Liberian Church Leaders Conference Declaration
November 1, 2002
November 18, 2002
Statement of declaration from the churches at the recent Church leaders' conference on Peace and Reconciliation in Liberia held under the theme: "BRINGING CHURCHES TOGETHER FOR A UNITED PROPHETIC VOICE FOR PEACE AND RECONCILIATION IN LIBERIA" at the Mamba Point Hotel in Montserrado County, Liberia from October 30, to November 1, 2002.
1.0 Acknowledging that over 100 delegates, representing the Christian denominations in Liberia, deliberated on God's gracious love through Jesus Christ in this wounded Liberian society, with the view of responding to the human need and suffering of Liberians for lasting peace and reconciliation in Liberia;
2.0 Taking into account views and opinions of various speakers, including the Arch Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Gambia, the Bishop of the Lutheran Church, the President of the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention and the United Nations Humanitarian Officer in Liberia, and the Chief Justice of Liberia, among others;
3.0 Observing that the delegates come from all mainstream Churches of Liberia who are members of the Liberian Council of Churches and the evangelical and Pentecostal Churches in Liberia covering all shades of the Christian faith in Liberia;
4.0 Acknowledging with gratitude the assistance provided by the Presbyterian Disasters Assistance/Presbyterian Church - United States of America, through the AZCT - Liberia Network;
5.0 Acknowledges with thanks the Government of Liberia’s protection of religious freedom.
I. Now therefore, we the Church, being called to advocacy, reconciliation and networking to serve as the mouthpiece of the suffering masses of Liberia, who have been caught in difficult circumstances victimized by the evil hands of the war and plagued by the political, social, economic and spiritual negatives forces, which continue to be an obstacle to the development of our dear mother land, do feel the obligation under the command of the Holy Spirit to present this declaration as our innermost conviction and commitment to our faith to defend our people and our nation to plead with ourselves and the international community to come to our rescue.
II. Realizing the International Community particularly, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) the African Union, the United Nations System, the European Union, The United States of America, Libya and the Republic of China, continue to provide significant assistance for peace, reconciliation, relief and reconstruction;
We herein put forward the following to enhance and ensure, to wit:
1. Advocacy being an act of intercession, the Church leaders conference under the coordination of Action by Churches Together (Liberia Network) led by the Liberian Council of Churches, following in the footstep of the Lord Jesus our Advocate, sees its mandate as interceding to God for and on behalf of the down trodden and war weary Liberians, seeks to represent a voice of conscience to the Government and the people of this beloved land;
2. The Church acting together shall seek to stand up and be visible in the crucial search for answer to the vices in society including:
a. Social injustice, mass unemployment, security breaches, rising teenage pregnancy, disregard for the fundamental rights and dignity of the Liberian people,
b. Also including the unconstitutional exercise of power, the ongoing depletion of the environment as occasioned by the wanton and uncontrollable exploitation of the forest, the poor sanitary conditions of our cities, towns and villages,
c. The persistence attitudes and action that tend to destroy our national image locally and internationally, the continuous destruction and plundering of our infrastructure, the constant imposition of sanction, and the increase in the HIV/AIDS pandemic;
3. the Church declares that these trends are totally unacceptable in our society and therefore select to engage in constant and interactive dialogue with the Government, Government agencies and requisite partners in the search to remove these vices from the Liberian society;
4. Realizing that Reconciliation is key to our faith as Christians and is embodied in the person of Jesus Christ as we are called individually and collectively to be ministers of reconciliation; the Church sees Reconciliation as an act of restoring broken relationships and acknowledges the level of division among its fold and the need to be reconciled and empowered for peace building;
5. The Church notes that there is uneven allocation of national wealth and opportunities, blatant misuse of power and disrespect for authority, disregard for law and order, superiority complex, and pride, all being causes for the continuation of the war and the destruction theta is plaguing the nation and declares that these negative vices must be stopped
6. The Church declares that for peace and reconciliation to be realized, the following must be implemented:
A. Immediate and unconditional cease-fire by all fighting forces must take effect;
B. Deployment of a monitoring force to ensure adherence to the cease-fire;
C. Engagement of the warring parties in meaningful dialogue and delivers total peace and harmony;
D. Fostering meaningful dialogue between government and the opposition groupings;
E. That the necessary mechanism for genuine, free, fair and transparent election be put into place. These shall include but not limited to the following:
a. Verified national census
b. Voters' registration
d. Resettlement, etc.
F. The doing away with corruption from every sector of our national life;
G. Ensuring equal allocation of national wealth and opportunities;
H. Prioritizing health, education, food production, restoration of pipe-borne water, electricity, improved communication, sanitation, and road networks;
I. Protection of the basic rights and dignity of all persons; and
J. Fostering genuine confession, forgiveness and acceptance.
7. NETWORKING is the act of purposefully sharing information with the aim if enhancing cooperation between the collaborating groups connecting one another in love and concretizing working relationship, therefore speaking together, the Church declares commitment to multidirectional communication on issues, concerns, plans and actions seeking to inform its members, inter-and intra-denominational grouping, the civil community, local and national leaders, and other relevant parties of the plans and actions to be fostered through dialogue. Building and enhancing trust, respect for all, and tolerance to the opinions and values of others, even if they differ from our position on the issues at hand.
In conclusion, the Church speaking with one voice is calling upon all ministers of the gospel, government institutions, institutions of learning, the civil society, both local and international NGOs, political parties, the print and electronic media to show an outright disagreement for war and the negatives vices of the society. We encourage all to preach, teach and create awareness on advocacy, reconciliation and networking throughout the length and breath of Liberia. To promote peace and reconciliation, the Church also reaffirms the values of the Christian faith amongst which are the belief in the word of God and One Man – One Wife.
To this end, the church is developing a Plan of Action to foster these goals and values.
For in union strong, success is sure.
Leaders from various denominations in Liberia completed a three-day peacebuilding, advocacy and networking conference held in Monrovia under the auspices of ACTION BY CHURCHES TOGETHER INTERNATIONAL (ACT) local network, which serves as National Secretary. Information provided by Rev. Kortu Kayve Brown.