Companion Parish is a partnership relationship between Grace Memorial and Trinity Cathedral in Monrovia, Liberia. The Cathedral has been a beacon of hope in a country recovering from civil war. It also allows Grace Parish members to connect with another part of the Anglican Communion.
A Brief History of US-Liberia Historical Ties
In 1461, Portuguese explorers established contacts with Liberia and named the area Grain Coast due to the abundance of Malegueta Pepper. Then in 1663, the British installed trading posts on the Grain Coast. The following year they were destroyed by the Dutch. There were no further accounts of European settlements until free African Americans arrived in the early 1800s, under the auspices of the American Colonization Society – organized by white clergymen, philanthropists, abolitionists, and slave owners.
In order to enforce tariff and revenue laws, and above all, serve as deterrence against territorial encroachments by British and French colonial powers, Liberia proclaimed her Declaration of Independence July 26, 1847. Liberia is the only country in Africa whose Constitution, system of government, religious and educational institutions, and so forth are modeled after that of the United States. Monrovia, the capital City, is named in honor of President James Monroe.
The relationship between the Episcopal Church of Liberia (ECL) and The Episcopal Church (TEC) began 1836 with the sending of missionaries. In 1979, a Covenant Agreement was adopted by their respective Conventions mandating both to working to support the Province of West Africa. Since December, 1989, the ECL and the people of Liberia have gone through a devastating period of over twenty years of civil unrest, including a seven-year period in the ravages of war.
In early 1990s, Grace parishioner, Charles A. McGee II and his family fled the Liberian Civil War to join his brother, Grace parishioner, James S. Smith; culminating in the establishment of a Companion Parish Relationship between Trinity Cathedral of the ECL and Grace Memorial of TEC.