Bible students and other Christians are taught that the average life expectancy of a man or woman on earth is three score and ten years — 70 years in modern terms.
That almost-mystical figure often is regarded a signal for a well-deserved retirement and retreat from active duty; many set goals and work hard to achieve those goals before reaching 70.
That milestone, an ever-present reminder of our mortality (humanity, passing on) is known to have kept many-an-eye on that date.
But when that highpoint passes, most give thanks to God and consider themselves blessed, knowing that others of us—in life’s winless battle against nature—already had taken their bows, and retreated to a peacefully repose (recline, rest) amongst emperors and kings.
It was the “blessed” part of Mrs. Parker’s thankfulness that was shared last Tuesday by Liberia’s first female Pharmacist, Mrs. Clavenda Bright-Parker, who celebrated her 75th birth anniversary on January 7.
Ceremonies marking Clave’s natal day began with a thanksgiving service at the Bethel Cathedral of Hope in Congotown, beginning at 5 p.m. The service was graced by the presence of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Vice President Joseph Boakai, and an array of foreign diplomats, government ministers, officials, friends, and members of the Bright-Parker family.
At the thanksgiving service Bethel Pastor Arnette Taylor praised Madam Bright-Parker for living an exemplary life which she said reflects the true virtues of God.
Pastor Taylor then chastised many Liberians, who claim to be Christians living in a “Christian nation” but are living contrary to what is written in the Holy Bible.
Choosing as her text, Exodus chapter 3, Pastor Taylor recalled how Moses encountered God near Horeb, the mountain of God. “The way an individual encounters God is determined by the amount of dedication and love the person has for Him,” she stated.
She said it will not take a long time for any unbeliever to give his/her life to God if those who claim they are Christians can live lives that will convince people of Jesus Christ.
Pastor Taylor told her audience that since she met and came to know Mrs. Parker at Bethel, she (Pastor Taylor) became highly impressed with Clavenda’s faith and obedience to God, as exemplified by her life of service in the church.
Pastor Taylor urged all members of the congregation and all who call themselves true followers of Christ to emulate Mrs. Parker’s example of service and care for others.
For her part, Madam Clavenda Bright-Parker thanked God for attaining her present age and to have done so in a state of good health.
Dressed in a purple suit, she was seen jumping, dancing lifting up her hands in prayer and praising God, during the thanksgiving service.
The celebration ended with a sumptuous birthday party at Mrs. Parker’s residence in the Parker Compound across from the Sophie Ice Cream junction in Congotown. It was also attended by President Sirleaf, Clavenda’s classmate of the College of West Africa (CWA), class of 1955.
There, the hosts and invitees performed customary and convivial activities together in commemoration of the day. Amongst highlights of the event was a Caribbean-styled buffet dinner. That was followed by an exquisite and almost tantalizing performance of the popular Quadrille, performed by many carefully selected, local experts of the dance.
Among the dignitaries at the well-attended event were the President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate and Mrs. Gbehzohngar Findley, former Chief Justice and Mrs. Henry Reed Cooper, former Chief Justice Gloria Musu Scott, Foreign Minister Augustine Ngafuan, Education Minister Etmonia David Tarpeh, Gender and Development Minister Julia Duncan Cassell, the President’s elder sister, Mrs. Jennie Bernard, Counselor and Mrs. Charles Brumskine, Counsellor and Mrs. Winston Tubman, former Ambassador and Mrs. Charles A. Minor, GSA Director General Mary Broh, Mrs. Oprah Mayson Benson, widow of the former Nigerian Minister of Information T.O.S. Benson, LPRC Managing Director T. Nelson Williams, former Ambassador and Mrs. Lafayette Diggs, and Mr. Jimmie Dennis, longest serving president of the Press Union of Liberia and former publisher of Palm Magazine.
Madam Clavenda Bright-Parker was born on Carey Street, Snapper Hill, Monrovia, on January 7, 1939, unto the union of Richard S.S. Bright and Clavenda Sherman Bright.
She began her early education at St. Theresa’s Convent in Monrovia, and then traveled to Washington D.C. where her father served as Chargéd’Affaires at the Liberian Embassy.
She enrolled at the Dalton School in New York when her father was assigned with the Permanent Mission of Liberia to the United Nations.
Madam Bright-Parker later returned to Liberian and completed high school at the College of West Africa in 1955.
She later enrolled at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, USA, where she obtained her degree in Pharmacology in 1960.
She returned to Liberia in 1961, and worked with the Department of National Public Health Service (now Ministry of Health and Social Welfare).
In 1964 she started a chain of pharmacies in Liberia under the name, Clave’s International Pharmacy that was later incorporated and renamed Clave’s Pharmaceutical Inc. It grew to become the largest pharmaceutical wholesaler in Liberia.
In 1962 Clavenda Bright was married to Mr. P. Clarence Parker. The marriage was blessed with two sons, Philip C. Parker IV, a Chemical Engineer, and Richard C. Parker, a Computer Network Engineer. Clavenda has three grand children.
She currently serves as a chairperson of the Board of Directors of EcoBank Liberia. She is also head of the Liberia Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority, a member of the Board of Cell-Com, and a member of the Pharmacy Association of Liberia.
(with an assist from Keith Neville Asumuyaya Best)