The Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference has expressed concern over the government's decision to keep churches closed for the next four weeks but have allowed night clubs, shopping malls and restaurants to be opened over the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) where six cases have been confirmed in Ghana.
In a statement, the Bishops said: "The notices from the Government do not mention the closure of night clubs, restaurants, and shopping malls."
"Such entities have been noted in other countries experience, France being a good example, where the pandemic has not been controlled as they have remained opened."
"To only ask for the closure of churches and places of worship is a rather biased view of the society and does not improve much the odds of getting the disease under control," the Bishops said in a communique issued in reaction to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's decision to ban mass gatherings.
The Bishops said they were disappointed with the state 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.
They 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.
“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 communique added.
Below is a copy of the Communique
GHANA CHARISMATIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE
CLOSURE OF CHURCHES DUE TO CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC (Covid-19)
The Government has issued a number of releases in line with managing the spread of the Coronavirus as a pandemic.
We have noted the travel bans, and the restrictions on a wide range of socio-economic activities in the country in an effort to forestall any further spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country, a part of the wider global effort being championed by the World Health
We commend the President of the Republic for responding to the public’s need for leadership and direction at such a time of heightened public anxiety and fears. We believe many of the strategies and tactics put in place will forestall the further spread of the disease.
The Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference has noted a number of lapses, that we as try to bring this pandemic under control as a society, we will like to draw the Government’s attention to. In issuing these directives, we have noted a bias for certain business and commercial entities. These raise for us a number of concerns.
It is important that these are addressed for the measures being implemented to have their full measure in preventing the further spread of the Coronavirus pandemic among Ghanaians.
i. The notices from the Government do not mention the closure of night clubs, restaurants, and shopping malls. Such entities have been noted in other countries experience, France being a good example, where the pandemic has not been controlled as they have remained opened. To only ask for the closure of churches and places of worship is a rather biased view of the society and does not improve much the odds of getting the disease under control.
ii. The Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference has noted that the Government has set aside an amount of US$100 million for this fight. We find this rather incredulous. Doctors, nurses, and many health professionals have been seeking employment and will have been invaluable at this time when public health professionals will be needed even more. The Government should have invested such monies in the health sector a long while back, improving the outcomes of health services now. The argument that this is an emergency fund is not enough to explain what a long-standing problem has been resulting in many trained health professionals not working for months many months after qualifying end.
iii. We will expect that going forward investments in the health sector of the country will be more responsive and forward-looking than we have done in the past. Ghana has the required resources. We do not need to look outside for these.
iv. Churches are an important vector of socializing and we will like to encourage the Government, to engage churches even more, and provide them a much larger platform to affect the societal behaviors that will need to be affected for the campaign to defeat Coronavirus to work.
The Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference is a powerful body made up of Bishops of several different charismatic denominations in Ghana. Today, its membership is made of over 100 bishops located in every region of Ghana.
A Bishop is a most senior and revered person among the clergy and is an overseer of several churches. Consequently, 4000 churches yield to the authority of this powerful conference. The Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference has a widespread influence in Ghana and holds sway over no less than 1 million Ghanaian Christians.
The Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference founded some years ago by Dag Heward-Mills, intercedes and prays constantly for the nation Ghana and also speaks prophetically into national matters.
The current chairman of this conference is Bishop Kwame Yirenkyi Ampofo.
The offices of the Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference are located in Teshie, a suburb of Accra. The General Secretary of this august conference is Rev. Kwasi Deh.
Rev. Kwasi Deh
The Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference
Tel: +233 24 432 3782
Email: [email protected]
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