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Evangelistic Zeal Adds 2 New Dioceses in Ghana

By Mark Michael

The Anglican Church in the Province of West Africa inaugurated two new dioceses in Ghana in December, building on a province-wide focus on evangelism in an African nation that has seen steady population growth in recent decades.

The Diocese of Nkoranza was founded out of the Diocese of Sunyani. It was officially launched on November 28 in services at St. Barnabas Pro-Cathedral in the town in Ghana’s central region. After the service, the Rev. George Dawson-Amoah, who has served for several years as executive director of the archbishop’s office, was elected to serve as the diocese’s first bishop.

The Diocese of Tema is based in the country’s major port on the outskirts of Accra, the country’s capital and largest city. It was inaugurated on December 16 and will be led by the Rt. Rev. George Neequaye, who had served since 2021 as a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Accra. He was responsible for organizing the launch of the new diocese.

“This is one of the ways that the Church fulfills the Great Commission, to go out and create more dioceses, to reach out where you have a bishop closer to the people, and so able to minister more closely and more effectively,” said West African primate Cyril Ben-Smith during the service inaugurating the diocese.

The Rt. Rev. Festus Yeboah Asuamah, who has served as Bishop of Sunyani for 14 years, said in an address to his diocesan synod in September that the rugged terrain of the Bono East Region, which will be served by the new Diocese of Nkoranza, provides challenges and opportunities.

“The message should not be always and only limited to the capitals and the big towns. … In this region, there are areas where if I am going on an episcopal visit, I cannot go with a vehicle. If I attempt it with my 4 by 4, I will get stuck in the way. I have to go on a bicycle or a motorbike. The message should be sent to the outermost part of the earth, and some of these places are very, very far. We pray that the incoming bishop will take up the challenges of evangelism and church growth.”

Yeboah added that the new bishop will have more than 34 catechists, as well as 13 clergy and 12 trained evangelists, to assist him in his ministry.

The Ven. Joe Eysion, former dean of St. Barnabas Pro-Cathedral in Nkoranza, told a reporter from AMPA News, a Ghanaian media outlet, that the choice of Nkoranza as the center of the diocese (in place of larger towns or the regional capital) is fitting because the first Anglican mission in the region was founded in the town in 1926.

“Fifty years ago, a delegation of the clergy from Nkoranza went to the bishop in Sunyani to ask that a new diocese be created for ease of administration,” he said.

The Diocese of Tema is being founded in a much more urban and wealthy region, but the Rt. Rev. Sylvanus Mensah Torto, Bishop of Accra, said the motivating factors remain the same. In his declaration during Tema’s inauguration service, Torto said that “the intriguing aim of the creation of new diocese is for the effective growth, promotion, and propagation of the gospel.”

He also praised the “the readiness and zeal” of Anglicans in the region for financially supporting the new diocese, and said that a five-year composite budget accompanying the diocese’s launch shows that it should soon be self-supporting.

“God expects you all to be fruitful stewards, to help improve this new baby diocese,” the Rt. Rev. Solomon Leonard Scott-Manga, Bishop of Bo in Sierra Leone said in his sermon. “With your leadership, this Diocese of Tema, by the special grace of God, will be historic in the nation of Ghana.”

“Build your diocese on the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ in a holistic manner, for the body, mind, and spirit,” he added.

Yeboah expressed great confidence in Anglicanism’s future in Ghana in an interview after the inauguration service at Nkoranza. “Starting from one diocese, we now have 12 dioceses, and Tema will be the 13 diocese,” he said. “With God’s grace and the church multiplying, we will have more dioceses in the country.”

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