The Methodist Church Ghana, on Tuesday launched the 20th Anniversary of its “Biblical Pattern of Episcopacy” and marked its 60 years of autonomy from the Methodist Church in Britain.
The Anniversary was launched on the theme: “The Methodist Church Ghana Episcopacy @ 20 Years: The Past, the Present, and the Future”.
Episcopacy is a system of governance where a church is ruled or led by bishops.
The Methodist Church Ghana gained autonomy from the Methodist Church, Britain on July 28, 1961 and adopted the Episcopal system of operation in 1999.
The Biblical Pattern of Episcopacy enabled the Church to do away with some nomenclature such as president and chairman to adopt titles such as “Bishop,” which is more biblical.
Activities to mark the launch included hoisting of anniversary flags comprising the Flag of Ghana, the Flag of the Methodist Church Ghana, and the African Council Flag of the Methodist Church amidst singing of hymns, solos, and the Church Anthem.
Activities for the three-month celebration include prayer meetings, photograph exhibitions of all Societies of the Church, airing of Proclamation Service on Wesleyan Television with panel discussion, and Thanksgiving Service on September 27, 2020 at the Wesley Cathedral, Accra and in all societies.
The Most Reverend Dr Paul Kwabena Boafo, the Presiding Bishop of the Church, who launched the Anniversary, said Methodists had to celebrate while remembering the works of their fathers who toiled and stood for the gospel to be able to adopt the Episcopal system.
The new system of governing the Church, he said, also brought the laity and clergy into partnership. “Our fathers and leaders of the Church went through battles and hard times, but faced it with courage and fortitude to bring the episcopacy….”
Rev. Dr Boafo said despite the good leadership, proclamation and discipline, which made the Church relevant to society, it was unfortunate to witness the indiscipline that had entered it. The Anniversary was, therefore, an important period to remind members of their true identity of discipline and faithfulness, he said.
The Presiding Bishop said it was unfortunate how some daily church activities had to be performed outside the norm due to the COVID-19, a situation which affected family life but called on members to focus on God in these trying times.
The Most Rev. Dr. Samuel Asante-Antwi, the First Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, cautioned the leadership to ensure they performed their roles in a manner that maintained the good name the Church had acquired.
“So I plead with you, don’t take your leadership for granted. You are bound to have challenges and without challenges, you can’t achieve anything.
“Therefore see the challenges ahead of you and stand firm because you have the powers of God and the state behind you,” he advised.
Most Rev. Dr Asante-Antwi advised the Church to research well, document and make a comprehensive publication of the Episcopal system and practices to educate the younger ones and generations to come.
The Right Rev. Samuel K. Osabutey, the Bishop of the Accra Diocese, advised the leadership and parents to educate their members and children respectively on the Episcopacy to enable them to defend their faith.