Discipleship Resources International
Liberia Annual Conference
Liberia Annual Conference
Bishop John Innis
2010 – Present
Team Leader: Julu Swen
Publishing Coordinator: Rev. Joseph Garkpee
Team Assistant: Karwolokia (Kaye) Y Gbongolo
- Food for Christian Growth (textbooks, grades 1-9)
- Experiencing God Through Worship
- Biblical Stewardship of Giving
- UM Book of Discipline and other Cokesbury re-sales
- Ebola Disease Facts
- Teaching: The Art of Self-Multiplication
- What the Members of The Liberia Annual Conference Need To Know About Nomination and Election of Bishops in The United Methodist Church (An excerpt from The Book Of Discipline, 2012)
The Liberia Publishing Team began in November 2010 when Rev. Joseph Garkpee, Director of Christian Education, and Rev. George Wilson, Director of Connectional Ministries, convened a group of LAC leaders to explore the critical need for church resources and the potential benefits of partnering with DRI. In April 2011, Rev. Stephen Bryant of DRI/Discipleship Ministries brought training, led the group in developing a 3-year publishing plan, and helped the, launch the work of the new publishing team.
The publishing team plays a role in helping to restore and strengthen the ministries of the UM churches for their renewing and healing role in villages and cities as post-civil war Liberia undergoes rehabilitation. Two decades of civil war destroyed church structures, schools and school books, industry, and undermined civility. The rate of English-reading literacy is lower outside the cities. There is little cash for discretionary spending.
Over the last 5 years (2011-2016), the Liberia publishing team has produced much needed school and church resources, beginning with text books for the Christian values classes in 125 United Methodist schools across the country. In addition…
In 2012, the publishing team converted Rev. Garkpee’s office into a bookshop. The bookshop was stocked with all of the team publications, plus all titles of DRI’s Africa Ministries Series.
Response to Ebola
In 2014, in response to the Ebola epidemic, the publishing team participated in relief work for pastors and others missed by other efforts. The team also published a unique booklet entitled, Ebola Disease Facts, written by Dr. Richard Nisbett, an associate of the Vanderbilt Global Health Institute with a long history of college teaching in Liberia in the field of community health. The team then led district trainings around the conference on how churches can make the best use of the booklets for their communities and deposited the booklet in various libraries for public reference. The Liberia team also shared the publication with Sierra Leone and with Cote d’Ivoire, both of which published and distributed the booklet widely to churches, schools, and other institutions.
Annually, since 2013, the Liberia publishing team has sponsored writing retreats for the cultivation of local writers and the production of indigenous literature.
E-Readers for Theological Education
In 2013, in the course of the first writing retreat, the idea emerged of using Kindle e-readers to address the need for library resources. From October 2013 through June 2014, with the assistance of the publishing team leaders, DRI and Gbarnga School of Theology collaborated in a pilot project to test the viability of the Kindle e-reader as a way of providing theology textbooks in a remote school setting lacking internet and regular electricity that had been nearly destroyed by rebels during civil war. Following the one-year evaluation and Dean Yatta Young’s glowing report to the African Association of United Methodist Theological Institutions on the success of the project, DRI/Discipleship Ministries dedicated 2014-2016 to working with GBHEM to take the e-reader program to 20 United Methodist schools of theology in Africa and 4 in the Philippines.