Joaquina Nhanala

Bishop Joaquina Nhanala



Africa Central Conference

Mozambique Episcopal Area


Bishop Joaquina Filipe Nhanala is the Resident Bishop of the Mozambique Area, which includes Mozambique North, Mozambique South and South Africa Provisional Conferences in the Africa Central Conference of The United Methodist Church.  

She was elected July 23, 2008, as the first female United Methodist bishop in Africa.

Nhanala was the pastor of Matola United Methodist Church in Mozambique when she was elected.

Besides serving a large church in Matola, a suburb of Maputo, Nhanala has coordinated women's projects for the Mozambique church and led a World Relief HIV/AIDS program designed to mobilize churches for education and advocacy in Mozambique's three southern provinces. Nhanala and the program were featured in the 2004 Bread for the World video, "Keep the Promise on Hunger and Health."

Although she was baptized and confirmed as a Catholic her father's religion, Nhanala also attended her mother's Methodist church. Drawn to the youth programs, she became active in the Methodist church as a teen-ager.

Nhanala is married to another United Methodist pastor, the Rev. Eugenio Tomas, and they have four adult children.

She and her husband, who married in 1976, were both accepted for theological studies at the 1985 Mozambique Annual Conference and received sponsorship from the Women's Fellowship.

They attended Gbarnga School of Theology in Liberia and Nhanala was ordained a deacon in 1989. When the civil war in Liberia disrupted the couple's studies, they moved to Ghana, where she completed her diploma in theology at Trinity College. The family then moved to Kenya, where she attended Limuru University and received a bachelor of divinity degree in 1995.

In 1998, she graduated from Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology with a master's degree in Bible studies and theology and also served as a teacher and dean of students there. She speaks five native languages, as well as Portuguese and English.