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New church brings grace to former Ebola epicenter
Photo by Phileas Jusu, UMNS.

Worshippers gather outside Grace United Methodist Church in Kailahun, Sierra Leone, in April, before a dedication service. The congregation, which had been worshipping in a makeshift structure, has grown to over 200 members. 

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Congregations receives anonymous gift to build a home of their own.

Upon his election as bishop, Yambasu set a target for The United Methodist Church to be present in all 14 political districts in Sierra Leone by 2020. With the new Kailahun church, 13 of the 14 districts now have a United Methodist presence.

A growing congregation now has its own home with the dedication of a new $90,000 church in this former Ebola epicenter in the eastern part of the country.

The magnificent Grace United Methodist Church imposingly sits on a small hill overlooking the Kebawana section of Kailahun. A couple who prefers to remain anonymous donated the funds to build the new church.

One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the World Service Fund is the financial lifeline to a long list of Christian mission and ministry throughout the denomination. Through the Four Areas of Focus churches are creating new places for new people and revitalizing existing congregations and seeking to invite people to follow Jesus Christ and grow together as disciples on a lifelong journey.

A building engineer (right) hands over the keys of Grace United Methodist Church to the Rev. Samuel Kailie, pastor in charge of the new church in Kailahun, Sierra Leone, during a dedication ceremony in April. Photo by Phileas Jusu, UMNS.

The congregation, which had been worshipping in a makeshift structure, has more than 200 members after less than a year and there is a huge potential for more growth, said the Rev. Samuel Kailie, pastor in charge, during the April 22 ceremony.

“This church is going to be a place of promise; a promise of God’s presence. God says he will never forsake us nor leave us, which implies it is not just about presence. It is about protection, provision, healing, strength. It is about changing your circumstances. God will change your identity like he had never done before.”

He said the people who have come to services at Grace have been impressed with the method of worship and spirituality emphasized at the church. They also have praised the work that The United Methodist Church has done elsewhere in the country.

The Kailahun District is the epitome of Sierra Leone’s resilience.

Kambia, the last district, has a growing congregation and a church building that is nearing completion and will be dedicated in 2019, Yambasu said.

There are already five congregations in the Kailahun District and the construction of a United Methodist high school is underway in Baiwala. It will be completed in 2019, the bishop said.

He said another church is being built in Kangama and is near completion, adding that Bomaru and Dodo are two other locations where the United Methodist presence “is now strongly felt in the district.”

“In the next year or two, we would have organized six congregations in Kailahun, which will qualify Kailahun as a United Methodist district. All of this has been made possible not because of the work of mankind, but because of what God is doing in our lives,” Yambasu said.

Jileas Jusu, director of communications for The United Methodist Church in Sierra Leone. 

One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the World Service Fund is the financial lifeline to a long list of Christian mission and ministry throughout the denomination. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the World Service Fund apportionment at 100 percent.

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