child Reintegration Centre and Mercy Hospital are grieving the loss of Bishop John K. Yambasu, the man whose vision launched their mission to care for vulnerable children and families in Sierra Leone, one of the poorest countries in the world. To honor Bishop Yambasu, the CRC and Mercy are holding a special candlelight ceremony called "Carry the Light," to ensure the continuation of Bishop Yambasu's vision to "reach across the ocean for the love of God's children." A special banner has been created, which will be signed by the staff members of both organization. HCW Assistant Director Mohamed Nabieu is traveling from the US this week and will participate in the ceremony.
We are two hearts beating as one, two hands with one heart, reaching across the ocean for the love of God's children."Bishop John K. Yambasu
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