President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has endorsed the launch of the Paynesville City Library project terming same as a major undertaking by the First United Methodist Church.
Speaking at the launch of the library project at the Executive Pavilion in Monrovia, President Sirleaf lauded pastors and members of the Church for their commitment in serving humanity and meeting the needs of the Liberian people.
“I am pleased to thank the Pastors, the Church Council, the Advance Committee and the entire membership of the First United Methodist Church of Monrovia for undertaking this library project which is vital to ongoing revitalization of education in Liberia,” the Liberian leader said.
President Sirleaf expressed happiness over the project saying, “As a member of this great Church, I am proud that we are making a difference in our communities as God calls us to. As President I thank you, on behalf of the government for stepping up to provide this indispensable learning tool, a public library in Paynesville, to serve a significant number of students, teachers and the general public in that suburb. This is consistent with the Methodist tradition of investment in education for all.”
The Bishop of the FUMC, Rev. Dr. John G. Innis noted that the decision by the First United Methodist Church (FUMC) to move beyond its own walls and reach out to the community of Paynesville to construct a modern public library is an embodiment of the mission of the Church.
He said the mission of the church is the sum total of their individual and collective calling to love God, serve others and impact lives. “As your Bishop, I am proud to lead a flock with such loving, innovative and giving Christians who are always designing ways to make a difference in the lives of others,” Bishop Innis said.
Giving an overview of the project, the Chair of the Advance Committee, Bro. Christopher Z. Neyor said the construction of the library in Paynesville is keeping with the Methodist tradition of investment in education for almost two centuries now and in obedience to the Church’s motto of Loving God, Serving others and Impacting lives.
Mr. Neyor said the Advanced Committee of the First United Methodist Church, a group tasked with the responsibility of raising money for the work of the church, can be most successful if its fundraising activities were centered on specific projects.
“We identified three categories of projects that include, projects that are internal to the FUMC such as renovation/improvement works on our edifice; intra Methodist projects or support to other churches within the United Methodist Annual Conference; projects that benefit the general public and this Paynesville library project falls into this category,” Mr. Neyor disclosed.
He said the Church decided to invest in the library project because it is their call as Christians or people of faith and our duty as citizens to open their eyes and our ears to where there are needs around them and take the necessary steps to fill those needs.
“We all know we started from scratch in rebuilding this country after we destroyed our entire infrastructure during 14 years of civil conflict. The government is doing its part to restore the educational infrastructures, classrooms, desks, and chairs. Other non-governmental groups like the Liberia Education Trust and the Methodist Camphor Mission are working to increase enrollment of girls in school,” he said.
Among other things, Mr. Neyor said there are other areas of needs including health and their Advance Committee did consider a modern medical diagnostic laboratory for Monrovia but gave way to others with deeper pockets who had already committed to fulfill this need. “We then shifted to a library, a vital tool to reading research and full development of students, faculty and the general public. As a group we decided to undertake a modern public library project, which was approved by our Church Council,” Mr. Neyor said.
Also speaking the Lay Leader of the FUMC, Bro. Irvin Coleman assured the congregation that the library shall and will be built. “It will be built not because we say so but because when your dream is big and that dream is not just about you, God has a miraculous way of bringing it to reality.
Among other things, he lauded President Sirleaf for her contribution to the decision for the library and for her continuous support. “Thanks also to the hardworking Advance Committee for the sacrifice of time and talents and other resources to make this kick-off fundraiser for the library a success,” he stated.
Bro. Coleman said, “We have lost so much in the past two decades and we have deprived our children of the basics for their educational development. As has been done over the years, there has been a partnership between the churches and the GOL in educating our children, and now we must continue to give back to our children what they are entitled to; their education.”
He said the FUMC continues the funding of scholarships through the Roberts Educational Foundation with about 1000 students, from all backgrounds and religions, with grade level from the six through the Graduate level.
The Mayor of Paynesville, Yvette Gibson on behalf of the City of Paynesville provided two acres of land for the construction of the Library and promised to contribute 8,000 books to equip the library.