Church of the Province of West Africa

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Church of the Province of West Africa
Primate The Most Rev. Daniel Sarfo
Territory Cameroon, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone
Members c. 1,000,000

The Church of the Province of West Africa is a province of the Anglican Communion, covering 16 dioceses in eight countries of West Africa, specifically in Cameroon, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Ghana is the country with most dioceses, in the number of 10. The previous primate of the province was Archbishop Solomon Tilewa Johnson, of Gambia, who died unexpectedly at 21 January 2014.

History[edit]

Missionary work began in Ghana in 1752. The Church of the Province of West Africa was established in 1951 by the bishops of five West African dioceses, with the consent of the Archbishop of Canterbury. In February 1979, the new Church of Nigeria was inaugurated, while the Dioceses of Accra, Kumasi, Liberia, Gambia and Guinea and Sierra Leone (later Freetown) continued in the Province of West Africa. In 1981 the new missionary diocese of Bo was inaugurated and four new Dioceses of Cape Coast, Koforidua, Sekondi and Sunyani/Tamale were formed. Today, the Church exists in areas of civil unrest where Christians remain a minority.

Membership[edit]

Today, there are over one million Anglicans out of an estimated population of 35 million.

Structure[edit]

The polity of the Church of the Province of West Africa is Episcopal church governance, which is the same as other Anglican churches. The church maintains a system of geographical parishes organized into dioceses. There are 16 dioceses, each headed by a bishop.

Diocesan bishops[edit]

Worship and liturgy[edit]

The Church of the Province of West Africa embraces three orders of ministry: deacon, priest, and bishop. A local variant of the Book of Common Prayer is used.

Doctrine and practice[edit]

The center of the Church of the Province of West Africa's teaching is the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The basic teachings of the church, or catechism, includes:

The threefold sources of authority in Anglicanism are scripture, tradition, and reason. These three sources uphold and critique each other in a dynamic way. This balance of scripture, tradition and reason is traced to the work of Richard Hooker, a sixteenth-century apologist. In Hooker's model, scripture is the primary means of arriving at doctrine and things stated plainly in scripture are accepted as true. Issues that are ambiguous are determined by tradition, which is checked by reason.[1]

Ecumenical relations[edit]

Like many other Anglican churches, the Church of the Province of West Africa is a member of the ecumenical World Council of Churches.[2]

Anglican realignment[edit]

The Church of the Province of West Africa was one of the first Anglican provinces to break communion with the Episcopal Church of the United States over the question of allowing the blessing of same-sex unions and non-celibate homosexual clergy. The Episcopal Diocese of Liberia continues, nevertheless, in full communion. The Church of the Province of West Africa has been active in the Anglican realignment as a member of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and the Global South. Archbishop Solomon Tilewa Johnson attended GAFCON II, that took place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 21 to 26 October 2013.[3]

Old Catholic Confederation[edit]

On the Solemnity of the Nativity, December 25, 2013, it was officially announced by the Old Catholic Confederation and the Church of the Province of West Africa that Archbishop Johnson has become the Patron of the Old Catholic Confederation, recognizing the traditional, orthodox Old Catholic union of Churches as a "distinct Old Catholic Christian community" in ecumenical partnership with the Church of West Africa and the Anglican Communion.[3][4] At the same time, Johnson named the President of the Synod of Bishops of the Old Catholic Confederation, Bishop Craig J. N. de Paulo, Episcopal Commissary of the Church of the Province of West Africa to North America, for traditional Old Catholics and Episcopal Visitor to Anglo-Catholic communities.[4][5]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Anglicanism, Neill, Stephen. Harmondsworth, 1965.

External links[edit]