Leading members of the clergy in the country have expressed wishes of goodwill for the Christmas and hope for a peaceful presidential run-off on Sunday.
Christmas, the world-wide celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, will be marked tomorrow and on that occasion some religious leaders in the country have expressed their goodwill wishes, saying that they hope that Ghanaians will put up a more exemplary performance during the run-off.
The General Secretary of the Ghana Pentecostal Council (GPC), Apostle Ekow Badu Wood, expressed the hope that Ghanaians would have a good Christmas and the best of progress in the years ahead.
He said Sunday’s run-off, and the fact that this year’s Christmas festivities seemed to be on a low key because of that, showed the importance Ghanaians placed on the election of a leader for the country.
Apostle Wood, therefore, charged politicians to render “a gift of a clean campaign to Ghanaians”, particularly in the Christmas season.
He added that since the country had performed creditably in the December 7 elections, it was important for all to do much better during the run-off.
The Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra and Vice-President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference, the Most Rev Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle, in his message, a copy of which was sent to the Daily Graphic, said as the country prepared for “Christmas under the cloud of the impending presidential run-off”, John 14:27 was the summation of God’s message for Ghanaians: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
He said that had to be the guiding principle for all Ghanaians during the week in which we celebrated Christmas and prepared for the run-off.
“The fervent prayer of all your bishops, as announced in the last pastoral letter, is that this call to the polls be once again conducted very peacefully and in an atmosphere that is free, fair and honest,” his message read.
The Most Rev Palmer-Buckle said the principles Christ taught of service, forbearance, forgiveness, empathy for the poor, sacrificial love and peace had to be borne in mind at Christmas.
Those principles, his message added, showed that all Ghanaians, irrespective of tribal origin or political affiliation, were children of God and brothers and sisters.
He, therefore, encouraged all Christians not to be anxious but rather pray for God and Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, “to give us that peace which the world cannot give; yes, neither the world of tribal politics nor of partisan political polarisation can give us any peace. Let us work for the true peace that is always ready to forgive, ready to serve, ready to share, ready to unite and ready to sacrifice for the good of the other and ready even to die for others as Jesus did in the Holy Bible”.
He proposed a prayer for the Christmas and the period before the presidential run-off.
“Let our prayer be: ‘O God Our Father, through the power of your Holy Spirit, give us peace according to the heart of your Son Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace whose birth we celebrate at Christmas. Help us to celebrate this Christmas and the coming presidential run-off in your peace, that peace which surpasses all understanding, that peace which is grounded in love of neighbour and selfless service of nation’,” he added.
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, the Rt Rev Dr Yaw Frimpong-Manso, in his message, reflected on the goodness of God to the nation that had resulted in several achievements and the projection of the country in the limelight of excellence the world over.
On the December 7 general election, he said the cry of all Ghanaians through prayers, peace walks, discussions and appeals from opinion and religious leaders, children and other groups had resulted in “God's divine intervention” that ended in peaceful elections.
He said the standard set by Ghanaians in the December 7 elections should be repeated for a smooth and peaceful presidential run-off.
On Christmas, he said it was an extraordinary time for sharing, giving, peace, love and goodwill among all, as well as the season for celebration and renewal.
Reflecting on the theme, “Peace and Reconciliation for Development”, the Rt Rev Dr Frimpong-Manso said as the country entered the Christmas season and looked forward to a new year under a new government and Parliament, Ghanaians needed to dedicate themselves to the rule of God and allow His peace, justice and righteousness to prevail and increase in the country.
He reminded Christians that fellowship with God was key in attaining success, while the country's aim of becoming an oasis of peace and beacon of hope in West Africa would be attained faster if the acutely polarised society would give way to a liberalised one.
He, therefore, asked all to pursue all partisan agenda within a framework of national unity to engender peace and tolerance in the country.
DAILY GRAPHIC, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2008, PG 1