Sunday, March 09, 2014 10:30
Episcopal Bishop Urges AFL Soldiers
Story by C. Winnie Saywah
The Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Liberia, Reverend Jonathan B. B. Hart has urged members of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) to pray that God will use them to reflect on their calling with a desire to serve God.
He said as members of the AFL, God's desire and purpose is that they continue to be serviceable and patriotic in the duty to which they have been called for especially in their quest to serve God and humanity.
Delivering the sermon of thanksgiving in honor of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) yesterday at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Paynesville, Rev. Hart said, “Each of us were called to serve and set aside for this service in different ways.”
“Some are called to be pastors or priests, teachers, medical practitioners, public servants, community helpers, military or police, firemen, traffic directors, garbage collectors among others. Wherever you are called be mindful to do service as God desires,” he maintained.
He said the members of the AFL who chose to offer thanksgiving have reminded others of the goodness of God towards the army since its establishment. Giving a brief history of theLiberian army, the Diocesan Bishop said it all began 103 years ago.
He said the army was put together under the name Frontier Force and one year after, it was established that it should be called the Liberian Frontier Force but with a foreign commander. He recalled how the Sierra Leoneans were sent to Liberia to take over the army by the British government because it had given Liberia a loan.
“The Sierra Leonean commanders took orders from the British government and not the President of Liberia, then Arthur Barclay. When they began to misbehave, the army was turned over to a Liberian who refused. It was during that time that some soldiers took to the streets in demand of salary arrears, so soldiers getting in the streets today in demand of salary is not new,” Rev. Hart said.
“There was a need for a national army then, just as it is today, those who will protect the sovereignty of our country. It was in Jan. 26, 1957, when the Liberian Legislature set aside Armed Forces Day as Feb. 11, 1957, the day we remembered the mutiny that was started in 1909. It is a duty to serve God's people upon being enlisted into the Armed Forces,” Bishop Hart explained.
He remembered in his days doing ROTC in school and recounted how students participated in the celebration of Armed Forces Day and inaugurations noting that that made students interested in becoming part of the army while still in grade schools.
“We thank you for giving your service to the nation. Do not only wear this uniform for training but be prepared to defend this nation and render services to God's people. We need to bring back the desire of serving in the military not only igniting our children the desire to be bankers,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Defense Minister who is also a member of the Good Shepherd vestry, Brownie Samukai expressed thanks and appreciation on behalf of his men adding that indeed part of their training will be to reach out in the communities as they continue to do their service.
He said the AFL will not only prepare gallant men but will also offer service to God. Mr. Samukai noted that the military as component of the AFL has many talents. He also thanked all those who joined the AFL in giving reverence to God.
Mr. Samukai reiterated calls for members of the army to be disciplined to serve the country and to provide services to the communities.