The United Methodist Church of Norway and the United Methodist Church in Liberia rekindled 51 years of relationship by constructing a new church building for the Gbason Town community. Dedicated and opened for worship by the Bishop Samuel J. Quire, Jr., on April 2, 2023, the Gbason Town United Methodist Church will now revive the long standing relationship between the two countries.
In a brief history read by Moses Yama, member of the Gbason Town United Methodist Church during the morning worship service, the first church of the community was constructed in 1972 by a team of missionaries through the initiatives of the late Bishop Stephen Trowen Nagbe. Through the church, the Gbason Town Mission Station was established in the 1970s to provide education and healthcare opportunities for the people of the community. Funded by the Norwegian United Methodist Church, the mission station remained operational until the Liberian civil war when the Norwegian missionaries fled Liberia. “Our friends in Norway through Rev. Øyvind Aske, spent $20,000 United States dollars for the construction of the church,” Yama concluded.
According to Bishop Samuel J. Quire, Jr., the church in Norway is now reaching out to the people of Liberia to reawaken the partnership that existed between the two United Methodist Churches, adding, “our missionary brothers and sisters want to be in ministry with us through the construction of the Gbason Town United Methodist Church.” He pointed out that this initiative is intended to protect the investment of the Late Bishop Nagbe, Sarah Gbason, and those Norwegian missionaries who spent most of their time here in Liberia. “This church is the immediate link between the two annual conferences while the mission station which the United Methodist University now occupies is the investment of our partnership,” Quire said.
In his dedication message, Bishop Quire urged members of the church to take care of the building and use it for the spreading of the word of God in the community. Speaking on the theme “The Same People,” he warned members of the church not to be like the people who welcome Jesus with joy on Palm Sunday and started shouting crucify him days later. ‘This church building is for you and the community, do not let the joy with which you are receiving this church to fade,” Bishop Quire stressed. He pointed out that the church is rebuilt for the purpose of making disciples for Jesus Christ in the region.
Gbason is a small populated place located in the Sinoe County in southeastern Liberia. The majority of the population relies on subsistence farming and fishing for their livelihood. The area is known for its fertile soil and abundant natural resources, including hardwood trees, fish, and other marine life. Gbason Town has been hosting the United Methodist Church Mission Station since 1970s which is currently the agriculture college campus for the United Methodist University of Liberia.