Concerning Sierra Leone.

It is with sadness and loss for the United Methodist church that Bishop Yambasu has passed this earth. It is also a loss to St. Andrews. He communicated with us and supported us in our support of our partner church in Zimmi. He was looking into how we could provide Bibles to our Zimmi partner church. His earthly life was taken suddenly in an automobile accident in Sierra Leone.

See Bishop Park's letter below.

“Jesus said, I am the resurrection and I am the life.
Those who believe in me, even though they die, yet shall they live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Because I live, you shall live also.” (John 11:25-26)

“Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Susquehanna Conference,

Grace to you in the name of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, Healer of our Brokenness, and Hope of the World!

In profound sadness, disbelief, and shock I share with you the death of Bishop John K. Yambasu, Resident Bishop of the Sierra Leone Area of the United Methodist Church. Yesterday, Sunday, August 16, Bishop Yambasu was on his way to the funeral of one of the pastors when he was killed in a car accident just outside of Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Bishop Yambasu and the people of Sierra Leone are no strangers to the people of the Susquehanna Conference. There is a long and proud history of our people working for health, wholeness, and financial support for the pastors of Sierra Leone Conference in and through the Sierra Leone Initiative. Our people have been instrumental and extremely generous in support of the Initiative. Many of our churches and individuals engage in various projects with churches in Sierra Leone. Inspired and encouraged and prompted by Bishop Yambasu the mission partnership between the Susquehanna and Sierra Leone Conferences continues to be strengthened and makes a difference. While we are joined together with the people of Sierra Leone as ministry partners, we are also now joined by sadness because of his death.

Bishop Yambasu was an outstanding episcopal leader. His spirituality, his faith, his devotion to the mission of the church, and his visionary and passionate leadership made him a giant in our denomination. His commitment to the unity of the United Methodist Church propelled him to be instrumental in bringing together an extremely diverse group of people representing the diversity of the United Methodist Church. This group of people, who have contrasting and diverse views about the future of our church, met several times in 2019 for historic discernment and decision. In part because of Bishop Yam- basu’s leadership, integrity and belief in God’s plan for our church, the group forged an agreement now known as the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation. His work and legacy in this area will be considered at the General Conference set for 2021.

Born in southern Sierra Leone, Bishop Yambasu studied at United Methodist mission schools and graduated from Candler School of Theology. Prior to his ordination and serving as a pastor, he taught in several schools in Sierra Leone and also served as the Sierra Leone Conference’s director for Christian education and youth ministries.

Bishop Yambasu was elected to the Episcopacy in 2008 and continued to serve the Sierra Leone Conference and the United Methodist Church with distinction until his untimely death. Bishop Yambasu also served as the President of the Africa College of Bishops. He was the newly elected Chancellor of Africa University.

Bishop Yambasu is survived by his wife, Millicent and their children – Rebecca, Adima, John, Emmanuel, and Elizabeth.

Please join me in praying for Millicent, their children as well as the United Methodists of Sierra Leone and the global community as they grieve his untimely death. May God’s love and abiding care surround Bishop Yambasu’s family and all those who mourn his death.

We take solace, comfort, and hope in these days because our God is a God who provides for us in this life. Our Living God also provides for us an eternal home in and through Jesus the Christ who is the resurrection and the life. In the midst of sadness for the sudden loss of Bishop John K. Yambasu, we give thanks and praises to God for his faithfulness till the end and for his amazing legacy as he now shines brightly in the Church Triumphant.

Praying with you, Jeremiah J. Park

Be sure to check out this article in our full newsletter from September 2020 - Click Here!