In January 2022, Rev. Daisy Gbloh and Rev. Joseph Mulongo arrived in Indiana from Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, respectively. Their arrival marked a special example of the Connectional impact of The United Methodist Church. Both are being sponsored by local congregations and United Theological Seminary (UTS) in Dayton, OH, to earn a master’s degree and serve in ministry.
Daisy is serving at Carmel UMC, while Joseph is serving at Grace UMC in Franklin. Joseph has served as a superintendent in the North Katanga Conference of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Daisy is a lead pastor in Freetown, which is one of the largest churches in the Sierra Leone Annual Conference. Though their arrivals were delayed due to COVID-19 complications, the two leaders are settling in to both ministry and study.
Rev. Andy Kinsey, senior pastor at Grace UMC in Franklin, said this Connectional sponsorship has been years in the making through a combined effort of several trustees, UTS president Dr. Kent Millard, and local churches and conferences in Indiana and Africa.
Four years ago, the late Bishop John T. Yambasu sent three exchange students to UTS to obtain theological education. He felt it was important to have educated staff to lead the Conference in Sierra Leone. Prior to his death in an auto accident in 2020, he requested that Joseph and Daisy be the next two students to come to UTS.
The collaborative efforts between the churches and UTS allows for Joseph and Daisy to devote their time to ministry and their studies. Each church provides room, board, transportation, and half of tuition. UTS provides half tuition scholarships for each.
Dr. Kent Millard, President of UTS and retired Elder from the Indiana Conference, shared, “Both Rev. Gbloh and Rev. Mulongo have been praying for God to make it possible for them receive a master’s degree from United for the past four years. We believe God answered their prayers through the financial commitment and loving support of the pastors and members of Carmel United Methodist Church and Grace UMC in Franklin.”
Daisy and Joseph recently finished a new term of classes in their two-year Masters of Ministry degree. Each church is blessed by their respective leadership as they serve in a variety of ways.
Joseph is ministering at at the Otterbein Senior Life Community Center in Franklin, where he also resides, in addition to Grace UMC. He has been preaching, teaching, doing pastoral visits, leading Bible study, and more.
Daisy has enjoyed becoming a part of Carmel UMC. She preached on a Sunday morning, conducted Good Friday services with Pastor Tim Burchell, and was part of Vacation Bible School. Daisy reflected on the past six months, calling it a “Good experience.” She elaborated, “Being part of The United Methodist Church is a blessing because it is a global Church. Even the liturgy is almost the same! I am feeling at home.”
There are currently 25 international students from 10 countries who are represented in the student body at UTS. Dr. Millard reflected on the missional impact of this global student body, saying, “United is honored to have the opportunity to help prepare these two outstanding pastors to become even more effective leaders and visionaries in the international United Methodist Church.”
Many may have heard the African proverb, “When you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” The Connectional ministry exemplified in the relationships between the INUMC, UTS, and the Conferences of Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo reflect our shared vision: we are committed to going far, so we are committed to going together.