Torn by the remnants of civil war between rival rebel groups, Liberia remains an unstable and dangerous country, but the return of Bishop Edward Neufville, the Anglican diocesan bishop in January marked a significant step toward reestablishing normal life for the country's Anglican churches.
Bishop Neufville was consecrated bishop of the Diocese of Liberia last year but was forced to flee the country when religious leaders were targeted during a fresh outbreak of fighting in April last year. In an interview before he left the United States for his return, Bishop Neufville said that he was pleased with the resilience of the Liberian congregations during the past difficult year, and was excited to be taking up his interrupted role again.
Bishop Neufville said that he was looking forward to presiding at a diocesan convention in early February, and also that he had hopes of resuscitating the diocesan newspaper, The Liberian Churchman.
Outreach to refugees will continue. Last Autumn, Bishop Neufville spent several months visiting refugee camps in western Africa. He praised the work of Liberian priests who have established congregations among the thousands of people displaced by the war. "I was quite encouraged by the resilience of the refugees," he said.
The Bishop also visited Monrovia during his Autumn tour of the region. We discovered to our horror that the destruction in Liberia is quite massive," he said. While the bishop's office was intact, most of the office equipment, including telephones and typewriters, as well as diocesan vehicles, had been looted. The diocesan cathedral also was damaged. There has also been extensive damage and pillage to the Episcopal Cuttington University College.