The Presiding Bishop of the Action Chapel International, Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams, has called on Ghanaians to eschew tribal sentiments and ethnic divisions, since those tendencies could plunge the country into chaos.
He said the political divisions and tension that had bedevilled the nation did not augur well for nation-building, for which reason he urged the government to take immediate steps to address those issues.
Preaching the sermon at the 56th National Prayer Day and Thanksgiving Service held at the Black Star Square in Accra Sunday, Archbishop Duncan-Williams said the genocide that claimed thousands of lives in Rwanda was a result of ethnic strife and underlined the need for the country not to go along that path.
The service, which was characterised by song ministrations, led by the Charismatic Mass Choir, and the reading of the Scriptures, was on the theme: “...The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” (Daniel 11:32b)
Among the dignitaries who graced the occasion were the Vice-President, Mr Kwesi Amissah-Arthur; the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho; the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, ministers of state, Members of Parliament.
Mrs Justice Wood did the first Scripture reading from the Book of Philippians 4:4-7, while Mr Adjaho read the second from 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18.
The Founder and Leader of the Lighthouse Chapel International, Bishop Dag Heward-Mills, led prayers on national security and stability.
Archbishop Duncan-Williams indicated that for there to be national cohesion, there was the need for a national manifesto that would create the path for the political party in power to chart a national course, instead of the current arrangement by which parties came into office with their own manifestoes.
He underscored the need for the nation to break the vicious circle of winner-takes-all which had created conditions for political patronage and room for some politicians to enrich themselves at the expense of the ordinary Ghanaian.
He condemned the practice where people’s livelihoods were dependent on a political party in power, saying that it was important to create equal opportunities for every Ghanaian, irrespective of the political party in government.
The archbishop, whose sermon was greeted with intermittent applause from the hundreds of worshippers, decried the character of envy, speculations and lies, as well as rumour-mongering, which he pointed out were the bane of Ghana’s forward march.
“We must put a stop to the pull-him-down syndrome in our country,” he said.
Relying on 1 Timothy 2:1-8, Archbishop Duncan-Williams implored all Ghanaians to pray for people in authority, saying by so doing, they could influence decisions of people in political authority.
For him, he said, praying for the President did not in any way mean supporting the party in power but rather obeying the Scriptures.
Archbishop Duncan-Williams urged the citizenry not to only thank God for what He had done for the nation but also for what he had prevented from happening.
Story: Sebastian Syme