Liberian Leader Thanks and Encourages U.S. Church Efforts for Reconstruction

( [email protected] ) Feb 09, 2004 01:47 PM EST

NEW YORK – The chairman of Liberia’s interim government thanked U.S. church leaders and representatives for their continued support for unity and reconstruction, and reminded them of the great need of moral and financial support by U.S. churches in Liberia’s long-term rebuilding efforts.

"Keep praying for us. That's what's carried us so far,” chairman Gyude Bryant said during a Feb. 5 meeting with the Church officials in New York.

While mentioning the great humanitarian needs of his country, Bryant was optimistic of the progress that has been taking place within the state and within the hearts of the people.

"One thing they did not take away was our resilience or strength,” said Bryant.

Bryant, a Lay-Episcopal leader took office in 2004 and will hold his place until 2006. Since his appointment, the government created a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” to ban AK-47 rifles, and lowered the prices of essential goods such as rice and gasoline.

The Rev. John L. McCullough, executive director of Church World Service who was present at the meeting, said Bryant’s drew a deep impression of hope.

"Chairman Bryant's message resonated deeply because he sees the church as a strong link between the peoples of Liberia and the United States," said McCullough. "His visit to the United States and his words of hope underline the continued attention we in the United States need to pay to Liberia and to west Africa."

"Aside from his thanks, Chairman Bryant is saying, 'Don't forget Liberia. Don't forget West Africa.’” He continued.

In July 2002, McCullough led an eight-member ecumenical delegation to west Africa to mediate a comprehensive peace settlement.

Other delegates at the Feb. 5 meeting were Victor Hsu, CWS Senior Advisor, and the Rev. Canon J. Patrick Mauney, former chair of the CWS Board of Directors.