As the senior pastor for English-Speaking West Africa, I have traveled regularly to Ghana since 2015. I quickly fell in love with our brothers and sisters there due to their open and friendly demeanor and love for the truth of God.
Country of Ghana
Within the borders of this West African country reside nine congregations of the United Church of God, totaling approximately 365 attendees nationally. The Church is a vibrant and dynamic group of people who are seeking daily to grow in the grace and knowledge of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, to do the work of preaching the gospel within the country of Ghana, and to prepare a people for the soon-coming Kingdom of God.
Ghana is the second most populous country in West Africa, with over 32 million inhabitants. As a former British colony, English is its primary language of trade and commerce. However, most Ghanaians also speak the tongue of their native ethnic tribe, with Akan being the largest and most common.
Ghana is flanked by the French-speaking countries of Togo to the east and the Côte d’Ivoire to the west. It adjoins the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean to the south and Burkina Faso in the north. Its coastline consists of a beautiful stretch of land dotted with quaint fishing villages and port cities. Ghana has a rich traditional and historic culture. The country’s terrain is quite diverse, ranging from grassy savannas to tropical rainforests. Located just a few degrees north of the equator, the country enjoys a warm climate year round. Ghana’s religious mix is approximately 70 percent Christian, with 20 percent identifying as Muslim and 10 percent practicing either their traditional faith or no faith at all.
The majority of the Church members in Ghana are multilingual. Because of this fact, visitors find it to be an easily accessible country for tourism and travel. I definitely recommend Ghana as a good entry point into English-speaking West Africa. It has been a favorable environment for the Church’s Youth Corps volunteers to serve at the United Youth Camp over the years. The brethren there are very friendly and love to receive visitors for the Feast of Tabernacles and other occasions.
Accra is the capital city of Ghana and the place where our national Church office is maintained. The Accra congregation’s membership is comprised of a number of individuals whose connection with the Church goes back many decades in our history. The other eight congregations of Ghana are largely made up of members who once populated an organization called the Remnant Church of God. That church developed a close relationship with the United Church of God over similarly held beliefs. Eventually, they joined with UCG in 2002. These congregations are a mixture of both city and village-based groups.
The village congregations of Ghana function much like community churches, with most of their members living within walking distance or a short motorbike ride. Their growth over time has been made up largely of others from around their own community who have learned about the Sabbath and Holy Days from our existing members. It’s a prime example of the impact our shining light can have on the lives of others. Many of these village members are farmers, ranchers or fishermen who support the food producing industry of Ghana. They often have large families with many beautiful children.
In the larger cities, many of the Church members hold professional jobs in fields such as engineering, teaching, banking and nursing. These congregations tend to be more regional than community based. A number of the young adults from around the country travel to the larger cities each year in pursuit of educational or job-related opportunities. Life in Ghana presents various challenges, financial and otherwise, but the young adults are determined to further their education wherever possible and provide a brighter future for themselves, their families and the Church.
Preaching the Gospel
When it comes to the public proclamation of the gospel message, two congregations, Winneba and Takoradi, host broadcast programs on local Christian radio stations, with the leadership preaching the doctrines of the Church and the good news of the coming Kingdom of God. These programs go out largely in the Akan language. Respondents to these broadcasts have a local UCG congregation they can assemble with on the Sabbath in order to learn more about the true teachings of God’s Word. Both programs have generated a lot of interest in their communities from those who have never heard such biblical topics addressed before. Many have called the radio stations desiring to hear more.
Feast of Tabernacles
The Feast of Tabernacles is always a major highlight of the year in Ghana. Due to the challenge and expense of travel, this is the one time when the entire Church in Ghana assembles as a single group in the same place. It’s a wonderful reunion of friends and family, celebrating the blessings of observing God’s Feast days together! In times past there have been two Feast sites, but all agree that the blessing of coming together as one large group outstrips any inconveniences the extra travel and logistics may provide. The rejoicing at such times is great and international visitors are always warmly welcomed!
Several years ago I was visiting Ghana when the UCG president at the time, Victor Kubik, called for a Church-wide fast. The brethren in Ghana were excited for the opportunity! When I asked them why their enthusiasm for fasting was so high, the response I received was quite humbling. They said that fasting is something they can do together and alongside the whole Church; And when their prayers are going up to God, they’re going up alongside everybody else’s at the same time. In that setting, the magnitude of what they are able to contribute to the benefit of the entire spiritual body is not limited by their financial status or location in the world. Their sacrifice of praise is just as valuable in the ears of God as anyone else’s.
The United Church of God in Ghana thanks you for your love and care for them. They truly feel a deep connection to the greater Church family around the world. They pray for you regularly, thanking God for the spiritual connection He has provided to brethren they have not fully met.
As you finish this article, it is my hope you will be filled with a desire to know more about your fellow brethren around the world. God has called us all to be one body, bound together by His Spirit and His Son. The blessings of that family connection are truly great! If properly nurtured, it’s a bond of unity which will last forever!