Bishop John K. Yambasu of Sierra Leone is dead

By E Julu Swen
MONROVIA, LIBERIA (WAW News) ó August 17, 2020

We woke up to the news of the tragic death of Rev. Dr.  John K. Yambasu, Resident Bishop of the Sierra Leone Episcopal Area of the United Methodist Church on Sunday, August 16, 2020.  According to Phileas Jusu, director of Communications of the Sierra Leone Annual Conference, Bishop Yambasu was on his way to preach at the funeral service of one of their retired pastors the Rev. Edward Kamara in Yonibana in northern Sierra Leone when he met his untimely demise in a tragic motor accident. “He will be missed,” he concluded the phone conversation.

Bishop Yambasu served the United Methodist Church in several capacities including serving as the President of the College of Bishops of the West Africa Central Conference. The many United Methodists who worked with Bishop Yambasu in the global connection and at the regional level had these words to memorialize him.

In an email to United Methodist Church leaders in the sub region, Rev. Stephen Bryant of The Upper Room said he met the late Bishop Yambasu in 1999 and that he was a good man and a servant of God. “It is a tragic event, a good man’s life cut short, and a great loss of leadership for the whole United Methodist Church,” Bryant noted.

Bishop Samuel J. Quire, Jr. of the Liberia Episcopal Area said the late Bishop Yambasu was always encouraging him to bring all of his colleagues on board to work for the church in Liberia especially after the 2016 episcopal elections in Cote D’ivoire which he (Quire) won. He also said the late Bishop Yambasu has always respected professional opinions even when he was serving as administrative assistant to retired Bishop John G. Innis and aspiring for the office of bishop. “He respected my views on the College of Bishops, when it came to discussing issues that were very critical to the Church and will be missed for his ability of always bringing us together and informing us about the issues at stake in our Global United Methodist Church,” Quire records. He was a friend indeed and he will definitely be missed! May his soul rest in perfect peace and may blessed light of Christ shine perpetually on his soul!

For his part, Rev. George D. Wilson, Jr. of the United Methodist Church in Liberia said, Bishop John K. Yambasu will be remembered for his role in helping to bring the African United Methodists’ views on the global table especially as far as the Protocol is concerned. “We all will not agree to some of the issues in our church, but the Late Bishop Yambasu took a bold step to represent Africa at that discussion table that birthed the Protocol,” Wilson emphasized. He also indicated that the Late Bishop Yambasu can be credited for his stance on peaceful co-existence in the global United Methodist Church.

The Rev. Dr. Julius S. Nelson a ministry colleague of Bishop John K. Yambasu said their friendship is beyond just friendship, they were brothers and their two families were interacting with each other. “Our journey in the United Methodist Church was such that what was happening to him (Bishop Yambasu) in the Sierra Leone Annual Conference was also happening to me in the Liberia Annual Conference,” Nelson lamented. He said they (he and the Late Yambasu) kept encouraging each other throughout their ministry journey in the United Methodist Church both regionally and globally. Both Nelson and Late Bishop Yambasu served their annual conferences as directors of youth and young adult ministries before the latter became bishop. When asked what was the hardest test of their brotherhood Nelson said when he had to stay away from the Episcopal Election that brought the Late Bishop Yambasu to power. “Though I was in Monrovia and was seeing all the delegates to the West African Central Conference, I could not go to the sessions for personal reasons until “John” was elected and I attended his consecration as bishop of the United Methodist Church, Nelson concluded.

Rev. Dr. Jerry P. Kulah described the Late Yambasu as one who was deeply passionate about the leadership of young people on the Continent of Africa as well as about the unity of the United Methodist Church in Africa and the global United Methodist Church, adding, “he worked extremely hard to make this a reality up to his death.” I grieve along with his wife and children, and our brothers and sisters of the Sierra Leone Episcopal Area for this irreparable loss.