Eglise méthodiste unie de Côte d'Ivoire

(Eglise méthodiste unie de Côte d'Ivoire, EMUCI)

The British Methodist Mission began working in what is now Ivory Coast in 1924, ten years after the pioneering evangelization by Liberian Prophet William Wade Harris in 1914 of several groups that already existed. Coordination developed between the Methodist Mission and missionaries from England, France and Switzerland, which included also Ghana, Togo, Benin and Cameroon. In 1985 the Protestant Methodist Church in Ivory Coast separated from the church in Great Britain and became autonomous. In 2001 it decided to integrate with the United Methodist Church, which took place in 2003 without affecting its autonomy. The name was changed to United Methodist Church of Ivory Coast.

The EMUCI is a founding member of the Protestant University of West Africa in Porto Novo (Benin, former Protestant Theological Institute), of the Protestant Faculty of Yaoundé (Cameroon) and of the Centre for Evangelical Literature (CLE), also in Yaoundé. It has a higher institute of theology in Abidjan which was opened in 2002, for the training of pastors, and a Christian Training Centre in Dabou. It runs 46 primary and six secondary schools, a hostel for girls, an engineering college, a hospital, youth centres, an agricultural centre and a guesthouse for students. There are several associations, for the training of laity, for students, for Sunday schools, for the promotion of Protestant music, and a women's department. These associations take part regularly in seminars at the Christian Training Centre. Evangelism teams are at work in the congregations. Other social programmes include a school for nurses, a centre for the detoxification of drug addicts and reintegration of alcoholics, training centres for the physically disabled, care for refugees and migrant workers and agricultural cooperatives for young unemployed people in the rural areas.

Ecumenical cooperation at the national level has become more difficult since the dissolution of the Federation of Protestant Churches in 1963. The EUMCI maintains good relationships with the Roman Catholic Church but less with the conservative fundamentalist churches. The church continues its contacts aiming at the creation of a Christian Council in Ivory Coast. There are positive signs encouraging this project. The EUMCI is an observer member of the Forum of Religious Confessions created in 1997, which brings together Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals, Muslims and other African churches.