Organizational Profile for Award of the Distinction of “Commander, Star of Africa” on the Liberia Council of Churches for its contribution to the fight against Ebola viral disease (EVD)by the Government of Liberia in commemoration of 168th Independence Celebration of the Republic of Liberia.
OVERVIEW OF LCC
The Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) is the country’s premier umbrella church organization that was started in 1982 by six national churches to help strengthen the prophetic voice of the church through evangelism, prayer, advocacy, mediation, and humanitarian intervention, amongst others. In three decades, the LCC has become a household name in a deeply religious country where a fratricidal war threatened the very existence of the state. With the Council’s unwavering leadership through interfaith and other interventions, Liberia has been able to recover from 25 years of conflict and political stability. At the break of the civil war in 1990, religious leaders drafted the first peace plan that culminated into the ECOWAS Peace Plan and subsequently became the United Nations – backed peace plan to obtain a ceasefire and restore stability to the country.
In July 2003, when all hell broke loose in Liberia again, it was the church leaders under the auspices of the LCC and Liberia for Jesus Prayer Crusade that extensively consulted and engaged former President Taylor at the Executive Mansion to give peace a chance. It was also member churches and organizations of Liberia Council of Churches and other collaborating partners that initially gave birth and support to the Women Mass Action for Peace in Liberia that contributed significantly to the signing of the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement in August 2003. Since then, the churches have remained engaged in efforts to consolidate peace and advance reconciliation in the country.
The Liberia Council of Churches works in ecumenical collaboration with other local church groups to enhance church unity and strengthen the prophetic voice of the church in Liberia. The Council is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in West Africa (FECCIWA), All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), World Council of Churches (WCC) and cooperates with other Christian councils worldwide including the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA. This reputable organization is also a founding member of the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia (IRCL) formerly the Interfaith Mediation Committee (IMC).
The Council operates a Secretariat, headed by a General Secretary, from its headquarters on 15th Street, Sinkor, Monrovia. Every two years, Officers of the council to include a President, First and Second Vice Presidents, and a Treasurer are elected to steer the affairs of the organization.
When Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) broke out in early March 2014 in the country, the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) in keeping with the Preamble of the Constitution of Liberia: “We the People of the Republic of Liberia: Acknowledging our devout gratitude to God for our existence as a Free, Sovereign and Independent State, and relying on His Divine Guidance for our survival as a Nation”; organized two major programs of intercessions to help rally the country and invoke the intervention of our Great Benefactor, the Lord Almighty, to ending the disease outbreak.
The first event marked the commemoration of National Fast and Prayer Day on April 11, 2014. It was preceded by six days of fasting and prayers by members of the Christian community and the public in general and climaxed by a Thanksgiving and Intercessory service at the Providence Baptist Church on Broad Street where the political and religious leaders of the country converged, in heart earnest to beseech God’s mercy and forgiveness. For about two months thereafter, Ebola appeared suppressed by the power of prayers.
Subsequently, the disease re-appeared and massively invaded the Capital, Monrovia and most counties of western and North-central Liberia. To help contain this renewed outbreak, the Liberia Council of Churches convened the second meeting of national church leaders at the St. Stephen Episcopal Church in Sinkor on July 30, 2014 with its membership and ecumenical partners, to include the Association of Evangelicals of Liberia, Pentecostal Fellowship Union of Liberia, Liberia Fellowship of Full Gospel Ministers, Apostolic World Christian Fellowship, Prophetic Call to Ministers, Christian Community in Liberia, amongst others, where the Church in Liberia resolved to lead a Three-Day National Stay Home Fast and Prayer Action beginning Wednesday, August 6th thru Friday, August 8th, 2014.
At the climax of the 3-day national stay-home fast and prayer action, which the local and international press credited with success, a special intercessory and thanksgiving service was held at the National Shrine of Providence Baptist Church on Broad Street where the Liberia Declaration of Independence was signed on July 26, 1847, to seal the country’s prayers and supplications to God. The service was broadcasted live on all local radio stations to bring the rest of the country along in the climax of the fasting and prayers which Liberians wholeheartedly embraced given their faith and reliance on God. It was on August 8, 2014 that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Ebola virus as a Global Public Health International Emergency and called on all nations of the world to join the fight against the disease. This action and appeals led to the floodgate of opportunities that opened up to the country in the fight against the viral disease and introduction of the experimental drug, ZMAPP into the Liberian prescription and or treatment solution
In the furtherance of the Divine program for fighting Ebola, the Liberia Council of Churches arranged weekly prayer meetings at the National Shrine of Providence Baptist Church from August 2014 through April 2015. All three branches of Government including the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary; Monrovia City Council, Health workers, Traditional Council; churches, choirs from across the broad spectrum of the Christian community, prayer bands, etc. actively participated in these intercessory services. Night vigils and local and denominational prayer services were also encouraged across the country to ward off Ebola from Liberia. AND GOD DID ANSWER OUR PRAYERS!
In addition to its prayer interventions, the Liberia Council of Churches got directly and through its member churches and organizations involved in providing preventive awareness, contact tracing, food and material relief, medical supplies including personal protective gears (PPE’s), etc. to affected persons and communities, holding and care centers across the whole nation.Many of LCC member and affiliated partner churches ran health centers that provided immediate medical relief aid to victims of the viral disease thus saving lives while health workers from some of these institutions paid the ultimate price. “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friend”. [St. John 15:13]. The LCC, accompanied by committed local and international ecumenical partners.has remained undeterred and focused in the fight against the Ebola viral disease also thrusting inter-faith responses in local communities across the country.