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Photo by Julu Swen, United Methodist News Service

Bishop Samuel J. Quire Jr. and his wife, Richlain K. Quire, attend his induction ceremony on Dec. 31, 2016.

New bishop elected for Liberia


By Phileas Jusu and Julu Swen
March-April 2017

Bishop Samuel J. Quire Jr. is the newest member of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church.

Delegates to the West Africa Central Conference meeting in Côte d'Ivoire elected the former administrative assistant to the bishop of Liberia on Dec. 17. Quire, 57, will lead the Liberia Conference.

"It is one thing to win an election and another thing to be a leader," Quire said, after celebrations of his election. "I cannot be a leader alone. It is not a Samuel J. Quire victory; it is a victory of the people called United Methodists."

Church leaders offered prayers for peace and God's direction before the election marked by dissension over a now overturned rule that divorced clergy were not eligible to serve as bishops. South Carolina Bishop Jonathan Holston represented the Council of Bishops at the meeting. "I ask that you ask the Holy Spirit to work in you," Holston said to the delegates. "Regard the ballot that you carry as a holy ballot."

He also cautioned that the new bishop would not just be a bishop of the Liberia Area or West Africa but a bishop of the worldwide United Methodist church.

Quire holds a master of divinity degree from West Africa Theological Seminary in Lagos, Nigeria, and a bachelor of theology degree from the Gbarnga School of Theology in Liberia. He has pastored churches and was director of the Bishop Judith Craig Children's Village.

He was a clergy delegate to the 2004 and 2016 General Conferences, the 2004 West Africa Central Conference and the 2005 All Africa Conference of Churches.

While bishops elected in the United States get life tenure, central conferences — church regions in Africa, Asia and Europe — set the tenure of their respective bishops. In the West Africa Central Conference, bishops may serve a maximum of 12 years.

Adapted from a United Methodist News Service story by Phileas Jusu, communicator for the Sierra Leone Conference, and Julu Swen, a communicator in Liberia.