Senegal is a country with growing ties to the United Methodist Church.

Senegal, a former colony of France, is located on the most western part of Africa and is the size of South Dakota. While it lacks extensive natural resources, in rural areas farmers grow millet and peanuts and raise livestock. Regional banking, trade, and tourism are specialties in the capital of Dakar.

The majority of the population, approximately 80 percent, is Muslim. UMC Global Ministries began its work in Senegal in 1989, deploying missionaries to help start social programs and a mission. The mission initiative has been registered with the government since 1995. The mission is supervised by Bishop Benjamin Boni of the Côte d’Ivoire Conference, who presided at the first annual meeting in 2006.

The United Methodist Church is one of the minority denominations and remains largely unknown in the country. Some programs are familiar because the mission was initially set up as a nongovernmental organization (NGO). Growth has been slow and poverty within the membership has made it difficult to support the mission financially. There are few ordained pastors and no worship center in Dakar.

The mission does benefit from strong leadership and progressive-minded clergy. The Senegal church is seeking to become self-sufficient. Congregations are vibrant and the government assists with the social work of the mission. The Mission Initiative is focused on leadership development, education, and English training for children and adults; pastoral training; church planting and evangelism; prison ministries, wellness, and micro-credit programs. The plan is to establish a Provisional Annual Conference, become a district of an existing annual conference, or emerge as an autonomous Methodist Church by 2016. Global Ministries works with the district superintendent and Volunteers in Mission to train pastors, educate children, raise funds to purchase land for the new mission center, purchase land for church construction, and place a young adult intern and National in Mission.

There are 19 churches and six faith communities in Senegal, with eight ordained pastors and 12 lay pastors.

Current Missionaries to Senegal

  • William Gibson
  • Gwendolyn Gibson
  • David Makobo

Recent Stories from Senegal