Liberia: New Lutheran Bishop Calls for Integrity, Accountability

Newly Consecrated  LCL Bishop, Rev. Padmore

The Rt. Rev. G. Victor Padmore, newly consecrated bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia, says the lack of integrity and accountability are some of the primary causes of the underdevelopment of the churches in Liberia.

He said it would take a lot to do if the church, particularly the Lutheran Church of Liberia, must progress after experiencing a very downward trend of development, and “We all must work harder to restore the wasted years. This can be done provided that the Lutheran Church of Liberia comes to live by examples of integrity, and accountability.”

Padmore made the statement on July 3 at the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Monrovia, following his consecration as the 5th presiding Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia. The new LCL Bishop was installed at a well-attended program graced by ecumenical ministers and Bishops from Germany, the United States of America, Nigeria, The Gambia, and Sierra Leone. Also attending the consecration program were local ecumenical ministers and some top government officials of Liberia.

Padmore’s consecration ceremony also coincided with the installation of the General Secretary of the LCL, Victor Kaydor. Kaydor was selected to succeed his predecessor, through a search committee. He and Bishop Padmore are to serve the LCL for a period of five years each and stand the chance for a second term per the constitution of the church.  

The LCL, at 160 years, was established by Morris Officer in 1860, a missionary of the United States of America. But the church is still faced with numerous constraints since being taken over by Liberians. Padmore succeeds his predecessor Bishop Emeritus Rt. Rev. Dr. Jensen Seyenkulo, who has served the church for two terms — nearly 10 years.

Having contested the bishopric position election of his church three times and lost, Padmore emerged victorious this year. He is however taking the helm of the Lutheran diocese during very challenging times in the Liberian economy. Many of the members of the church find it difficult to financially support the Ministry through their tithes and offerings due to the economic hardship.

He acknowledged the economic situation, stating that the reality is that the people are serving a very big God who is able to strengthen them to support the church.

“The Lord has called us to the leadership of our church in a very challenging time — not only in the history of the LCL, but also our country and the global community. We are aware that this call of leadership comes with huge responsibilities, which include a call of discipleship in a special way. I take solace in the reality that we serve a very big God,” he mentioned.

He said as the new bishop of the church, he would live up to the term of partnership with dedication, openness, and accountability. Padmore also stressed the need for the church members to unite to move the church forward.

He said though some members are calling for conferences to unite the members, it is not something really to think about as he thinks that God has already reconciled the members.

The Lutheran bishopric 2022 election was marked with contentions that many were doubtful as to whether it would end peacefully. Padmore used the occasion to call on the church to avoid the spirit of favoritism and work to support each other.

“We must leave the gossip and favoritism within the church and learn to speak the truth to our leaders,” he stated.

The LCL 5th presiding bishop has promised to prioritize the promotion of evangelism and the improvement of the welfare of his fellow ministers, as well as ensuring improvement in the educational and health programs of the church.

For his part, outgoing Bishop Senyenkulo said that one hundred years ago, the founders of the Lutheran church in Liberia dreamed of reaching the Gospel to all corners of the country and that the church could be managed by the natives themselves.

He said that the works of the missionaries who evangelized the natives have brought a liberation power to the native people who have since taken over the task. There is a report that the outgoing Senyenkulo is leaving the LCL without enough resources to sustain the works of the church after he had served his period of leadership. However, though the church has not seen a significant achievement, the church has expanded in evangelism to some extent during his tenure.

Senyenkulo said the fulfillment of Morris Officer’s dreams of the LCL was to become a self-governing church that the national or native sons of the land would by now take full responsibilities.

“We thank God for a newly elected bishop and all past leaders who have built upon the foundation of others leading us to where we are today,” he said. He added that the LCL is an independent church whose burden cannot be carried by partners nor by the bishop only.

“We need to call for the contribution of all who call themselves Lutherans, here and abroad. Your new bishop needs your prayers, support and finances. It is by this we can achieve the self-governance which the founder of our church dreamed of many years back,” the statement read.