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African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church Ghana

P. O. Box MP 522, • Mamprobi, Accra • Ghana • +233-21-669200 / 767222 • AME

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History of tha A.M.E. Zion Church in Ghana

1. HISTORY OF THE A.M.E ZION CHURCH IN GHANA The Evolution of the Church in the US The African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Zion Church was founded in the United States of America in 1796 by people of African-American descent. The organisation grew out of the well-known dissatisfaction among the people of colour over the kind of treatment they received in the service of the church. Appalled by this treatment, a group led by James Varick, (who later became the first Bishop), moved out of the John Street Methodist Episcopal (M.E.) Church in New York City to established the A.M.E. Zion Church. The church was firmly established in 1820 when the leaders voted themselves out of the M.E. Church and published their first Book of Discipline. The principal reasons were described in the Founders' Address (Appendix 1) The prefix "African" shows that the church was to be controlled by descendants of Africa, in the interest of humanity, regardless of race, colour, sex or condition. "Methodist Episcopal" exhibits the retention of the doctrine and form of church government (under a Bishop); while "Zion" was to differentiate the church from a similar one (A.M.E. Church) which was founded around the same time. Their motto "Black liberation and evangelism" became the building block not only for the emancipation and liberation of African-Americans but other black people all over the world. This has been demonstrated in the active participation and involvement of the A.M.E. Zion Church in the Pan-African Congress (first recorded assembly of Africans and descendants of Africa), which was held in Westminster Town Hall, London, from July 23-July 25, 1900. To achieve its objective of black liberation and evangelism, the A.M.E. Zion Church laid emphasis on Christian education. Hence, the creation of a separate Department for Christian Education, which the present day churches in the US and Africa have retained. The church's motto of "Black liberation and evangelism, " goaded the church in America to establish branches in African countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Cte d'Ivoire South Africa and recently Togo. The evolution of the Church in Ghana The missionary and educational work of the A.M.E. Zion Church in Ghana began at the coastal town of Keta in the Volta Region in 1898, when Bishop John Bryan Small, (an African-American and often referred to as the father of Zion Methodism in Ghana for his pioneering role in establishment of the Church), appointed Rev. Thomas Birch Freeman, Jr. of the Methodist Church to open and organise the St. John A.M.E. Zion Church and School-the first in the country. This was to become the pattern of the grand design of the church to meet the spiritual, educational and vocational needs of the communities in which it came into contact with. The opening of the church and school at Keta faced insurmountable problems of finance, accommodation and opposition from the local fetish priests. However, with financial assistance from Bishop Small as well as material and moral support from the Nyaho Tamakloe family and Christian Jacobson, Rev. Freeman, Jr. was able to make an impact on the spiritual and moral life of the people of Keta. His successor Dr. Drybald Taylor, a Fante from Anomabu in the Central Region but who spoke Ewe and Ga fluently, carried the work further by acquiring a permanent classroom and church 2. building on a plot of land donated by Chief Joachim Acolatse. From its humble beginnings at Keta, the A.M.E. Zion Church has spread to almost all the nooks and corners of the country. In October 1903, for instance, Rev. Dr. Frank Atta Osam Pinanko, a graduate of Livingstone College and one of Bishop Small's protgs, opened the Varick Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church and school at Cape Coast. One of the most important things that the founding fathers of the Church did in Ghana is to send some Ghanaians to the US to be trained for the work in Ghana. Notable among them is Dr. James Kwegyir Aggrey, who graduated from Livingstone College, the Church's institution in North Carolina in 1902 to become the first African Vice-Principal of the Achimota College. Although this practice has not been sustained for a long time, it, at least, enabled those A.M.E. Zion pastors who did not have the opportunity to attend Livingstone College to learn from their colleague graduates of Livingstone College. The evolution of the A.M.E. Zion Church in Ghana shows the close collaboration that has existed between the Ewes and Fantes in missionary and educational work - a practice that has continued to this day. The great lesson that we can learn from this partnership and co-operation is that religion knows no tribal or ethnic barriers. Today, the church and its schools are found in practically every region of Ghana. For administrative purposes, the church is divided into four conferences. The East Ghana Conference is made up of churches in the Volta and Greater Accra regions, West Ghana Conference comprises Central and Western regions, the Mid Ghana Conference consists of Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and Eastern regions and North Ghana Conference has churches in Northern, Upper West and Upper East regions. Apart from its administrative expansion, the A.M.E. Zion Church is one of the five founding members (with the Methodist Anglican, Evangelical Presbyterian and Presbyterian churches) of the Christian Council of Ghana, which was formed in 1926.

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Our Services & Events

Sunday Church Service

8 a.m. & 10 a.m.

Weekly activities

6 p.m.

Our Staff

Rt. Rev. Warren M. Brown

Presiding Bishop •

Rev. Dr. Godfred N. Zormelo

Sr. Bishop's Deputy •

Rev. Peter E. T. Sefogah

Bishop's Administrative Assistant •