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The Rev. Karmah Early: 'My life is total darkness'

The Rev. Karmah Early, a retired United Methodist pastor who has been blind for several years, survives on a small pension from the Liberia Annual Conference. A UMNS photo by Kathy L. Gilbert.

By Kathy L. Gilbert*
March 27, 2008 | MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS)

The Rev. Karmah Early isn’t sure how old she is or how many years she served as a United Methodist pastor in a rural area outside of Monrovia.

She heard God’s call to ministry when she was a little girl and says she was "happy" to be a pastor.

She has been blind for several years. "I can’t distinguish night from day. My life is total darkness," she says.

The US$60 pension she receives every three months from the Liberia Annual Conference is not enough to guarantee food every day. It is certainly not enough to repair the holes in her roof or the cracks in the walls.

The holes and cracks allow scorpions, snakes and harmful bugs into her room. If no one comes to her aid, Early is a captive of her dark world.

Early and others like her are getting more attention now as The United Methodist Church develops model systems for providing pensions to pastors, church workers and dependents in Liberia and other countries. More information on the Central Conference Pension Initiative is available at www.ccpi-umc.org.

When Early was a girl, someone brought her to church, and she worked there for many years.

"I started to hear a voice say I needed to be in ministry," she says. "I am very happy and satisfied that God called me to be a pastor."

Even now she knows God is always with her. "My Father is taking care of me," she says.

*Gilbert is a news writer for United Methodist News Service in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Kathy Gilbert*Nashville, Tenn.*(615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org


The Rev. Karmah Early

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