The “best contribution we can all make” to the legacy of the late former President Jerry John Rawlings “is to unite as Ghanaians and put country first: to build together as citizens of a community rather than divided peoples of parties and tribes”, the Presiding Archbishop of Action Chapel International, Nicholas Duncan-Williams, has advised.
“We should care less about self-enlargement and the things that divide us, as he did”, the founder of ACI said in a eulogy to the late military leader, who died of an illness on Thursday, 12 November 2020 at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
“As we lay him to rest in the spirit of gratitude and appreciation, for his contribution to the nation and its people, let us also allow these words to resonate in our hearts: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’ (Matt 5:7)’”, the cleric said.
He also noted that Mr Rawlings had a selfless character and put Ghana first.
“President Rawlings ‘dared greatly’ and will never be among those cold and timid souls, who neither know great defeats nor victories. Late President Rawlings was the personification of ‘the man in the arena’”.
Read Archbishop Duncan-Williams’ full tribute below:
Re: A Memorial Tribute: The Late H.E. Jerry John Rawlings – by His Eminence the Archbishop Nicholas-Duncan Williams and Action Chapel International
As Theodore Roosevelt stated in a speech called “Citizenship in a Republic,” which, among some, would come to be known as “The Man in the Arena.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
As much as the timing is painful and difficult, Scripture says: “There is no man that has power over the spirit to retain the spirit, neither has he power in the day of death; and there is no discharge in that war.” (Eccl 8:8).
President Rawlings ‘dared greatly’ and will never be among those cold and timid souls who neither know great defeats or victories. Late President Rawlings was the personification of “the Man in the Arena”.
When Ghana was at the crossroads in 2000, I was living in the US at the time, many people called me with concerns about the uncertainty of the future political spectrum of our beloved nation Ghana. In a conversation with Jerry about these concerns, he expressed his conviction that he had done his best and had to now move on to make way for others to come in and continue the task of nation-building. This spoke volumes to me about the selfless character of the man. Can you imagine what the story of Ghana would be if he had selfishly held on to power? I will remember him for putting Ghana first.
Now is the time to focus on the good that he did and the contributions he made, to extend forgiveness and grace where he missed it. He himself had some deep regrets. The best contribution we can all make to his legacy is to unite as Ghanaians and put country first: to build together as citizens of a community rather than divided peoples of parties and tribes. We should care less about self-enlargement and the things that divide us, as he did.
As we lay him to rest in the spirit of gratitude and appreciation, for his contribution to the nation and its people, let us also allow these words to resonate in our hearts, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matt 5:7).
May his soul rest in peace. May the God of all consolation comfort the heart of especially Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, Zanetor, Yaa Asantewaa, Amina, Kimathi and grandchildren and all who grieve at his passing. May Ghana be united and may this be a wakeup call for leaders across all nations to do the right thing whilst we yet have time.
I respectfully ask that in memory of the Late President Jerry John Rawlings that you join me and the Action Chapel network of churches worldwide, in a day of memorial and corporate prayer on Monday, 16th November from 12noon to 1 pm GMT (7 am EST) at the Prayer Cathedral, Spintex Road, Accra, or you can join us online on Facebook Live on Archbishop Nick.
God bless our homeland Ghana and make her great and strong.
ARCHBISHOP NICHOLAS DUNCAN-WILLIAMS
ACTION CHAPEL INTERNATIONAL