Four new members will soon join the United Methodist Council of Bishops. Their elections came during central conference meetings in Hamburg, Germany, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. A current bishop was re-elected and is a bishop for life.
Bishop Harald Rückert is the new episcopal leader in Germany. Now a bishop for life, Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda serves the East Congo Area. Other bishops elected in the Congo Central Conference and their assignments are Daniel Onashuyaka Lunge (Central Congo), Kasap Owan (Southern Congo) and Mande Muyombo (North Katanga). The new bishops were consecrated on March 19.
Bishop Harald Rückert
Germany Central Conference delegates elected Rückert, 58. He will succeed retiring Bishop Rosemarie Wenner as bishop of the Germany Area.
"We are a church together," Rückert said. "I am very pleased to be able to shape and carry on the way of the church together with you."
Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda
Now bishop for life, Unda was re-elected March 18 during the Congo Central Conference meeting in Kamina, Democratic Republic of Congo.
"Women suffered the most during my area's civil war and the center would equip them with training to improve their lives. When you heal a woman, you heal children and the nation, too," Unda said.
Bishop Daniel Onashuyaka Lunge
Delegates elected Lunge, 59, dean of the faculty of theology at Patrice Lumumba University, on the third ballot. He was the second bishop elected by the conference.
"Improving evangelism will be a priority for me as an episcopal leader. We need to revive the spiritual life of the church," Lunge said. "We also need to renovate and build new sanctuaries and parsonages. In some areas, they are still using the old houses built by missionaries many decades ago.
Bishop Kasap Owan
President of the Katanga Methodist University in Mulungushi, Owan, 62, was elected during the Congo Central Conference meeting.
"In the 1980s, one old man prophesied that a bishop would come from our village in Mwaji," Owan said. "Today, that prophecy has me true."
Bishop Mande Muyombo
Muyombo, 44, an executive of the General Board of Global Ministries, was elected during the Congo Central Conference. He is the first graduate of Africa University to be elected bishop and the youngest episcopal leader in the central conference.
"I am committed to working towards the unity of The United Methodist Church because I am a product of the UMC connection," said Muyombo, who has been executive director for Global Mission Connections with responsibility for the mission agency's regional offices.
Eveline Chikwanah, communicator in the Zimbabwe East Annual Conference, and Klaus Ulrich Ruof, a communicator with The United Methodist Church in Germany.
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