May 21, 2019
By Mariama Khai Fornah
The Body of Christ Sierra Leone has ended a day retreat organized under the auspices of the Catholic Mission of Sierra Leone (CMSL), the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (CCSL), the Evangelical Fellowship of Sierra Leone (EFSL) and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Sierra Leone (PFSL) at the Bintumani Hotel,Aberdeen in Freetown on Thursday, May 16, 2019 on the theme “Our Unity in Christ”.
Bishop Emeritus Arnold C. Temple during his presentation on the theme focused on the basic principles of Ecumenism, emphasizing that though they are from different denominations, yet they are one body in Christ and that the church should focus on unity for the purpose of Christ’s missions.
The Secretary General of EFSL, Rev. Jonathan Titus Williams, said the main objective of the retreat was to have a National name for the Body of Christ in Sierra Leone and form an interim body which will run it affairs for a year.
He said the Interim Executive was given a mandate by the resolution of the retreat to set up an organizational structure with an interim secretariat, enact a constitution, serve as the voice of the Body of Christ in Sierra Leone, promote a membership drive, and work on the formal launch of the organization within one year
After series of deliberations, the new umbrella body for the Body of Christ in Sierra Leone was born and the leaders agreed to name it as the Christian Association of Sierra Leone (CASL) with an Interim Executive inaugurated.
During the inauguration service, Bishop Julius Laggah of PFSL admonished the Interim Executive to continue to work in unity and put issues of CASL first and not their individual denomination.
He admonished the team to promote the kingdom of God with Unity, without favour or fear to advance God’s work.
In his speech, the newly appointed Intrim National Chairman, Bishop Emeritus Arnold C. Temple, assured members of his determination and commitment to work in one accord with all parties related to the desired goal stated in the Terms of Reference.’
“We will stand to pray for this nation and for the leader of this country and within this time frame we will work for development of the national constitution for the Association and have a solidify body to work as association of Christians in Sierra Leone,”’ he opined.
Bishop Temple emphasized that they will help in creating space so that the voice of the church is heard and they will speak truth.
He commended the effort of all heads of churches for the huge success they have scored in a day for something they have been struggling to achieve for over decades.
Earlier in his opening statement, President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Sierra Leone (PFSL), Bishop J. Archibald Cole gave a concise history of the Church in Sierra Leone whilst noting that the church has been in existence for last 200 years, with clear reference made to the 1792 establishment of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, 1852 for the Anglican Church, 1855 for the United Methodist Church, 1864 for the Catholic Mission and 1967 for the first English speaking Pentecostal Church in Sierra Leone, the Bethel Temple.
He also made reference to the formation of umbrella bodies in Sierra Leone with 1924 as the start date for CCSL, 1959 for EFSL with PFSL as the new kid on the block coming into existence under the last ten years. He Emphasized the need for a more comprehensive umbrella body for Churches in Sierra Leone in the pedigree of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
He he remarked that it was time to build a very formidable Christian Body with the responsibility lying squarely on Church leaders to lay a firm foundation for future generations.
Representative from the Catholic Church Rev. Fr. Vincent Davies referred to the outcome of the retreat as a ‘blessed moment’, dephasing that they are no more talking or seeing a divided family, but brothers and sister working together in the vineyard of the Lord.
“What is remarkable about this day is that no campaigning was done but the Holy Spirit was given his rightful place, who guided them to have an interim executive” he emphasized.
The Interim Executive, which was chosen after conscientious deliberations, comprises Bishop Emeritus Arnold C. Temple of the African Council of Churches as the Interim National Chairman, the Catholic Mission of Sierra Leone represented by Fr. Vincent Davies to supply the Interim National Deputy Chairman, Rev. J. Titus Williams as the Interim National Secretary, Rev. (Canon) Rogers Wright as the Interim National Assistant Secretary/PRO, Rev. Martha Chigozie as the Interim National Treasurer. Four Regional Representatives were also appointed to serve in the interim body and Bishop John K. Yambasu who is the current Head of CCSL and Bishop J. Archibald Cole, current Head of the PFSL as advisers.