By Edward Francis Dalliah
Most Revd Bannie E. F. Manga, the presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church in the Gambia and Chairperson of the Gambia Christian Council delivered his Christmas and New Year’s message yesterday 22nd December 2023 urging Gambians to declare 2024 “as a year of responsible living”. The leader of the Christian faith and Methodist Church noted that he is not stating that “we have not been responsible”, however, “we could be more responsible”.
Speaking about 2023, he revealed that “the year has been characterized with many eventful, beautiful and some challenging stories. And that “all of these realities continue to shape and inform our perspectives to life and community”. He noted that the end of 2023 allows us to reflect as well and to project into the future giving thanks to God for the sustenance of our lives.
However, he said the “premise of having our lives connected in some form to the Divine, God almighty has provoked a sentiment that echoes all through our nation”. Adding that this sentiment is summed in the words “it is the will of God”, in local Wolof “ndogal lii Yalla”. Thus, this theory leads “some to presume that all of life and its many journeys and stories are predestined or programmed to happen” he revealed.
In continuation, he noted such is “an idea in which we are somehow identified to be robots or some electronic system”. However, “we know that as human beings we are not programmed to limitations as we are given choices and called to be responsible”.
Speaking to members of the press at Banjul Wesley Cathedral, Bishop Manga preached that “together with the rest of the world, we are blessed with 52 weeks and 365 days in a leap year”. Therefore, “within this scope of understanding, I stand to suggest that in our gratefulness to God for the ensuing year of 2024, with all its possibilities and concerns, the year 2024 should be declared as a year of responsible living”.
He referenced some scriptures from the Bible, highlighting the book of Proverbs chapter 11 verse 3 and the book of Ezra chapter 10 verse 4; stating that “these verses of scripture encourage us to rise and take possession of our destinies”.
Finally, Bishop Manga enthused that “it is about time as Gambians and non-Gambians within this Jurisdiction that we take ownership of our future. We cannot do so by lamenting forever”. His wake-up call urged all Gambians that “the year 2024 is calling us to further move away from a rhetorical standpoint to issues of relevance to either addressing them or deliberately moving towards addressing them”.