Bishop’s 2003 Invitation

To: United Methodists and Friends of Liberia
Re: The Liberia United Methodist Empowerment Foundation (LUMEF)
From: Bishop John G. Innis, Liberia Area, United Methodist Church
Date: November 2003
I greet you, brothers and sisters in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and
Savior.

The Liberia United Methodist Empowerment Foundation (LUMEF) was established at the 169th session of the Liberia Annual Conference in February 2001. The Foundation was started to help secure the financial future of the United Methodist Church in Liberia, and support it’s various ministries. An ambitious goal of raising ten million dollars in the next ten years has been set, and great progress has been made. To date over $80,000 U.S. dollars have been raised.

This is a critical time for the church of Christ in Liberia. The country of Liberia has been ravaged by a senseless civil war. This war has destroyed lives and properties of the church, and has left the people in a state of hopelessness. Yet, in the midst of the conflict and violence, The United Methodist Church in Liberia is vibrant and growing, because for many, the church is their hope. Evangelism is responsible for the growth of the Church.

For the people in northern Liberia, Ganta Hospital is a healing ministry of the Church, and it is in need of medications, equipment and supplies. For the orphaned children in Monrovia, the Judith Craig Children’s Village run by the Conference, provides the educational, medical and spiritual needs of almost 100 children orphaned by the war. Funds are needed to help pay teachers and pastors, many currently receive salaries as low as $1.60 USD per month. There is a desperate need to improve the United Methodist School System, provide scholarships for students, and develop the new United Methodist University in Monrovia. This University, comprised of the Gbarnga School of Theology, the W.J. Harley Nursing College and Colleges of Business, Liberal Arts and Education, is the fastest growing university in Liberia.

While we continue to benefit from and enjoy the blessings of our brothers and sisters in the United States and Europe and their support of Liberia, the United Methodists in Liberia have begun to learn to help themselves.

There is a saying in Liberia, “Heaven helps those who help themselves.” When we make an effort to help ourselves, God will continue to rain blessings upon our Church from every direction. For example, lay members of the church have been encouraged to contribute $100 Liberian dollars  (US$1.60) a year, each pastor contributes $200 Liberian dollars (US$3.20), each District Superintendent contributes $500 Liberian dollars (US$8.00), and the Bishop makes a contribution of US$1,000.

God is moving the hearts of the people and joyous giving has happened even in the midst of our struggles. Including generous gifts from United Methodist Churches and loving individuals in the United States, over $80,000 US has been raised. For example, the Church of the Resurrection in Kansas contributed $20,000, churches in the Detroit Annual Conference, have agreed to contribute $1 for every member in their church, the Kingswood UMC in Buffalo Grove, Illinois recently gave $15,000 to the
Foundation. The United Methodist Church Foundation in Evanston, Illinois is managing the LUMEF funds for the Liberia Annual Conference.

We are inviting United Methodists in the United States, Europe, and friends around the world to help support the work of Christ in Liberia through the LUMEF. Help us reach our goal by contributing whatever God lays on your heart. Also consider LUMEF when you are doing estate planning or writing your will.

We especially challenge former missionaries who have served in Liberia to consider LUMEF in their will. Any small or big gift can make a difference. United Methodists are noted for their generosity and giving hope in times of hopelessness.

Contributions can be made to: General Board of Global Ministry-General Council on Finance and Administration (GBGM/GCFA), United Methodist Church, 475 Riverside Drive, New York, 10115.
Code: LUMEF-014368-8AT
Thank you for blessing us.