Our History

During the World War II in 1942, a three-story zinc building on Camp Johnson Road, in Monrovia, Liberia, was purchased by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. The purchase transaction of the building was done through Pastor Ishmael W. Harding from Mr. Gray Johnson, a dealer in Rubber Plantation, to shelter Pastor T. Ketola, the only Finnish missionary in Liberia, for his custody pending a flight back home in Finland. This three-story building later became the Mission House serving as the mission office, school and pastors’ residence from 1941 to 1964. Pastor T. Ketola, before his departure from Liberia was placed under the guardianship of Pastor I.W. Harding, an elderly pastor from Sierra Leone who was then the District Pastor of the Grand Bassa Church District.

Pastor Harding was immediately transferred from Monrovia to Konola where he assumed the first African Superintendent to oversee the operation of the Mission once held by Pastor Ketola while still exercising the responsibility to monitor the welfare of Pastor Ketola until he was airlifted out of the country under the time limit given to the Liberian Mission of Seven-day Adventists by the Liberian government.

After the swift and hasty departure of Pastor Ketola from Liberia, Pastor Harding began using the large living room on the second floor of the building in Monrovia to start a Branch Sabbath School. The very first members (Pioneer Members) were: Rachel Crow, Sarah Bishop and Arenza McGill 

As a result of the colossal and challenging task of the Mission’s operations during the World War II and coupled with the frequent travels of Pastor Harding for a 60 mile distant between Konola and Monrovia twice monthly were too much a strenuous assignment considering his age, much help was therefore needed to alleviate the stress.

Konola was the headquarters of the SDA Mission in Liberia. During this era traveling from Konola to Monrovia was tedious and weary; it was a 15 to 20 hour journey in rickety ramshackle scarcely available trucks crammed with passengers on a bumpy dusty, unpaved dangerous lane. Predominated by these overwhelmed circumstances Pastor Nathaniel During, whom then the District Pastor of the Grand Bassa Church was transferred to Monrovia to relieved Pastor Harding of the Sabbath School Branch, which was gaining ground rapidly in Monrovia. Added members to the Sabbath School Branch were: Martha Howard, Oldman Deshield, Martha Lewis, Sophia Brownell and Mary H. Peah

 On October 4, 1946, Pastor G.N. Banks, the first black American Missionary, was sent to Liberia to replace Pastor Harding, who was now retired and had to return home in Sierra Leone, West Africa in January 1947. Pastor Banks, sighting the growth of the Branch Sabbath School, relocated the worship service and academic school study to the larger room on the ground floor of the building for church service on Sabbath day and school studies during the week days respectively.

 Teacher Motuba I. Harding, son of Pastor I.W. Harding, was transferred to Monrovia from Konola in November 1948 to organize and upgrade the church school and Pastor N.S. During was transferred to Unqba Church District in the Gbarnga District. Teacher Harding became the first Sabbath School Superintendent and Sabbath School Teacher of the Branch Sabbath School.

 On a Sabbath morning at the end of 1949, the following members were baptized at the Old Kru Town beach on the Atlantic Ocean: Rose Brown, Sarah Bishop, Sophia Messenger, Sophia Harris, Arinza McGill, Rachel Crow, Martha Lewis, A.T. Turay, Mary H. Peah and Sophia Brownell

 These members, who included the three Pioneer Members, made up the first Seventh-day Adventist (organized) Church in Monrovia.

In 1950, Pastor G.N. Banks, President of the Liberian Mission, and Evangelist Pastor C.B. Henri conducted a crusade for two months at the Centennial Pavilion, which resulted in the following members being baptized and added to the Church: Sarah Hardy, Janet Gibson, Julia Andrews, Edith Harris, Elizabeth Hardy, Gabiel Banks, Sands Washington, Monroe Cain, Anni Cain, Moses Franklin, James Franklin and John Bonai.

 Pastor G. Nathaniel Banks started building the Church by the side of the old zinc framed house; unfortunately, he never returned when he and his family went home on Furlough. Therefore, Pastor C.D. Henri, the Evangelist, was transferred from Grand Bassa District to replace Pastor Banks. Banks started; Henri completed. At the dedication of the new church building in 1954, President W.V.S, Tubman of Liberia was the guest speaker; Brother Nathaniel Gibson was the first member to enter the church when part of the new church doorway was opened, since he raised the most funds for the purchase of the church pews. Sister Sarah Hardy and Sister Janet Gibson were the first to organize the first choir of the church. Sister Hardy was the first organist of the church.

 In the early 50’s, the Lutheran Church was granted permission to use the church building for worship every Sunday until they built their own church in Sinkor. It is interesting to note that the Monrovia Central Church never had a full time Pastor until 1979. Mission Presidents always served as the church pastor. Pastor Harry Cartwright was transferred from Sierra Leone to the Liberian Mission to serve as the first full-time pastor of the Monrovia Central Church. The name Central Church was given because it was built in the center of Monrovia then and was the only SDA Church in town at that time. During the administration of Pastor Cartwright, the Monrovia Central Church building was renovated; a front and back balcony were added within the building and the church grew rapidly.

Others that served as full time pastors were: Pastor E.A. Lawrence, Pastor R.J. Wright and Pastor Andrew Ewo

 Pastor R.W. Simmons served as Interim Pastor at the absence of Pastor A.N. Banks before the arrival of Pastor Henri from Grand Bassa District, who was now the pastor of the church. Mission Presidents who served as church pastors of the Monrovia Central Church now deceased are: A. Nathaniel Banks, C. Dunbar Henri, L.E. Daniels and L.B. Mitchell.

 As of 2016, Gilbert Banks and M.T. Battles sons, who were born in Monrovia, are now church pastors; and all wives of deceased pastors are still alive.

 In 1984, Pastor M.I. Harding held a portfolio as the Secretary of the Mission only, while a Ghanaian Mission President, Pastor Asare, served as the ceremonial President of Liberia Mission pending the arrival of the Mission President proper. In the same year of 1984, Pastor Errol Anthony Lawrence with his wife, Pamela and two daughters, Abigail and Michaela arrived in Liberia to take up assignment as the Pastor of Monrovia SDA Church which was later changed to Monrovia Central SDA Church by Pastor Gordon. Pastor E.A. Lawrence was welcomed by scores of elders and church workers including A.Y. Turay, G.S. Bamadia, Allen, Kemoh, Sonii, Joseph Massaqoui, Autridge, etc. Others were Mother Garner, Knowlden, Autridge and Allen and Deacons Martin Dennis (now pastor), John Baryogar, Augustino Mopleh, James Jackson, Simon Kugmen, Emma Richardson as well as Francis Sengbay (filing clerk) and Moses Deshield (Janitor).

 Late in 1985, Pastor Oswald Edward Gordon with his wife Thelma arrived in Liberia from the USA to take up assignment as the Liberia Mission President. Pastor O.E. Gordon immediately made changes by replacing Pastor M.I. Harding with Pastor David Z. Whea as the Secretary of the Mission, while Thelma Gordon was appointed as V.O.P. Director in place of Pastor David Z. Whea; Mr. James M. Paywala was appointed the Treasurer in place of Mr. Christian Quarcoo, whose tenure expired and Mrs. Lucinda Carter as Cashier.

Others appointed were Pastor Charles S. Menjor as the Youth Director, Pastor Mutemwa as Literature Evangelist, Pastor E.A. Lawrence as the Monrovia District Pastor and Elder Mopeh Thomas, the Pathfinder Director.

As part of his administrative responsibilities, Pastor Gordon also terminated the agreement between Mrs. Emma Berry who was in charge of the Mission bookstore and placed it exclusively under the Mission for book sales.

On the other hand, Pastor Lawrence Ewoo, a Ghanaian Pastor arrived in Liberia and was assigned at the Better Living Church on 12th Street, Sinkor to embark on evangelism campaign to build the capacity of the newly formed churches by winning more souls. Better Living Church was a beneficiary of his evangelistic activities as well as the others.

 Negotiation was initiated and concluded on the purchase of a hospital ( now SDA Cooper Hospital) located on 12th Street, Sinkor, when Dr. Cooper, the owner of the hospital pass-off, and his wife was unable to manage the hospital due to lack of professional knowledge in health services. The General Conference contributed to the purchase of the hospital building and its assets. Dr. Perfector Llanguno was the first doctor and his wife was the Pharmacist.

 The Adventist Chorus was the only senior choir of the church. Madam Hawa Dukuly was the choir Director at the time and assisted on periodic basis by Brother Wayne Doe whenever he came vacationing in Liberia. The following were the members of the senior choir: Hawa Dukuly – Directress, Marie Horace, Isaacphine Doe, Hannah Baysah, Vivian Ukatu, James Jackson, Moses Talawalley, John Baryogar, Augustino Mopleh, Eddie McGill, Saah Howard, Kolu Harris, Monica Boykai, Eric Boakai, Nehemiah Mathies, Zinnah Smith, Clement Gibson and Theodosia Harding.