General News of Monday, 1 April 2013
The International Council for Clergy (ICC) has described efforts by government to support Christian pilgrimage to Israel as good, timely, appropriate and commendable.
The ICC says pilgrimage to Israel has been a constant programme being organised by Christian bodies.
A statement issued by Archbishop Slezer Ofori-Atta, Presiding Archbishop of the ICC in Accra, and copied to the Ghana News Agency said in respect of this, some Ecclesiastical bodies came together and brokered an arrangement with the government of the late President John Evans Atta-Mills.
The bodies asked the government to assist the Christian community in undertaking pilgrimage to Israel.
“It is in giving realism to this arrangement that the current government now seeks to support Christendom in order to lighten the burden of undertaking such pilgrimage in the same fashion as the help being given to the Muslim community.
“The Bible enjoins Christians to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and they that do so shall equally be blessed. In other words, they that align themselves with Israel become partakers of Israel’s blessings.
“Israel herself was directed by God through Jeremiah when they were in captivity in Babylon to pray for the peace and prosperity of the nation in which they live.
“Judaism and Israel are impetus of Christianity, and Christians have been going on a constant pilgrimage to Israel,” he said.
Archbishop Ofori-Atta said the pilgrimage was meant to walk and touch places where the Lord Jesus Christ, the Founder and Leader of souls walked, touched, slept and worked in order to concretise their faith and believe in Him and to continue to work assiduously for Him.
He said a particular geographical location for prayer does not necessarily hold the panacea for answered prayer or give assurance of answered prayer.
“Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that God has well chosen a particular group of people called Israel through covenant and promised them of answering their prayers from the temple in Jerusalem.
Archbishop Ofori-Atta said accessing support from the government for a Christian pilgrimage should not be construed to mean insensitivity on the part of the Clergy to the plight of the nation.
“This goodwill gesture of the government is a good start and we urge the government to actualise it to the fullest and not to renegade on the benevolence.”