Friday morning, November 22, 2013
Bishop John G. Innis of the Liberia Area of the United Methodist Church speaks to the Liberia Summit. As God said “It is good,” while looking onto creation, so we today can stand back and say “This is good.” All the work exhibited here among those gathered is a powerful example of the good work of the United Methodist Church in Liberia. The church is making a difference in Liberia and in the world. “We can’t see it all. We are connected to the church in Norway, in Liberia, in Germany and around the world.”
There may be difference in our opinions about issues, but we are united in serving the one Lord and in ministry to the world. This is what is exciting about our ministry together. We stand together.
“We say right now,” Bishop Innis declares to the crowd, “Thank you!” “Thank you plenty!” The thanks is expressed in Bassa, Kru, K’pelle, Mano, English by the Liberian nationals present at the Summit.
Jonathan Kaipay, Coordinator of Community Services of the LAC presents to the gathered Summit of Liberia partners.
- Four schools constructed in four counties. 11,247 beneficiaries.
Children now no longer meet in open air school classrooms.
Zanzaye School in Nimba County.
Louisiana School in Sinoe County.
- Six health facilities constructed or under construction in four counties.
Compound Three Health Center in Grand Bassa County.
Weala Clinic in Margibi County.
Clinic in Boway in Bong County.
Boyee Clinic in Nimba County
- Constructed three mini bridges and one major bridge.
- Agricultural Projects
Animal husbandry in Maryland
- Water and Sanitation
Fifty-three hand pumps
- Resource Center in Bopolu
Pryde C. Bass, Sr. of the East Ohio Conference calls on Summit to work together. “We must engage in a synergistic way of ministry.” The right hand must know what the left hand is doing in Liberia. We all care and are invested. Let’s work together.
Looking upon a Liberian national flag in the gathering space, Brother Bass said the one star reminds us of the one Christ as well as the one nation of Liberia. “Let us be the Light of Christ shining upon the nation of Liberia and the world,” Bro. Bass exhorted the gathering.
“Watch the healing take place when we reflect the light of Christ.”
Thursday, November 21, 2013 Update
Presenters for the first day of the Liberia Summit at Main Street UMC saw a gathering of seventy-five people from around the world. After a welcome by Rev. Keith Zimmerman, convener of the Summit, Bishop Innis and Bishop Keaton spoke in welcome.
Jefferson Knight, Program Director of Water for Life presented on the project’s work in providing clean water around Liberia. The full presentation is on the Water for Life ministry page of this website.
Helen Evans-Roberts, Director of Education and Ministry of the LAC, presented the amazing work of the Education Department. More will be posted on the Education and Ministry page of this site.
Victor Doolakeh Taryor, Administrator of the Ganta United Methodist Hospital, presented and facilitated a discussion on the new plans for the Ganta Hospital construction project. A full report is available in a previous post.
Victor Taryor presents to Liberia Summit about Ganta United Methodist Hospital
The hospital, founded by Dr. George Way Harley in 1926, has been a constant presence of the love of Jesus Christ in northern Liberia.
Director Victor Taryor reminded the gathering of the many ministries of GUMH. Compared to hospitals in the States or elsewhere Ganta UMH is “a small place, but for the service options available in Liberia, it is a big place.”
During last year’s discussion at the Summit the Ganta Hospital focus group established goals of finalizing the new hospital plan and budget composed of a business plan, a sustainability plan along with planned continuous operations during hospital construction period. A project manager was to be hired financed by UMCOR. Fundraising with a total of 5.1 million dollars through three phases. A fundraising manager was planned to be hired for both Liberia and the US.
Achievements of 2013
The employment of Donald Kokeh as project manager of Ganta Hospital.
The business plan and budget were developed and a core team convened in Ganta September 18-19, 2013.
The core team recommended setting up an organizational structure to assist in the construction project.
- Construction Coordinating Department
- Building Committee as a subcommittee of Governance Committee
- Bidding Committee
A new strategic plan has arisen from the core team meeting:
- refurbish the existing hospital
- support for Department of Health to acquire personnel to handle technical issues and coordinate partnerships
- pursue public/private partnerships with Government of Liberia
- modernize existing facilities
- create and environment to address middle class and expatriate expectations
- utilize facility at airfield by the Winifred J. Harley School of Health Sciences for training allied health workers.
Brother Rudolph Merab spoke directly to the commitment of Illinois Great Rivers Conference in supporting the construction efforts of GUMH. Thanking the faithful efforts of the IGRC, Brother Merab explained the shift in plans for the hospital as a realization of the realities of fund-raising and government support.
The emphasis is really the continuation of service to the people of the area. The ministries of the church in the nation of Guinea is a direct result of the ministries of the Ganta Hospital. “What has happened in spreading the Good News of Jesus in this part of West Africa is a reflection of the United Methodist Church and her commitment to ministry.”
Emmanuel Bailey, president of United Methodist University of Liberia spoke and asked the attendees to assist the church in providing needed facilities.The facility at the hospital right now will be used for allied health. Ganta UMH is now and will continue to be a teaching hospital. The Associate of Science degree in Nursing has 150 current students with a waiting list of 450. Additional ongoing training needing space is: dental technician school and midwifery training. These three of the expanded training program of UMU are examples of facility expansion needs.
Shannon Trilli, Director of Global Health Initiatives of UMCOR spoke to the group and frankly stated, “The first design didn’t work. We say openly that it didn’t work, we come here and say that publicly.” The second hospital is beyond the funding capacity of the LAC and partners. This is a very open and supported process compared to many hospital development plans across the world
Bishop Innis stated that all we are doing with the hospital is “to the Glory of God.” The good hearts of the IGRC partners are fully appreciated and honored. All we are trying to do here is be good servants of the Living Christ. We apologize to our partners and friends as we simply seek to be faithful stewards of the Great Commission. We are very sorry if we have let any one down. We thank you for all you have done. Now, we will move forward in the name of Jesus Christ. We support education and the health of our people and health education. These are central to our United Methodist ministries and who we are as the people called Methodist.
“This is a good family meeting,” is Bishop Innis’ final statement reflecting on the discussion of the change in plans.
Bishop Innis addresses the Liberia Summit gathering at Main Street UMC in Alton Illinois on November 21, 2013. Bishop Innis opened his remarks with the customary phrase, “God is good.” The gathering responded, “All the time.” This began the bishop’s remarks reminding the gathering that we are examples of the goodness of God.
Main Street United Methodist Church hosts the Summit for the second time.
Bishop Innis thanked the congregation and church for their hospitality and openness to share their church with attendees from around the UM connection. This church is blessed by the spirit of generosity and helpfulness. Thank you.
Bishop Innis speaks on Philippians 2:1-5
As Christians we are called to follow the example of Christ. The people called United Methodist are known for their love and being imitators of Christ.
“Do good in Christ’s name. There is no excuse or any reason for not sharing in his name.” Bishop Innis speaks a thank you to those gathered for their expression of love and support for the nation of Liberia and the Church of Liberia. “You are the embodiment of ‘Doing good in Jesus’ name’” Bishop Innis told the group. You have shared and shown that love by spending time in Liberia and for support of missions and ministries of the LAC.
“I was thirsty and you gave me drink.” People in Liberia can now drink fresh clean water because the people and those represented by the attendees have provided resources for community wells.
“You love the people of Liberia, the churches of Liberia and the communities of Liberia,” Bishop Innis stated to the gathering as he began a listing of the projects and ministries supported by the UMC.
Bishop Keaton welcomes the Liberia Summit
“The church in mission is a sign of God’s presence in the world,” Bishop Keaton quoted from The Book of Discipline in his welcome remarks. “You gathered here are that sign. Thank you.”
The Cabinet of the Liberia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church met at Camphor United Methodist Mission last week. The St. John River and Grand Bassa Districts served as the host. The meeting brought together all of the district superintendents representing the church within the fifteen political sub-divisions of Liberia. The UMC cabinet meeting is held twice every year to review plans made during the annual session in order to provide more useful insights for effective, transparent, accountable and productivity leadership in the churches of the conference which God has called the district superintendent to lead.
At this mid-year meeting accounts of activities in the respective districts were reported for the purpose of strategizing to ensure successful discipline making. As has always been the case the head of ministries and agencies of the conference were also invited to brief the cabinet on activities of their various ministries.
During the opening session, Bishop Innis commended all of the cabinet ministers from the depth of his heart for serving the Lord with enthusiasm in the midst of challenging circumstances. He urged them to use their gifts and talents for the effective leadership in the Liberia Annual Conference, supporting and upholding one another and remain faithful ministers of Jesus Christ.
Bishop Innis also called on the cabinet to take their calling seriously as servant-leaders, and go forward with the mission of Christ. He urged them not to fail because one day everyone will give an account to God. But while waiting for our accountability to God let us begin by holding each other accountable for the good of the church and our honest actions and efforts as leaders will lead people to a full knowledge and accepting of God.
Left to Right: Front Row: Sandy Coolman, Shirley Hickman, Mrs. Melvena Nagbe, Marian Kehleay Webba, Stella Boayue, Carolyn Kingsbury, Kitty Decker. Second Row L-R: Bob Coolman, Dr. Max Hickman, Dr. Bob Kingsbury, Dr. Wilfred Boayue, Sharon Nagbe, Dr. Max Hickman. Third Row L-R: Dr. Paul Getty, Rev. Evelin Epple, Rev. Dale Epple, Rev. Beth Crissman, Rev. Kelly Crissman.
The St. John United Methodist Church in Harrisburg Township, Montserrado County, Liberia has been renovated through the gifts and contributions from the East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church based in the USA. The renovation was followed by a re-consecration ceremony of the church which was presided over by Bishop John G. Innis of the Liberia Area of the UMC and Bishop John Hopkins of the East Ohio Conference, UMC on Friday, March 1, 2013.
Located near the Mount Coffee Hydro Plant in White Plains, the St. John UMC was constructed in 1950 and is considered one of the oldest Methodist churches in the area that is impacting the spiritual lives of many in the community and those hailing from that part of the county. It was destroyed during the Liberian Civi
l War which lasted for 14 years. Though church was hard hit during the Liberian Civil War it still remained serviceable prior its renovation.
In separate remarks, Bishop Innis said, he hoped that the church will be a place of refuge for those who thirst for the Good News of Jesus Christ and the needy in life. He also thanked the people of the East Ohio Conference for their contributions and gifts to the work of church here in Liberia.
For his part, Bishop Hopkins of the East Ohio Conference called on members of the St. John UMC the entire United Methodist Church of Liberia to keep the unity of the church for the achievement of the Great Commission. He pledged conference commitment to support the local United Methodist Churches in Liberia. He also lauded Bishop Innis for his farsightedness in making international contacts and connections which make development possible for the LAC/UMC. “Our relationship is a friendly one” the visiting Bishop concluded.
St. John UMC is a part of the St. Paul River District which is presided over by Rev. Christopher Marshall as the District Superintendent.
In continuation of the partnership between the United Methodist Church of Liberia and several United Methodist Churches based in the United States of America, Operation Classroom-Liberia (OC) has distributed relief items to delegates who attended the 180th Annual Session of the Liberia Annual Conference held in Greenville City, Sinoe County, Liberia. Most of the items included t-shirts, Holy Bibles, school materials (notebooks, chalk, pencils/pens, text books, laboratory equipment, and teachers’ plan books, etc), and health items such as tooth brushes and toothpaste.
During the Ordination Service on Saturday, February 9, 2013, over 100 Holy Bibles were distributed including the Bibles that were given to the twenty Ordained and Commissioned persons of the LAC/UMC. A specific donation of choir robes, communion sets, and Bibles were made to the First United Methodist Church and the Nimene Nah United Methodist Church joint hosst of the 180th Annual Session of the LAC/UMC.
Though the OC Coordinator, Bro. Alfred Zigbuo extended the gesture to several United Methodists and other Liberian citizens, the gift was designated for Brumskin, Ganta, Tubman Gray, College of West Africa (CWA), and St. Matthews United Methodist Schools the five Operation Classroom sponsored schools in Liberia. He said the items were donated by several United Methodist Conferences based in the United States “including those in the Indiana, Minnesota, and Maryland areas in fulfillment of the mutual friendship that exists between us.”
In a related development, OC Liberia in collaboration with the Ministry to the Aged (Senior Citizens) on Friday, February 22, 2013 distributed several gift items to Senior Citizens of the United Methodist Church in Liberia and other Senior Citizens who are not United Methodist. According to several Senior Citizens, “the gifts items from their brothers and sisters overseas is an assurance that their membership and time with the UMC Liberia was well invested”.
Coordinator Zigbuo said the items are worth US$11,000.00
The United Methodist Church of Liberia and Sierra Leone signed a partnership agreement with the United Methodist Church of Norway on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at the United Methodist Church Central Office in Monrovia, Liberia. The partnership is intended to establish a United Methodist Church Regional Competence Center (UMCRCC) in West Africa. The three institutions were represented by Rev. Dr. John G. Innis, UMC Liberia; Rev. John K. Yambasu, UMC Sierra Leone; and Rev. Tove Odland, UMC Norway and General Secretary of the Board of Global Ministries in Norway (Metodistkirkens Misjonsselskap). The three church leaders are expected to provide steering leadership for the center.
According to the agreement, the Regional Competence Center will serve as the core entity which will connect the parties and provide practical diaconal assistance to needed communities. It will also engage in academic research, training, and the promotion of best practices among partners, as well as to others who are interested in the services that the UMCRCC will provide.
The Regional Competence Center will establish a relationship with academic institutions such as the United Methodist University in Monrovia, The United Methodist University in Freetown, and with relevant academic institutions in Norway and other parts of the world.
In separate remarks, the two West Africa Central Conference Bishops thanked the United Methodist Church of Norway for their commitment to helping Liberia and Sierra Leone in their development drives after several years of war in their respective countries. “We will live up to the details of the partnership agreement and be a blessing to the needy,” the two Resident Bishops added.
The United Methodist Church in Norway has been in partnership with United Methodist Church in Africa through several Annual Conferences since 2004. Through its mission program called “Partnership in Development,” UMC Norway’s cooperation with LAC/UMC started in 2006, and the progress of the work has been successful with the construction of several schools, clinics, latrines, teachers’ quarters, and hand pumps, among others.
A joint discussion between LAC/UMC, UMCSL, and MM dates back to 2011 to look into the possibility of expanding the work to include UMCSL. A successful feasibility study in Sierra Leone took place early 2012, followed by training both in Norway and Liberia.
The purpose of the agreement is to emphasize the mutual cooperation between the three parties and to jointly create a regional center in order to strengthen the commitment to the continuous development and improvement of the Partnership in Development program.