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Archbishop Tilewa Johnson Interred

Feb 24, 2014, 10:15 AM

Burial took place last Friday at the Bishops Court, Banjul of the Most Rev’d Solomon Tilewa, Ethelbert Willie Johnson.

The late archbishop passed away a couple of weeks ago after a game of tennis at the Fajara Club, where he was an active member.

Prior to the interment, a pontificalfuneral and requiem mass was held at the Independence Stadium,Bakau, presided over by His grace, the Most Rev. Daniel Y. Sarfo, acting Primate of the Church of the Province of West Africa CPWA (Anglican Communion) who also doubles as the Archbishop of the Internal Province of Ghana.

The service was graced by thousands of Gambians from all walks of life and other dignitaries from further afield and from across the large expanse of the Christian communion worldwide.

Tributes to the memory of the late Most Rev. Johnson were also delivered at a pre-burial vigil at the Christ Church Serrekunda where hundreds gatheredto celebrate his life and works to the Christian and other religions communities and The Gambia as a whole.

The funeral cortege started at the Abiding Word Ministry, Bakau, led by a procession of the clergy, family members, friends and sympathizers to the Independence Stadium for the mass in the forenoon.

A high powered delegation led by Mr. Bala Garba Jahumpa, Minister for Works and Construction was also present to represent the government.

Delivering the homily, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Victor Atta-Baffoe recounted the shock the church has lived with since the sad demise of the archbishop and for him a personal sense of loss; his consecration and enthronement as bishop being one of the last episcopal duties of the late primate.

Rt Rev. Dr. Atta-Baffoe cautioned the faithful to be wary of unbelief and refrain from questioning God when situations of this nature occurred.

He likened the present loss to that suffered by Job, a servant of God.

He reminded the congregation that as a people of God, there will be trials and temptations but one needs to remain steadfast in faith for ‘’we are only human.’’

He entreated the faithful to work tirelessly to promote ecumenism as did the late archbishop so that both our lives and works will have a positive impact on people.

The late archbishop, he remarked, had been transported from labour to reward.

Concluding, Rt. Rev. Dr. Atta-Baffoe encouraged all to work hard for God and that as one reflects on this loss of a dear archbishop, father,colleague and friend, we are assured that ‘God is His own interpreter and He will make it plain.’

Among the large congregants were the retired Primates of the CPWA, the current archbishops and bishops of provinces and dioceses and their delegations.

Also present were Muslims elders, a representation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, (head of the Anglican communion worldwide), Partners-in-Mission, the heads of the Catholic and Methodist missions, pastors and members of the ecumenical religious fraternity.

The late Archbishop S.T. Johnson was chairman of the Gambia Christian Council on several occasions.

He also served in various capacities as president or current elected member of the Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in West Africa (FECCIWA).

All Africa Council of Churches (AACC) 2013-2018 and the World Council of Churches (WCC) 2013-2113.

He was at one time chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission.