Lutheran Church Re-elects Bishop Harris

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted April 26, 2004

The delegates to the 11th Biennial Convention of the Lutheran Church in Liberia(LCL) on Saturday participated in a free, fair and transparent democratic process by re-electing the Rt. Rev. Dr. Sumoward E. Harris, as bishop of the church. The Bishop’s election took place at the St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Wood Camp, Paynesville.

The soft spoken Lutheran Bishop who for the first time look over the church highest office in 1995 when he poll a decisive victory over the Bishop emeritus, the Rt. Res. Dr. Roland J. Diggs was again re-elected ahead of two candidates.

Out of 533 ballots, Bishop Harris received 240 votes far ahead of an out-spoken and respected God-fear man, Rev. Bartholomaw B. Colley who poll 109 ballots while a fearless man of God, Rev. Bayan Tokpa Songu received only six (6) votes, far below his supporters anticipated.

Prior to the polling, the chair-person of the seven-man election commissioners, Madam Sarah K. Taylor explained in details the rules and guidelines that governed the unique exercise, followed the questions and answers.

Commissioner Taylor told the delegates that each of the parties had 24-hour as of the date of the election to file protest with the commission which she said the commission will address within the period of about two weeks and make it finding to the appropriate authorities of the church.

So far, there has been no report of any of the defeated parties filing in a protest, as they have reportedly accepted the final decision of the Lutherans.

Opinion poll conducted on Saturday by some Lutheran prior to the election, put Rev. BB Colley ahead of other two candidates but the final result released the election commission proved contrary, with Bishop Harris sweeping the poll.

Each of the candidates were given five minutes to summary their platform, which was followed by polling. The candidates promised to improve the welfare of the Lutherans and undertake developmental initiatives for the growth and development of the Lutheran Church.

Speaking separately, Bishop Harris appealed to the delegates to re-elect him in order to enable him complete programs and projects that he could not achieve during his ten years of leadership. He blamed this shortcoming on the civil war in Liberia.

For Rev. Colley who was the youngest of the other two candidates, vowed to put the Lutheran Church on par with other churches around, and promised to undertake massive development and provide better incentives and benefits for the pastors and members of the church.

Meanwhile, the ordination of the Bishop Harris took place yesterday at the St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Wood Camp, Paynesville, the ordination marked the formal closing of the 11th Biennial Convention.

During the formal opening of the convention, the Rt. Rev. Edward W. Neufville of the Episcopal Church delivered the sermon while Rev. Thomas Z. Paye, Dean of Monrovia District delivered the formal closing sermon.

The convention brought together hundreds of Lutheran across the country, representing 45 parties of the Lutheran Church in Liberia.

© 2004: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.