THE DIOCESE said it was with ‘great sadness’ that it announced the passing of a ‘towering figure’ in West Africa.
Archbishop of West Africa Tilewa Johnson had a long relationship with the Diocese of Chichester and attended the latest bishop’s enthronement at Chichester Cathedral in November, 2012.
Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner said: “Our connections with West Africa are strong. The death of Archbishop Tilewa is a great loss, not only to Anglican Christians in West Africa but also to the whole of the Christian church. He will especially be remembered for his contributions to ecumenicism and to the Christian Muslim dialogue.”
Canon Ian Hutchinson-Cervantes, diocesan world mission officer, said: “This is the cause of great sadness to many of us in this diocese who have come to appreciate his vision, energy and ambition for the development of the church in the region.”
His predecessor, canon Mark Payne, said: “Archbishop Tilewa was a towering figure in West Africa and deeply respected by Christians and Muslims alike. His death is a real loss both to the church of the province of West Africa and also to the nation of The Gambia.”
It has been reported the 59-year-old collapsed while playing tennis.
The archbishop is survived by his wife Priscilla and their three children, daughters Njilan and Dado and son, Jeggan.
He was Anglican leader of many countries, including The Gambia, Senegal and Ghana.