As Akufo-Addo Summons Clergymen Over Surging COVID-19
With all forms of religious activities, including Friday Mosque and Sunday Church Service banned in the wake of the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country, President Akufo-Addo, is asking Ghanaians to seek the face of God, whilst observing the measures announced by his government in dealing with the menace.
At a prayer breakfast meeting held at Jubilee House, the presidency, yesterday, President Akufo-Addo, expressed his belief that Ghanaians, with their abiding faith in God, will overcome the pandemic, adding that “this, too, will pass”.
The meeting appears to be in response to the disappointment expressed by the Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference with the Akufo-Addo government for not engaging them before a ban was slapped on all religious activities and some public gatherings in the country, following the novel coronavirus outbreak.
On Sunday, the President placed an embargo on all public gatherings, including funerals, festivals and church activities, as part of measures to stop the spread of novel coronavirus across in the country.
“All public gatherings including conferences, workshops, funerals, festivals, political rallies, sporting events and religious activities, such as services in churches and mosques, have been suspended for the next four (4) weeks. Private burials are permitted, but with limited numbers, not exceeding twenty-five (25) in attendance,” he said.
Reacting to the ban, the Conference in a statementsaid, “The arbitrary closure of churches and places of worship without consultation or discussion for four weeks, smacks of a disregard of the importance of the church’s role in the country.”
“This disregard of the place of this powerful social and religious institution, to which over 70% of Ghanaians belong, is wrong,” the statement added.
It said, it was unfortunate that groupings like the Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference, the National Association of Charismatic & Christian Churches, and the Ghana Pentecostal Council, were not engaged before the new directives were given by the state.
Present at the meeting included members of the Christian Council, Bishop Conference, Rev. Eastwood Anaba, Archbishop Duncan Williams of Action Chapel, Rev. Sam Korankye Ankrah, as the Apostle General of the Royalhouse Chapel International, Dag Heward-Mills of the Lighthouse Group of Churches, Bishop Charles Agyin Asare of Perez Chapel International.
Others were Gifty Afenyi-Dadzie of Aglow, Rev. Asante Antwi, the Chairman of the Church of Pentecost, Apostle Eric Nyamekye and Kwadwo Nimfour Opoku Onyinah, the immediate-past Chairman of the Church of Pentecost,Most Rev John Bonaventure Kwofie, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra, Joyce Aryee of the Light and Salt Ministries, Sylvanus Mensah Torto of the Anglican Diocese of Accra among others.
With eleven (11) confirmed cases of infections, the President told the clergy gathered that the rapid spread of the disease across the world has led Government to institute a number of measures to help ensure that the nation is adequately prepared to combat the spread of the pandemic.
These measures, included the suspension of all public gatherings, such as funerals, festivals, political rallies, sporting events and religious activities, and the closing down of all Universities, Senior High Schools, and basic schools.
“Prior to announcing this decision, I informed many of you around this table, and I was encouraged by the words of support offered. The aftermath of the announcement also saw a positive, overwhelming acceptance of the measures from all and sundry, including those I could not inform because of the exigencies of time. With the exception of that one incident, yesterday, in North Suntreso, in Kumasi, Ashanti region, these measures have been adhered to,” he said.
The President continued, “So, on behalf of Government and the people of Ghana, I want to put on record my deep appreciation to you and the entire Christian community across the country for this gesture of solidarity. I am hopeful that the State and the Church will continually find ways to collaborate for the good of Mother Ghana and for the improved welfare of the citizenry.”
He also put on record his equally deep appreciation of the support offered by the Muslim Clergy, led by the Chief Imam, Sheikh Dr. Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, the nation’s political leaders, traditional authorities, great and small, and opinion leaders, for the measures taken by Government.
Whilst outlining the measures put in place by Government to deal with the pandemic, such as the suspension of all public gatherings, “including those at night clubs”, President Akufo-Addo stressed that “as a Christian, a devout one at that, I know of the healing power and saving Grace of the Maker of Heaven and Earth, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, because in Him we live, move and have our being.”
Quoting the words of Holy Scripture to buttress his statement, in Proverbs 9:10, which says “those who know Your name trust in You, for You, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek You”, the President, again, quoted from II Chronicles 7:14, which says “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Reiterating his conviction that ‘these are not ordinary times’, he noted that “in such times, a country whose population is predominantly Christian, must seek the face of the One True God for healing and restoration. So, I, humbly, called you to this prayer meeting for us to join together and pray to Almighty God to protect our nation, heal this land and save us from this pandemic.”
The President was confident that “this morning’s prayer, which will be offered in faith, will heal our nation, and will help raise Ghana up.”