Prepared by: Mrs. Ralphina de Almeida, Archbishop's Enthronement Adviser and Spokesperson. Date: 20th November, 2012.
Sunday 18th November, 2012 was a red-letter, historic and epoch-making day in the annals of the Anglican Church, in the Province of the West African Sub-Region. It was the occasion of the Enthronement of one of the Bishops of its eight-member states (comprising Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea,/ Bissau, Guinea / Conakry, Liberia, Senegal / Cape Verde, Sierra Leone and The Gambia), the Most. Rev. Dr. Solomon Tilewa E. W. Johnson; the first Gambian to be elected as its ninth Archbishop, Primate and Metropolitan, since this episcopate community was inaugurated in 1951.
This ceremony was celebrated with great pomp and pageantry in a Primatial Eucharist at the St. Mary's Cathedral in the capital City of Banjul. The festivities, which included a Primatial banquet later that evening, were attended by more than fifty Episcopal, Synodal and ordinary delegates from Anglican Church of the Province of West Africa (CPWA), the USPG / UK, France, and the USA; including Bishops and clergy of other Christian denominations in The Gambia,
as well as a multitude of worshippers representing the Gambian Government, local political leaders, members of the Anglican Diocese, sister Churches, Muslim brethren, relatives and associates of the new Archbishop, from a broad cross-section of the Gambian community.
The Enthroned Archbishop, Primate and Metropolitan's mandate is for a period of five years. During his tenure of this apex office in the hierarchy of the Anglican episcopacy, Archbishop Dr.S.Tilewa Johnson will be duty-bound to address a host of the current challenges, with which the West African Sub-region is beset. These will include: the scourge of endemic poverty (which is generated by the need for technical capacity-building, eradication of illiteracy, youth employment creation, a rights-based approach to the inclusion and empowerment of women, both in the Church and at the socio-economic level); environmental protection; mitigation of the effects of global warming; disaster prevention / preparedness; alleviation of the food crisis in the drought-prone Sahel; curbing of internecine religious strife and the HIV / AIDS pandemic.
In order to endow the newly-fledged Archbishop and Primate with the required, divinely inspired spiritual grace, visionary perspicacity, prudence, patience, physical endurance, Christ-like humility, fortitude and operational effectiveness, a concerted combination of constant prayers and solidarity from the ecumenical episcopacy, CPWA Synod members and laity, back-stopped by the non-Christian partners of His Grace the Archbishop, will be an indispensable catalyst to bolster and empower the successful execution of the onerous ideals and expectations that are inherent in his mandate and responsibilities.
Ralphina de Almeida is the Archbishop's Enthronement Adviser and Spokesperson.