West Africa Central Conference delegates meeting in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire have elected Rev. Samuel J. Quire, Jr as bishop, with the consecration on Sunday, December 18, 2016 at the Canaan Temple in Angre, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire for onward assignment to the Liberia Episcopal Area. Rev. Quire was elected on the fourth ballot with 50 votes. His fellow contestant the Rev. Dr. Julius J. S. Nelson, Jr. had 30 votes. The balloting which started with four candidates; Rev. Rev. Samuel J. Quire, Jr., Rev. Dr. David M. Tokpah as official candidates of the Liberia Episcopal Area, and Rev. Dr. Julius J. S. Nelson, Jr. and James Z. Labala who were nominated on the conference floor witnessed Rev. Quire emerge as the winner.
“It is one thing to win an election and another thing to be a leader. I cannot be a leader alone. It is not a Samuel J. Quire victory; it is a victory of the people called United Methodist”, Quire said after the victory celebrations following the voting. He pledged to work with everyone in the interest of the church.
Two candidates were presented for election by the Nomination Committee – Quire and Tokpah who scored the highest and second highest votes at the Liberia Annual Conference nomination. Nelson was nominated on the floor of conference after delegates overturned a Liberia Conference rule on Friday that barred divorced clergy from vying, which prevented him at his annual conference in April from contesting for the office of bishop. Labala nominated himself and scored 6 votes in the first ballot.
Prayers of peace and God’s direction were offered before the election. Council of Bishop’s representative, presiding Bishop, Jonathan Holston of the South Carolina Area warned delegates before the votes were cast that electing a leader for the church was a holy process. “I ask that you ask the Holy Spirit to work in you. Regard the ballot that you carry as a holy ballot”, he said. He also cautioned that the bishop to be elected was not just going to be a bishop of the Liberia area or the West Africa Area but a bishop of the United Methodist Church.
UMC agencies reps assisting in counting the ballots at the WACC 2016
Rev Samuel Quire was born on September 5, 1959 to Mr. Samuel J. Quire, Sr, and Madam Lucy N. Keah in Garraway municipality, Grand Kru County, Liberia. Rev. Quire, Jr. served as Administrative Assistant to retiring Bishop John G. Innis and is Administrative Assistant to the Interim Bishop Arthur F. Kulah.
Quire holds a Master of Divinity Degree from West Africa Theological Seminary in Lagos, Nigeria and a Bachelor of Theology degree from the Gbarnga School of Theology.
Quire has served as pastor of Jasper Grant UMC, Ebenezer UMC in Monrovia and was director of the Bishop Judith Craig Children’s Village.
Bishop Jonathan Holston receiving prayer for his colleagues bishops and the delegates before the voting process at WACC 2016
Reporting by Julu Swen and Phileas Jusu in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
Photos by Julu Swen.