At the honoring ceremony in Gbarnga City, Bong County, the UMC announced that it awarded the President the honor for her services to the church, community, nation and the world in general.
The Methodist Church named the award “United Methodist Par Excellence” Service Award which is the highest honor in the United Methodist Church. UMC disclosed that the award to Madam Johnson Sirleaf was their way of recognizing the leadership quality and her commitment to serving God Almighty and her faith in the church and the things of God.
Chronicling the President’s achievements ranging from her two successive democratic elections to the Liberian presidency, the Nobel Peace Prize she jointly won with her fellow compatriot, Leymah Gbowee and other, her struggle for women’s rights in Africa to her international contributions to enhancing rule of law in Africa; UMC said, the Christian community was pleased by her performance.
She was the first African President and female head of state to address the UMC Global Conference in 2009 among other things, the citation read.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who is also a member of the First United Methodist Church was honored along with another special guest of honor, Tove Odland, from United Methodist Church in Norway. Madam Oldland was ordained Deacon of the UMC in 1999 and had worked for the improvement of the church worldwide, the citation also indicated.
Accepting the awards, the two celebrants expressed delight in the honors, stressing the importance of serving God and humanity.
President Sirleaf said she was joyful for the church recognition. She added that all of her achievements came as a result of God’s mercy on her life.
In her acceptance remarks, Madam Tove Odland disclosed that she was extremely grateful to share the honors with the President, noting that Madam Johnson is a great leader.
“I wanted to see you during the award process in Norway but I never had the time and opportunity. I am now grateful to be honored along with you,” Madam Odland declared.
The honoring ceremony coincided with 179th Session of the Liberia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church held in Kokoyah District Conference. The Annual Conference was held under the Theme: “Maintaing the Unity of the Church.”
During the program, prayers were offered for President Johnson Sirleaf, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai the government and people of Liberia.
Scores of UMC delegates from around the globe including those from the United States of America, Europe and Africa were in attendance.