East Ohio Conference Renovates St. John UMC In Liberia

Bishop John G. Innis

Bishop John G. Innis

     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

Bishop John Hopkins of East Ohio United Methodist Conference

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.

Operation Classroom US Gives to OC Liberia

Rev. Snoh Myers, Pastor of FUMC Greenville City receiving Communion Set from Bro. Zigbuo

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

UMC Liberia and Sierra Leone Sign Agreement with UMC Norway

Bishop Yambasu of Sierra Leone, Rev. Tove Odland of Norway and Bishop Innis of Liberia at ceremony.

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.

Bro. Oswald Tweh, Bro. Rudolf Merab, Mother Innis and Rev. Dr. Charles S. G. Boayue, Jr. of Second Grace UMC Detroit listen.

Annual Conference 2013 Give Extravagantly

Give Extravagantly…, Bishop Innis Urges
     The Resident Bishop of the Liberia Area, United Methodist Church, Rev. Dr. John G. Innis is calling all United Methodists in Liberia to give extravagantly in order for the work of the church to go on without financial hindrance.
     Delivering his closing message on Sunday, February 10, 2013 in Greenville City, Sinoe County, Liberia, Bishop Innis said, United Methodists in Liberia should adopt the spirit of giving in order to redeem the church from its dependency syndrome. “Give to the work of the church so that people’s lives can be changed through what the church will do”, Bishop Innis emphasized. “We need to nurture spirit of voluntarism” the Bishop added.
     Recapping the various presentations of the week, Resident Bishop Innis, reminded members attending the 180th Annual Session of the Liberia Annual Conference to use their gifts and talents to fulfill God’s mission and vision for Liberia. “Our investment will be rewarded 5-10 years from now if we invest our gifts and talents to the glory of God” Bishop Innis said.
     He challenged his District Superintendents to embrace the art of teaching their congregations about the United Methodist Church. He encouraged them to take responsibility of warning their congregation about any wrong that the church is facing. “Take care of the Church as a manifestation of your love for God” the Resident Bishop asserted.
     Rev. Dr. Innis also called on United Methodists to be law abiding both in the church and state.
The week-long gathering brought together over 600 participants including guests from the United States of America, Europe, and other parts of Africa.

Annual Conference 2013 Receives Gifts from Michigan

The Detroit Annual Conference through their delegates attending the 180th Annual Session, LAC/UMC presented gifts value at over US$60,000 including cash of US$8,700.00 for several ministries and agencies. Making the presentation on Friday, February 8, 2013, the head of delegation, Rev. Dr. Jerome DeVine, said the gifts were from the Saginaw Bay District to the people of the United Methodist Church in Liberia. He named the School of the Deaf and Tuskegee UMC in Harper City, Maryland County among others that must benefit from the gifts from their brothers and sisters in the United States of America. He emphasized that significant portion of the gifts came from the Detroit Annual Conference in general.
Earlier on Thursday, February 7, 2013, Rev. William Tom Robinson announced to members attending the 180th Annual Session that the Detroit Annual Conference bought a truck for the LAC/UMC. Though the cash value of the truck was not announced, information shared with Department of Communications by some members of the Detroit Annual Conference Team put the cost of the truck at US$52,000.
In a related development, the Rev. Dr. Charles S. G. Boayou, Jr., Pastor of the Second Grace UMC in Detroit, Michigan and member of the Detroit Annual Conference delegation presented a gift of US$1,400. Dr Boayue indicated that the gifts were intended for the following: the Ministry of the Aging $200, Baala UMC $200, Butuo UMC $200, Bunadin UMC $600, and the UM School at the Judith Craig $200.
Dr. Boayue also announced the arrival of a 40-foot container with 25,000 textbooks for the United Methodist Schools in Ganta and Tappita Districts. He further said the books were from the Alumni Association of the Ganta UMS based in the United States of America.  “The association will work with the authorities of the GUMS in deciding the salary for Bookstore Manager which the association will fund” he added.
Dr. Boayou and his wife, Elizabeth Boayue contributed 20 scholarships to the C.W. Duncan United Methodist School in Clara Town in honor of his wife’s father, the late Solomon Duncan.
The total cash value of the gifts received from the Detroit Annual Conference is over US$60,000.

Annual Conference 2013 Urged to Follow Christ Willingly

The Rev. Dr. Jerome “Jerry” DeVine, Director of Connectional Ministries of the Detroit Annual Conference, called on United Methodists in Liberia to leave their comfort zones and get involved in the work of the church. Serving as the Noonday Speaker on Thursday, February 7, 2013, Dr. DeVine urged members attending the 180th Annual Session of the LAC/UMC not to get settled into the comfort of their present position, but rather go to other places where the healing and hope that come with knowing Jesus Christ is needed.

The Detroit Clergyman cited the story of Jesus Christ as recorded in Mark 4:35-41, where Jesus requested the disciples to “go on the other side”. “Your willingness to get in the boat with Jesus Christ to go on the other side will enhance the work of the church” Dr. DeVine asserted. He said, there were three groups of people in the Jesus story. He named them as those who came down to the shoreline but hesitated to get into the boat, those who willingly followed Jesus in to the boat such as the disciples, and those who live on the “other side” and needed the healing and hope Jesus brings.
Dr. DeVine concluded his Thursday Noonday Message, by reminding United Methodists in Liberia, that there is much need and hope here in Liberia.

Similarly, on Friday, February 8, 2013, Dr. DeVine, said, the church needed people with hearts full of grace and generated by love. He emphasized that money is part of what we need to do our work as a church, but not the only thing that is needed for the work of the church. “Every congregation is a gift from God” Dr. DeVine added.

The UMC Clergyman, said, according to Matthew 6:32-44, the church needs people with compassionate hearts since it is in a community with people in need. “Let us use what we have as a Conference (LAC/UMC) to do God’s work” Dr. DeVine concluded.

Annual Conference 2013 Bishop Innis Calls for Renewed Faithfulness

     In continuation of the 180th Annual Session, the Rev. Dr. John G. Innis, Resident Bishop of the Liberia Area of the United Methodist Church delivered his Episcopal Address on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 in Greenville City, Sinoe County, Liberia. In his address, Bishop Innis challenged all United Methodists in Liberia to rethink “faithfulness” as we rebuild the United Methodist Church of Liberia. Using Malachi 3:6-12, the Resident Bishop asked his conference members, “What will it take to rebuild?
     The Episcopal Leader of UMC Liberia, said, faithfulness is one of the basic tools of the Christian faith that can help us rebuild our church without depending on outside resources. However, the Bishop continued, while we appreciate the gifts from our overseas partners, it is time that United Methodists in Liberia get involved in the building of their own institution. He cited the Gbarnga School of Theology (GST) and the Gbarnga Mission as the place where need to put their faith in action. “God deserves more from the entire membership of the Liberia Annual Conference” Bishop Innis emphasized.
     Among many issues contained in the Episcopal Address, Bishop Innis highlighted training for the young people, Church and State relationship, and the financial crisis that the church is facing. He lamented on the slow pace at which many United Methodists have been responding to the Liberia United Methodist Empowerment Foundation (LUMEF) since it was launched in 2001. He also lamented the situation of the Radio Station which has been off the air since August 2012.

Bishop Innis delivers his annual episcopal address while Rev. Dr. Jerome DeVine and other members of the conference listen.

     Bishop Innis named J. Rudolph Merab, Conference Lay Leader, former Presidential Candidate in the 2011 General Elections of Liberia, Dr. Togba Nah Tipoteh, Madina Wesseh among others to serve on the now established “Task Force on Financial Independence”. “Let us remember the Committee Members in our prayers for the success of their work”, Bishop Innis concluded.
     Earlier during the day, Rev. Thomas N. Wiah, Counseling Elder of the Sinoe District, called on the members of the Conference to put their God given talents and gifts to use. Serving as the Opening Speaker of the 180th Annual Session, Rev. Wiah, stressed thatour talents and gifts should not be buried but wisely used for the purpose of the Lord. Rev. Wiah, who is believed to be the oldest Elder in the Sinoe District, warned that anyone who refuses to put his/her talents to use, that talent will be taken away from the person. “God has given gifts and talents to us according to our abilities” the oldest conference participant concluded.

Rev. Thomas Nah Wiah, The Opening Service Speaker & Rev. Dr. John G. Innis, Resident Bishop, LAC/UMC

Annual Conference 2013 Laity Session

Use your Talents for the Good of the Church
United Methodists in Liberia Urged

The 180th Annual Session of the Liberia Annual Conference, United Methodist Church got underway on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 in Greenville City, Sinoe County with the Clergy and Laity Sessions concomitantly. In each of the sessions presentations were made teaching members of the conference on Stewardship, The United Methodist Church Social Principles, and the workings of the Board of Pension and the Liberia United Methodist Empowerment Foundation (LUMEF).

The Keynote Speaker of the Laity Session, Rev. William Tom Robinson, former District Superintendent of the Saginaw Bay District UMC in the USA, called on the Laity to use their time wisely. He said the story of the talents as recorded in the Holy Bible is basically intended to teach people how to use their time for the service of the church. Rev. Robinson said, “Allowing your service to help people find Jesus Christ in a new way is significant in the usage of our talents in the United Methodist Church”.

The USA based Clergyman whose keynote statement was filled with stories of how people used their time wisely, encouraged United Methodists throughout Liberia, especially those attending the 180th Annual Session of the LAC/UMC to fine tune their talents and use them for the good of the Church.

In a related development, the Rev. Dr. Charles S. G. Boayue, Jr. Pastor of the Second Grace United Methodist Church in Detroit, USA also called on the Laity of the United Methodist Church in Liberia to be faithful stewards in doing God’s work. “Stewardship is how faithful you are and knowing who that faith is rooted in”, he asserted. Rev. Boayue who is also a Liberian, said the entire creation is waiting for the joy and happiness that our stewardship will bring to the entire world.


Rev. Boayue of Detroit Michigan answers questions during Laity Session 2013

Responding to questions on the role of the church towards its faithful stewards, Rev. Boayue said, it is the responsibility of the church and its entire membership to care for each other. “Do not allow the unwillingness of the church or any individual steer away from the love of God” Rev. Boayue affirmed.

Unlike in previous conferences, this year’s Laity Session was filled teaching on se

veral topics such as Stewardship and the United Methodist Church Social Principles.
Meanwhile news about the Official Opening Service will be posted later today.

Mother Irene Innis at the Laity Session 2013

United Methodists to Gather in Greenville City, Sinoe County

Seasons Greetings from John G. Innis to United Methodists and the People of Liberia

Bishop John Innis

United Methodists throughout Liberia are converging in Greenville City, Sinoe County, Liberia for the 180th Annual Session of the Liberia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. The conference will be presided over by the Rev. Dr. John G. Innis, Resident Bishop of the Liberia Area of the United Methodist Church. According to information gathered from the Conference Secretariat, the 180th Annual Session will be held under the theme, “Finding Your Gifts and Talents for Service in The Church” which is taken from Matthew 25:14-30. The conference will run from February 4-10, 2013.

In his Episcopal Greetings to delegates meeting in Greenville City, Bishop Innis is calling on all United Methodists to fully participate and contribute meaningfully and prayerfully in discussions that will bear good fruits in the life of the United Methodist Church in Liberia. “We pray that the Holy Spirit will guide, protect, and lead us in mutual love and respect for one another”, the greetings stated. “It is my wish that the Good News of Jesus Christ will always produce joy, peace, and forgiveness, and reconciliation among us” the Episcopal Leaders of the UMC Liberia reiterated in his greeting.

Bishop Innis also thanked the District Superintendents of Sinoe and Nana Kru Districts, Rev. Morris Jarkloh and Rev. Morrison Wleh along with their members and other Sinoe Citizens including those residing in Monrovia for their hospitality towards the thousand of United Methodists who are gathering in the Greenville City, Sinoe County. “Your financial and moral contribution is what made the hosting of this conference possible, the Episcopal Greetings asserted.

Meanwhile, the Clergy and Laity Sessions will take place on Monday, February 4-5, 2013, while the Conference will officially start on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 with a Divine Worship Service.

The 180th Annual Session is expected to bring together over 1,000 persons including foreign guests from the United States of America and other parts of the world.

You can follow the daily activities of the 180th Annual Session on the official website of the United Methodist Church of Liberia: www.liberiaunitedmethodistchurch.org

“Giving More to Liberia in 2013”

My fellow Liberians, on behalf of the Liberia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, I wish you a very Happy New Year! We are grateful to God for allowing us to enter 2013 by His Power, Love and Grace. We praise God for our leaders and we thank all who lead in the religious, political, business, educational, family and other areas of our society for the sacrifices they continue to make, even though there are mountains of challenges in our rebuilding and reconciling efforts. We commend the international community for their role in providing security and peace. Our army, police and other security agencies deserve our love and thanks for keeping peace in 2012.
When a new year begins, it is the practice of many to make resolutions that will overcome negative qualities or promote more positive ones. This year, I call on all Liberians to join me in making a resolution that we can all commit ourselves to and hold each other accountable to implement. The resolution I call on all Liberians to declare is that, In 2013, We Will Give More And Give Our Best To The Country We Call, “Mama Liberia.” In Acts 20:35, Paul wrote these words when he encouraged believers to be generous to one another: “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” One of the reasons why it is more blessed to give than to receive is stated in II Corinthians 9:6-7 when Paul wrote, “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
A popular statement among many Liberians when describing the jobs they hold is, “This is not my Pa’s farm.” This statement implies a low level of responsibility to our jobs and very little obligation to accomplish the duties we have been given. As a result, many Liberian civil servants, politicians and technocrats take weeks to accomplish what they could achieve in one day. They usually expect their clients and constituents to bribe them before they even perform their responsibilities. Moreover, they often view their positions as possessions to be exploited for personal benefits without consideration of the public interest. They tend to ignore the fact that giving one’s best to his or her country is mandatory and ordained by God. As a great man, Arthur Ashe once said, “From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.”
We are a people noted for saying a lot about how Liberia should be the pacesetter for national growth and development in Africa by virtue of being the oldest republic on the Continent. But the irony is that we are fond of talking too much, yet we do little or nothing to make our expectation a reality.
Liberia is a precious gift from God to all of us. Since the founding of this great nation, we have never experienced droughts. Year after year, “Mama Liberia” has provided us with foods of all kind, including the fruits we pick from the trees, the roots we dig up and the “once” bountiful harvests of rice, our staple food. It is important to remember that God made Adam and Eve and told them to “have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28) God also gave seeds, plants, trees and the fruits of the trees as plants. Through this action, God made Adam and Eve stewards of the earth and managers of creation. In the same way, God gave us this beautiful country, Liberia, and made us stewards of the land and managers of its resources. God therefore requires that we become more responsible managers by becoming honest and committed givers of our services to the country and not just exploiters of its wealth for selfish ends.
As stewards and managers, we do not own this country. Liberia belongs to God and we have been placed here as tenants. Since we are stewards and tenants, we are responsible to love and care for Liberia, as well as be ready to give account of our stewardship of how we are maintaining and preserving this beloved country of ours. David reminds us about God’s ownership in Psalm 50:10-12, “All the animals in the forest are mine and the cattle on a thousand hills. If I were hungry, I would not ask you for food, for the world and everything in it are mine.” Since God has given Liberia to us, He expects us to develop an attitude of gratitude through giving back to Liberia in terms of commendable stewardship and leadership.
As an ongoing generational process, Mama Liberia continues to bestow upon us the gifts of good education, international exposure, special leadership skills and abilities, economic potentials, etc., for nation building. It is therefore an imperative that we give these valuable gifts back to Mother Liberia in order to make her the truly great nation she ought to be in Africa and the world. And despite all of the odds, I fervently believe we can make it based upon our innate endowment as a people with kind and merciful hearts, and noted for extravagant and radical hospitality.

My fellow Liberians, let us agree this year to give back to Liberia than before. Our God loves us so much “that He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God has given us His highest, so we must also give God our best through making “Mama Liberia” the best she can be. We must love Liberia. We must respect Liberia. We must work hard together to develop it by doing away with the undermining spirits within us. However, it is still required of every Liberian to speak out in truth on issues affecting the nation, and to speak this truth in the spirit of calmness and gentleness without malice and hostility. Liberia needs improved roads, development in all the counties, better schools, enhanced technology, improved medical facilities, cleaner drinking water, and healthy and abundant food for the entire nation. We must give to make Liberia better because giving is an act of human kindness and a sign of our maturity.
We will be able to offer more to Liberia if we become sincere, accountable, and exhibit greater loyalty for our nation. Through the education we have received, we must promote Liberia’s image abroad based on the economic, political and social achievements right here at home. Many nations in Africa are advancing in socio-economic growth, thereby experiencing rapid development and transformation. Hence, we would be committing a moral error of great consequence if we should continue to make Liberia to lag behind. Let us therefore put aside selfish interests and put the national interest ahead. Let us highlight patriotism and do away with individualism. Let us stress the greater good and minimize the personal good. Let us put Liberia first rather than our personal needs foremost.

In order to realize these goals of giving more to Liberia to make her better, every segment of society must do its part. Church leaders and Christians must set commendable examples of good and redemptive leadership. Jesus showed us the highest form of Love when he said in John 15:3, “Greater Love has no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends.” If we love Liberia, we must be ready to offer our best to make Liberia better. I urge those of other faith communities to live according to their values and virtues. Government officials, civil servants, academics, those in the private sector, students, working people are all encouraged to collaborate in this resolution of giving back to Liberia by becoming honest advisers, positive motivators, and trusted inspirers of the entire nation. Political leaders of all persuasions can dedicate themselves to their leadership calling by being faithful stewards to the nation that has made us who were are. We must build each other up and be considerate to one another.
My Liberian brothers and sisters, God has been kind to us by giving us another year. Let us live 2013 in a new and different way by committing to a resolution that we give Liberia more than we have done in the past. Let us begin by living in peace and love with one another, by celebrating Liberia as a valuable gift from God, and remembering that, because God has given us this land to manage well, we are managers who will give account to God. When we accept and become faithful to this resolution, we will build a country where we can minimize poverty, increase the literacy rate, develop every county, and create a nation that will be a Light to the world and leave future generations a beautiful country. Let us continue to challenge and encourage our youthful population so that we will empower them to prepare for nation building. If Liberia becomes our priority in our call to duty, God will look upon us with favor and abundantly provide our needs.
Finally, we wish to sincerely commend the leadership of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for the daunting sacrifices her government continues to make in the rebuilding process of post-conflict Liberia. We encourage her to remain focus, unwavering and committed to the great task of nation building.
As we move into 2013, I pray that God will give us the willpower and ability to accept and implement this resolution to give more to make Liberia a great nation. God bless us all!