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Opinions of Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Columnist: Rev. Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong

Church leaders must ensure adequate security at their premises

With the current terrorist threats on churches in some West African countries including Ghana, church leaders must show much more concern about security of their members and facilities. Churches in Ghana have over the years enjoyed peace and security from attacks by religious terrorists something we must give thanks to God and our various Governments. Churches must keep praying for divine protection and security for the Country.

The current threats and attacks on Churches however, is awake up call to church leaders to re-consider safety of church members and church premises something that might have been taken for granted over the years. In times like this, our Lord Jesus Christ’s instruction of “watch and pray’ (Matt 26:41) ought to remain our guiding principle. Church leaders, ushers etc. must be trained on some basic skills in security, body language and how to move people to safety.

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) equipment and other security gadgets must be installed in church premises. Attention must be paid to sitting arrangements of new members and visitors during church services with some security arrangements around them until their dedication can be trusted.

Security is a collective responsibility and therefore church leaders and members must demonstrate serious interest in their own security. However, church members are also Ghanaians and therefore their ultimate security responsibility is per the constitution of the Country in the domain of the various security agencies and the President of the land. The impression that the Churches must take care of their own security under the recent terrorist threats cannot therefore be a serious option. Church leaders, members and facilities must be protected from any form of attacks by the state security agencies.

State security must even be extended to other Religious bodies as moderate Muslims have been attacked by terrorists’ groups in some countries. The various security agencies as a matter of urgency must initiate a national conversation on the security of our country especially in the face of terrorist threats and attacks. Education and right information on terrorists’ activities must be given to religious leaders, heads of academic institutions, hotel managers, media houses etc. to avoid panic and false alarms. The security agencies may need to consider providing the public with additional contact number(s) purposely for information on terrorists’ suspicions and activities.

Christian and Muslim leaders must pay much more attention to inter-faith relations. We are Ghanaians first before becoming members of our various faith communities. Religious leaders must strengthen our bond of corporation and demonstrate to the world that we will not allow Ghanaian innocent blood to be shed just because of our religious, ethnic, political affiliations, differences and expressions. Members of the various religious bodies must avoid offering religious space for terrorists to destroy our dear nation. We are one Nation, one People with a common Destiny.

The recent terrorists’ attacks on churches in Sri Lanka, Burkina Faso, etc. must set security strategy agenda for the churches. While trusting the good Lord to provide His people with security we must also accept responsibility of our actions. The approach must remain divine intervention and human action.

‘As the mountains surround Jerusalem so the Lord surrounds His people’ (Psalm 125:2). May our dear nation Ghana be kept safe, sound and secured by the power of God.