2022 Liberia Annual Conference

Officiating: Bishop Samuel J. Quire Jr. and retired Bishop Arthur F. Kulah.

The 189th session of the Liberia Annual Conference featured several speakers, including the Rev. Elizabeth N. Chea Pyne, retired elder of Sinoe District, as well as the Rev. Yar Donlah Gonway-Gono, the Rev. Anthony G. Dioh, the Rev. Nelly Wright and the Rev. Isaac Benjamin F. Korpelleh.

Delivering his 2022 episcopal address, Bishop Samuel J. Quire Jr. declared, “Whatever the results of the critical issues concerning human sexuality and other pressing matters that would undermine our unity and continuous existence as a cohesive unit, let us remain faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am convinced that God’s guidance and direction will lead us to where we should remain, and or go.” 

This position differed somewhat from the 2021 episcopal address in which Quire said, “When division happens, the Liberia Annual Conference will look forward to partnering with other United Methodist traditionalists all around the world to create a truly global Methodist church that is rooted in Scripture and the great teachings of the Christian faith down through the ages” He urged members of the conference to pray for The United Methodist Church.

“Be still is a command,” Quire asserted during this year’s closing service. “Lots quote it, but few understand it.” Being still, he added, should be a way of life for all Christians, including United Methodists in Liberia. He warned members of the conference to refrain from fighting, undermining one another in ministry, gossiping and misquoting the bishop. 

“Be still in times of trials, of tribulation; when you do your best and people misunderstand you, be still; be still because God is able to calm the storm on your behalf,” he concluded.

The Rev. Yar Donlah Gonway-Gono, president, United Methodist University, challenged members of the conference to allow unity to prevail among them and in the church. “We can accomplish much [more] as a union than we will achieve if we are divided,” Gonway-Gono said. She urged members of The United Methodist Church in Liberia to put God first in everything.

The conference decided to return stewardship of the retreat center to the young people’s ministry. “The conference hereby covenants and resolves that the stewardship and management of the Stephen Trowen Nagbe Retreat Center be turned over to the Department of Youth and Young Adult,” the resolution stated. 

The resolution called on the conference to establish a commission to lead the church in a ministry with at-risk and disadvantaged youth who seek healing, transformation and wholeness. “It is resolved that the chairperson and members of the commission will work in collaboration and consultation with the Task Force established by Bishop Samuel J. Quire Jr., the Department of Youth and Young Adults and the S. Edward Peal Counseling Center,” the resolution concluded.

Fifty-one people were voted into the clergy order of the Liberia Annual Conference: seven as elders in full connection, two as commissioned probationary members and 42 as elders in associate order. Eight people were retired from active duties in the church. The membership of the church is about 200,000.

The 2022 Liberia Annual Conference session brought together about 1,141 United Methodists from across Liberia and abroad. Among them were 593 clergy, 301 laity, 17 deaconesses, 27 staff members, 61 observers and one missionary. 

— E. Julu Swen, a communicator in Liberia

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