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UMC in Mozambique

Bishop Joaquina Filipe Nhanala
Joaquina Filipe Nhanala

 UMC in Mozambique - Delegates

UMC in Mozambique - Joao Damiao Eliaz, Bishop Assistant
Elias Damiao
South Conference Director
Council on Ministries

Jacob Jenhuro & spouse
Jacob Jenhuro & spouse
North Conference Director
Council on Ministries


View the appointments - Mozambique Church & Pastor Listing.

View newsletter from Mozambique

July 2011 - in Portuguese



There are more than 180 parishes in the 24 districts of The United Methodist Church in Mozambique. They are present in every province of the country.


The work of Methodism in Mozambique started in 1890. The Rev. Dr. Erwin Richards began a Methodist mission at Chicuque in Inhambane Province. A Igreja Metodista Unida em Moçambique (the UMC in Mozambique) observed the 100th anniversary of Methodist presence in Mozambique in 1990. Then-Mozambique President Chissano praised the work and role of the UMC to more than 10,000 people who attended the ceremony.


The United Methodist Church has tripled in size in Mozambique in the last 13 years. There are now more than 150,000 members in more than 180 congregations of the 24 districts. New pastors are ordained each year. New churches are chartered each year in each Annual Conference (North and South).

Bishop Joaquina Filipe Nhanala currently leads both Annual Conferences and 132 ordained pastors, 32 deacons, 278 evangelists and 150,584 church members. The bishop also oversees 29 schools, a theological school, some agricultural programs, a hospital (Chicuque Rural Hospital), two clinics, a seminary and four Bible schools.

Local church life

United Methodist churches in Mozambique are community centers with an impact on every aspect of people's lives. People gather at the churches for worship, fellowship and mutual support. Worship services (held in buildings or mud huts, or under trees) are filled with standing-room-only crowds on most Sundays. The people of Mozambique, traveling by foot to attend church, take their faith very seriously. They return to the church on Thursday to participate in small groups for discipleship learning, study, mutual support and accountability, similar to the Methodist "societies" of John Wesley's day. Church leaders are excellent Bible scholars and those wishing to join the church spend a great deal of time in preparation. Often people have the opportunity to learn reading, writing and language skills through the church. They also learn basic health care, nutrition, gardening, food preparation and marketable skills essential for self-determination and sustenance.

Worship is a wonderful experience with God and includes much music. It is typically much longer than a traditional worship service in the USA. The offering is sung forward in groups, with the visitors as the last group. This is the most "fun" time of worship!

Annual Conferences

There are two Annual Conferences in Mozambique. The South Annual Conference is the original church. As refugees returned north after the civil war, they wanted the church back at home. And so extensions of evangelism began in the north, creating the North Annual Conference.

When the North Annual Conference meets UMC requirements, it will become a separate official conference. During the annual conference sessions (usually July in the north, December in the south) membership votes on and establishes two budgets for the next calendar year. The first is the conference financial budget supporting its program goals. The pastors, provided with assistance by the Conference Council Director (DiCom) and treasurer, are encouraged to continue to build good stewardship within the congregations. The second budget is for souls - thereby establishing evangelism goals. Both budgets are "apportioned" to each district and congregation. Some congregations assign to individual members a) financial and b) souls apportioned.  Because the churches are growing and expanding, they are reaching their "apportionments." 

The Mozambique Initiative recruits covenant partner churches for each new church as it develops. The covenants allow the church in Mozambique to focus on ministry as congregations and stewardship grow.

Episcopal Leadership

Bishop Joaquina Filipe Nhanala (pronounced Jo-ah-kee-na Phi-leep-a Nyan-a-la) was elected to the episcopacy in 2008 at the age of 51, while serving as pastor of Matola United Methodist Church near Maputo.  She is the first female ever elected bishop in The United Methodist Church in all of Africa.

Joaquina Filipe Nhanala, Mozambican, was born September 6th, 1956, in Xai-Xai, Gaza Province.  She is married to United Methodist pastor, Rev. Eugenio Tomas and together they have 4 children who are 31, 29, 27, and 24 years old. (2004)

After attending Gbarnga School of Theology in Liberian, she and her family had to leave due to the war.  She and her husband left for Ghana where she completed her Diploma in Theology at Trinity College.  She then attended Limuru University in Kenya where her first degree was a Bachelors of Divinity in 1995.  This was followed by Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (NEGST) where, in 1998, she graduated with Masters of Arts in Bible Studies and Theology (MABSTH).  At the time and through 2006 Rev. Nhanala was the only female United Methodist Church pastor in Mozambique holding a masters degree.

Joaquina was ordained as Presbyter in 2001 and then appointed as interim Pastor of Malanga Parish, the largest church in Maputo, in 2002.  She speaks five native languages and two foreign languages (English and Portuguese).

She was invited by World Relief to lead an HIV/AIDS program designed to mobilize churches to care for those affected by AIDS and behavior change for youth in the 3 Southern provinces. From February 2004 Rev. Nhanala became World Relief’s HIV/AIDS Program Director at a Country level.

Most recently, Rev. Nhanala was appointed as pastor of Matola UMC in December 2003-2008.  She and her husband, Eugenio Tomas currently reside at Ricatla Ecumenical Seminary north of the capital city of Maputo.

Social action

Since the end of the 17 year civil war (1975-1992), the church has dedicated itself to rebuilding the social fabric and restoring property that supports the lives of Mozambicans. While the national government may be overwhelmed with repairing infrastructure following decades of war and natural disasters, the church presents dependability and security in the lives of people. The church is linked to hospitals, schools, trade schools, homeless shelters, orphanages and international aid throughout the country. Church-related humanitarian institutions in Mozambique include Chicuque Rural Hospital and Cambine Mission Station (the flagships for which the UMC is known) as well as Carolyn Belshe (Teles) Orphanage, Tsalala Training Center and more. Volunteers in Mission have participated in the growth of these ministries by contributing construction labor, building materials and training. The UMC in Mozambique is also active in ecumenical efforts and provides leadership in the Christian Council of Mozambique.

Contact information

The South Conference office is located at Rua Kibiriti Duwane (D. Francisco Barreto) #229, Maputo, Mozambique. 

Mailing address
Igreja Metodista Unida Em Moçambique, C. P. 2640, Maputo, Mozambique. 
Phone +258 (-21) -493-568

The North Conference office is located at Rua Centro Comercial #2311, Beira, Sofala, Mozambique. 

Mailing address
Igreja Metodista Unida, C.P. 1991, Beira, Sofala, Mozambique.  
Phone +258 (-3) -311-670