Emeritus Prelate of the Methodist Church and former President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Sunday Mbang, is dead.
He died on Tuesday, aged 86.
Mr Mbang’s demise was announced in a statement on Wednesday by Babatunde Taiwo, a bishop and secretary of the Conference of the Methodist Church Nigeria.
“He will be surely and sorely missed by his beloved Church, Methodist Church to which he gave his spiritual, intellectual and servant-leadership for more than two decades and the entire Body of Christ in Nigeria and Diaspora,” Mr Taiwo said.
Born on 26 August 1936 in Idua Eket, Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, the departed cleric was a man of many firsts.
He was the first black president of the World Methodist Council.
He was also the first Methodist President of CAN.
First Patriarch’s Chaplain and Bishop of Tinubu and the only person to have held the position of both patriarch and prelate.
Mr Mbang’s ministerial work spanned over four decades, having enrolled at the Trinity College, Umuahia, Abia State, in 1962.
He rose through the ranks to become the Bishop of Tinubu, Lagos State, in 1979. He was later elevated to a Patriarch/Prelate – the administrative and pastoral leader of the Methodist Church in Nigeria, a position he served for 22 years.
The late prelate had his primary school education at Salvation Army School, Akai Ubium, Eket and Methodist Boys High School, Oron, Oron Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, for his secondary education.
He attended the Trinity Theological College, Umuahia, in Abia State, for pastoral training. He further studied at the University of Ibadan, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel and Harvard University in the United States of America.
Until his death, he was the leader of “Fathers of Faith”, a group of Christian leaders in Akwa Ibom State with influence over the state’s politics.
In recognition of his leadership, the Methodist Church Nigeria named one of its dioceses Mbang’s Cathedral in Eket, Akwa Ibom State, in his honour.