Ghana president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo used the Bible and a quote from Seventh-day Adventist Church cofounder Ellen G. White during his October 16 speech in Kumasi. Akufo-Addo’s speech came after the state leader attended the centennial celebration of the nearby Ashanti New Town (“Ashtown”) Seventh-day Adventist Church.
A crowd of more than 5,000 who gathered at the Wesley College of Education in Kumasi gave the Ghanaian president several rounds of applause during the celebration. Akufo-Addo praised the contribution of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to the development of the nation.
“The Adventist people have impacted not only the local community but the whole nation. We can say with considerable pride that the Adventists have a great conceptive and crucial role in the development of Ghana,” Akufo-Addo said. He then quoted Colossians 3:23, 24, which reads, “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”1 Akufo-Addo went on, “For me, that is the essence of Christianity: service to God and service to mankind. The growth of the church should be measured not only in the number of its followers but also in the quality of its members who are dedicated to their mission,” he said.
A Call to Pray for Ghana
Toward the end of his speech, Akufo-Addo said his prayer is that this church would “continue for the next 100 years to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, win souls, and serve the people of Ghana and the Almighty God.” He asked Adventists to also pray for him and his government, “that we exercise our responsibility with humanity and integrity; and pray for Ghana.”
Akufo-Addo also quoted an excerpt from Adventist Church cofounder Ellen G. White, who wrote in Testimony to the Church at Battle Creek, “The life of Christ was a life of humble simplicity, yet how infinitely exalted was his mission. Christ is our example in all things,”2 he read.
New School Fundraising
The Ashtown church seized the opportunity to raise funds for the building of a modern school in Kumasi. The Asante Kingdom monarch pledged a contribution of US$1,000 to the project; the West-Central Africa Division added US$6,000, and the Ghana president provided US$10,000.
The theme of the celebration was “Uniting in the Spirit of Our Pioneers in Building the Church and Society.” Host Desmond Osei-Tutu Acheampong acknowledged that the Ashtown church “has helped establish many schools, health centers, clinics, and hospitals.”
One hundred years later, the impact of this congregation in Ghana is significant, leaders said. Dozens of churches planted across the city, a dozen schools, and one hospital are the fruits of the Ashtown church.
The congregation is part of the Ashanti Central Ghana Conference, in the recently voted new Northern Ghana Union Conference. West-Central Africa Division president Elie Weick-Dido publicly announced the recommendation action taken on October 10, 2021, during the Annual Council 2021 business meetings of the Executive Committee of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
Weick-Dido lifted high the name of the God whom he called “graceful and merciful.” “As God’s people are involved in the mission, the Lord will bless them and will heal their land,” he said.
The Ashtown church started this journey when John Kwabena Kaipro Garbrah (1882-1962) arrived in Kumasi in October 1921. “He was the very first Ghanaian Seventh-day Adventist pastor to be ordained into the gospel ministry,” Kofi Owusu wrote in his article, “History of Seventh-day Adventism in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.”
Northern Ghana Union Conference president Kwanin Boakye encouraged “Ashtown members to renew their commitment to God as they [celebrated] this historic occasion.” So far, the 1,568 baptized members and 560 children are happy to serve the Lord, leaders said.
1 Bible text is from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
2 Ellen G. White, Testimony to the Church at Battle Creek (Battle Creek, Mich.: Seventh-day Adventist Pub. Assn., 1872), p. 123.