“Since many of you do not belong to the Catholic church and others are non-believers, from the bottom of my heart I give this silent blessing to each and every one of you, respecting the conscience of each one of you but knowing that each one of you is a child of God”.
IT WAS TAGGED “THE GREAT ENTHRONEMENT THANKSGIVING”. It lived up to its billing and happened “live” at St Cyprian’s church at Fanti New Town, Kumasi, on Sunday, 21st March, this year.
The occasion was the “enthronement” of Rt. Reverend Oscar Christian Amoah, Anglican Bishop of Kumasi. The new Bishop takes over from the affable and vivacious Dr. Sarfo Yinkah, who has gone on retirement, and hard to believe, the President, Abudani Nana Addo was there, and the Asantehene Osei Tutu Ababio, also sent a representative.
By 8:00am, all those who matter in the run of things, had assembled at the church. Some of the congregants had taken their seats. For Covid-19 reasons, the seats were well-spaced out. The Gospel-man was Reverend Grace Ofori Abebrese, the Epistler, Reverend Father Richard Boateng, and the Old Testament Reader was Op. Hannah Frimpong.
There were two Deacons of Honour: Reverend Father Richmond Nkansah and Reverend Father Paul Acheampong; so were the Diocesan officials: Canon Oheneba Agyemang Badu (Diocesan Chancellor) and Canon Kwame Asiedu Basoah, Esquire (Diocesan Registrar). Mr. John Abel Cobina and Canon Charlotte Nyamekye took their seats as the People’s warden and the Dean’s wardens respectively. There were three singing groups: the Diocesan Choir, St Cyprian’s Cathedral Choir and the Cathedral Angels; and at the organ was Mr. Samuel Ohema.
There was a solemn reception of the Bishop (Behold, the great prelude, who in his days was pleasing unto God. Therefore with an oath, the Lord hath made him to increase among his people).
With the Prelate kneeling before the Altar, the Dean Emeritus and the congregation recited the ‘Vesicles’ and ‘collect’: V.Behold, O God, our defender and look upon the face of your anointed V. Send him help, O Lord from your Sanctuary. R And strengthen him out of Zion V. Let not the enemy be able to do him violence R. Nor the sons of wickedness have power to hurt him. V. O Lord, hear our prayer and let our cry come unto you V. The Lord be with you, and also with you.
The theme for Right Reverend Oscar Christian Amoah’s preaching was “Whatever must be done must be done well”: He centered his preaching on “church unity” and selected passages in Deuteronomy 26:1-11; He had exhorted the congregation to “… put away all anger and bitterness, all slander and malice and confess our sins to God our Redeemer.” He pledged to rule with truth, justice and charity.
Enter the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. He was given the forum to share his thoughts with the congregation. In a short speech, he declared that he was a faithful Anglican and he worshiped at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Accra, He extolled members to dream, plan, build, achieve and celebrate together as one people, urging the new Bishop to be a faithful and good servant of God.
The President received a standing ovation after offering the church GH¢ 100,000 for its development. In fulfillment of his promise, Nana Addo had donated a brand new Eicher-branded bus to the church in January this year. At the end of the service at around 12:50pm, the President’s entourage which included the Asantehene’s representative, Oheneba Agyei Woahene, Dr. Addo Kufuor, Dr. Opoku Prempeh, Honourable Simon Osei Mensah, Honourable Osei Assibey and Honourable Kennedy Kankam, were given the honour to exit first.
The atmosphere at the church was electrifying … People were ecstatic and the choir sang very beautifully, especially the Halleluia chorus to crown the day. Lawyer Kofie who is a faithful, remarked “Entaannsi” (loosely translated as: It doesn’t always happen this way). This was in reference to both the President Nana Addo and Otumfuo Osei Tutu, Asantehene, being members of the Anglican faith.
The first place outside the Kumasi Cathedral where the Bishop did the service the following week, was Fomasua, our mother’s birth-place and the place where we had continued and completed our basic education. This is close to Kokobra, a town traditionally tagged as “kuro a kwaseanni mu” (loosely translated as a town which harbours no fool) our father’s birth place. You could ask Nana Kwaku Bosompem II, the Asomfo-hene or if you are haunted by his size, you could consult the Okyeame, Nana Adjei, to tell you the history of the town.
Why would we not be at Anglican church? Because we profess Catholicism? But Catholics and Anglicans are very close, call them cousinsWhile Catholics use Latin often, Anglicans use English (now they both use the local languages), and while Rome is where the Pope (Pontiff) who is the Supreme Roman Catholic head lives, England is where the supreme head of the Anglicans have their headquarters, with the Archbishop of Canterbury as the senior most cleric and the monarch (King or Queen) the supreme governor. The liturgy is almost the same. We both recite the Paternoster” Paternoster qui es incaeli”. “Our father who art in Heaven” and the Nicene Creed: “Credo in unumdeum…”, “I believe in one God…”.
History teaches us that until 1534, the Catholic Church was supreme in England, till King Henry VIII failed to obtain an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, King Henry VIII was ex-communicated the year after an elated Pope Leo X, had bestowed on King Henry VIII the coveted title of “Defender of the Faith” (Fidei Defensor); but he sought to divorce Catherine on the grounds that she was not giving the King a son to inherit the Kingdom. The King’s choice was Anne Boleyn, who after King Henry’s death reigned as monarch between 1534 and 1536, till she was beheaded on charges of treason.
Let us celebrate the occasion -the new bishop, Dr. Addo Kufuor James Osman Adjei, the choir and all the congregants. For us, “silver and gold have (we) none”, but well-wishes: “Bishop, se w’aba a tenaase.”