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Bishop John G. Innis distributes Holy Communion at First United Methodist Church in Monrovia during a special service that marked his return from the United States, where he stayed for months for health reasons and restrictions due to the Ebola crisis.  Photo by Julu Swen, UMNS

Photo by Julu Swen, UMNS

Bishop John G. Innis distributes Holy Communion at First United Methodist Church in Monrovia during a special service that marked his return from the United States, where he stayed for months for health reasons and restrictions due to the Ebola crisis.

Members of First United Methodist Church in Monrovia, Liberia, attend a special welcoming and thanksgiving service honoring Bishop John G. Innis.  Photo by Julu Swen, UMNS

Photo by Julu Swen, UMNS

Members of First United Methodist Church in Monrovia, Liberia, attend a special welcoming and thanksgiving service honoring Bishop John G. Innis.

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Liberian church welcomes bishop home

 

By Julu Swen
March 2, 2015 | MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS)

Bishop John G. Innis is back home in Liberia after 11 months in the United States for health reasons and because of travel restrictions imposed on the country due to the Ebola outbreak.

A thanksgiving service at First United Methodist Church in Monrovia on Feb. 25 was attended by hundreds of United Methodist who praised God for the safe arrival of the bishop and for his successful back surgery in the United States.

The Rev. Matthew A. Jaiah of the Stephen Trowen Nagbe United Methodist Church urged those attending the service to be thankful to God for the challenging path he has led them through during the Ebola crisis.

“There were challenges, but God has guided us through them all,” Jaiah said. "I will work in the house of the Lord for all of the things he has done for me."

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The choir at First United Methodist Church in Monrovia, Liberia, sings during a special welcoming and thanksgiving service honoring Bishop John G. Innis.  Photo by Julu Swen, UMNS

Innis thanked church members for praying for him.

“I was overwhelmed by the out pouring of love from all of you for my health situation at the time,” Innis said.

The bishop was travelling for his episcopal duties when health issues arose, then he could not return to Liberia because the borders were closed due to the Ebola crisis.

He praised the leadership of the Liberia Annual Conference for ably managing the affairs of the church while he was away.

“I thanked God for you wonderful people called United Methodists,” he added. “Ebola must leave Liberia in Jesus’ name,” Innis said.

*Swen is editor and publisher of West African Writers, an online publication about United Methodist happenings in West Africa and assists the denomination in Liberia with coverage for United Methodist Communications.

News media contact: Vicki Brown at (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.