MONROVIA – One of the oldest churches in Liberia, the Effort Baptist Church, Paynesville, Montserrado County yesterday, Sunday, November 27, 2022 celebrated its 147th foundation year amid singing, praises and jubilations by its huge members and other invited guests just as Rev. Dr. Alvin Edward Attah, Pastor of the Eliza Turner Memorial AME Church and President of the AME University, who served as Guest Preacher called on Christians to strive for a purposeful fellowship in the work of God as well as being worthy contributors to the wellbeing of the people and society.
The well attended program which was held under the theme, “Blessings, When Brethren Dwell Together in Unity” was graced by both top present and former government officials including the former Vice President Mr. Joseph Nyuma Boakai who is also a Deacon of the church, well placed personalities in the community, other distinguished guests, a couple of Liberians who flew in from the United States, among others, had a good trapping of an occasion worth celebrating as most of the members wore the designated traditional fabric, elegantly dressed and there was enough food to cater to all those who came from far and near to attend the program.
In his short anniversary message read to the congregation, the Pastor of the Church, Rev. Trocon W. Langford, expressed his exceeding joy for the 147th foundation year, praised God for making the day possible and urged the members to be steadfast working for the Lord.
“I greet you in the matchless name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. I am excited and overflowing with joy as we celebrate this special occasion. God has built His Church to magnify His glory and we are the fruit of His labor. May He continue to use our church to fulfill His purpose.
“As we observe another year of God’s faithfulness, it is important that we recognize the goodness of God upon us as a congregation. God has been truly faithful to us and we must acknowledge His goodness by loving each other as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission. This year’s anniversary text (Psalm 133:1) and theme, Blessings, When Brethren Dwell Together in Unity, remind us of our collective unity. As we endeavor to receive God’s blessings, it is essential that we remain united through the demonstration of loving deeds to each other. The milestone reached today at Effort is amazing. Let us celebrate this anniversary in love”, he said.
Former Vice President Boakai who was given a singular honor of a standing ovation when he was introduced, said in his brief but succinct special remarks that he was excited for the program and paid homage to the founding fathers of the Church as well as the Baptist faith in Liberia for their dedication and foresight whose legacy is being remembered many years after their demise.
He enjoined the members to continue to be the true torchbearers of the faith to serve humanity and country for the general good of the people. He specifically recognized and commended members of the congregation who turned out in their numbers with the traditional attire which according to him was indicative of their commitment to the church and what it undertakes.
After the recognition, Mr. Boakai called on them to move forward and make special offerings to the church amid laughter and cheers.
Delivering the anniversary sermon at the occasion, Dr. Attah who was the Guest Preacher , speaking on the topic “Making the Days Count” stressed the need for Christians to live in harmony and work for God in the true sense of His calling so as to lift mankind for the purpose of creation. He said when the house of God is divided and in turbulence then it no longer serves the purpose of serving God and humanity because the true worshippers should be those who abide by what the Gospel espouses and there should be nothing less than that.
“True fellowship is when the house of God is in harmony, when it is not divided, when it is not in turmoil and when Christians hold themselves together. This is what happens when we make the days to count in their numbers.
“Numbers matter and it is not just having the numbers being calculated but what comes out of counting the numbers. The numbers represent blessings and if we must count them, we must be able to tap into the callings of God”, he said.
Dr. Attah who had the congregation spellbound in his preaching said it is incumbent upon church leaders to pray for wisdom so that they can teach their members on knowing the essence of the numbers spoken about in the scripture.
“We could count the numbers of our family, our friends and even our enemies as some will like to do, our distance covered, the possessions we have, our economic values, the population, the houses, and anything you think you can count but what matters most is the final count which is what people know of you especially when you might have left the world”, he said, stressing” age does not matter, not how old are you or how young you are but what matters is what did you do with your life and what you will be remembered for”
The young preacher who at some point in time served in the public service in the country, especially at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning where he last served as Deputy Minister of Economic Development, gave life examples of Jesus Christ whom he said died at 33 years but had laid down his life to save mankind, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, who died at 39, left the legacy of leading civil rights movement for the emancipation of the black race in America and Nelson R. Mandela, who died at 95 and had spent 27 years in prison fighting for the end of apartheid which he eventually did and South Africa became a free multicultural and strong democracy before he died.
Towards the end of his sermon, he prescribed three attributes of good fellowship and Christian living that will serve the Lord right including not being boastful in serving God , to glorify God and to be thankful to God which according to him is very cardinal in “counting our blessings all the time”
An introductory note of Dr. Attah has it that he attended the University of Calabar and the Federal University of Technology all of Nigeria where he bagged both the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Physics and Project Management respectively before picking two other Master’s degree in Business Administration and Theology from the University of Liberia and Cuttington University Graduate School. He also got an Advanced Diploma in Applied Economics from the University of Calabar and is presently pursuing a terminal degree in Divinity from the Turner Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
For his public service career, Attah served as Deputy National Authorizing Officer(2008-2014) at the then Ministry of Planning and Economics Affairs, Assistant Minister for External Resources and Debt Management at the Ministry of Planning and Development Planning(2014-2016) and Deputy Minister for Economic Development (2016-2018), Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
He presently serves as President of the AMEU University and Senior Pastor at the Eliza Turner Memorial AME Church.
One of the important highlights of the program was the anniversary rally carried out which was done through a competition between the men and women in the church and was won by the men. Out of the total LD255,865.00 raised, the men put in LD138,275:00 while the women were able to come up with LD117,590.00.
The Effort Baptist Church has its history traced to the coming of the freed slaves from the Americas in the 1800’s. In 1816, slave owners in the Americas consented to the idea to liberate black slaves and set them free and granted them freedom from where some of them returned to Africa and established colonies in West Africa particularly in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Those who came to Liberia founded the country in 1821.
In 1875, a group of 17 immigrants headed by Reverend Moore T. Worrell, arrived in Liberia from the United States and settled in Paynesville. They included Rev Moore T. Worrell, Alex Mars, Chester Moore, Henry Brown, James Howard, Jimmy Clarke, John Hunter, John Jackson, John Wilson, Johnny Roberts, Josiah Barbour, Lewis Norflect, Nelly Howard, William Brown, Jack Nelson, S. P. North and William Weaver.
The immigrants then established the Efforts Baptist Church in the same year they arrived in 1875. The church which marked its 147th year yesterday, Sunday, November 27, 2022 has since grown out of a small community of cooperative people to a larger and renowned church today.
At the present, Rev. Trocon W. Langford is heading the church as Senior Pastor and ably being assisted by a core of church leaders including, Asst. Pastor Rev. Monen Duoe, Church Administrator Frederick N. Gbatu, Sr and amongst others. The Effort Baptist Church is also known as “The House of Refuge for the Victims of the Land.”