Fighting broke out between members of a local Christian denomination African Glory Ministries Redemption Church and some members of the Bernard Farm Masonic Craft society on Saturday, 6 May followingdisagreement over which of the two organizations should bury deceased pastor Mr. Jeremiah Washington.
A total of five persons including three Church members and two Masonic Craft members were reported to have been taken to hospital in ambulance after being injured in the fight that took place outside Monrovia.
The NewDawn reporter who later arrived on the scene says there were several broken pieces of sticks apparently used during the fight, scattered around the premises of the cemetery.
To avoid further fighting, elders of Bernard Farm Community decided to bury Pastor Washington since the Church and the Masonic Craft group could not come to one conclusion. Both sides did not oppose the community’s decision.
Eyewitnesses told the NewDawn following the incident that while the confusion was ongoing, four members of the Masonic Craft group reportedly moved towards the vehicle in which the late pastor Washington’s casket was and allegedly began pulling it out.
Bernard Farm Masonic Craft officials’ alleged demand for the Church to surrender the late Pastor Washington’s corpse to the fraternity group is said to have sparked the fight.
The alleged action of four of the masons to pull out the casket bearing Pastor Washington’s remains from a car was met by heavy resistance from members of the church, allegedly using sticks and other materials.
According to witnesses, the situation later claimed the attention of elders of the Bernard Farm Community who immediately moved in with able body men and brought the fight under complete control.
An ambulance from the Ministry of Health was said to have been called in to take the wounded victims to hospital for medical attention.
The deceased pastor is said to have died recently, but his Church and his alleged fraternity group Masonic Craft broke into bitter fight at the Bernard Farm Cemetery where his remains were due to be buried.
They claimed that the late Pastor Washington was a member of their organization, thus seeking to pay him their last respect before his burial.
Witnesses at the incident scene say while the body was still in the parked vehicle, the mason group positioned itself in an organized form with the anticipation of receiving the deceased’s body.
But they were allegedly prevented by members of the Church who protested that their pastor was never a part of the Masonic Craft organization, and asked the mason group to stand-down.
In the process of tussling over who controls the corpse, witnesses say the casket reportedly dropped from the hands of the Masonic Craft group, allegedly bursting and opening it on one side.
As a result, witnesses say the late Pastor Washington’s feet could be seen by onlookers and bystanders who went to witness the fight between the Church and the Masonic Crafts.
A quick meeting was reportedly convened by elder James Dorley Parkinson while the corpse remained in the vehicle. At the meeting, the Masonic Craft group representative only identified as Dominic insisted that Pastor Washington was an official member of their organization while he was alive. He claimed that the Masonic Craft group was under obligation to give the pastor his last respect through special ceremony before his burial.
But according to witnesses, a representative of the Church Esther Thompson vehemently rejected the claims by Dominic that Pastor Washington was a mason.
By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Winston W. Parley