First Baptist’s Soaries participates in Ghana inauguration

First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens Senior Pastor DeForest B. Soaries was invited to the Jan. 6 inauguration of Ghana President H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

The Rev. DeForest B. Soaries Jr., senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Franklin.

First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens Senior Pastor DeForest B. Soaries Jr. is in Ghana, West Africa, having participated in the Jan. 6 inauguration ceremonies of President H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo by invitation of the Republic of Ghana.

Soaries also will participate in a thanksgiving service on Jan. 7 in Kyebi, Akufo-Addo’s hometown, at the invitation of King of Akyem Abuakwa, His Majesty Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin.

“It is an unprecedented honor to be invited to the inaugural ceremonies for the next democratically elected president of the Republic of Ghana,” Soaries said in a news release. “In 1957, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. attended the inauguration of independent Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, because he understood that the political freedom of Africans was inextricably linked to the political freedom of African Americans. Sixty years later, the economic freedom of Africans and African Americans are similarly linked, and I am proud to follow King’s example by celebrating with the new leadership of Ghana, which is focused on the economic uplift of the Ghanaian people.”

Akufo-Addo was elected as the fifth president of the fourth republic Dec. 9 and assumed leadership from President John Dramani Mahama. He previously ran for president, also as the New Patriotic Party candidate, in 2012 and 2008. He previously served his nation as its minister of foreign affairs, 2003 to 2007, and attorney general, 2001 to 2003. He also was elected three times between 1996 and 2008 as a member of Parliament for the Abuakwa South constituency in the Eastern region of Ghana.

The trip marks the seventh that Soaries has taken to Ghana, the most recent of which was hosted by H.M. Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin in October 2016. The king, a member of First Baptist while living in the U.S., now reigns over some 2 million people in his territory of Ghana.

Ghana is a nation of 25 million on Africa’s western seaboard and is one of the few established, stable democracies in the region. Ghana is one of the world’s largest cocoa producers and recently began producing crude oil.