Considering the prevailing economic situations facing the Lutheran Church in Liberia (LCL), the bishop of the church, the Right Reverend Dr. G. Victor Padmore is encouraging members of the LCL to engage in agriculture to sustain the church.
He said that resources from the partners are no longer coming in like before and the tithes and offerings from the members are not enough to sustain the church.
The bishop spoke recently during the opening of the St. Matthew Lutheran Parish’s 25th annual convention held in Paynesville City.
Bishop Padmore said his administration intends to work with parishes to start agriculture projects to generate funds.
According to him, some of the parishes have agreed to grow cash crops such as coffee and cocoa, as well as oranges.
“My administration has planted rice and when harvested we are going to cultivate cocoa and coffee crops,” he said. “We believe that this venture will bring money to sustain the church,” he said.
When contesting for the bishopric position of the church, Padmore promised to mobilize parishes of the LCL for agriculture ventures for sustainability if elected. He had once called for the amendment of the church’s constitution to allow the church to go into business.
Yet, there is a report that Bishop Padmore’s administration is seriously challenged in terms of the availability of resources to run the church.
He took over as bishop of the church a year ago from his predecessor, Bishop Emeritus Dr. Jensen Seyenkulo.
The Lutheran Church in Liberia is one of the oldest denominations, established by foreign missionaries in 1860. But the church has remained somewhat stagnant in terms of its development since being taken over by Liberians.
Bishop Padmore said after many years his church is now thinking of the need to have a university.
According to him, much effort has been applied over the years to start the university and the church is now ready to launch it.
“We have established the infrastructures to host the various colleges and are now working with the Commission on Higher Education for accreditation. We want to encourage our Lutheran members and the public to take advantage of the opportunity to advance their lives,” he disclosed.
Bishop Padmore expressed the hope of getting more support to run the university.
The proposed Lutheran university is being supported in large part by Liberian Lutherans in the diaspora and the partners.
“We are thankful to our Lutheran members in the diaspora and the partners for the immense support thus far to start,” he informed his members.
He said that his administration is working with partners to provide scholarships for Lutherans to study.
However, he said that the church is still finding it difficult to get the young people to study in the area of theology.
“We will need more pastors and educators for our church. The church can’t continue to employ people from outside to teach in our schools. We will need more of our members to be trained as teachers,” he mentioned.
The Lutheran Bishop has promised to work harder to move the LCL forward amidst the economic situation facing the country.
Meanwhile, Bishop Padmore has clarified that his church is not a part of the vision for the Liberians Initiative to Feed Everyone (LIFE-Liberia).
LIFE Liberia is a food security program that was initiated by his predecessor, Rev. Dr. Seyekulo.
The objective of the program is to mobilize the Liberian churches to work as one body collaboratively with the government to fight hunger in the country.
Bishop Padmore, when addressing concerns, said that the idea to address food insecurity as a body is good, but his administration is not knowledgeable about the program and that funding is also an issue to ensure collaboration.
“I am not clear about the vision of the program and it is not a program of our church. My church would like to become a part. But right now we are seriously challenged financially,” he clarified.