Bishop John G. Innis signed a construction contract for nearly $2 million for a three-story commercial building that is expected to generate income to support the ministries of The United Methodist Church in Liberia.
Innis said the income from the building will enhance the church's efforts to serve the Liberian people, especially those in need and pastors.
"I am very happy to know that I am going to retire with such an investment for the church, we have been depending on overseas support for too long," Innis said.
The building will include office spaces, a section that could house a shopping mall, conference facilities and more, said the Rev. Dorothy MaCauley, coordinator of the Liberia United Methodist Empowerment Foundation.
"We are certain that it will attract clients because of its location," MaCauley said. She said the building will be rented out to business people and local or international non-governmental organizations, or NGOs.
The building will take 18 to 24 months to complete once the funds are available, said Victor Smith, president and general manager of Zenith Group of Companies, which will handle construction. About $500,000 has been raised toward construction.
MaCauley said building will be constructed in phases as funds become available. She said the foundation is reviewing the possibility of loan for part of the construction costs.
Once the commercial building is completed, The United Methodist Church of Liberia will be able to cut on half its need for money from overseas partners to support ministries, Innis said.
The United Methodist Church of Liberia operates on an annual budget of $1.5 million. Two-thirds of that amount comes from overseas, especially the United States. Income from the rental services of the building would help to fund much of what the general United Methodist Church through the U.S. currently pays.
Liberia United Methodist Empowerment Foundation is The United Methodist Church's initiative for raising funds for sustainability and the viability of its ministries to the Liberian people.
E. Julu Swen, editor and publisher of West African Writers, an online publication about United Methodist happenings in West Africa.
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