The EPMB church leaders at the mediation training session
The EPMB church leaders at the mediation training session
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A three day Reconciliation Summit which aimed at consolidating unity in the Eglise Protestante Methodiste Du Benin (EPMB), has ended in Lome, Togo.

The summit, which was attended by leaders of the EPMB, comes in furtherance of a reconciliation of the church that was achieved in 2017 after nearly 18years of factionalism.

It was attended by church leaders including the President of EPMB, His Eminence Rev. Dr Kponjesu Amos Hounsa, immediate past President, Rev. Dr Nicodeme Ibilade Alagbada, the Vice- Presidents and members of the Church Synod Council of EPMB.

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Facilitated by the Gamey and Gamey Group from Ghana, the summit provided the platform for the leaders of the church to build their conflict resolution skills for the effective progress of the EPMB family.

His Eminence Rev. Dr Hounsa, in his remarks at the end of the summit, expressed appreciation to the delegates for making the summit a success, describing it as “the beginning of a new era in the church.”

The church leaders and the facilitators at the summit
The church leaders and the facilitators at the summit

He acknowledged that peace remained a prerequisite for the growth and sustainability of any organization including the church, and that there was the need for all leadership both current and past to work together to ensure that EPMB fulfills its divine mandate in Benin.

He expressed optimism that the EPMB would consolidate its internal unity to serve as a model of peace and unity for the universal church.

For his part, Mr. Michael Tetteh, Administrator of the church, described the summit as very timely especially at a time when unity was key for collaboration and implementation of policies needed for the progress of the entire church.

Touching on the training segment at the summit, he said that the programme gave the leaders an opportunity to express themselves through a guided processes and asked questions which helped clarify their understanding of key issues that were relevant to the sustainability of the peace of the church.

“This was a great move towards bringing unity and sustainable peace in the leadership of the church,” he said, explaining that the lingering differences had an adverse effect on the entire church and that it was about time key stakeholders were taken through such training.

The delegates engaged in group work
The delegates engaged in group work

Delegates were very complementary and found the summit as very appropriate and useful considering the history and background of the church.

The Summit was facilitated by Gamey and Gamey Group, Ghana’s leading Conflict Resolution firm.

Mr Austin Gamey, the lead facilitator took delegates through key biblical principles of conflict resolution, and Mediation mechanisms and tools such as the PUSLE conversation process.

He also took the delegates through self mediation, managerial and preventive mediation, as well as the use of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) in developing a positive change and continuous collaboration for transformation in the church.

Mr Gamey commended the leadership of the church for its commitment in seeking peace and harmony, and assured them of his organisation’s continuous assistance.

The church was founded in 1843 by Thomas Birch Freeman of the Methodist Missionary Society of London, has in recent times, faced leadership disputes which threatened its unity and cohesion.

Rev. Dr Kponjesu Amos Hounsa, President of Eglise Protestante Methodiste Du Benin
Rev. Dr Kponjesu Amos Hounsa, President of Eglise Protestante Methodiste Du Benin

The church maintains its historical links with the Methodist Church of Great Britain. Administratively the Methodist Church of Benin is organized in 15 regional synods. It covers the whole of the territory of Benin from the southern coastline to the Niger border in the north.

It is recognized as playing an active role in the life of the nation: it is involved in agricultural projects, in hospital and prison chaplaincy, in service to refugees; through its strong Union of Methodist Women it is directly concerned with the training of young girls and young women in rural areas, enabling them to have a basic education and to learn income-generating skills.

By ADR Daily Newsdesk