The First Baptist Church in Millsburg, rural Montserrado County, has started soliciting funds for the construction of a new edifice after almost two centuries at the present one.
During a fundraising program in observance of the church’s 193rd anniversary, the enthusiastic members and special invited guests raised the initial amounts of US$709 and L$14,805.
The amount, according to a member of the church, will help meet the estimated US$50,000 project they hope to undertake.
The senior Pastor, Reverend James N. Cooper, said the church continues to suffer a lot of setbacks forcing its progress to slow down.
“The church during the war years was looted by warring factions; and the last things rebels took away were the benches. Every time the war intensified and fighters came here and it is this church they would loot,” Pastor Cooper said.
According to him, the church currently boasts about 300 members, and they are contemplating erecting a larger edifice that will host over 500 members and guests at a given time.
Rev. Cooper said the church has established an adult literacy program that parents and others who did not have the chance to either go to or finish school can attend to prepare them to help their children at home.
Although Millsburg is sparsely inhabited, Rev. Cooper said the church enjoys a rise in its membership drive. He, however, said that the main problem confronting the members is the bad road condition, which continues to prevent many parishioners who live in Monrovia from coming to church on time.
“The road is very bad especially during the Rainy Season. When it is raining, the entire road is closed. I force myself to come and conduct service because it is my obligation to feed the church every day, but the road is so bad that most of our members living in Monrovia cannot afford to come here. We want the Legislative Caucus and county authorities to prioritize the road leading to Millsburg so that we will have access to the city,” Rev. Cooper added.
When it’s busy, no two vehicles can easily pass by each other – one has to park off the road to give way to the other.
Despite the impediments, the Baptist clergyman said the church will continue to persist until they meet the goal that they have set.
The chairman of the church’s Deacon Board, Daniel B. Warner, Jr., decried the difficult period the church endured, attributing it to the country’s 14 year civil crisis.
He said there had also been internal wrangling among members that caused a slowdown in operations. He, however, noted that a few of them have remained consistent and persistent in upholding the image of the church so that it does not collapse.
In his exaltation, the Rector of the St. Augustine Episcopal Church in Barnersville, Reverend Father Michael T. Sie, Sr., called on the congregation to be focused, not to look back but continue pressing forward.
He said looking back and failing to be focused will result to members of the church not fulfilling the dream of having a well designed and furnished church building.