A fascinating book with rare wisdom and deep transformational ideas that motivate readers to not only embrace and address real identity challenges of transition, but also to seek the strength, strategic direction, energy, and inspiration to shape and find real solutions to denominational transitional transformation. Dunn is a master historian, a political scientist, a statesman, an educator, a scholar and author of several books. This book is a spiritual journey of rediscovery that illuminates and empowers the visionary leader in every one of us. This book is essentially practical, yet, philosophical, theological, political, and religious, with real-life examples that bring complex issues like ongoing identity crisis discussions into sharp focus...I enthusiastically endorse this book and will order a copy for my library.— Yar Donlah Gonway-Gono Ph.D, President and CEO, DGWMF; First President Emeritus, Nimba County Community College
The main characters in the book namely Bishop Browne, Bishop Neufville, and Bishop Hart, are people that I knew personally not only as my colleagues; but as people who had a longstanding relationship in the ministry as theologians who were recruited, trained and positioned to take over the leadership of the Liberian church from US missionaries. This book is not only a reservoir of the history of the Christian church in Liberia; it is also a pathway through which incoming leaders will be motivated to place more emphasis on the role of the church for future generations. I therefore recommend it as a must read for present day theologians, those in training, as well as those in current positions of administration in the Church.— Bishop Arthur F. Kulah, Bishop Liberia Annual Conference, United Methodist Church 1980-2000
From his lived perspective of having been Chief of Staff to President Tolbert in the Monrovian Executive Mansion to becoming Professor of Politics Emeritus at Sewanee, Professor Dunn in this long-awaited sequel to his authoritative History of The Episcopal Church in Liberia sets a new standard for understanding an Anglican church in independent Africa. Written with the mind of an academic and the heart of a churchman, he tells a riveting story of the “divided spiritual personality” of the Episcopal Church of Liberia torn between the U.S. Episcopal Church and the Anglican Province of West Africa. They are not at all the first to cope with the dilemma of parishioners attending “a traditional church out of social obligation and another church out of spiritual needs.” Overlaying all this, he paints a vivid picture of the meteoric post-Civil War growth of Christians, from 15% to 85%, accompanied with the explosion of Pentecostals. A must-read for all who follow life in the ECL, Dunn’s book presents a poignant case study for any church seeking to engage meaningfully within its own cultural context.— Canon James G. Callaway, DD, General Secretary, Colleges & Universities of the Anglican Communion
The Book, History of the Episcopal Church of Liberia Since 1980: A Sequel by Dr. Elwood Dunn, is a timely intervention for examining or dealing with that which the author calls an “identity crisis” not only of the Episcopal Church of Liberia, but for the traditional denominational Christian Churches. There is this common joke that sometimes it seems like the worships of traditional denominational Churches such as the Pentecostal Church are becoming more evangelical, Baptist more Pentecostal, while those of the Methodist are becoming Baptist, and Roman Catholics and Episcopalian seem to pick up pieces here and there to. While the issue of denominational identity may have been in its embryonic stage during the latter part of the 1980’s, the dilemma for the Episcopal Church of Liberia seemed more complicated than membership flight. The author succinctly points out the sequential paradoxes of the Episcopal Church of Liberia as it transitioned from an indispensable tie with the Episcopal Church in the USA to affiliate with the Anglican Church of the Province of West African. What are the consequences of the exchange of relationship by the Liberian Episcopal Church? The author indicates that the relationship between the US and Liberian Episcopal Churches “underscores a dilemma of acceptance and rejection.” But he also refers to a conclusion from a study by the Organizations Research and Advisory Trust that the national social culture of Liberia “hangs between the U.S. and Africa, in which Liberia copies the US rather than forging its own identity. The author also vividly delineates the special evangelistic popularity as a semi-national identity crisis among Christians of the traditional denominations. This special form of evangelism, according to the author, claims exclusive “experience with God through the baptism of the Holy Spirit “It may be described as the evangelism of the poverty stricken, characteristic of a post-conflict country like Liberia. There is the promise that in a very short time, salvation will be eminent, and each follower will be the exception to societal post-conflict financial limitations.The author, in choice language, vividly describes the socio-economic and religious environment in which the Episcopal and other traditional denominational churches function with recognition that there is a distinct shift in the socio-economic paradigm particularly in the 21st century, not to mention the impact of communication technology. From the book, one clearly understands and appreciates the quandary of the Liberian Episcopal Church within its national and international confines. The book then moves on to address the tenure of the three most recent Liberian Episcopal Bishops: Bishop George D. Browne (1970–1993), Bishop Edward W. Neufville II (1996–2007) and Bishop Jonathan B. Hart (2008–present). Descriptions of the environments in which each bishop administered allowed for an appreciation of the daunting challenges of each with respect to their stewardships. The book ends with an epilogue that reflects “on the Episcopal Church that was, the Episcopal Church that is, and the Episcopal Church of the future. — Emmet A. Dennis, President emeritus, University of Liberia, professor, A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine, University of Liberia
Elwood Dunn continues to enrich and admonish the Liberian Episcopal Church. His earlier history of the Church brought his readers through the birth and early years of planting the Church not only in Liberia’s coastal communities but also in the hinterland. The present volume assesses the difficult years following the deaths of Bishop Bravid Washington Harris and President William VS Tubman, men who laid the foundations for the Christian community and the nation in a rapidly modernizing Liberia. The book traces the lives and work of the Liberian Episcopal Church under the last foreign bishop Dillard Brown and his Liberian successors George Browne, Edward Neufville and the present incumbent Jonathon BB Hart.
Dunn does not mince words as he details the strengths and weaknesses of the Liberian church and its leaders during this critical time in post-colonial Africa. The book emphasizes the growth, or lack thereof, of the Christian body in coastal Liberia, in Liberia’s increasingly powerful indigenous areas, and in neighboring countries in the West African Provinces of the Anglican Communion. Instead of being what was long seen as a poor relation of the American Episcopal Church, the Diocese of Liberia has become a leading and independent witness to God’s work in Africa. Much work remains for the Episcopal Church of Liberia to shed the colonial heritage and pursue real leadership in Africa. Dunn’s book traces the history up to the present, and lays a foundation for the future work of Christians in Liberia.
— John Gay, Professor Emeritus, Cuttington College and Divinity School/Cuttington University
Dr. D. Elwood Dunn is the foremost historian on the Episcopal Church of Liberia (“ECL”). His commitment to this cause is unwavering. Dr. Dunn’s historical and analytical account, spanning the last forty years of the ECL, provides noteworthy prognosis of issues vital to the sustainability, growth, and future of the Church. Liberian Episcopalians are indebted to him for the extensive research and clear recount of events that helped to shape the Diocese of Liberia.
— Ann Fredericks Cooper, D.Min. (Liberia’s Thanksgiving Day 2019)
This book, together with the prequel before it, adequately covers the full spectrum of ecclesiastical history of the Episcopal Church of Liberia from its humble beginning to the present. Dunn simplifies complex issues like spiritual schizophrenia among Liberian Episcopalians by craftily situating the Liberian Diocese within the broader political and cultural realities of Liberia on the one hand and the Province of West Africa on the other. The author succeeds in fairly apportioning to the three indigenous Bishops—Browne, Neufville and Hart—the space required to adequately address the accomplishments and challenges of their respective Episcopate.
— C. William Allen, Episcopalian, Liberian Diplomat, and Academician; Offbeat
In his History of the Episcopal Church of Liberia Since 1980: A Sequel, Dr. Dunn brings to “a close this remarkable story of the Episcopal Church as embedded in Liberian society.” As with its precursor, A History of the Episcopal Church in Liberia, 1821-1980, he employs the rigors of academic research and writing to A Sequel, and provides strong analyses, well-reasoned findings and conclusions. The book is properly referenced and richly sourced. A Sequel meets the standard of an academic history textbook that is written for the non-academician in a clear and readable style, making it an engaging read.— Cllr. Mohamedu F. Jones; Daily Observer
History of the Episcopal Church of Liberia Since 1980: A Sequel is a captivating story of Christian witness and the role of the Church in Liberia. It is very instructive and insightful. The volume is basically a window to the world relative to the establishment and existence of the Episcopal Church of Liberia (ECL), the ECL’s Christian witness, as well as the role of the Christian Church in the foundation and existence of Liberia from the perspective of the Episcopal Church...History of the Episcopal Church of Liberia Since 1980: A Sequel is a highly recommended read for students of history, and a must read especially for Episcopalians or Anglicans. This sequel is a treasure-trove of information.— Gabriel I. H. Williams, author of Corruption Is Destroying Africa: The Case of Liberia