UMC LIBERIA PASTORS CHALLENGED
Pastors of the United Methodist Church in Liberia have been challenged to support the pension plan of UMC Liberia if they want to have a sustainable pension service and better future. Speaking on Monday, February 11, 2014 during the Ministerial Session at the seat of the 181st Annual Session of the Liberia Annual Conference, Rev. Dr. Paul Dirdak, Administrator of the Central Conference Pension Initiative (CCPI), said, unless UMC Liberia pastors invest in the pension plan of the General United Methodist Church, they face a bleak future after long years of service. “Your living condition after retirement will encourage your children to want to become pastors,” the CCPI Boss said.
The Central Conference Pension Initiative is designed to become a long-term solution and a foundation for retirement security for dedicated church leaders who would otherwise have little or nothing to support them when their careers in ministry end. According to Rev. Dirdak, there are 78 annual and provisional annual conferences in 38 countries outside the United States including UMC Liberia.
He lamented on the high rate at which retired pastors list is growing in Liberia. He indicated that in the last few years, the number of retired pastors have swelled from 420 to 679 and that the Central Conference Pension Initiative has paid over US$900,000 to Liberia. He also stressed that in the CCPI structure, Liberia is the only church that does not have clear information on their retirees.
Rev. Dirdak who has been working with the UMC Liberia pension office praised the role of the pastors in the peace process and the demobilization characterized the end of the war in Liberia. “Because of your presence in most of the demobilization camps, Liberia is the only country which did not report situation of soldiers killing each other on the camps” Rev. Dirdak noted.
He named the Central Conference, the Annual Conference, and the Pastors as the three entities that can unite their efforts to make the pension work in UMC Liberia. He called on the church to contribute 2% of its rental income to the pension scheme, something, the conference promised to study.
Also speaking at the Ministerial Session, Rev. Dr. Rudolph Bropleh, called on members of UMC Liberia to make use of the land, people, the little capital they have as a way of empowering themselves. Revs. Dirdak and Bropleh also addressed the Laity Session with similar presentations.
The Ministerial Session was presided over by the Rev. Dr. John G. Innis, Resident Bishop of the Liberia Area, United Methodist Church, while the Laity Session was presided over by Father Rudolph J. Merab. Both Church Leaders will give their annual reports to the 181st Annual Session today, Wednesday, February 12, 2014.
Meanwhile, the conference officially opens today, February 12, 2014 in he Gbarnga City, Bong County, Liberia with high level dignitaries including church leaders and government officials. The conference is jointly hosted by Gbarnga, Kokoyah, Weala, Voinjama and Jorquelleh districts on Gbarnga Mission Station facilities. The official opening program is expected to bring together over 1,000 United Methodists from home and abroad including guests from the Sierra Leone Annual Conference.