The Methodist Church in Ghana has launched an initiative to promote national cohesion and development through the merging of Christian faith and traditional beliefs.
To that aim, the church’s Northern Accra Diocese inaugurated the Association of Methodist Traditional Rulers in Accra on Wednesday, to spearhead activities, including evangelism, to promote the cause.
The event was a mash-up of Christianity and Traditional Religion, with both rulers and subjects dressed in regalia (ceremonial attire), interspersed with hymns and sermons.
The Association, led by a five-member Interim Committee, and Chaired by Leni Nii Kojo Nseni Mantakah IV, were charged to use their positions in society and church to promote ministry and traditional worship.
They were also urged to devote their time and energy to bringing their subjects to the “saving knowledge of God” by educating them on Christian faith and ensuring youth discipline.
King Tackie Teiko Tsuru II, Ga Mantse emphasised the significance of recognising the relationship between the church and traditional religion in promoting national unity and development.
“People have always perceived tradition as fetish, but the chant of Wulomei, Mantse, Manklalo and an Asafoatse, when they pray ‘agoo’ to open the door to divinity, the next thing to do is to call on the reverence of God,” he said.
The Ga Mantse maintained that they did so because they recognised the Supreme Being’s (God’s) power and understood that the union of religion and traditional authority was in the right place.
“A nation cannot be blessed if a King does not see God as the Supreme Being; any leadership that does not recognise God in the scheme of things, has a defeatist idea,” the Ga Mantse said.
Mr Stephen Asamoah Boateng, Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, emphasised the close relationship between Christendom and Traditional authority, stating that both recognised the reality of God in their practices.
“There is a commonality of spiritual being, that we all worship God. You go to any traditional authority and before they pour libation, it is offered to God first; so, there is a synergy that we all acknowledge,” he said.
“We must recognise our traditional rulers as key to the development of our nation, and church, also key to the development of the nation, and this requires that we work together,” the Minister said.
The Right Reverend Professor Joseph Edusa-Eyison, Diocesan Bishop, encouraged Chiefs and Traditional rulers to continue to execute their responsibilities in the church and at the chieftaincy level.
He spoke on the topic of “Discipleship; Growing into Christian Maturity,” and pointed out that everyone was given a gift from God for a special ministry that would help build up the body of Christ and advance God’s Kingdom on earth.
Prof Edusa-Eyison said the Methodist Church acknowledged the outstanding contribution of Christian traditional rulers to the evangelistic work and intended to draw on it for growth.
“Your invaluable contribution as a significant agency of development, providing the church with land, spaces for its business and an enabling environment for the church to serve the Creator in peace is highly commendable.
“Let the Bible be your bedrock; foundation of governance so that we can serve our traditional mandate with the Christian faith. Let our Christianity impact positively on what we do traditionally,” Prof Edusa-Eyison told the rulers.
Leni Nii Kojo Nseni Mantakah IV stressed the association’s commitment to use their traditional standing to reach out to and persuade their contemporaries to serve God and humanity.
“Through evangelism, we will ensure that Traditional Rulers are closer to Christendom than before, and this will bring about social cohesion and contribute to the development of our societies and the nation.
“Before we were installed as traditional rulers, we were Christians, so the belief of Christianity is within us,” he stated, urging people to dispel the myth that “once you’re a traditional ruler, you’re a fetish, so you can’t serve God.”