AN FGCI PASTORAL LETTER ON THE PASSING AWAY OF THE FORMER PRESIDENT, HIS EXCELLENCY, JOHN EVANS ATTA MILLS
“Then David and all the men with him took hold of their clothes and tore them. They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and the house of Israel, because they have fallen by the sword”. 2 Samuel 1:11-12 (NIV)
With the tragic and unprecedented event of the passing away of a sitting President of our dear nation Ghana, we find ourselves in unchartered waters. Ghana is mourning the death of President John Evans Atta Mills, who passed away at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra on Tuesday, 24th July, 2012.
The President’s demise hit the entire country like a thunderbolt, since it is the first time in the history of the country that a sitting President has passed away. Even though this has not happened before, we can collectively trust in the goodness of God to sail through the turbulent waters. We have to acknowledge the strength of our democratic governance structures, in that, within six (6) hours of the passing away of the sitting President, we were able to complete the critical transition process and swore in a new President. As a nation, that attests to the strength of character of our constitutional democracy. That should emphasize the point that there is nothing we cannot do with unity of purpose as a nation.
During this period of national mourning, I urge all FGCI members to rise above partisan politics and rally round the red, gold and green national flag. As directed by His Excellency, President John Dramani Mahama, I hereby instruct that all flags at all FGCI churches in Ghana should fly at half mast for a period of one week in honour of our fallen President. At this material moment what matters most is the bigger picture which is Ghana, our motherland.
Until our former President, Professor John Evans Atta Mills is buried, I urge that we should all refrain from petty critical comments and arguments that can possibly divide us rather than unite us and honour the memory and legacy of the man who committed his life to the service of our dear nation and its people – even to his last breath.
Indeed, we were all aware of his health challenges, yet when his immediate family encouraged him to step down, because of his commitment and love to the nation he stayed the course till the end. We should be encouraged by this noble testimony of selflessness so that we think more about others and service to the nation and humanity. Life, as it is often said, is not about us; but about service to others and God.
“Your glory, O Israel, lies slain on your heights. How the mighty has fallen! Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice”. 2 Samuel 1:19-20 (NIV)
The former First Lady, Mrs. Ernestina Naadu Mills, at this tragic moment would need our prayers for God to strengthen, comfort and encourage her and the former first family. We pray that the Lord would give her the assurance of His presence.
The new President, His Excellency, John Dramani Mahama, without doubt would need our prayers too. We must pledge our loyalty and commitment to him so as to be able to steer the ship of state with determination and creditability. Let us help him to manage the five (5) months of transition that would take us through a peaceful and successful election in December 2012.
For the next one (1) month, throughout August 2012, all Pastors should re-craft their sermons (word ministration) during Friendly Sunday Services to address the national mood and to respond to the challenge we face as a nation. The sermons should carry messages of hope and encouragement during these difficult and challenging period.
At this point, may I kindly ask that we all rise up to observe a minute’s silence in honour of our fallen President after which the national anthem should be sung.
[One minute silence followed by the singing of the national anthem].
May the Lord bless our people and bless FGCI. May He strengthen us in this moment of grief. And may the Lord bless this country; our homeland Ghana.
Long live FGCI, long live Ghana.
Yours in His Service,
Rt. Rev. S. N. Mensah
Cc: Vice President, DOA, NAB Chairman, File
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