The baptism session for some members of the Sacred Action Church, which held its annual Easter Convention at Wassa Akropong in the Western Region, could not come off due to the polluted nature of water bodies by illegal mining (galamsey) activities in the area.
All the streams visited by the leadership of the Anyinase-based church in the Ellembele district were found to be not suitable for immersion of those billed for the mass baptism.
The church normally undertakes mass baptism for its converted members during their annual conventions.
Consequently, the church leaders have directed the various station pastors to go back to their communities and baptise their new converts when they find clean water.
In this regard, the leadership of the church has declared its support for the government in its effort to stem and sustain the fight against galamsey.
"As an institution, we are strongly against illegal mining operations since they are very destructive to our water bodies. We are seriously against the practice," the President of the church, Rt Rev. James Ackah Cobinah, told The Mirror in an interview at the Nana Bassa Nyin III Model Basic School Park, the venue of the convention on Holy Saturday.
"My village is just a few kilometres from River Ankobra and if you see the extent to which the river has been polluted, you will marvel. It is totally destroyed by galamsey operations and so we kick against the unscrupulous practice as a church," Rt Rev. Cobinah stressed.
The four-day convention was on the theme, "Overcoming the World Through Righteousness."
He, however, noted that even though galamsey was illegal and destructive, it had its good side of offering employment to the youth in various parts of the country.
Rt Rev. Cobinah observed that even though some of the illegal miners were able to send their children to school and were putting up structures, “it is not good for them to continue to engage in illegality, looking at the devastating effects of their activities on river bodies, farms, virgin forests, fishes and the environment in general".
He, therefore, said it was the responsibility of the government to look for an alternative means of sustaining the young men and women engaged in that business after clamping down on their activities.
Rt Rev. Cobinah said creating jobs for these people would minimise the threat of robberies and chaos.
He also urged the government to abide by its promise of the free senior high school (SHS) that is intended to provide education for a wide range of people.