Liberia's new United Methodist bishop said the church will explore ways to supplement pastor's salaries and will work on identifying and assessing all its properties.
Bishop Samuel J. Quire Jr., who was elected bishop during the West Africa Central Conference meeting, said during his induction service on Dec. 31, 2016, that he wants to ensure that the church's resources — natural, human, spiritual and financial — benefit all members.
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"We will explore means of augmenting pastor salaries, especially our rural pastors that have little or no support from their congregation," Quire said. He said church leaders also will strengthen the local churches by providing spiritual as well as psychological and moral support for pastors and their families.
"We must continue to develop and improve the resources, so that when we have to give an account to God, we will show how we have multiplied what we have," he said.
Quire said he is especially interested in locating properties pledged by individuals when the Liberia United Methodist Empowerment Foundation was launched in 2001 by Bishop John Innis, who retired in 2016. The foundation was launched with the goal of raising needed funds that would support the ministries of the church, including paying pastors' salaries and educating them theologically.
In his first address to the nation on Jan. 1, 2017, the new bishop called on all Liberians, especially United Methodists, to support Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in her quest to turn over power smoothly in the country. Sirleaf is herself a United Methodist.
"Let our peaceful election at the West Africa Central Conference in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, serve as a model for the national election in 2017," Quire said in urging United Methodists to champion the cause of a peaceful church and nation.
The theme of his address was "A New Heart for a New Church." The new bishop said United Methodists must learn to love each other and work for the common good of the church.
He challenged United Methodists to make the church a place fit for all to dwell and warned, "there will not be room for any divisive maneuvering in my leadership."
Interim Bishop Arthur Kulah challenged United Methodists to join ranks with Bishop Quire in serving the church with credibility, integrity, honesty and faithfulness. He added, "we want him to be able to leave behind some positive legacies for others to build upon."
Kulah was called out of retirement a second time to lead Liberia after Innis retired and until Quire was elected. He was called out of retirement earlier to serve in the Nigeria Episcopal Area after the death of Bishop Kefas Kane Mavula in 2007 until Bishop John Yohanna was elected in 2012.
Kulah returns to retirement and the Gbarnga School of Theology, where he is the bishop in residence.
Julu Swen, communicator in Liberia
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