Bishop: Support United Methodist president-elect in Liberia

George Manneh Weah speaks during his inauguration as the country’s 24th president at Samuel Doe stadium in Monrovia.  Weah, a United Methodist and former soccer star, was elected by more than 61 percent of the vote. Photo by E Julu Swen, UMNS.
George Manneh Weah speaks during his inauguration as the country’s 24th president at Samuel Doe stadium in Monrovia. Weah, a United Methodist and former soccer star, was elected by more than 61 percent of the vote. Photo by E Julu Swen, UMNS.

Liberia Area Bishop Samuel J. Quire Jr. is calling on all Liberians, especially United Methodists, to support President-elect George Manneh Weah.

Weah, a United Methodist and former soccer star, is expected to be sworn in Jan. 22, taking over power from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who also is a United Methodist. Weah was elected by more than 61 percent of the vote over his rival, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, during a Dec. 26 presidential runoff election.

“I will roll up my sleeves to join the new government to do whatever I can to disabuse the minds of our young people in this country of the vices that do not represent peace,” Quire said at a Dec. 31 program marking his 365 days in office as bishop of The United Methodist Church in Liberia. The program was held at First United Methodist Church in Monrovia, where Sirleaf is a member.

Quire said all Liberians need to work with the newly elected government to move the country forward. He challenged President-elect Weah to talk to the young people in the country and encourage them to stop conducting themselves in ways that threaten the peace of the nation.

Bishop Samuel J. Quire Jr. at a program marking his first anniversary as bishop of the United Methodist Church for the Liberia area at First United Methodist Church in Monrovia, Dec. 31. Photo by Julu Swen, UMNS.

Bishop Samuel J. Quire Jr. at a program marking his first anniversary as bishop of the United Methodist Church for the Liberia area at First United Methodist Church in Monrovia, Dec. 31. Photo by E Julu Swen, UMNS.

All Liberians need to join ranks and support the government, the bishop said.

“Your collective role in the Dec. 26 runoff election helps to ensure that the peace that we are enjoying now is not disturbed,” he said.

Reflecting on the day the National Elections Commission declared Weah the winner, Quire said that he noticed that young people did not sound reconciliatory at all, especially those who supported Weah’s presidential bid.

“As a church, we need to pray for this country and the new leadership because its failure will be the country’s failure,” he warned.

Weah was among five United Methodists who participated in the Liberian presidential election. The others were Charles Brumskine, Alexander Cummings, J. Mills Jones and Isaac Wiles. Weah is a member of Georgia Pattern United Methodist Church.

“As a child, he always accompanied his grandmother, Klon Jlateh, to church and later got baptized, making him a United Methodist and member of the Georgia Pattern United Methodist Church,” said the Rev. Tehpamubo Sayeh, senior pastor.

He said the president-elect has been a regular in church and is a member of the usher board.

“His attendance slacked when he was elected senator of Montserrado County, but (he) remained constantly in touch with me and other church members,” Sayeh said, adding that Weah has been paying his membership dues to the church and United Methodist Men.

As a member, he has contributed greatly to the church, the pastor said, including help with refurbishing at the 113-year-old church, especially after the Liberian civil war. The president-elect also was named Father of the Year in 2014 and 2015 for his “valuable services” to the church and humanity.

“He calls me every time he is going to worship with another church, just to let me know that he is not staying away from church service,” Sayeh said.

“Though President-elect Weah was not regular in church, every time he came to church, he insisted on serving as usher for the day,” said Johnson Jooju Kumeh, former president of United Methodist Men at his church in Liberia.

Kumeh said the election of Weah has brought excitement to members of Georgia Pattern United Methodist Church. “We prayed for him during the campaign and on election day and we are praying for him to succeed as leader of this nation.”

Swen is a communicator in Liberia. News media contact: Vicki Brown, Nashville, Tennessee, (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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