|United Methodists in Liberia take aim at poverty|
By George Stewart*
April 8, 2009 | MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS)
The recent dedication of a clinic, church and school by The United
Methodist Church in Liberia helps enhance the country’s development and
respond to the denomination’s effort to eliminate poverty.
John Innis speaks at the dedication service for a community clinic,
school, church and headquarters at the Weala District of The United
Methodist Church’s Liberia Conference. A UMNS photo by Joseph Zeogar.
Liberian Bishop John Innis has called on United Methodists and
other Christians to rethink their country and support the leadership of
the nation by helping to drive development in every sector of Liberia,
following the decade-long devastation in the country.
The community clinic, church, school building and the headquarters
of the Liberia Annual Conference’s Weala District is a way to address
the suffering faced by children because of war, poverty and disease.
“I am not just dedicating these buildings, but I am also
presenting all United Methodists to God for renewed commitment to the
spiritual, moral as well as the material growth and development of our
Church and Nation,” Innis told United Methodists, government officials
and community residents at a Jan. 24 dedication ceremony.
As Liberia recovers, The United Methodist Church, the nation’s
largest Christian denomination, is making steady progress with the
developmental program of the Conference, said the bishop , who also
serves as president of the Liberia Council of Churches. The Liberia
Annual Conference has more than 170,000 United Methodists throughout
the country’s 43,000 square miles.
The denomination’s contribution to the nation’s recovery programs is
evidenced by the community development partnership between the
Norwegian church and the Liberia Annual Conference. Within a year, the
partnership has constructed 11 community-driven projects in several of
The United Methodist Council of Bishop’s Hope for the Children of
Africa Initiative sponsors the John Wesley United Methodist Church
School and the district building in Margibi County, Liberia. The U.S.
Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference constructed the district
parsonage and the clinic is one of 11 projects in the conference
sponsored by The United Methodist Church in Norway.
In his dedicatory remarks, Innis said, “God has done so many
wonderful things for Liberia through The United Methodist Church with
the laudable assistance from oversea partners like the Illinois Great
Rivers Conference in the USA, the Detroit Conference and the Church in
The Illinois Great Rivers Conference has invested more than $1
million in the area of salary support for United Methodist pastors and
the construction of clinics, schools, hand pumps, parsonages and
churches, thereby restoring hope to communities in war-torn Liberia, he
“You are being dedicated as new people for Christ,” Innis
stressed. He said it was time for church members in Liberia to
begin looking at the greater interest of the church and avoid acts that
have the tendency to undermine the body of Christ. He also
reminded the audience that “the church is a beacon of hope and must
equally give hope to itself through the faith in Jesus Christ.”
The construction and dedications of these facilities now bring the
number of mission stations of The United Methodist Church in Liberia to
four, he noted.
Funds from the Hope for the Children of Africa initiative earlier
benefited Camphor Mission Station in Buchanan Grand Bassa County and
helped renovate the 300-foot multipurpose school building, badly
damaged during the civil war.
The Camphor building was nearly complete when the civil war in
Liberia reached it in 1993. The roof was removed from the entire
building and all the furniture was looted. Bush covered the entire
facility. The money from the Council of Bishops’ fund makes the school
building usable for hundreds of students currently at the mission.
The Camphor school project was one of those initiated by Innis when
he served as principal and mission station director of Camphor Mission
before being elected bishop in 2000.
The Council of Bishops funds also helped to refurbish the school,
staff and students’ residential buildings in Gbason Town Mission
Station in Sinoe County in Southeastern Liberia and Ganta Mission
Giving information on Liberia reconstruction projects through The Advance of The United Methodist Church can be found at http://new.gbgm-umc.org/advance/projects/search/index.cfm?action=details&id=3019290&code=15126N.
*Stewart is the manager of the Liberia Annual Conference Radio Ministry.
News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.
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