AC shocked by West Africa Primate’s sudden death

Jan Butter with additional reporting by Bellah Zulu, ACNS:

The Anglican Communion is reeling at the sudden death of the the Primate of The Church of the Province of West Africa yesterday (Tuesday).

Archbishop Dr Solomon Tilewa Johnson, 59, was also Metropolitan Archbishop of the Internal province of West Africa, and Bishop of Gambia. A popular figure both home and abroad, he died in Fajara while playing tennis–one of his favourite pastimes….

In an email to the Anglican Communion’s Francophone Network, Episcopal Bishop in charge of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe Pierre Whalon said, “What a loss for the Province of West Africa, for the Anglican Communion and for us all.”

The Rt Revd Zacharie Masimango Katanda Bishop of Kindu in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Province’s Primate Henri Isingoma also told Network members how they had been saddened to hear of his death.

From Archbishop Justin Webley’s blog, “Archbishop mourns ‘gifted’ leader of the Church of the Province of West Africa”:

Archbishop Justin has written to Archbishop Johnson’s wife, Priscilla, and to the Archbishop of the Internal Province of Ghana, the Most Revd Dr Daniel Sarfo, to offer his condolences and assurance of his prayers.

Archbishop Justin wrote to Archbishop Sarfo: “I know that many will miss Archbishop Tilewa for his boundless energy and the great enthusiasm he had for his ministry, in the Church, both in Gambia, in the Province of West Africa, and in the wider Anglican Communion.

“His gifts were not confined exclusively to the Church, and he had an active role within the national life of Gambia, serving as a member of a number of boards and committees. He was generous in his hospitality, and was always glad to welcome visitors to the Gambia, where he had served as Bishop since 1990.

“I know that all my colleagues, the people of the Church of England, and especially those in the Diocese of Chichester with which the Diocese of the Gambia is linked, as well as your brothers and sisters across the Communion, will be holding you in prayer and love at this time.”

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