Liberia: 1st Presbyterian Church Begins 189th Anniversary Celebrations

The First Presbyterian Church of Monrovia has commenced activities in celebration of its 189th Anniversary as Liberia’s third oldest church after the Baptist and Methodist Churches.

While Liberia celebrates its 200th year of founding by freed freed people of color from the United States of America, Presbyterian Ministers were among those freed slaves who arrived in Monrovia at the Bushrod Island that led to the establishment of Liberia.

The Presbyterian Church was formally founded in 1833 — 11 years after the arrival of freed people of color and 14 years before Liberia declared its independence.

The church was the first denomination to establish a high school in Liberia — the Alexander High School where notable Liberians including Liberia’s eleventh President, Hilary Richard Wright Johnson, were educated.

As part of anniversary activities, the Presbyterian Church, on Sunday, February 13, held its Praise and Worship, combined with a County Rally to appreciate the Lord’s guidance through the years and in recognition of Liberian unity.

In solidarity with the Presbyterian Church, the Choir of the First United Methodist Church — the second oldest church and guests from the Providence Baptist Church, the first church established, participated in the colorful praise and worship service.

“A musical talent show, beach jamboree, raffle draw, induction of a new pastor, thanksgiving service and revival are events lined up to commemorate this year’s celebrations from February to March,” said Elder Matilda Parker, Chairperson of the Planning Committee.

Reverend C. Wellington Morgan, Sr, the Acting Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Monrovia, said the congregation remains thankful and appreciative to the Lord.

“Our church has come this far by faith and in service of the Lord. For this reason, we have chosen a theme for this year’s celebration: “Going Forward with Faith in God” with texts drawn from Philippians 3:13-14 Exodus 14:14-15”, Pastor Morgan said.

He continued, “This year’s celebration is important to the Church as Liberia celebrates 200 years of founding and this makes us reflect on the numerous contributions Presbyterian prelates made from the establishment to the declaration of independence”, he said.

“The Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians were named the Trinity of Church when Liberia declared its independence”, Pastor Morgan narrated. 

Reverends Amos Herring and Ephraim Tilter were the two Presbyterians among the 11 signatories to Liberia’s Declaration of Independence. The two represented the Bassa Cove (now called Grand Bassa County); and because of that representation, two of the four stripes in the Grand Bassa flag represent their memories of participating in the signing of the Independence document.

Daniel B. Warner, Liberia’s third President and composer of the Liberian National Anthem, was a Presbyterian minister along with his Vice President, James M. Priest, who also served as Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church-Monrovia.