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NJ Churches Reach Out to the Church and People of Liberia

Contributed by: Rev. Dr. James T. Yarsiah, Priest-In-Charge, St. James Bradley Beach & St. Michael's, Wall Township

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“Go ye into all the world and make disciples…” 

 

The affiliated parishes of St. James Episcopal Church, Bradley Beach, and St. Michael the Archangel Episcopal Church, Wall Township have embarked on a new ministry, “The Global Outreach Ministry to Liberia.” This new ministry is an expansion of the current mission and outreach at both parishes. In May 2021, the Rev. Dr. James T. Yarsiah, Priest-In-Charge of the affiliated parishes, launched this new ministry. The global outreach effort is the first of its kind in the Diocese of New Jersey and is expected to continue.

In 2006, Fr. James and his wife Ophelia led an initiative that engaged several churches, institutions, and friends in the Diocese of South Carolina and beyond, in donating materials and relief supplies that were shipped to Liberia by the “Global Outreach Ministry to Liberia” to assist women, children, the elderly, schools, orphanages, churches, etc. The current shipment brings to ten the total number of containers shipped from the USA to Liberia since the Global Outreach Ministry was founded. The Liberian church and people suffered terrible losses during the 14-year brutal Liberian civil war (1989-2003) that destroyed lives and property.

On August 7, 2021, we loaded a forty-foot shipping container with donated materials and relief supplies, bound for the Freeport of Monrovia, Liberia. According to the shippers, Missionary Expediters, the relief container is expected to arrive at the end of September or early October. The monetary value of the contents is estimated at more than $25,000 United States Dollars.

Contents of the container include several boxes of school and office supplies, PPEs (disinfecting wipes, face masks, hand sanitizers, and gloves), backpacks, children’s books, science textbooks, educational games, toys, balls (basket, soccer, and volley), flip-flops, hygienic materials, sleeping bags, wheelchairs, walkers, metal chairs, college math books, Bibles, theological books, used clergy vestments, choir and acolyte robes, church linens and ornaments, used Prayer Books, and a drum set. Others include relief materials, dry food items, clothes, shoes, socks, beddings, blankets, and assorted materials. This shipment as well as previous shipments has been a community effort.

Parishioners of our affiliated parishes of St. James and St. Michael’s made donations, as did parishioners at a variety of other Episcopal churches including Trinity Episcopal Church, Woodbridge, New Jersey; St. Philip’s Chapel, Voorhees College, Denmark, South Carolina; the St. Andrew’s Mission Church, West Ashley, Charleston, SC; and the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Summerville, SC. The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK/USA), located in Cowan, Tennessee, donated church materials and theological books. Several boxes of sleeping bags were donated by Mr. and Mrs. Loui Broockfor of Charleston, SC. Dr. Joel Cunningham, former Vice Chancellor of the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, donated college math books. Other donations came from personal friends in other parts of the United States.

Friends at Christ Church Cathedral (Episcopal) in Nashville, Tennessee collaborated with our affiliated parishes to help defray the cost for trucking and shipping. Individuals donated their time and trucks to pick up many of the items from different locations. Parishioners from our affiliated parishes helped to pack and load boxes of donated materials. Our affiliated parishes thank all donors and assure them that their donations will make a huge difference in the lives of people in the churches, schools, orphanages, and communities in Liberia.

Beneficiaries of the donations in Liberia include Episcopal churches, the Foundation for the Rights of Women and Girls, orphanages, Episcopal and non-Episcopal schools, and the Liberian Group of 77 (a Government of Liberia institution for the handicapped).

In preparation for our next shipment in 2022/23, our affiliated parishes have received donated textbooks from the Wall Township School District and are open to other donations. Parishes and Mission churches in the Diocese of New Jersey are encouraged to donate used Prayer Books, 1982 and/or 1982 Hymnals, clergy vestments, clerical shirts, robes, church materials, and ornaments, etc, that they may not need, but can be used elsewhere. Those interested in helping may email Fr. James T. Yarsiah or call 732-681-1863 (St. Michael’s) or 732-775-5414 (St. James). Donations can be shipped or dropped off at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 2015 Allenwood Road, NJ 07719. A detailed list of needed items is posted on our St. James and St. Michael’s web sites.