Watch Night -Accra
At Presbyterian Church of Resurrection in Accra, the congregation ushered in the New Year with singing and shouts of joy to show appreciation to the Almighty God for guiding them through the previous year.
There were shouts of joy amidst singing and dancing at exactly 0000 hours when the lights in the Church hall was switched on after it has been switched off at 1135 hours.
The Reverend Tetteh Akunor, Head Pastor of the Church, urged Christians to lead exemplary lives in the year 2005 to enable them to tell other people about the good message of Christ. He said every Christian was important to God and advised them to consider themselves as useful for God's work.
Rev Akunor said: "God has a purpose for every Christian, that is why He has spared you to live to this day. So we must be ready to do the work of God well in year 2005, as He has commissioned us to do His work."
He asked members to correct the wrong things they did during year 2004, adding that the Church always used the watch night service as a platform for evaluating its activities in the passing year. The Church prayed for members, who died in year 2004 and the Nation for prosperity.
At the Harvest Chapel International Church, the Reverend Fitzgerald Odonkor, Head Pastor, told the GNA that the year 2005 would be a period for rebuilding the family, Church and country. He said, "with a new approach, new attitude, a sense of direction and true spirit of reconciliation we can build a prosperous nation in the New Year".
Rev Odonkor urged the Church and the nation to usher in the New Year with a new sense of determination adding that nation building required humility, discipline, diligence, sense of responsibility and love from all persons.
The Head Pastor, who is also a Senior Manager at ECOBANK Ghana Limited, said; "we need to examine ourselves, sit up and ask whether we are building the nation in love and sincerity. Be a builder not a destroyer", he added.
Rev Odonkor encouraged members of the Church to be inspired by the word of God to transform their lives.
He said any form of innovations in the New Year should be aimed at changing the lives of the broken hearted, the poor, captives, backsliders and anything bad into righteousness. Rev Emmanuel Titi-Lartey, who preached the New Year Sermon, urged Christians to move into 2005 with prayers and faith knowing very well that God was with them.
He said men of God moved with faith, "just as Abraham left his home town relying on the promises of God". Rev Titi-Lartey said with prayers and fortitude, Ghana would move forward and overcome all social and economic problems. Prayers were said for the nation and members for God's guidance and progress.
The Reverend Augustine Bugyei, Head Pastor, Christ Apostolic Church, Osu branch on the eve of New Year said: "If Christians would keep a perfect heart and be righteous they would triumph over the challenges of the year 2005."
He said: "The Lord is merciful and would always give a second chance for people to change their ways but that would depend on the Christians' faithfulness and commitment to Him."
Reverend Bugyei was delivering a sermon on the theme; "God is asking for your file for the second time" at the Watch Night Service of the Church.
He said though some people might consider the year 2004 as a period of disappointments and failures, God would give them happiness and successes in 2005.
He said: " The second time shall be greater than the former so never give up because you know the one who watches over you. "Your first file could have death written boldly in it with the enemy being the controller, but when God demands for it, the situation would be different".
Rev Bugyei said the life one led determined to a large extent the chances of receiving favour from the Lord, which would turn things to his or her favour.
About 30 minutes to the New Year, Rev Bugyei led the congregation in a prayer intercession for reaffirmation of their faith in God and renewal of their commitment for 2005.
Bishop Charles Agyin Asare of the Word Miracle Church International in his New Year message urged Christians to forgive those who had offended them in order to let peace prevail and to receive God's blessings.
He was delivering the sermon at a special watch night service at the Trade Fair Site for members of the various branches of the Church. The Bishop cautioned that Christians would be blocking a smooth communication between them and God if they held on to the pain or hurt due to an offence committed against them.
Bishop Agyin Asare said: "To forgive is divine" and asked Christians to learn from the God they worshipped who did not hold on to the sins of mankind but was always forgiving.
He said the year 2005 would be a year of refreshing and restoration to Christians, the nation and the world at large, stressing that it would be a season of blossom where the dry tree would receive strength. The Bishop called on Christians to endeavour to set the pace in the fight for peace and unity.