Country offers a variety of gifts to the world
August 28, 2017
For the past 25 years, Ghana has had a stable democratic government, and strong economic growth has allowed it to advance into the ranks of lower-middle income countries. While there are still many needs and challenges, the newfound stability and growth has freed people to think beyond their problems. As a result, more and more have begun reflecting on the country’s strengths and the unique aspects of its church and culture. They are now asking, “What are the gifts we have to give to the wider world?”
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) continues to work with partners in Ghana in areas like poverty reduction and church development. But these partners also offer wonderful environments in which to learn about African culture and Christian faith, and how to undertake mission, ministry and development work in interesting and innovative ways.
Ghana’s growth and stability have been especially evident in its partners’ educational institutions. Because they are now on more stable footing, these institutions are thinking more and more about what they have to offer the larger Christian community.
One partner, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church Ghana, runs Evangelical Presbyterian University, which is educating young men and women in Ho, where the church is based. It was the first tertiary institution in this region of Ghana. The university includes Peki Seminary, where people are trained for both ordained and lay leadership in the church.
I’ve been particularly impressed with the lay formation that is done in Peki, where church members are trained for congregational leadership. As more small churches in the PC(USA) struggle to have paid pastoral staff, we could learn from the ways in which the church in Ghana has educated and empowered its lay members for ministry and mission.
Another partner, the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, runs Presbyterian University, which has five campuses that are known for providing some of the best tertiary education in the country. In the northern city of Tamale, the church’s Lay Training Center is educating leaders for evangelism and development work in a part of Ghana where Christians are often a small minority. There is much to learn here in the area of healthy Christian-Muslim relations.
These two partners, together with the Methodist Church Ghana, run Trinity Theological Seminary, which educates men and women for ordained leadership in the church. Trinity has received support from the PC(USA) for its library, for a center that encourages theological study in African languages, and for another center that focuses on women in African religion and culture. Union Presbyterian Seminary, in Richmond, Virginia, visits Trinity every other year as part of a long-standing educational exchange, and there are opportunities for more exchanges.
One final partner is Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission and Culture, which runs master’s and doctoral degree programs. In recent years, ACI has received Presbyterian students from such countries as Nigeria, Rwanda and Cameroon. These students have returned home to take leadership posts in church and society. There are now also students from Europe and the U.S. who come to ACI for their degrees.
There is so much opportunity to engage with these partners and institutions, so please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested. In addition, if you would like to support any of these partners with financial gifts, that can be done through PC(USA) World Mission at the following sites:
Evangelical Presbyterian University and Peki Seminary:
Presbyterian University and Tamale Presbyterian Lay Training Center:
Trinity Theological Seminary:
Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission and Culture:
Josh Heikkila, West Africa Regional Liaison
Today’s Focus: Ghana
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray:
God of widows and orphans, you comfort the lost and care for the poor. We pray for the churches in Ghana as they minister to those who have been made outcasts. Give them the ability to feed, clothe and house those in need. Allow them to build peace and reconciliation among neighbors and families in strife. Amen.