The congregation of the Lutheran Church in Liberia is to shortly celebrate its centenary along with its health arm, Phebe Hospital, which will also be turning one hundred years.
Jensen D. Syenkulo, Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia yesterday appeared on the Truth Breakfast Show (TBS) and shared thoughts on how this year’s anniversary will be celebrated in the country.
“We will be assembling in Bong County, particularly in the Phebe Community to commemorate one hundred sixty one years (161) of the Church’s existence in Liberia. And interestingly, Phebe Hospital, one of our projects, will reach its hundredth year of existence too,” Bishop Sienkolo said.
He said the Church, has extended invitations to other Churches, particularly the Episcopal and the United Methodist Churches in the country to grace the Lutheran Church’s celebration of its existence in the country.
Bishop Sienkolo added that due to the presence of COVID-19 in the world, health protocols, including wearing of face masks, washing of hands with clean water and soap as well as social distancing, among others, will be strictly observed.
“We will not be negligent in following the health protocols. We know what Ebola did to us in this country and now with COVID-19 at hand, we must be careful. Outbreaks are like accidents and as such, we will not be complacent with the idea that Liberia is not hit hard as other countries where people have died or are dying in huge numbers,” he said.
The Lutheran work in Liberia began in 1860 by missionaries of the former Lutheran Church in America, now, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). Lutheran Church in Liberia became fully autonomous in 1965. Its organization combines congregational, episcopal, and synodal features.
The Constitution of the Church, which was revised in 1997 and 1999, provides for a balance of local responsibility and common action.
Naomi Ford-Wilson, Secretary-General of the Lutheran Church of Liberia (LCL) was in the studio with Bishop Sienkolo she “We run a three-fold ministry Church and to explain in simple terms, we own and operate the healing ministry through the Phebe Hospital, the preaching ministry, and the education ministry.
“At all ends, we are contributing to the well-being of people across the country,” Mrs. Wilson said. As time went by, those in charge at the time saw the need to have the hospital centrally located. That’s how they chose Bong County, particularly near Gbarnga, the capital city of the county,” she explained.
Phebe Hospital was founded in 1921 and it began its operations in Harrisburg, Montserrado County, but later moved to Zorzor, Lofa County, and now located in Bong County.
She further said that the Lutheran Church has the best HIV/AIDS control program in Liberia and it is also involved in trauma counseling and conflict resolution at the community level across the country.
“We will be in Bong up to Sunday, the day we will be concluding all ceremonies commemorating the anniversaries of both the Church and its hospital, Phebe, ” Madam Wilson said.
The Lutheran Church owns and operates a number of educational institutions, including the prominent St. Peter’s Lutheran High School in Sinkor where a massacre was carried out by soldiers of slain President Samuel K. Doe against civilians in early 1990 during the civil war.