Jokomo, former bishop of Zimbabwe, dies at 64
By United Methodist News Service
Bishop Christopher Jokomo, 64, former episcopal leader for The United Methodist Church in
The current episcopal leader, Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa, was working with the family on arrangements for the funeral, which was scheduled for April 11.
Jokomo was elected to the episcopacy by the denomination's Africa Central Conference in 1992 and became bishop for life after being re-elected four years later. He served the Zimbabwe Area until retiring in 2004 because of health problems that included a stroke several years ago.
Jokomo "was the right person for the right time" in the Zimbabwe United Methodist Church and had a major impact on Africa University, said Jim Salley, associate vice chancellor for institutional advancement for the United Methodist-related school in Mutare, Zimbabwe.
"He was integral in the development of
"When you look at … the Zimbabwe Annual Conference and the Africa Central Conference, he provided stellar leadership with his focus on empowering people to be all that they can be. His focus on evangelism and partnerships with other annual conferences can be a model which all other annual conferences could emulate. He will be greatly, greatly missed."
A lifetime of ministry
Born on Dec. 27, 1942, in
He served congregations in
His work on behalf of
The Rev. R. Randy Day, chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, served with Jokomo on the university's board of directors and saluted his leadership abilities.
"Bishop Jokomo had the distinction of presiding over the 100th anniversary of The United Methodist Church in
That leadership extended throughout
"He also worked with the General Board of Global Ministries in initiating a landmark program in the care and education for children who lost their parents to AIDS."
Under Jokomo's leadership, the Dendera Mission in eastern
Through Methodist Rural Industrial Development, a ministry of the Zimbabwe Annual Conference's Council on Ministries, Jokomo opened a sunflower oil-processing plant, a demonstration farm and a reforestation project at Dendera Mission. The projects boosted the local economy and brought new jobs to the area.
In 1997, Jokomo and Bishop Felton May, then leader of the Baltimore-Washington Annual (regional) Conference, announced a formal partnership between United Methodists in their areas to deal with issues such as poverty and drug addiction in
Jokomo is survived by his wife, Edith Munjoma Jokomo, and two children, Runyararo Pennelope Verna, 19, and Rutendo Grace, 17.
May was to represent the United Methodist Council of Bishops at the funeral. Bishop Ernest Lyght, who was en route to the