Episcopal residence decommissioned for educational use in Liberia

Translate Page
The United Methodist Church’s episcopal residence in Monrovia, Liberia, will be turned over to the United Methodist University’s Graduate School of Professional Studies. Photo by E Julu Swen, UM News. 
The United Methodist Church’s episcopal residence in Monrovia, Liberia, will be turned over to the United Methodist University’s Graduate School of Professional Studies. Photo by E Julu Swen, UM News.

Key points:

  • The property will be used by the United Methodist University’s Graduate School of Professional Studies.
  • Retired bishops Arthur F. Kulah and John G. Innis lived in the residence during their terms.
  • Dr. Yar Donlah Gonway-Gono, UMU president, said the facility would be developed with help from university partners to ensure that Liberians receive quality education. 

The United Methodist Church in Liberia recently decommissioned its episcopal residence and the entire property for use by the United Methodist University of Liberia’s Graduate School of Professional Studies.  

Bishop Samuel J. Quire Jr. Photo by E Julu Swen, UM News. 
Bishop Samuel J. Quire Jr.
Photo by E Julu Swen, UM News.

“After serving the church for 29 years,” Bishop Samuel J. Quire Jr., Liberia Episcopal Area, said, “this building is now decommissioned from being an episcopal residence to an educational facility of the Liberia Annual Conference, where the UMU will now operate its graduate school.” 

He indicated that decommissioning the building was The United Methodist Church’s way of helping the Liberian government to make education available to all Liberians, especially young people.

In an interview with United Methodist News, Retired Bishop Arthur F. Kulah said the building was purchased by the annual conference during the Liberia civil war in fulfilment of the conference decision. “The conference,” he said, “passed a resolution during the tenure of retired Bishop Bennie D. Warner not to rent any house for their bishop to live in.” 

Kulah, the first bishop to reside in the building, said it was acquired through a grant from the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries during the Liberian civil war in the 1990s. The house and the land on which it is located were paid for separately by the conference. 

“The money for the land was paid from my episcopal salary with the intention that the Liberia Annual Conference was going to refund my money,” he noted. 

He indicated that the money was not refunded because he told the conference at the time that it was his contribution to The United Methodist Church in Liberia. “I wanted the acquisition of the property to be part of my legacy in the church,” Kulah said.

Dr. Yar Donlah Gonway-Gono, UMU president, assured Bishop Quire that the facility would be developed with help from university partners to ensure that Liberians receive quality education. 

“You are all aware,” she said, “that The United Methodist Church in Liberia is noted for its persistent role in providing quality education for our people.” 

Subscribe to our
e-newsletter

Like what you're reading and want to see more? Sign up for our free daily and weekly digests of important news and events in the life of The United Methodist Church.

Keep me informed!

Gonway-Gono pointed out that the property was an added advantage in helping the university as it seeks to expand the graduate school beyond theological studies. “We are going to diversify our graduate studies program to include business, education and health sciences,” she added. 

The Rev. Jerry Kulah, vice president of the graduate school, said he is in discussion with several partners of the school including the Knoll Foundation, which is currently supporting the work of the graduate school for property development. “It will cost $1.5 million USD to fully develop the graduate school, which will now be known as the Graduate School of Professional Studies,” he said. The theological college of the graduate school will still bear the name of former Bishop John G. Innis.

The decommissioned episcopal residence is the second property that the Liberia Annual Conference has ceded to UMU since the arrival of Gonway-Gono. The building was the home of retired Bishops Arthur F. Kulah and John G. Innis. When Quire was elected bishop, he indicated that he would not move into the 29-year-old building, which needs extensive repairs. The building has not yet been renovated. 

Swen is a United Methodist communicator based in Liberia.

News media contact: Julie Dwyer, Nashville, Tennessee, (615) 742-5470 or [email protected]. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Friday Digests.


Like what you're reading? Support the ministry of UM News! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community. Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

UMNEWS-SUBSCRIPTION
Evangelism
The Rev. Susan Manyange preaches for the First Street Group, an informal church gathering in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe, a community that is home to commercial sex workers and many struggling with alcoholism and substance abuse. Manyange is pastor of the nearby Seke East United Methodist Church. Photo by Eveline Chikwanah, UM News.

Church transforms troubled community

Through outreach and a weekly worship service, leaders of Seke East United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe have helped inspire First Street residents to make changes and embrace their faith.
Congregations
The Rev. Jeff Olive, a Texas Conference district superintendent, presides at an Aug. 7 meeting at The Woodlands Methodist Church called to consider disaffiliation. Members of The Woodlands Methodist, in The Woodlands community north of Houston, voted by a 96.3% margin to leave The United Methodist Church. Photo courtesy of The Woodlands Methodist.

Some large Texas churches vote on disaffiliation

The Woodlands Methodist Church and Faithbridge, two large United Methodist churches north of Houston, decide on same day to leave the denomination.
Social Concerns
United Methodist Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda urges the church to help seek the restoration of peace in Eastern Congo during a “peace caravan” in Tunda, Congo. As part of its 100-year celebration, the church organized a caravan of peace to reflect on the Social Principles and encourage peace in the region. Photo By Philippe Kituka Lolonga, UM News.

United Methodists organize peace caravan in the Congo

Participants laud the church’s acceptance of all people, regardless of tribal affiliation.