UMC formally admits Côte d’Ivoire

From United Methodist New Service:

“FORT WORTH, Texas (UMNS)—The United Methodist Church in Côte d’Ivoire, the largest regional conference of the worldwide denomination with almost 700,000 members, has received its full rights and responsibilities.”

“The action came April 27 at the 2008 General Conference, which meets every four years to conduct the business of the church. As a result, United Methodists in the West African country, which has only two delegates at this General Conference, will receive significantly greater representation at future assemblies. Expenses related to its bishop will now be covered by the United Methodist Episcopal Fund instead of by its own conference.”

“Four years ago, the Methodist Protestant Church of Côte d’Ivoire, an autonomous church, was admitted to the United Methodist fold, but the Judicial Council later ruled that the decision of the 2004 General Conference was incomplete.”

“In practical terms, the 2004 General Conference short-circuited the process for admission outlined in the United Methodist Book of Discipline, a legal and procedural guide. The church’s highest court ruled in 2006 that the disciplinary process required that the 2008 General Conference confirm the action.”

“’I am very joyful today, more than yesterday,’ said Bishop Benjamin Boni, leader of the Côte d’Ivoire Annual (regional) Conference. ‘We are today fully united in the church, and members in Côte d’Ivoire share together fully with others in The United Methodist Church.’”