“I am bound by the scriptures I have quoted, and my conscience is captive to the word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. I cannot do otherwise, here I stand, may God help me, Amen,” were the words of the famous German reformist and theologian, Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms in 1521.
This year marks 500 years since the stubborn monk and towering thinker, Martin Luther, published his 95 thesis or complaints against the Catholic Church, and launched the Protestant Reformation, a momentous religious revolution whose consequences the world still lives with today. The Reformation divided the western church and transformed millions of people’s understanding of their relationship with God.
The world has braced itself for this celebration with events commemorating the anniversary taking place across the globe, and the Lutheran Church in Liberia is set to do likewise, but in a special fashion, the Bishop, Reverend Dr. D. Jensen Seyenkulo, has said. As head, not just of the church in Liberia but also the Western and Central Chapter of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), the Lutheran Church in Liberia will host a regional celebration that would see Lutherans converging from across the African continent and other parts of the world, said Bishop Seyenkulo.
Dr. Seyenkulo was recently elected president of the regional body known as Lutheran Communion of Churches in Central and West Africa. The upcoming celebration, he said, is expected to awaken the spirit of unity within the region.
Delegates are expected to arrive from all of the nine member countries and ten church bodies across the region including Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, and Congo. “This celebration is in commemoration of the body of Christ or Christendom, and so, we want to invite all of our bothers from other denominations to join us in this process. We want to send a special invite to our Catholic brothers,” Seyenkulo said.
The celebration will be held on September 24 at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Central Monrovia. Bishop Seyenkulo said that the guest preacher will be the LWF secretary general Martin Junge. “Our region has been lagging behind the eastern and the southern regions. This is why we want to host this regional gathering so as to chart a new course that will make us more active and activities driven,” Bishop Seyenkulo told a press conference in Monrovia over the weekend. “Those of our brethren in the east and south are doing far better than we, so we want to establish robust programs and other activities that will make us active across our region. We want to see a new dynamism here,” he said.
He expressed the hope that the regional office can be established in Liberia to make his presidency more effective. “We want to focus on some components of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Africa We Want Development Agenda in our programs. This is intended to help our governments achieve these fruitful dreams, especially for our young people,” Bishop Seyenkulo said.
The upcoming Monrovia celebration, said Seyenkulo, will provide fascinating insights into the life and legacy of Martin Luther, the most symbolic figure of the Reformation. Some members of the program committee, chaired by Rev. Robert Gonoe, were also present at the press briefing.