The newly ordained Arch Bishop of Freetown and Bo Edward Tamba Charles has in his median address called on Muslims and Christians to embrace unity and development in the country.
With unity among the different religions he said, this can provide peaceful co-existence of human beings and the continuous enjoyment of religious tolerance.
“Religious tolerance is a valuable commodity, we should think seriously of exporting to other parts of the world where there are religious conflicts” the Arch Bishop said.
To the Moslems he said “with you, we profess faith in one God who is benevolent, merciful and compassionate, therefore I firmly believe that we can work together for the promotion of the human beings made in the image and like of this God, and for the advancement of our country and the development of its people. I am therefore looking forward to collaborating with you in the spirit of interreligious dialogue.”
Arch Bishop Tamba Charles pledged his diocese support to the President and Government of Sierra Leone and assured them of his personal prayers and the collaboration of the church in national development.
He maintained that both the government and church share the dream and aspiration to make the country better “a nation we can all love and admire and we pray that this dream may become a reality in the not too distant future.”
He echoed that God had bestowed us with lots of riches which other countries don’t have but lamented that it is really heart rendering for the nation to be permanently at the bottom of the human development index.
“We trust that you and your government would provide the leadership that would enable Sierra Leone to rise out of the quagmire of extreme, dehumanizing, poverty and underdevelopment. We are with you and we assure you and your government of our spiritual and moral support” he said.
The newly ordained Arch Bishop described his predecessor Arch Bishop Emeritus Ganda, as a great pastoral leader and nationalist.
Due to his hard work, he went on, “I have taken over a well developed diocese, composed of well motivated Priest, religious and lay faithful.”
Speaking on the vision of the church, Arch Bishop Charles said that he accepted the pastoral responsibility not because of carrying it all by himself but because he trusted in the priests, religious, sisters and the lay faithfuls of the archdiocese.
He stated his belief that with all the missionaries around they can all work together to move the church forward in this new phase of her evangelising mission.
“I am entering into this ministry with the concept of a church that is both local and missionary. It is therefore my ardent desire to promote and animate missionary awareness and spirit amongst the rank and file of our diocese.”
He continued “I would like to adopt a more missionary attitude in our parish ministry because there is yet so much to do to bring the Gospel to our people. We shall develop the concept of a missionary local church at the appropriate moment in the future. Let us not be afraid: the Master who has called us to collaborate with him in his mission of evangelisation tells us to cast our nets in the deep.”
In his homily and in addressing the Arch Bishop the Papal Nuncio Arch Bishop George Anthonysamy said that this marks an important history of the Arch Diocese.
The ordination he went on is done in consultation with the Pope, with his command and mandate.
The Arch Bishop he went on is a son of the Church in Sierra Leone and he is known and loved by the laity. Arch Bishop Charles is now responsible for the whole Church to command and that he has been assigned the unity of the Church.
He urged the ordained Arch Bishop to pay attention to the missionaries as they are blessed and resources that should not be forgotten.
He called on Arch Bishop Edward Tamba Charles to accept criticism and also accept all mistakes “you should be in the safe side of contradiction and you should not pay attention to Freetown and Bo but the whole country.”
Quoting Saint Augustine Arch Bishop Anthonysamy said “the Church is shaken when the foundation is shaken but since Christ who is the foundation cannot be shaken then the Church cannot be shaken.”