United Methodist Church Judicial Council meets in Africa for the first time at Africa University

In a historic moment for Africa University , the United Methodist Church Judicial Council met at the campus, the first time that it has convened on the continent of Africa from the 28th of October through to the 1st of October 2023. The UMC Judicial Council is the denomination’s highest judicial body or “court,”. The Council’s nine members, made up of laity and clergy, are elected by the General Conference and normally meet twice a year . It is represented currently by  officials from the DRC, Mozambique, Liberia , Norway and the USA.

The Judicial Council were received in traditional African fashion as they attended Sunday worship with much song and celebration. Reverend Dennis Blackwell said that seeing the Africa University Choir in action was a spiritual boon and blessing while Mrs. Beth Capen likened the experience of the worship service to a spiritual revival saying, “What a lively service that was, especially with the vibrant music from the choir, everyone up and dancing…what an experience! “

After the meetings, the Council immersed themselves in the university community, sharing in the experiences and culture of the institution’s academics, students body and culture.

Judicial Council President and lawyer from Liberia, N. Oswald Tweh, the first African to hold the position and a former member of the Africa University Board of Directors , enjoyed touring the university’s School of Law which was opened in 2022, and interacted with 1st year Law students together with other members of the Council.

From left, Warren Plowden, School of Law Head of Public Law Dr. Linet Sithole, Kent Fulton, President N. Oswald Tweh, Lidia Gulele, and School of Law Head of Private Law Mr. Christopher Munguma take a group photo after Judicial Council members toured the Moot Court at the university’s School of Law.

First year Law student Rumbidzo Sande said of the interaction, “It was really an incredible chance to be up close with such brilliant and influential minds. It was so inspiring to see what I can become after my studies and also learn more about how the profession can be used as tool for good and justice in so many spheres  of life.”

The Council also took the time to visit with  students from the Institute of Theology and Religious studies during lectures, where they had the opportunity to elaborate on the legislative bodies and functions of the United Methodist Church, sharing knowledge and the rich history of the Church not only on the continent of Africa but worldwide.

Speaking on the sidelines of the meetings, Judicial Council Secretary Reverend Dr. Kibamba Kiboko expressed her and the Council’s enthusiasm at being at the university , taking in the hospitality, the atmosphere and overall feelings of hope and inspiration that the community exudes. “We are so so happy to be here and Africa University is as always amazing! I taught here in the then Faculty of Theology and it is so great to see how much the institution has grown in infrastructure and community.”