Bishop Godwin Thompson Umoette was elected the 60th Bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church – and the first Bishop born on African soil – on June 30, 2010, in Mobile, Alabama. At the time of his death, he was serving as the Presiding Prelate of the Tenth Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal (C.M.E.) Church.
Bishop Umoette was a native of Ikot Akpan Isihet; Onna Local Government Area, in Akwa Ibom State Nigeria. He was born February 23, 1955, to Chief Thompson and Jessie Umoette, who reared him through the values of good parenthood and familyhood, and taught him to believe and trust God. Prior to becoming a Bishop, he was elected a delegate in 1982 to the General Conference. Since then he has functioned in a variety of capacities in the CME Church and society.
Bishop Umoette was ordained Deacon and Elder in the East Tennessee Annual Conference by Bishop William H. Graves. His ministerial responsibilities have included serving on the ministerial staff at St. Paul CME Church, Jackson, Tennessee; Stewart Memorial CME Church, Columbus, Ohio (alongside the Rev. Anzo Montgomery, whom he identifies as his “ministry mentor”); and Miles Chapel CME Church, Tyler, Texas. He was appointed pastor of the Gilmore Cathedral CME Church in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, Nigeria, by Bishop Kenneth W. Carter. In Uyo, he led the congregation to purchase virgin land and build a church that has become the symbolic church in Nigeria. He has served as chair of the Division of Business and Social Sciences, Texas College; Head of the Department and Professor of Political Science, University of Uyo, Nigeria; a Jury Commissioner for the U.S. District Court, Tyler, Texas; and a member of the CME Judicial Council. Bishop Umoette earned a B.A. degree from Lane College, Jackson, Tennessee; the M.A. degree from the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; and the Ph.D. degree from Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with a concentration in African and African-American politics and government. His Ph.D. dissertation topic was “Military Neo-Colonialism in Africa”. Among his numerous highlights in academe was his presentation at the 23rd Inaugural Lecture of the University of Uyo, February 2009, from the subject, “Democracy and the Changing Nature of Institutional Development: Prospect and Obligation.”
Bishop Umoette died on February 26, 2022, after a brief illness. He was married to Mrs. Elizabeth Godwin Umoette, and the father of six children: Akaninyene G. Umoette, Emem G. Umoette, Idara G. Umoette, Ofonime G. Umoette, Jesse G. Umoette, and Itoro G. Umoette. He also had four grandchildren: two boys and two girls.