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01.08.2006 Regional News

Anglican Rebels celebrate release

By Times
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The faction of the St. Andrew Anglican Cathedral Church, Sekondi, whose leaders were released from jail for contempt on Friday, celebrated a thanksgiving mass on Sunday but not in the Cathedral.

The Rev. Father Jacob Welbourne, former dean of the Cathedral, Daniel Assafuah, Emmanuel Papa Assan, Augustus Quaye and Kofi Abbey-Hart, joined other worshippers for the mass held at the forecourt of the Shama-Ahanta East Metropolitan Assembly.

Clad mostly in white clothes, they waved white handkerchiefs, danced and sang praises to God.

Many members of the Cathedral joined the "breakaway" group at the assembly premises some 50 metres away from the cathedral.

The group has indicated that it will be worshipping at the new venue until it finds a more convenient place.

The celebrant was Provost Joseph Quaye (Rtd). He was assisted by the Rev. Father Kobina A. Tawiah-Eshun.

In his sermon on "faith" the Rev. Tawiah-Eshun said Christians, since time immemorial, had experienced threats, imprisonment, abuse, marginalization, hunger and even death but with persistent faith, "they kept going."

He told the congregation that without faith "it will be impossible to please God," and advised Christians that whilst they prayed, they should demonstrate strong faith.

"This will enable you to overcome obstacles that may impede your services and worship," Rev. Tawiah-Eshun said.

He said the determination of the five jailed but released people had united the “breakaway” group.

“Today is the actual beginning of the journey of faith. The five have set the pace for others to emulate,” Rev. Tawiah-Eshun stated.

“Let's forget the past. Let bygones be bygones and let's move ahead,” he urged.

Preaching at the Cathedral nearby, the Rev Canon Richard Bentil asked members of the congregation to let their talents have a bearing on the church.

He asked them not to let the past prevent them from attaining the height God wanted them to reach in life.

Rev. Canon Bentil asked them to pray for the “breakaway” group because they still bear the mark of the Anglican Church.
Meanwhile, the contempt case by Bishop John Otoo against eight members of the faction opposed to him is still pending before the Takoradi High Court.

The eight are the Rev. Welbourne, the Rev. Father Kobina Tawiah Eshun, Daniel Assafuah, Kwabena Benyarku, Joseph Quagraine, Emmanuel Papa Assan, Augustus Quaye and Kofi Abbey-Hart.

Five of them were jailed on contempt charges and were released last Friday after they apologized to the court for the offence.

Rt. Rev. John Otoo, Bishop of the Sekondi diocese of the Anglican Church, has been caught up in a fund with a faction of the Sekondi Cathedral church who rejected the Bishop's election four years ago.

The faction 'fighting' the Bishop is led by Rev. Fr. Jacob Welbourne, former dean of the Cathedral.

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