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09.04.2006 Regional News

Police return to Sekondi Anglican Cathedral to avoid clash


Sekondi, April 9, GNA - Five days after armed policemen withdrew from the Sekondi Saint Andrew the Apostle Anglican Cathedral, a contingent was rushed back to the Church on Sunday morning to prevent a possible clash between two factions of the congregation. The policemen were deployed at the Church, following information that a faction led by Right Reverend John Otoo had hatched a plot to break into the Church to celebrate mass.

A Police officer told the Ghana News Agency at Sekondi on Sunday that the any attempt by the faction to move into the church could lead in a violent clash because the youth and some elders had also vowed to resist any such attempt.

Armed policemen were seen guarding the Cathedral when the Ghana News Agency visited the place.

Some members of the Church were seen parking in chairs, tables and some church regalia used to celebrate mass at the Sekondi Youth Centre, while others gathered in groups and were discussing the on-going impasse.

On March 19, about 70-armed policemen were deployed to the Cathedral to protect lives and property when some members of the Church allegedly swore to prevent Rt. Rev. Otoo from celebrating his maiden mass at the Cathedral.

The police remained at the Cathedral until April four when a Sekondi High Court ordered their withdrawal.

The disagreement among the congregation bubbled up on January 10, 2004 when Rt. Rev. Otoo was elected by the Synod at Tarkwa as the Bishop of the Sekondi Diocese of the Church.

In a related development, a large number of the youth and some elders of the Church observed Palm Sunday at the Sekondi Youth Centre. The Reverend Dr. Jacob Augustine Welbourne, Dean of the Saint Andrew the Apostle Cathedral who delivered the sermon, asked the youth to use the death and resurrection of Jesus to renew their faith in God. He urged Christians to stand firm in the faith and become instruments of God for peace on earth.