Liberia: Tribute to the Rev. Dr. J. Shelton Seidi

Rev. Dr. J. Shelton Seidi, BTh, DD, the immediate past President of the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention or LBMEC (2-terms from 2006-2012); 36 years as Senior Pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Zwedru City, Grand Gedeh County; Pastor Emeritus of Grace Baptist Church, Zwedru City; long standing former County Vice President for Grand Gedeh County-LBMEC; Member of the Executive Committee-LBMEC; former member of the Board of Trustees of the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary; 41 years service as Principal of the R. B. Richardson Baptist High School, Zwedru City, Grand Gedeh County, and Religious Advisor of the Superintendent of the Grand Gedeh County, died at the age of 76 on March 18, 2020 at the Martha Tubman Hospital in Zwedru City, Grand Gedeh County.

Rev. Dr. J. Shelton Seidi, in his commitment to the church especially the LBMEC, never winch beneath stinging arrows. He was a trusted and treasured pastor for 36 years at the Grace Baptist Church. His dedication to the local and regional church ministry lent him recognition to national Baptist life in Liberia. His tireless effort and enthusiasm were matched only by his love for people and his unswearing optimism even in the face of daunting challenges.

In the midst of leadership gap and uncertainty in the life of the LBMEC, he was encouraged by many Liberian Baptists across the counties to seek election for the presidency of the LBMEC. Unanimously, he was elected to the presidency of the LBMEC in 2006. His leadership invited stability and needed inclusion of all in the ministry of Jesus Christ. He traveled across the counties with limited logistical offerings preaching the need for genuine peace and reconciliation among Baptists. In the midst of bad road conditions, he did not winch beneath stinging arrows in fulfilling the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Rev. Dr. Shelton Seidi served as field evangelist under tutorship of Rev. Margaret Furburn, a Southern Baptist missionary assigned to Grand Gedeh and the South Eastern region of Liberia. He received his Bachelor of Theology from the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary in December 7, 1980, and was awarded a Doctor of Divinity in December 6, 2010 from the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary for his outstanding and compassionate servant-leadership to the church and society.

Rev. Dr. Seidi represented the LBMEC with high distinction at home and abroad. In December 2011, he served as missionary-in-resident at the Lewis Chapel Baptist Missionary Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina, United States. As missionary in residence, he left an immense impression that earned him added respect for rural ministry. Dr. Seidi served as a great Liberian Baptist Ambassador.

I owe an incalculable debt to Rev. Dr. Seidi for mentoring me unknowingly in my sharpened interest and commitment to rural Christian ministries. His foremost content and commitment to Christian ministry out of Monrovia especially in the Zwedru areas and the Southeastern region of Liberia were admired. He nurtured my interest in rural church ministries. In 2011, he hosted one of the most successful rural Baptist pastors' conferences at Grace Baptist Church in Zwedru, which we facilitated. His spirit of hospitality once in Zwedru is unmatched. He was always excited to serve as my host.

Through his years of faithful service to Liberian Baptists, he was supported by his wife (now deceased), his children and his family. We thank his deceased wife, children and family for sharing Shelton Seidi in doing his Master work.

Rev. J. Shelton Seidi, BTH, DD, leaves a colossal footprint in the life of Baptist work in Liberia and beyond. He was a missionary, an evangelist, a champion of rural Christian ministries, a reconciler, a humble servant-leader, a respecter of leadership, a team player, a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a persistent lover of the church and an experienced pastor who was firmed and at the same time was filled with smiles and compassion.

He will be missed!

Then Jonathan said to David, "Tomorrow is the New Moon Festival; and you will be missed, because your seat will be empty." 1 Samuel 20:18

Because Rev. J. Shelton Seidi leaves a colossal footprint in the life of Baptist work in Liberia and beyond, he will be missed.

PS: Please note that we are unable to be physically present at the funeral service scheduled on Saturday, March 28, 2020 at the Grace Baptist Church in Zwedru City, Grand Gedeh County due to the prevailing global and deadly health crisis (Coronavirus or COVID 19) that has placed needed stringent restrictions on travels and gathering by the Government of Liberia. We hope to plan, God's willing, a memorial service for this quiet giant of the faith, Rev. Dr. J. Shelton Seidi.

May God usher this faithful servant to his permanent home, a home not made with hands.

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