Golden Jubilee Independence Anniversary Celebrations launched at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church USA
In preparation for the celebrations of the 50th independence anniversary of the Republic of Sierra Leone, a prayer service was held at the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Takoma Park, Maryland on Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 3:00 pm. Prior to the worship and prayer service held at the church a similar Islamic worship service was also conducted on Friday January 7 at 1:00 pm at the Sierra Leone Community Center Hyattsville, Maryland. (Photo: Mr and Mrs Bockarie Stevens)
A cross section of Sierra Leoneans gathered at the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church to give thanks to God for the peace and tranquility He continues to give the country under the leadership of His Excellency President Ernest B. Koroma. Among attendees of the program is His Excellency, Ambassador Bockarie Stevens, his wife Musu Stevens, the Sierra Leone Embassy staff, friends of Sierra Leone and Sierra Leoneans from all walks of life.
Delivering the sermon on the theme “Sierra Leone: A New Wine Will Transform The Nation,” Bishop Edison Bass of Our Savior Christ the King Church in Pennsylvania, said Sierra Leone and Africa as a whole had gone through turbulent times from slavery to colonialism and as such independence has brought a little bit of relief to the continent. He frowned on colonial powers for depriving African Nations economically despite the huge minerals and natural resources found in the continent. However, with optimism Bishop Bass said with the wind of change that is blowing in Sierra Leone under the leadership of President Ernest Koroma whom he was privileged to meet during his visit to Sierra Leone, the country is transforming and rapidly rising from grass to grace. He urged all Sierra Leoneans to be optimistic and support the development initiatives President Koroma is undertaking.
Giving his remarks, His Excellency, Ambassador Bockarie Stevens frowned on pessimists on the internet who are questioning the essence of celebrating the 50th Independence Anniversary of Sierra Leone. He said as Sierra Leoneans we should be thankful and count our blessings for the peace and tranquility we are enjoying today under the leadership of President Koroma. With reference to the Golden Jubilee celebrations, Ambassador Stevens said the occasion presents us with a unique opportunity to showcase our beloved country in the United States and beyond. He emphasized that this is the reason he commissioned the 50th Anniversary Steering Committee in the USA as a collaborative effort between the Embassy and Sierra Leone Community in order to map out a befitting strategy to celebrate our nation. The result he asserted was a program of events that will bring Sierra Leoneans and friends of Sierra Leone together and bring understanding of what Sierra Leone represents and what makes us stand proud behind the Green, White and Blue.
Ambassador Stevens echoed that Sierra Leone is a nation typified by a multicultural and multi-ethnic society that draws its very rich heritage from the harmonious co-existence of all irrespective of our ethnicity, religious or political creed. He added that as Sierra Leoneans we are celebrating our triumph over challenges that shook the values we believed in because those values stood the test of time in the face of adversity.
In conclusion, Ambassador Stevens said, today a country that has had its share of triumph, woes, laughter and tears can once again celebrate because we are celebrating a new energy of nation building and successes of which we are recording as a nation under an ‘Agenda for Change’ elaborated by His Excellency Dr. Ernest B. Koroma.
The vote of thanks was given by Audrey Pabs-Garnon who expressed her sincere thanks and appreciation to ministers of the gospel, Sierra Leoneans and friends of Sierra Leoneans that made the program a success. The launching of the Silver Jubilee Independence Anniversary was climaxed by the audience singing the Sierra Leone National Anthem.
Joseph Sherman, USA
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