The United Methodist Church in Sierra Leone started as United Brethren in Christ in 1855. In 1946, the United Brethren in Christ merged with the Evangelicals and became the Evangelical United Brethren Church, which later, in 1968, merged with The Methodist Church and became The United Methodist Church. During these times, all presiding Bishops were from the U.S.A.
In 1973 the church assumed autonomy with the first indigenous resident bishop, the late Dr. Benjamin A. Carew, followed in 1979 by Thomas S. Bangura. Under the leadership of Bishop Thomas Bangura, the church moved from being an autonomous United Methodist Church and became an Annual Conference within the West Africa Central Conference in 1984. At this time, the Central conference comprised three Annual Conferences including Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. In August 1992 Joseph Christian Humper was elected by the Central Conference and assigned to the Sierra Leone Area as Resident Bishop. In December 2008 Bishop John Kpahun Yambasu was elected as the fourth indigenous Bishop and assigned to the Sierra Leone Area.
Membership includes 232,250, with 7,250 probationary members and 25,900 constituent members. Potential for growth in all the churches is greater now than ever before. In spite of the ravages of war during the 11 years ending 2002, there is great spiritual reawakening. The Sierra Leone Annual Conference has ten Districts with 150 ordained clergy. An additional 50 certified Lay preachers and Evangelists help to expand the ministry of the church into the most remote rural communities in the country.
The ministry of the United Methodist Church in Sierra Leone focuses on the spiritual, physical and socio-economic needs of the people. It operates 300 primary/elementary and 35 secondary/high schools (2011 figures). It operates four hospitals including three general hospitals and one eye hospital, and five other maternity and health centers located throughout the country. These health centers employ a total of over eighty health workers three Medical Doctors, one ophthalmologist and one surgeon specialist
Three agricultural and community development projects in Manjama (Bo District), Pa Lokko (Western District) and Yonibana (Northern District) were completely destroyed during the ten year rebel war. However, intentional strategies are now being put in place to revitalize these life transforming programs.
Service organizations for women, men, youth and young adults are active, with of course a strong children’s ministry. The United Methodist Church operates a Child protection program– the Child Rescue Centre- which caters for the holistic development of over 200 war affected and other vulnerable children.
The women’s organization has three training centers: Betty Carew, in Yonibana, Kono Musu, in Koidu town and the Kissy Women’s Training Centre in Freetown
The United Methodist church is a member of the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone, the Inter-religious Council of Sierra Leone and one of the cooperating churches that operate the interdenominational theological institution – the Sierra Leone Theological College and Church Training Center in Freetown