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13.08.2005 Regional News

Fourth Methofest celebration opens in Takoradi.


Takoradi, August 13, - GNA-Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City has asked Ghanaians not to equate service to servitude. He said nobility of service should motivate those in the tourism industry to compete effectively and improve on the image of their profession.

Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey said these at the launch of the fourth national celebration of the Methodist Festival of History and Archives (Methofest) 2005 of the Methodist Church Ghana in Takoradi on Friday.

It was on the theme: "170 years of Ghana Methodism, The Heritage of the Church and the Challenges of the 21st Century". He commended the Methodist Church for initiating the festival and asked them to preserve the good things of life. Mr.Obetsebi-Lamptey asked the church to include tourism and hospitality in its vocational training for the youth. "In the near future, the tourism industry will boom and generate jobs and as a country we need to attain a professional level of service in the sector", he said, adding that tourists must be treated as guests to enable them to feel comfortable and spend more time in the country.

Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey stressed that the unsanitary conditions in many towns and cities could lead to the outbreak of communicable diseases that could adversely affect productivity and reduce wealth creation capabilities of the country. He therefore, charged leaders of religious organisations to educate their members on the maintenance of a healthy environment and avoid the indiscriminate building and disposal of waste in waterways and in drains.

"If we do what is right to our environment, we will create a society and destination that other people will want to be part of," he stressed. The Minister noted that many tourists like to travel to healthy and decent places and communities to avoid the busy nature of their work environments and to reflect on their future.

The Most Reverend Robert Aboagye-Mensah, Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, Ghana said the Methodist University College would next month introduce a Music Centre to offer training to organists, musicians and other church leaders to popularise Methodist songs and hymns.

He said the Church would develop leaders for its own use and for the growth of the nation, adding that, Methofest has the objective to transform some aspects of the country's culture. Rev. Aboagye-Mensah said the Church would continue to translate its liturgy and other books into local languages to enable more members to benefit from its rich historical documents. The Presiding Bishop said the Methodist Church would also develop some tourist and historical sites in Cape Coast, Ashanti, Western and the Brong Ahafo regions for both church and state use. Rev. Aboagye-Mensah called for a research into the advantages and disadvantages of tourism on the economy of the country. Nana Kobina Nketsiah V, Omanhene of Essikadu traditional area said the Church must not sit unconcerned, while the citizenry continue to suffer abuses and injustice.

He said the church must always act as the mouthpiece of society and "be bold enough to speak when things are not going well." Nana Nketsiah stressed that without the voice of the church, evil would reign, while fear, and hopelessness and chaos could overtake the nation. Odeneho Gyapong Ababio, President of the National House of Chiefs, who chaired the function said Methofest was a laudable idea and urged the church to make its teachings and practices reflect that of Africa. He said it would be too suicidal for the church to look down on traditions that are not fetish or do not promote idol worship. The Very Rev. john Harvey-Ewusi, Bishop of the Sekondi Diocese of the Church in a welcoming address said the celebrations had brought together Methodists in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire together and efforts must be made to include other African countries in future celebrations.