The leadership of the Liberian Council of Churches (LCC) over the weekend addressed a number of issues confronting the country which, it said, need serious attention.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer, the First Vice President of the LCC, Reverend Kortu Brown, began by describing as scary, the gruesome murder of former lawmaker of Liberia, Fayiah Saah Gbollie.
Rev. Kortu challenged the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Justice, to launch an intensive investigation and bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice.
“This is not the way for a war devastated country to celebrate 10 years of peace; nor does it speak well for a people who pride themselves as true Christians living in a country said to be founded on Christian principles. It is ironic (a mockery) to be festive about the birth of Christ the Savior, while the life of a family man is gruesomely taken away.
“The LCC in no uncertain terms condemns this brutal murder of Honorable Fayiah Saah Gbollie, former Member of the Interim National Assembly. For anyone in our time, to simply walk into someone else’s home and murder that individual at day undermines the sense of personal security for all in the community.”
"Criminals will come to understand that the law is swift and that people who undermine our security will always be brought to justice," he declared.
Moving on, Rev Brown said that the LCC has been involved with the feud between the traditional people and Christian worshippers in Malawu Town, Zorzor District. The disagreemet led to the arrest and shackling of pastors and worshipers, and the desecration of a Church. A moratorium was also placed on church activities in Malawu by the Minister of Internal Affairs because of the crisis that was unfolding.
“We have been able to sit down with the Ministry of Internal Affairs to conclude that since he has been to the area and has held meetings with the people, and encouraged them—along with the local Christians—to go back to the town without incident, it was about time that the 61 Christians in Malawu began to hold their worship services until we can find solution to the crisis. It doesn’t look right for Church activities to be closed while other activities go on in the town. So it is in the interest of all of us—including the government—that as a nation, we allow people to pray the way they choose.”
Currently, he said the 61 Christians are allowed to pray individually, but following the Council’s meeting with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, it was agreed that a team be put together to go back to Malawu before the Christmas to see how regular service could be resumed.
He then disclosed that the LCC was working towards its 29th General Assembly in January 2014, and will focus on how the Churches can work along with other stakeholders to fight hunger and poverty as a reconciliation posture, in line with this government’s declared Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS).
Rev. Brown, who is also the Overseer of the Water in the Desert Apostolic Pentecostal Church, said the LCC will be interested to know how far that has gone, and how the Churches can help enhance that fight. He said there have been talks about hunger and poverty; and as the conscience of the society, the Churches should be engaged in helping to find solutions to the crisis.
“Most of the people affected are our church members; and whatever affects them economically also affects them spiritually as church members,” he explained.
The LCC deputy said the Council is concerned about the state of affairs economically, and wishes to work along with stakeholders, including the Government, on identifying what role the churches can play as effective community-based tool, helping in constructing schools, clinics/hospitals.
“These are groups that are already intervening; so if they were to form partnership with government to fight poverty or hunger that will be a great experience.”
He said his local church, Water in the Desert Apostolic Pentecostal Church brings in more than 200,000 vegetable seeds each year as a way of fighting hunger, and wants to continue that in a sustainably way.
Commenting on the alleged corruption saga involving former Liberian Airport Authority Director Ellen Corkrum, Rev. Brown described the secret recordings of government officials by Corkrum as sad, saying the only way to develop Liberia is by demonstrating love for it.
“The recording has killed the whole argument of dual-citizenship; and if government fails in extraditing Ms. Corkrum, that will bury the whole dual-citizenship issue. Why? Because it will speak to the difficulties of maintaining dual-citizenship when the security of the country is at stake. The other thing that concerns us is the way our government officials cannot remain tight-lipped on serious national security issues, but talk loosely instead.”
The Liberian Council of Churches often mediates issues of national concern, especially where faith-related issues such as peace and reconciliation are concerned.