Prolonging The Lifespan Of The Ghana Cedi – The Role Of Churches
A little over a year ago, my sweet little sister got married to a very enterprising and ambitious young man. They had been sweethearts for some time so family and friends were enthusiastic and demonstrated true support for them as they celebrated their love for each other. Both the traditional and church ceremonies were well attended. As the big brother of the bride and head of the protocol team that handled both events, I was entrusted with custody of the offering collected during the church ceremony for safekeeping and onward transfer to the couple later when their heads were out of the clouds. As it is the practice in our congregation, the offering was not counted by the church authorities; it was just gathered as it came and handed over to the couple and then to me.
At the end of the celebrations my little sister and her husband graciously gave me the honour of counting the money for them and my God, what I saw when I opened the bag in which the money was kept was a real eyesore. Our precious Ghana cedi notes, degraded, mishandled and abused to the very lowest point. About ninety-nine percent of the notes were crumpled and squeezed so much that I had to iron some of them to enable me even arrange and count them properly.
Whoever misled church attendants in Ghana to think that money offered to God to fuel his work on earth has to be crumpled and squeezed should give him or herself a pat on the back. He or she has succeeded.
It was as if the notes were squeezed through a tiny hole but from what I remember of the offering receptacle at the church, its opening is big enough to admit my fist and even more so why the crumpling and squeezing. In the process of unfolding and straightening out the notes some of them, especially the one Ghana cedi notes, got torn and fell apart because they were too fragile, presumably from previous mishandling.
This experience brought into sharp focus the major role churches and the Christian community in Ghana has to play in preserving the physical integrity of the cedi notes.
Sometime last year, I chanced upon some advert and promotional song on our TV screens alerting the public on the need and how to keep the cedi notes clean and well to protect them from easy damage. Some key people or groups of people were mentioned but I did not hear any mention being made of the church or church attendants.
It is about time church authorities and the generals of the pulpit start educating their congregants on the need to preserve the physical appearance of the cedi notes and also teach them how to do this. I think that a few minutes spent to address this issue will not take anything away from the salvation message of any man of God.
Better still leaders of the Christian church should take steps to ensure that cedi notes offered to God are in the best of conditions as they can be.
I have noted a few congregations employing the use of envelopes during offerings. This practice I think if adopted and perpetuated by many will help keep our precious cedi notes well. The envelopes keep the notes straight and free form dirt while preventing the kind of crumpling and squeezing I observed last year.
I also suggest that the practice where church leaders ask their congregants to hold up their offering money up for prayers before putting them in the collection bowls should be discouraged. This practice in my opinion contributes to the mishandling I described earlier as most people in an attempt to conceal the true value of their offering to God, may be in keeping with biblical teachings, squeeze and enclose them in their fists thereby distorting the physical appearance of the notes.
I have in recent times cited new clean, crisp and beautiful looking cedi notes of all denominations in circulation. I believe the government spent a significant proportion of our meager resources as a nation to print and reprint these notes that we use as legal tender and it’s our civic duty as responsible citizens to protect and keep these notes in good condition for them to serve their purpose as long as possible.
Charity they say begins at home and being a Christian I think it will be best if this reformation starts in my backyard, the church.
Credit: Eugene Tettey