Church of the Province of West Africa

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Church of the Province of West Africa
Primate 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 17 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, now numbering 11. The previous primate of the province was Archbishop Solomon Tilewa Johnson, of Gambia, who died unexpectedly on 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 (Accra, Lagos, Niger, Sierra Leone and the Diocese of Gambia and Guinea) with the consent of the Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1977 they were joined by the Diocese of Liberia. In February 1979, the new Church of Nigeria was inaugurated as a separate province. In 1981 Sierra Leone was divided into the Diocese of Freetown and the new missionary Diocese of Bo and four new Ghanaian dioceses of Cape Coast, Koforidua, Sekondi and Sunyani/Tamale were formed. In 1985 the Gambia and Guinea diocese was partitioned into English-speaking Gambia and French-speaking Guinea. The Diocese of Asante Mampong, previously a suffragan see to Kumasi, was inaugurated in November 2014.[1]

The final total of 17 represents 11 dioceses in Ghana and 6 in the other five nations. For this reason actions are in hand to move towards making Ghana a separate province. The country already has the status of an "internal province", the archbishop of which is currently (2015) the Primate of the whole Province of West Africa.[2]

Today, the church has to survive in areas of civil unrest where Christians remain a small minority.

List of archbishops

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 17 dioceses, each headed by a bishop.

Diocesan bishops[edit]

Internal Province of Ghana

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.[4]

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.[5]

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 Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON II), that took place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 21 to 26 October 2013.[6] Unlike his predecessors current Archbishop Daniel Sarfo is a supporter of "reconciliation" between the African provinces and the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada, and was already involved in several meetings between African and North American bishops.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "A new diocese for West Africa". anglicannews.org. Retrieved December 6, 2014. 
  2. ^ Buchanan, Colin. Historical Dictionary of Anglicanism. p. 601. 
  3. ^ "Daniel Sarfo becomes primate of West Africa". Episcopal News Service. Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  4. ^ "Listening in Scripture foundation for listening". anglicanlistening.org. Archived from the original on 2008-07-05. Retrieved 2014-06-05.  Detail on how scripture, tradition, and reason work to "uphold and critique each other in a dynamic way".
  5. ^ "Church of the Province of West Africa". oikoumene.org. World Council of Churches. 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-01-25. Retrieved 2014-06-05. 
  6. ^ "Condolences on the death of Archbishop Johnson of West Africa". acl.asn.au. Sydney: Anglican Church League. 2014-01-24. Archived from the original on 2014-01-26. Retrieved 2014-06-05. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]