Iconic, Historic Executive Mansion Consecrated -Christians Converge As Weah Moves In 16 Years After Fire Incident

Liberia’s seat of Executive Power, built in the 1960s, was one of West Africa’s, if not the entire Africa’s, most element Presidential Residence. At some point, it was attracting tourists from across the world. But this singular pride of the country faced desecration in 1980 when Liberia’s 18th President, Rev. William R. Tolbert, then serving as Chairperson of the Organization of African Unity, now African Union, was butchered to death by a military junta. Ten years later, another presidential occupant of the Executive Mansion, Mr. Samuel K. Doe, was slaughtered during the heydays of the Liberian civil conflict. A decade and half after, the next occupant, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was confronted by another unfortunate incident at the Executive Mansion when guests at her first state of the nation address and residents of Capitol Hill watched the presidential complex burst into flames. Since that time and for 16 long years, this elegant building built specifically as the official home and workplace of the President of Liberia had been without a president. Today, President George Manneh will be taking seat behind his desk at the Executive Mansion following a Christian consecration that took place yesterday. The Analyst reports.

The celebration of Liberia’s Bicentennial Anniversary peaked yesterday, Sunday, February 13, 2022 in earnest when the Christian community thronged the grounds of the Executive Mansion to consecrate it for the occupancy of the country’s 24th President.

The consecration paves the way of President George Manneh Weah and his team to begin work today, Monday, February 14, 2022, the first in 16 years.

Hundreds of members of the Community of Faith in Liberia, as early as 10 am, started gathering at the Monrovia City Hall from where they matched in their numbers led by prominent leaders of churches, Ministries and other denominations.

The marchers were dominantly dressed in white garments as the move onto the grounds of the Executive Mansion to commence the program.

An hour or so after the Christians had marched their way to the Executive Mansion, President Weah and his entourage also took off from the Monrovia City Hall up to the venue of the Program where he was received by the religious leaders and ushered to his seat.

Already high level government and private dignitaries, including Vice President Mrs. Jewel Howard Taylor who had arrived earlier at the program, stood in ovation to receive President Weah.

While the program was in progress, President Weah had delegated VP Taylor, accompanied by Foreign Minister Dee Maxwell Kemayah, to welcome the Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe Eyadema who had arrived at the Roberts International Airport as one of the distinguished guests invited for the celebration.

In his invocation prayer at the event which was a joint initiative of the Liberian Church and the State, Bishop George D. Harris, Presiding Bishop of the Philadelphia Church International, Liberia praised God for the what he called “a great day” in the life of the country.

He said it was a great day because it reminded Liberians how the country was founded by people who were once sold into slavery and upon liberation, traced their origin back to Africa where Liberia was designated as the place where they will enjoy freedom.

He called on Liberians to remain a praying nation so that the purpose for the establishment of this country will be fulfilled.

In his brief welcome remarks, Bishop Dr. Kortu K. Brown, President of the Liberian Council of Churches and Bishop of the Apostolic Pentecostal Church expressed his satisfaction with the cooperation between the government and the Christian community which made the occasion possible.

He told the audience of the significance of the occasion as well as the role the church has played and continues to play for the survival of the nation. He urged Liberians to be prayerful and work towards the success of the nation.

Scripture readings were offered at some intervals, performed by Rev. Sanjee A. Stepler, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Liberia, Very Rev. Fr. Gabriel Jubwe, Diocesan Administrator of the Catholic Arch. Diocese of Monrovia and Rev. Dr. Samuel B. Reeves, Jr President of Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention and Senior Pastor, Providence Baptist Church.

Apostle Samuel B. Carr, President, Liberia Fellowship of Full Gospel Ministry and Churches, performed the offering and offertory.

Music provided by the Bicentennial Mass Choir while special selections came from Kru, Kissi and Massa vernacular choirs who thrilled and lifted the souls of attendees at the program.

Goodwill messages came from the National Council of Churches in the USA who, through its Chair, Governing Board Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, said they were excited that the voices of the Churches of Liberia represented by the Liberia Council of Churches and that they were also part of the Bicentennial.

Goodwill message came also from Liberia Ministerial Alliance in North America (LIMANA). The group said in a statement that, “LIMANA is honored for the invitation to join the people of Liberia, the LCC, other stakeholders, and the Government of Liberia to commemorate African Oldest republic for the celebration of this Bicentennial.”

Perhaps the most thrilling and memorable part of the program came when Rev. Alphonso A. Dean, Senior Pastor, Christian Mission Assembly who gave the reflection of God’s historical Grace for Liberia.

He told the jam-packed program about God’s prophecy for the foundation of Liberia and keep the congregation on their feet as he linked Biblical Revelation to historic events in Liberia and how the Christian Faith was the rallying point to save and guard the state.

Setting the premise of his thought-provoking presentation, Rev. Dean said present day Liberia was first inhabited by a number of ethnic groups, such as the Kissis, Kru and Bassa who migrated from Sudan and other northern empires and kingdoms in search of homes and gradually settled in various places to live.

He noted: “For their form of government, they were led by kings in kingdoms, their finance was through petty trade and for religion they were involved in animalism, spiritism, and ancestral worship. Slavery came and they sold their brothers and slavery into slavery but the advent of the industrial revolution and the activities of anti-slave movements facilitated the abolition of slavery.”

He said the turning point in the history of the freed slaves came when God revealed 7 prophecies to some of the leaders which set the foundation of the country, beginning in 1816 in which according to him God said, “I will take my people to the Grain Coast”, followed by, “you shall dwell in the land of freedom”, “your voice will be heard”, “you shall know the land when you see it”, amongst other things.

He said the initial settlers that came first landed in present day Abeokuta, Nigeria and unfortunately out of the 88 persons 36 persons died which led them to migrate further down to a place called Lion’s Mountain, which is present day Sierra Leone and again, losing a sizeable number of people in just 42 hours.

Rev. Dean continued: “And so they have to leave because those areas were not the promised land. They arrived at Duazoe Island, what we called Providence Island today, and they met the King of Duazoe who welcomed them. And Jehudi Ashmun crossed the river to the other side and spent three days there. While there, he planted 12 stones at the place and returned to the settlers who were by then wondering whether he had been killed by wild animals or other unforeseen circumstances. It was from that point, they all disembarked and moved to the place which Ashmun found for them and no one died among them which showed that it was the promised land God told them about that when they see it, they will know.”

Going further from the fulfillment of the prophecies that followed, he said in 1821, the land Grain Coast was founded and the City of Monrovia was proclaimed “Christopolis”, meaning the city of Christ and that the country was never colonized.

Pastor Dean also buttressed his presentation by stating that Liberia and Israel have similar origins because the founders of both countries for some time, ran into years before finally settling in their present location.

He added: “God’s prophecy for the Israelites in the Bible that the heritage of God shall not be forgotten can be applied also to Liberia when Samuel Benedict, who was acting as leader at the time instructed Jacob Pratt of Sinoe County to write the proclamation that Liberia was a free country with the Declaration of Independence of Liberia and all those symbols in the seal, like the sun, the palm trees all have biblical foundation and meaning.”

He said the Church has always been the refuge for the nation because, for instance in 1914 when the country came under bombardment and shells landed on the present day Bishop Brooks, the people assembled in the Providence Baptist Church to pray against the calamity.

Delivering the Bicentennial message, Archbishop Isaac S. Winker, Presiding Prelate of the Isaac Winker Global Ministry Dominion Christian Fellowship spoke of the country’s origin with some Biblical linkage to Israel to draw some historical similarities between the State of Israel and Liberia with reference to Deuteronomy 6:20-23.

He said in generations to come, there will be questions of how the country came to exist, how was it linked to slavery and why are we called Liberians?

He said generations yet to come must be told the simple truth that Liberia came about from the activities of the anti-slavery campaigns and the need to transport the freed slaves back to Africa where they came from.

He noted that the country was founded as a Christian nation for the purpose of showing the light to the rest of Africa and to evangelize the continent and that it was established to serve in spirit and truth.

“This is true and this can only be thwarted by the betrayal for the purpose for which this country was created,” he said

Making reference to the biblical injunction for the people to respect their leaders, the renowned Servant of God took a swipe at some Liberians who are out there destroying the image of the country to bring confusion and hardship to the land, stating that the wrath of God will take care of them.

“No nation grows without the full participation of its citizens. Each of us has something to do to contribute to the forwardness of this nation. Do something for your country and stop creating problem,” he said.

He thanked the government for the cordial relationship between the state and the church.

“While the years past were great, the years ahead will be far better than our beginning. God bless the leaders of Liberia and save the state. God bless you; I love you all,” he concluded.

In his special statement, President George Manneh Weah said that the momentous occasion should give the citizens the pause to reflect on where and how far the country has come and to give thanks and appreciation to the Almighty God for the Goodness and Mercy in bringing the country thus far as one united and peaceful nation.

“As we retrospect these first two hundred years, we cannot help but wonder what motivated our forebears to break the chains of bondage and slavery and brave the dangers of a long and perilous ocean crossing to land on these shores,” President Weah asserted.

“I believe that they were in search of a land of liberty and freedom, which would serve as a home and safe haven for all its citizens, regardless of tribe or creed or religion, where they could exercise and enjoy their inherent and inalienable human rights without hindrance or molestation.”

He implored Liberians that as they reflect on the bountiful blessings of peace and stability which they are enjoying today, all Liberians and non-Liberians within the borders of the country should continue to collectively work together to maintain the peace and do everything within their individual powers to nurture and keep alive the spirit of oneness, kindness, forgiveness, and love for each other and for our common patrimony.

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