The Government would soon organize pilgrimages for Christians to enable them visit Holy sites around the world.

This is to make such travels easier for Christians who feel the need to embark on them.
Mr Samuel Kofi Ahiave Dzamesi, Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, said at a press briefing in Accra on Thursday, that whilst faith and believe were personal pursuits “these values have implications for our national development, social cohesion and peaceful co-existence.

He said one of the means of getting citizens to participate in nation building, was to allow space for inner spiritual expression, adding, “the nexus of cohesion and meaningful coexistence, is the platform for worship without conflict with state law”. Mr Dzamesi said the government was mindful of concerns of the Christian community to be given the opportunity to visit historical and religious sites that had a strong connection with their faith.

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He said the sites, whilst they signified expressions of testimony in many ways, created a clear understanding of the growth and spread of the religion.The Minister said whilst Christians in the country have been going on pilgrimage to the State of Israel, such individual efforts did not enable a lot of Christians to undertake the pilgrimage.

Mr Dzamesi said under the Ministry, much more organized and systemized Christian pilgrimages would be organized.
He said the Ministry had set up two sub-committees, namely the planning and screening committees, composed of members of recognized Christian bodies.

Touching on the nature of the pilgrimage, the Minister said adherents should belong to a church that was also registered with a recognized Christian body.
“There would be a maiden pilgrimage consisting of not more than one hundred persons from the various churches of the Christian bodies,” Mr Dzamesi, said, adding that this initial pilgrimage by the Ministry would inform subsequent arrangements.

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The Minister said the Ghanaian authorities were presently discussing with the Embassy of The State of Israel, to ensure the success of the pilgrimage.
He said the initial fee for the pilgrimage per person was $2,700(two thousand seven hundred dollars) or its equivalent in Ghanaian cedis, adding that the fee was much less than that paid elsewhere.

Mr. Dzamesi cited some highlights as the renewal of Baptismal promises, Renewal of wedding promises in the church of the miracle of Cana, the ceremony of the awarding of the Jerusalem Pilgrim certificate.
The Minister said the pilgrimage programme of the Ministry was not to the state of Israel alone, but would cover countries where Christian pilgrimages were undertaken.
He urged Christians and all other stake-holders to help make the programme a success.
GNA