President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has cut the sod for the construction of the National Cathedral in Accra.
He signalled the construction of the cathedral by fixing a foundation stone.
The Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Mrs Shani Cooper-Zubid, handed over the about six-inch square stone flown from Israel, which the President placed in the ground as the foundation stone for the yet-to-be constructed three-metre tall altar.
The National Cathedral is a proposed inter-denominational cathedral with a seating capacity of 5,000, as well as chapels and baptistery. It will also house a music school, an art gallery and a museum dedicated to the Bible.
The cathedral is not modeled along other cathedrals around the world but designed to physicalise the moment African Christianity came of its own and broke the umbilical cord of the messengers who brought Christianity to the country and erase the perception that Christianity is a foreign religion.
The architecture makes the bold statement that Christianity is not a foreign religion. The design is located in biblical history, takes inspiration from Israel and engages the Ghanaian context, revealing how Ghanaians demonstrate divinity, which is through chieftaincy, vis-a-vis the royal umbrellas.
The roof of the cathedral reflects the royal umbrellas under which Ghanaians reveal divinity.
Explaining the rationale behind the construction of the cathedral, President Akufo-Addo said since independence, the country had been spared civil wars, famine and epidemics, although it was no better than its neighbours who had been confronted with those challenges.
“I believe it is by the grace of God that we have been preserved and sustained. The construction of the cathedral will be an act of thanking the Almighty for His blessings, favour, grace and mercies on our nation,” he added.
He said the second reason was that 71 per cent of Ghanaians adhered to the Christian religion, and that the inter-denominational national cathedral would help unify the Christian community and promote national unity and social cohesion.
He added that the Supreme Court, in its unanimous decision rejecting the suit challenging the constitutionality of the cathedral project, laid particular emphasis on that point in granting approval for the development of the project.
The President said the third reason was that he made a pledge to God that if He was gracious to grant his party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), and him victory in the 2016 elections, after two unsuccessful attempts, he would help build a cathedral to His glory and honour, adding: “I am determined to redeem this pledge.”
He said the cathedral would not be just a national monument adorning the skyline of Accra but the rallying point for the Christian community to come together to worship, pray and promote deep national conversations on the role of faith in building Mother Ghana.
He said it would have a Bible museum and be an iconic infrastructure for national and international pilgrimage and tourism and a monument to religious liberty.
President Akufo-Addo urged all to offer their full support for the construction, saying it deserved the full support of the nation because “just as God prospered Prophet Nehemiah when he rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, I am prayerful that He will prosper us and make us successful in our endeavour”.
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral, the Most Rev. Dr Samuel Asante Antwi, said the theme for the sod-cutting ceremony was: “Ebenezer, thus far God hath brought us.”
He said the 14-member board, with membership from various denominations, had formed various subcommittees that had been working around the clock to ensure the realisation of the President’s vision.
The Most Rev. Dr Antwi said the construction of the cathedral was a mark of the partnership and strong relations that existed between the Church and the state, and that the structure would be a rallying point for Christians to pray and promote Christianity.