5th March 2016, The Christian Day of Prayer and Service in The Gambia went well and far beyond expectations. It will be recorded as a great day of Christian unity and solidarity in the history of The Gambia. There was a record attendance coming from Christians, Muslims and people of non-faith from Banjul and the Greater Banjul Areas. Well selected inspiration songs filled the air. This National Day of Prayer has been rated as the greatest Gambian Christian gathering.
The prayers and service started at 09:00am and continued till 12:30 mid-day. Indeed the Gambia Christian Council was very pleased and expressed heart felt gratitude and appreciation to the following institutions for their support in making this event a success: Guaranty Trust Bank, Africell, Gambia Pastoral Institute, Solmic Catering, Unique Graphics, Knights of Saints Peter and Paul, West Coast Radio and Hot FM Radio.
The event started with the National Anthem followed by Introductory Remarks and Opening Prayer: by GCC Chairperson-Presiding Hannah C. Faal-Heim. She emphasized the need for continued love, respect, peace and harmony for all living in the Gambia.
Exhortations: by Bishop Robert Ellison (Roman Catholic Mission). He remarked that 10th December 2015 will forever be remembered in the history of The Gambia. It was the onset of a period of uncertainties in the country. The declaration in December 2015 was followed by series of events that led one to wonder whether these were mare coincident; namely the change of name for the country, organizing an Islamic Conference on 7th February 2016 and the Marrakesh conference in the Middle-East. The Bishop in prayer recited the National Anthem emphasizing “We strive and work and pray, That all may live in unity, freedom and peace each day. Let justice guide our action towards our common good, And join our diverse peoples to prove man’s brotherhood”.
Prayers of Adoration: by Bishop James Odico (Anglican Mission). He observed that the day has been characterized by harmonious atmosphere discipline and respect. That it is a day of thanks giving to recognize and appreciate the peace that prevailed in the Gambia between Christens, Muslims and people of non-faith. He observed that Gambians regularly renew their pledge in the words of the National Anthem: “That all may live in Unity, Freedom and Peace each day.” There was much emphasis on the word “ALL” and he skeptically posed the questions “Does a referee take sides? And “Is a referee neutral? He prayed that the will of God, not man, be done on earth.
Scripture Readings: by the Roman Catholic Mission Ps 93, Eph. 1:3-6 (In Wolof)
Scripture Readings: by Anglican Mission 2: Chronicles 7:14-16 1 John 1:5-10
Scripture Readings: by the Methodist Mission Col. 3:15-17 and 1 Paul Thessalonians 5: 16-22
Scripture Readings: by Pastor Sylvester Jammeh (Evangelical Member) Genesis 18: 22-33; 1 Timothy 2:1 and 2
Prayers of Supplication: by Pastor John C. Njie (Evangelical Member). He remarked that it is time to make real the promises of democracy in The Gambia; this is the time to call upon our God. Worshipers were reminded that because of the obedience and humility of Jesus God gave Him a name above all other names. He further noted that “whenever the name of my God is called upon He answers”. The call of Christians on this day of prayer is “Let the Kingdom of God/Yahweh/Jehovah visit the Gambia; let false imprisonment and injustice cease to exist. Let justice guide our leaders in the Gambia and that Christians are praying from a point of victory not for victory”.
Silent prayers of personal confessions led by Bishop Ellison – Catholic Bishop
Prayers of Thanksgiving: Rev. Gabriel Allen (Methodist Mission). The prayer sessions recalled history starting with the period of Slave Trade affirming that both white people and local inhabitants connived in the capture and sale of slaves. It was a dark period of history that culminated with its abolition and subsequent arrival of Missionaries that built churches throughout the country, from Amdallai to Sabi, from Koina to Banjul. This space of evangelization and education witnessed a period of rule with compassion and justice that earned the Gambia the name ‘The Smiling Coast of Africa’. The Day of Prayer has now connected together people in God’s wisdom; all are urged to ‘Stand up for Jesus; and that the strive will not be long”.
Vote of Thanks: by GCC General Secretary Rev. Mthr. Priscilla Johnson, She was overwhelmed by the great multitude of people many of who remained standing throughout the event. It was the desire to organize similar meetings periodically.
Closing Remarks and Prayer: by GCC Chairperson-Presiding Bishop Hannah C. Faal-Heim and finally Benediction by the three Bishops namely Methodist, Catholic and Anglican.
There were intermittent hymns of praise, thanksgiving and dancing to gospel music songs. These included: The Church is One Foundation; All Creatures of our God & King; Our God is An Awesome God; Ngum Na ti Yov, Yesu; Dear Lord and Father of Mankind; All to Jesus I Surrender; Sune Yesu; There Is A Redeemer; Na Het Yi Yep Santa Sunu Yalla; Give Thanks; Shine Jesus Shine; He Is Lord; Magay U Kerten; We Are One In The Spirit; Onward Christian Soldiers and To God Be The Glory.
Worshipers rendered thanks to God for giving the Holy Spirit that protects the Church. It was a prayerful day; strong statements were made that ‘This is time for the Gambia and in unity there is strength’. There were calls for encouragement, strength and boldness for the present and future. People were highly energized to speak out strongly and very loud to the unwelcome signs in the Gambia. There were prayers for the Church and Mission in The Gambia and the world over. The gathering implored upon God the Almighty to take control over the situation in The Gambia; they cried out that ‘The battle is the Lord’s’.