Former transitional First Lady of Liberia, Amelia Yata Sankawulo, who died in the United States of America in April, has been memorialized here at a church service organized by her children, grand children and other family members in Liberia.
The late Mrs. Amelia Sankawulo was widow of the late transitional head of state, Professor Wilton K. Sankawulo, who led Liberia in 1996 during the heat of the civil war.
The late Professor Sankawulo, who predeceased his wife, was author of many Liberian literary textbooks that are being taught in schools across the country. He also taught English Language at both Cuttington University and the University of Liberia, respectively.
Some of his works include, Marriage of Wisdom, Wiser Than His Father, and Nobody Knows When He Will Die, among others. The late Mrs Amelia Sankawulo was a United Methodist and Deaconess at the David Gueh Memorial United Methodist Church in Paynesville City, outside Monrovia.
Delivering the eulogy in his sermon Saturday, 9 June at the James E. Marshall United Methodist Church in Gardnersville, Somali Drive, the Senior Pastor from David Gueh United Methodist, Church K. Richard Tononlah, describes the deceased as a consecrated Deaconess in the United Methodist Church.
“She faithfully served her God while on earth. Even as First Lady, Madam Sankawulo was never proud to worship God. For some, being a First Lady is more important than worshipping God. For Ma Yatta, serving God was a priority”, Rev. Tononlah recalls.He says during the heat of the war in Liberia, when the nation could not trust politicians to lead the warlords, Madam Sankawulo and her husband Wilton, stood up and offered their services.
“Although it was risky for anyone to answer that call, First Lady Ma Yatta Sankawulo agreed with compassion to let her family serve us at that difficult time. What a memory!”
Preaching on the theme, “Leaving A Memory” with text from Samuel 9:1-7, he urges, “My people, be decisive and stand up for what is right even when it is unpopular. Madam Sankawolo stood up for the children of Liberia. There were times when she was criticized but did what was right and pleasant for God because she wanted to leave a positive memory.”
He explains everyone alive today will leave a memory or legacy of some kind when they leave this world, noting, “A legacy is an inheritance or quality of someone who has died, the memories and contributions people have made in their lifetime are left behind.”
Turning to his text, he cites the best example of a leader who left a profound memory is found in the lives of King David and a grandson by the name Mephibosheth, was son of Jonathan, David’s best friend, and grandson of King Saul’s.
“For years, we see Saul had obsessively hunted David. Now that Saul was dead, David had been crowned king of Israel. It was common practice in those days to destroy all members of a previous dynasty to prevent any descendant from seeking the throne.
Yet David’s response was quite the contrary. He asked, ‘Is there anyone remaining from Saul’s family I can show kindness to because of Jonathan?’ (2 Sam. 9:1)”
Rev. Tononlah continues that David expressed a deeper demonstration of love and memory that he wanted to leave behind when he is gone.
“David had made a promise to Jonathan, his beloved friend and the son of Saul, that he would show kindness to the remaining members of Saul’s household. (1 Samuel 20:15-16.) David now intended to keep that promise.”
Recounting past Liberian leaders and their legacies, he notes that former Presidents William R. Tolbert is remembered for his Back to the Soil and Higher Heights policy, while Samuel Doe is remembered for declaring all Mandingoes citizens of Liberia; Charles Taylor is remembered for waging war against Liberia in 1989; Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is remembered for working with the international community to have Liberia’s debts waived, and current President George Weah, is fighting to leave a memory after his administration.
By Jonathan Browne