The 183rd Liberia Annual Conference

Speaking Notes: February 10, 2016, Buchanan Liberia

Bishop Innis, esteemed guests, brothers and sisters in Christ, I bring greetings on behalf of United Methodist Communications, and General Secretary Dan Krause. I am attending with our West Africa special projects manager Tueche Ndzulo Joe from Cote d’Ivoire.  United Methodist Communications is the global communications agency for The United Methodist Church.

Over the last few years, the world has seen much change in communications! How many of you have a mobile phone? How many of you are on Facebook? We believe that new communications technologies should not simply be used for entertainment. They should be used to build the Body of Christ on earth! We also believe that, since The United Methodist Church is a global entity, all of the church should be included in communication advances, all of the church should have full representation on the church map, and all of the church should be able to fully participate in connectional communications.

UMCom is partnering with the Liberia Annual Conference to do just that. I would like to recognize Liberia’s communication staff who worked with us during the Ebola crisis. Please stand. During the Ebola crisis, we worked together so that clergy could receive personalized messages of health and inspiration via SMS. We worked together to distribute hand crank radios, with solar chargers and lanterns so those who might be isolated would still feel the comfort community. Together, we shared the message that The United Methodist Church cares about preventing Ebola – through an animation called “Ebola: A Poem for the Living.” Together, we shared this message through radio – still the most popular form of communication throughout Africa. And Liberia, through its communicator Julu Swen, shared an Ebola story that was read around the world, for which he was recognized by being named 2014 Communicator of the Year, for the first time, a shared honor with Sierra Leone communicator Phileas Jusu.

While I wanted to be here during that time, it is now that God has brought me. Beyond Annual Conference, next week, Radio ELUM will be the host for the United Methodist Radio Network of Africa meeting – bringing guests from Cote d’Ivoire, Angola and DR Congo. I am sure you are proud of the work that Edward Massaquoi does as radio station manager – I have been inspired by his loyalty and commitment to God’s calling on his life. As we all know, the station is operating at less than half capacity, due to a lightning strike. But I believe this can be overcome, if it is the will of the people. As United Methodists, do we have a story to share? If yes, then we must work together so that the church’s story can travel far and be heard by many!  We must amplify the voice of United Methodist Church of Liberia!

United Methodist Communications’ motto is to Inform, Inspire and Engage. This past Christmas, we inspired giving within a children’s program at Wayne United Methodist Church, in Wayne, Pennsylvania. The children sold candles to raise funds for solar lights, and by God’s grace, were able to purchase 120 of them. I am the bearer of this good news and the lights themselves! May God shed grace and light upon all the recipients.

Finally, we would like to provide the church with a new animation, titled: “In Praise of Prevention” meant to prevent a future outbreak, which was produced by UNICEF, UMCom and Chocolate Moose Media. There are also 6 animations focused on values which are included. Copies will be distributed tomorrow to all district superintendents.

I pray for Bishop Innis, and for the Liberia Annual Conference. May God bless the 183rd Annual Conference!

 

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About N. Neelley Hicks

A pioneer in the use of ICTs for global communications, Neelley inspires others through building and teaching solutions that are affordable, appropriate and available within remote settings - particularly in Africa and the Philippines.
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