A long-awaited, ‘big weekend’ for Episcopalians from all over Liberia is finally here.
West Africa’s newest Archbishop (elect), Liberia’s own Jonathan B.B Hart and his local flock have been doing everything to make sure that all systems are a ‘go’ (everything is in place) to receive and fete (entertain) an array of distinguished church personalities from all over the Western province and beyond.
The guests are converging on Monrovia for an historic weekend: the enthronement of Episcopal Bishop Hart as Archbishop of the Province of West Africa.
It began on Thursday, July 3, with the arrival from England, of the well-known theologian, Jeanette O’Neil. She was followed by other eminent overseas church leaders and guests, including prelates Robert Drewe, (England) and Ian C. Hutchinson, (U.S.) who arrive today, Friday, July 4.
They put in their appearance after Bishop Mack Beckwith and Rev. Ranjit R. Matthews, who arrived by British Airlines earlier on Friday.
From The Gambia came the Venerable Mother P. Johnson and Mrs. Acy Peter, while Bishop Jacques Boston and Bishop Albert Gomez flew in from Guinea on the fourth of July as well.
Out of Sierra Leone come Bishop Thomas Wilson, Mrs. Victoria Wilson, Bishop E. J. S. Tucker, Justice Ada Renner, Justice Shere Moses, Very Rev. A. Nicole, and Rev. Canon Justice Cole.
From Ghana comes a delegation of fifteen. They include Archbishop Sarfo and Mrs. Mary Safo, Archbishop Akrofi, Bishop Otoo, Bishop Torto, Bishop Festus Yeaboah-Asuamah, Mrs. Felecia Yeaboah-Asuamah, and Bishop Kwashie. Others were Bishop Acqah, Bishop Dibo Elango, Canon Eiwuley, Venerable J. Osay, Father Nyame, Mr. Thum and Asiedu Basoah.
Commenting on the more solemn part of the elaborate ceremony planned, the Dean of Trinity Cathedral—from which Bishop Hart speaks—Dr. Herman Browne told the Daily Observer that Bishop Hart’s elevation signals a step upward for him as well as one for the area that comprises (makes up) his arch-Bishopric (or his jurisdiction)
“Hart’s emergence also draws attention to the emphasis that is being placed on the growth of the Church—growth that would reflect numbers and quality,” Dean Browne declared.
“The soon-to-become Archbishop has been offered a platform—one he rightly deserves—that will enable him take the Province beyond Evangelism and education, into the realm of health and medicine,” the Dean continued.
Dean Brown assured the paper that messages from the Primate—as well as from this nation’s President—should reiterate the emphasis on growth and challenge the Liberia prelate to energize and inspire his larger flock by doing more at what he is good at.
“Title bestows responsibility, and Bishop Hart is now better positioned to bring more to the challenges ahead, now that he finds himself less hindered by earlier hindrances —and limitations.”
Meanwhile, the Bishop is doing his best to remain cool and calm about the event, referring this paper’s editor to his publicity chairman when asked to sum up his feelings about the event in one word.
Observers, however, pointed out that he is as excited as he was when he received his first sheepskin (the colorful hood attached to the back of a graduation gown).