Short Takes Summer 2021
Volcanic Eruptions in St. Vincent
The Soufriere volcano on the island of St. Vincent began erupting on April 9, sending lava down the sides of the volcano and clouds of ash across the island. Eruptions continued for two weeks, leaving a thick coating of ash across St. Vincent as well as the Grenadines directly to the north, and Barbados, which is one hundred miles to the east. In some areas, several inches of ash fell, contaminating most cisterns and thereby polluting the drinking water. Then heavy rains caused compounding problems with flooding and mudslides.
Sixteen thousand people were evacuated in the days leading up to the eruptions, and so far no deaths have been attributed to the natural disasters. Our District Superintendent of St. Vincent, Christopher King, confirmed that everyone from our nine congregations on the island remained physically safe. Three of our churches were located in the evacuation zone: Fancy, Dickson, and Gorse Estate. Reverend King noted that the road to Fancy was entirely wiped out, and the two nearest villages were destroyed. All of our congregations have been impacted to some degree as they are all relatively close on an island that is only eighteen miles in length.
In early May, a donation from the world headquarters in Portland was sent to help the saints on the island recover. In response Reverend King wrote, “Please convey our heartfelt thanks to all. God bless you as you continue to bear us up in prayer, as we do the same for you.”
A New Leader for Benin
An installation service was held at the Benin headquarters church in Cotonou on Sunday, May 9, 2021, to present and dedicate Marcellin Kploka as the new Benin District Superintendent. He succeeds Marcellin Hounmenou, who had held the position from 1997 until his passing in March.
Prior to the installation, a team of four from the Western and Central Africa (WECA) headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria, arrived and met with the Benin Board of Directors to confirm the selection. There was unanimous agreement among them. Later, the zonal coordinators, pastors, ministers, workers, and all present at the installation service showed their full support for the appointment as well. During the installation service, the team from Nigeria and the Benin Board of Directors, along with other ministers, gathered around Reverend Kploka to pray, dedicating him to God’s service. The prayer concluded with a hearty “amen” from the congregation.
New District Superintendent and Board Members for Western and Central Africa
On Sunday, May 30, an installation service was held at the West and Central Africa headquarters church in Anthony Village, Lagos, Nigeria, for the new WECA district superintendent, three Nigeria board members, and a treasurer.
The new WECA District Superintendent is Reverend Gabriel Ajayi, who has been serving as the Anthony Regional Overseer and a Nigeria board member. He succeeds Reverend Adebayo Adeniran, who has retired. It was also announced that Reverend Isaac Adigun, the Western Europe District Superintendent, is expected to take over the WECA leadership position later this year. His UK successor is yet to be named, but a formal installation is scheduled for November in London, England.
The other appointments included Board Members James Tifase, Emmanuel Moh, and Edet Bassey, as well as Treasurer Adebayo Oladokun. These are to fill vacancies left by the retirements of Reverends Dealyn George and Aaron Olamijulo, as well as the deaths of Reverends Saviour Nnodim and Adebayo Adesanya. The Nigeria Board had met over a year ago and decided at that time to transition their leadership to a younger generation. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, those plans were delayed until now.
All of the new appointees have the support of the WECA regional and district overseers, ministers, and workers. At the May 30 installation service, the congregation also showed their support by standing for each individual before each one was prayed over by the ministry, dedicating them to God’s service.