|Rev. Sam Korankye Ankrah (L) and Dag Heward Mills (R)|
Two of Ghana’s thriving charismatic churches with huge membership, the Lighthouse Chapel International (LCI) and Royal House Chapel, have banned handshakes and hugs among their members as part of measures to fight the dreaded Ebola disease.
Handshakes and ‘Christian’ hugs are very common ways of exchanging pleasantries at churches. Therefore the ban placed on the two gestures would certainly cause an unusual feeling among congregants.
Rev. Derek Amanor, resident pastor of Royal House, explained to Adom Fm on Monday that the measures were not to prevent members from fraternising but were practical and logical ways of preventing the spread of the virus.
He said apart from the ban on handshakes and hugs, the church constantly educated its members on how to stay away from contracting the Ebola virus.
“We are asking them to wash their hands and offering the necessary education but we do have a medical team to attend to such complication, so I believe that when such an issue comes up we can deal with it appropriately,” Rev. Amanor added.
Interestingly, while these Ghanaian clergy are asking their congregants to adopt practical ways of not contracting Ebola, sensational Nigerian prophet, T. B. Joshua, has thrown a challenge to the governments of countries where persons are affected with the Ebola virus, to invite him over to use his ‘anointed water’ to cure such persons.
The Ebola virus currently has no cure and has killed close to a 1000 people in some West African countries, sending shivers across the rest of the world. Its patients die within days.
The World Health Organisation says it has lost control over the fast spreading epidemic that is contracted through direct contact with fluids of infected patients, as well as from eating the meat of animals such as apes, fruit bats and antelopes.
Liberia, one of the worst affected countries, has declared a 90-day state of emergency and has shut a major hospital where several staff were infected, including a Spanish priest. Nigeria has also recorded about two deaths, whilst Sierra Leone and Guinea have also recorded some deaths.
Ghana is yet to record a single Ebola case, though some medical institutions have conducted tests on samples taken from some patients who manifested symptoms of Ebola.
By Halifax Ansah-Addo (Twitter: @HalifaxAnsahAdd)