Illegal mining: Go beyond call on govt - Rt Rev. Dr Dogbe charges church leaders, others
The Chairman of the Christian Council of Ghana, Rt Rev. Dr Hilliard K. Dela Dogbe, has called on church leaders to be intentional about educating their members on illegal mining rather than calling on the government to take action on the issue.
He said it was not enough to call on the government to take action since some people involved in illegal mining, commonly called galamsey locally, were in the churches.
"The church must take the matter to the congregation, especially in areas that are pervasive with the practice. Let the members know how they are killing themselves slowly and destroying water bodies and the general ecosystem," he told the Daily Graphic last Thursday in his first media interview after his election.
Rt Rev. Dr Dogbe was elected on Wednesday, April 19, 2023, at the Annual General Meeting of the council in Accra.
His election makes him the first from the AME Zion Church to chair the Christian Council of Ghana, succeeding the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rt Rev. Prof. J.O.Y. Mante.
Rt Rev. Dr Hilliard K. Dela Dogbe is the Presiding Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (A.M.E Zion Church), Western West Africa Episcopal District, an area covering Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo, with additional responsibilities over Angola and Namibia.
He is the First Resident Indigenous Bishop of the A. M. E Zion Church in Ghana. Rt Rev. Dr Dogbe is a product of the Accra Academy and the Trinity College, University of Ghana, Legon.
He is a graduate of the Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ where he graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Practical Theology (Christian Education) and the Trinity Theological Seminary, Accra, Ghana where he graduated with a Master of Theology in Pastoral Care and Counseling.
He also holds a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Practical Theology with distinction from the Luther Seminary, St Paul, MN, USA, and has several certificates to his credit in leadership and administration.
Rt Rev. Dr Dogbe, who was out of the country when he was elected, thanked the council members for his election and for their support.
“I was actually at an All African Council of Churches meeting in Kenya,” he said.
Asked whether his election came to him as a surprise, he yes and no, and that until he was elected, the AME Zion Church had never had a resident bishop.
“So the AME Zion, even though a founding member of the CCG, has never held the position of chairman of council and that the highest position the church has been able to hold is vice chairman, which he held previously for two years.
Rt Rev. Dr Dogbe noted that he knew it could come but not so swiftly as it had happened.
He commended Rt. Rev. Prof. Mante and his other predecessors for the able manner they were able to steer the affairs of the council.
He said the council had primary objectives that included advocacy, capacity building of churches and attending to situations that would be germane to the well-being of the people of the country.
“I believe some heads of churches have been a bit uncomfortable within the past few years how politicians think the council should work,” he said.
He said objective was to make sure that he works with the general secretary and the entire leadership to make sure that “we are not running after the event but we are being more proactive in what we are supposed to do”
“For example, if we are supposed to build capacity of church leaders, what is the council doing in terms of helping to do that so that in the event of political turbulence, they would know how to speak and how to carry themselves?
“I think these are the things we have to be doing, we don’t have to wait for election years and be listening to the politicians and then when they say the right thing or wrong thing, we commend them or we chastise them.
I think we need to prepare the church and citizens to be able to discern to be able to comport themselves in their everyday lives as people of God,” he said.