Healthy Soul

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Sinkor, Monrovia, Liberia

On Sunday, July 29, 1990 about 3 a.m. in the morning more than 900 Liberians taking refuge in the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church and parsonage were massacred. It was a few months into the civil war, and then leader Samuel Doe was fighting Charles Taylor, a former member of his regime. Charles Taylor’s father was one of those refugees.

I have been reading 2011 Liberian Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee’s Mighty Be our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer and Sex Changed a Nation on my Kindle (thanks again Denise). Traveling up and down Tubman Boulevard I soon began “seeing” the sites she talked about in the book. I saw the fish market; the field where the women in white peacefully protested daily; the road leading to the President’s residence; the University of Liberia; and the Temple of Justice complex.

Liberia's Ellen Sirleaf Johnson and Leymah Gbowee were two of the three women sharing the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.

Liberia's Ellen Sirleaf Johnson and Leymah Gbowee were two of the three women sharing the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.

Standing at the entrance to the Royal Hotel and looking to my right, less than two blocks away is the compound of the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church and parsonage. With my colleagues Tim Nivens, professor of history with a specialty in Liberian history and George Zinneh, senior budget analyst I visited the compound. Ernest Gbozee, the church’s financial officer, gave us a quick tour.

Tim Nevin (left) and George Zinneh (right) of Tubman University listen to Ernest Gbozee of St. Peter's Lutheran Church  at the 1999 memorial to Nelson Phillip Taylor, father of Charles Taylor.

Tim Nevin (left) and George Zinneh (right) of Tubman University listen to Ernest Gbozee of St. Peter's Lutheran Church at the 1999 memorial to Nelson Phillip Taylor, father of Charles Taylor.

All the bullet holes in the stained glass windows have been filled with black material so no one will forget how they got there. Ernest explained that there were so many bodies it was impossible to identify all who died. For many weeks after the massacre families came asking about missing relatives, leaving with their questions unanswered. Many of the people had just come in from the rural areas fleeing soldiers on both sides of the war. It was impossible to have individual funerals.

Bullet holes in  the stained glass windows at St. Peter's Lutheran Church are patched with black material as a never to be forgotten memory of the massacre.

Bullet holes in the stained glass windows at St. Peter's Lutheran Church are patched with black material as a never to be forgotten memory of the massacre.

The bodies of the people in the parsonage were dumped in the well, the only place large enough to hold them. The well was then sealed. The bodies of the people in the church sanctuary were buried in two mass graves in the yard at the front of the church. The yard was then paved over and two large stars painted to mark the sites. In 1999 a memorial was erected in honor of Nelson Phillip Taylor, father of then President Charles Taylor.

St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Sinkor, Monrovia provided sanctuary to hundreds of refugees during the civil war.

St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Sinkor, Monrovia provided sanctuary to hundreds of refugees during the civil war.

Residents and international visitors come annually to St. Peter’s for the commemorative services. The Lutheran Church has also played an important role is the resettling of refugees of the war in the places like Philadelphia, PA; Minneapolis, MN; and Providence, RI in the USA and several Canadian cities.

Wow! I said to Tim and George as we walked back to the office. George, a Liberian, then said “we lost my mother during that war. She was in the village. She fled into the forest and for two weeks had no food or water. They found her and brought her back to the village. It was too late.”

Jennifer at one of the two stars making the mass graves of those who died in the July 29, 1990 massacre.

Jennifer at one of the two stars making the mass graves of those who died in the July 29, 1990 massacre.

The Unity prayer is mine today “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

Who and what are you praying for today?

 

1 Comment

  1. I will pray for peace and the elimination of hunger from the face of the planet.

    If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

www.comopreparar.org www.todoensalud.info www.reparaciondepc.info www.seoposicionamiento.info www.empresaseo.info www.seogog.info www.reparaciondeordenador.info www.mijardin.net www.tengounsecreto.net www.tengounsecreto.in www.altaenbuscadores.cl www.noms.cl www.registrarmarca.us www.registrodedominios.in www.abogadodemarcas.in www.busquedademarcas.info www.peliculas3d.info www.productoraaudiovisual.org www.contactofarkas.com www.gatoempresario.com www.echohostore.com www.jug.com www.jugalo.com www.kartaago.com www.porlachucha.com www.blackhat.cl www.blackhatseo.cl www.antidepresivonatural.com