The last week in February of every year has been set aside by the Lutheran Church in Liberia (LCL) as National Children’s Day to highlight the importance of nurturing children in the Christian faith in Sunday schools to make them obedient and respectful citizens in the churches and the communities.
Importantly, this year’s program was celebrated by the Saint Matthew Lutheran Parish that is headquartered in Wood Camp, Paynesville City, and other Parishes within the LCL respectively. The day was celebrated under the theme, “Hinder them not for they are part of God’s family taken from the Holy Gospel of Matthew 19:13-14.
The auspicious program was held on Sunday, February 28, 2021 at the Central Church of the Parish and it brought together more than 300 kids from the ten congregations within the Parish, along with their staff, parents and clergy members.
The program was organized by the Parish Sunday school Department with support from the leadership of the Church.
Children were seen during the service demonstrating what they learned in their respective Sunday school departments, which include Bible verses, inspirational gospel songs, dramatizing Bible lessons, and reading scriptures. There was also a mini-queen contest competition among the ten Congregations and Preaching Points of the Parish, where the head church emerged as a winner.
Serving as guest preacher of the program, the Associate Pastor of the Totota Lutheran Parish in Salala District, Lower Bong County, Rev. Romeo Momah, called on parents to nurture their children in the Christian faith to make them faithful children of God and to prepare them as future leaders of the church.
Rev. Momah who is also the head of the Christian Education Department (CED) that supervises religious activities within the LCL, said if Liberia will become a better nation, it is important for churches to focus more on the lives of the children, particularly their spiritual, moral and social development within the Sunday schools.
According to him, Sunday school started in the 1780s by one Robert Raikes, a newspaper publisher in England, with the desire to help change the lives of the poor children of his community.
“Raikes saw a growing but lost generation because the children had no sense of direction, and it could have had a negative impact on the nation’s future. Many children of his day lacked parental care because their parents were either too poor and could not afford or were in prisons. As a result, many of them had to work for long hours in factories from Monday to Saturday to earn their livelihoods, with only Sunday as their free day,” he narrated.
Rev. Momah went on informing his audience that the establishment of the Lutheran Church in Liberia is similar to the Sunday school in the 1780s initiated by Raikes.
According him, the first missionary of the Lutheran Church, Morris Officer, started the Mission of the church in Liberia with 40 children (20 females and 20 males) who were free slaves from America.
“Raikes started with children, [and similarly] the Lutheran church did in Liberia. He transformed lives, if not all, but some, from street children to better children. The Lutheran church transformed lives from slavery to better citizens,” he informed his audience.
“Considering the early congregation of mainly young children, we can also say that the Lutheran church in Liberia started with children or young people whose lives were transformed through teaching (reading, writing and acquiring bible knowledge) as was done by Raikes for a better tomorrow,” he added.
The CED Director used the occasion to strongly warn parents not to settle for divorce in their marital relationships; something he said has the propensity to seriously affect the future of their children.
Also speaking, the Chairperson of the St. Matthew Lutheran Parish Council, Dr. Kumblytee Johnson, promised to make the Sunday school a priority of her leadership.
She said that there is a need for the churches in Liberia to invest in the lives of the children to curtail some of the social vices that are now affecting the country.
One of the parents, Catherine Gbozie, said that she was impressed with the program and asked other parents to prioritize the work of the Sunday school to better develop the church.