Covenant: Liberia Covenant Connection 

Support of our brothers and sisters in Liberia through the Liberia Covenant Connection  with The Detroit Annual Conference of the UMC

A group of interested individuals at FUMC, hereafter described as “FUMC Liberia team,” proposes that FUMC seek to be in ongoing mission and ministry with our Liberian partners through The Detroit Annual Conference Covenant and connection with the Liberia United Methodist Church.

The goals of the covenant relationship align with the vision of First United Methodist Church (FUMC)of Ann Arbor to transform the world by transforming the lives and building up the next generation of Christ followers. It also is in keeping with FUMC’s mission to grow a community that welcomes and engages all persons to be Christ followers.

What follows are the beginning statements of the “Covenant Relationship “Partnership in Mission” Liberia Annual Conference of The Methodist Church and the Detroit Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church,”  taken from the Detroit Conference Journal, page 307:

The Covenant Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul…and with all your mind. This is the greatest commandment.” And a second is like it: ” You shall love your neighbor as yourself,”  (NRSV Matthew 22:37-39)

The Liberia Annual Conference and the Detroit Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church desire to seek God’s will together as we reach out to the world’s peoples in both our countries and conferences. Remembering Jesus’ words, we agree to establish a Partnership Ministry between our two conferences, and do hereby covenant to:

    1. Support each other by our prayers and gifts of mind, body and wealth
    2. Educate the laity and clergy of both conferences about the faith; ethnic groups; tribes and races; customs; social issues; geography; politics and other aspects of both countries. We shall seek, while learning from each other, to develop connections between individuals, families, communities, and congregations.
    3. Seek opportunities for two-way visitations and Volunteers in Mission teams.
    4. Find creative ways in which we can support each other through the established channels of The United Methodist Church.
    5. Evaluate our Partnership in Ministry relationship quadrennially.

Supporting our brothers and sisters in Liberia through the Detroit Conference Covenant relationship will be an ongoing effort and may involve various projects/programs.

Current and future projects would be in keeping with the goals of the covenant relationship described above.

The FUMC Liberia team proposes that FUMC continue supporting the “Water for Life”  program through the church’s annual Second Mile Giving program. “Water for Life” in Liberia is an Advance project of the UMC # 3020811 and consists of constructing wells to provide clean water and bring dignity and life to communities.

District Superintendent Rev. Jacob Nathan of the Rivercess District in Liberia initiated a youth camp in 2011. Many more young people than could be accommodated wanted to participate.  Our goals are to raise funds, awareness for this camp. The camp welcomed all youth in the community including those not currently affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Young people 10 to 25 years old attended. The first camp was a success and Rev. Nathan is working to expand the camp to twice per year to accommodate those who could benefit from attending.

There is a great need for support for the youth of the Rivercess District.  The majority of Rivercess youth are without either one or both parents. Recovery from the civil war is an ongoing challenge for the country.  There is a lack of role models for the youth. Premature sexual activity which results in teenage pregnancy and STDs is a continuing problem. A negative change in family culture has been that children don’t want to help in any chores or community projects to help others.

The camp provides a supportive community for making educational progress. Rev. Nathan works to offer healthy age-appropriate activities for youth. This camp introduces them to projects that will help them learn how to work cooperatively and see the benefits to themselves and to others of contributing to their families and the community.

Combining children from current UMC churches and those without church affiliation will help young church members stay in the church as well as to attract new youth to the church.

“Water for Life” – constructs wells to provide clean water where there is none; there is a great need for wells and “Water for Life” can direct these to the areas with the most need.

RAWANA Youth Camp, Rivercess District UMC: This camp is an effort to meet the needs of the youth that are not being supplied elsewhere; it does not duplicate any other efforts. Also see information above under “Project Description.”

Co-leadership: Jean Eridon and Lynn Palacios.
Members are: Dee Chapell, Wendy Everett and Carol Lundy

In general, the FUMC Liberia team meets periodically to access needs and also plans to communicate with the Ann Arbor District Liberia Task Force to keep up-to-date with activities and needs of our brothers and sisters in Liberia.  For the RAWANA Youth Camp the team will ask for periodic updates from Rev. Jacob Nathan, the camp’s leader.

The first camp was held and the limited resources seemed to be used well.  Jean and Lynn met with Rev. Nathan.  The Ann Arbor District Liberia Task Force Leader, Edie Wiarda, has travelled to Liberia in Jan/Feb 2012 to investigate and fact find. We are members of this task force and receive information through that channel. We will communicate with the congregation regarding funds raised and success of future camps.

The Detroit Conference of the UMC has a covenant relationship with the Liberia UMC.

Financial support for “Water for Life” project and for proposed RAWANA Youth Camp funding. “Water for Life” support would be included in requests for support to Second Mile Giving.

Specifically for the “Water for Life” project the team will ask the Outreach Council to include “Water for Life” in annual Second Mile Giving projects For RAWANA Youth Camp and other potential projects funds would be generated by requests for donations and/or other fund raising efforts. We anticipate asking the congregation for donations to support RAWANA Youth Camp. We also will educate VBS attendees about Liberia and this youth camp and offer the children a chance to donate to the youth camp with possibility of a challenge to the congregation to match the funds the children raise during VBS.

We will communicate through Moments of Mission, the church bulletin, UMW News, FUMC Facebook page and the FUMC Website.