The Presbyterian Church of Liberia, the nation’s third oldest church, announces with profound sadness the demise of its immediate past Moderator, head of the denomination, Reverend Sando E. Townsend in his 59th year.
This mournful event occurred on September 3, 2020 at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center following a brief period of illness.
Reverend Townsend was also the Pastor-in-charge of the First Presbyterian Church-Monrovia, the position he held since from 2009 up to his demise. During his pastoral service, the late Townsend was called to national duty and was appointed as the last Religious Adviser to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf from November 2016 to January 2018.
Pastor Townsend, as he was widely known among his congregation, was a graduate of the Gbarnga School of Theology, the age-old Methodist Theological school now under the United Methodist University, where he enrolled from 1993-1997. Before then, in 1985, he had acquired a diploma in Building Construction from the Arthur Barclay Technical Institute, the precursor to the now Stella Maris Polytechnic.
He became the 24th Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Liberia from 2008 to 2018 since the church was founded in Liberia in 1833. It was under Reverend Townsend’s stewardship as Pastor, the Church envisioned to established a University and plans are progressing to achieve that dream.
Townsend held several positions in the church starting from 1987 starting from National Youth President of the Presbyterian Church of Liberia to Member of the Church’s choir prior to the outbreak of the Liberian civil war in 1990.
In 1991, he was licensed Licentiate; and in 1994, ordained as Minister of the Gospel in the Presbyterian Church. Between 1994-2002, he served several Presbyterian Churches including, the Korean Mission Presbyterian Church in Congo Town; Trinity Presbyterian Church along the Duport Road which he founded in 1994 and the First Presbyterian Church in Careysburg.
While as Senior Pastor of the Church in Careysburg, the late Townsend was elected as Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church of Liberia — the third highest level position in the denomination — under Moderator Reverend Dr. Coker A.A. George, Sir.
For his continuous dedicated in the Gospel Ministry, the fallen Townsend was again elected to the second helm of the Church as Vice Moderator under Moderator S. Prince Porte. In 2009, he was overwhelmingly elected as the Stated Supply (Acting Pastor) of his home church, the First Presbyterian Church in Monrovia.
Not only was he into mainstreaming pastoral call, the late Townsend also taught the Edward Wilmot Blyden Presbyterian School from 1991 to 1997 beginning as an English Teacher and later rose to become Vice Principal from 1992- 1996. Then from 2000 to 2003, he was elevated as Principal by the school’s board. During his initial stay at the school’s helm, the late Townsend along with his longtime friend, Momo Massaquoi, designed the school’s present uniform style.
While the school was fully operational with large enrollment, Rev Townsend passed on the school’s authority to a team of Church members to manage and later took up assignment at the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) as Assistant Manager for Maintenance and Construction, which was his second post in the public sector having served as Special Assistant to the Director General of the General Services Agency, Gus Major.
He was an ardent gospel singer who interspersed his sermons with hymns and songs that thrilled his congregations and composed several songs among which are: “The Cry for Peace” and “Lord Make Me Your Friend”.
Reverend Townsend was born on December 4, 1961 in Vaizolon Town, Bomi Territory (now Bomi County). Both his parents: Honorable E. Reginald Townsend and Hawa-Zoe Quaziah Gballay, predeceased him. Honorable Townsend was Liberia’s first Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and the pioneer who established the then Liberia Information Service, the forerunner to the Department of Information and Cultural Affairs, which was later renamed to the Ministry of Information and Cultural Affairs in 1972.
He leaves to mourn his loss his cherished wife of 29 years of unbroken marriage, Reverend Mother Dwede M. Townsend, four children and a host of foster children and siblings.
Funeral arrangements are being planned from October 1-2, 2020 at the First Presbyterian Church in Monrovia, followed by interment, which will take place in Bomi County.