Peter N. K. Duodu and Samuel Marfon
An Influential Church
- The traditional cloth of the Ghanaian people is the bright and colorful kente (from the word “kenton,” meaning basket), made by handweaving strips of silk and cotton cloth. In the past the fabric was worn by the royalty of the Ashanti and Ewe, and by queens and princesses of the Dagbon people. Today, it is popular to wear it for special occasions.
- The Kejetia Market in Kumasi, Ashanti, Ghana, is West Africa’s biggest open-air market. It has more than 10,000 stores and stalls that sell a wide variety of products, from spices to Ashanti sandals, plastic beads to gold and silver.
By Andrew McChesney
It may not be every day that a Thirteenth Sabbath project inspires another big project. But that is exactly what happened in Accra, the capital of the West African country of Ghana.
About 15 years ago, the Ghanaian military gave the Seventh-day Adventist Church a plot of land in one of its main barracks in Accra. The land came at no cost. The only request was that the Adventist Church construct a house of worship on the land. The military asked for the construction of an Adventist church where soldiers could worship.
Church members across Ghana donated to the project. They wanted soldiers to be able to worship in an Adventist church. Then the world church got involved. The Thirteenth Sabbath Offering in third quarter 2007 provided the finishing touches for the sanctuary: beautiful stained-glass windows that were installed in the perimeter of the church’s domed ceiling, and stained-glass panels depicting praying hands and the Adventist church logo behind the pulpit.
The military barracks church was dedicated to God on November 1, 2008. A plaque hanging outside the main entrance includes a list of delegates who attended the opening ceremony. Among them was the director of the General Conference’s Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries department, which oversees the world church’s pastoral care of people serving in the armed forces.
Across town, the national Ghanian police force took notice of the new Adventist church in the military barracks. They also wanted an Adventist church on the compound of their national training academy. Police officials reached out to church leaders with a request. “If we give you a plot of land at the police academy, would you construct a church?” they asked.
It was an offer that church leaders could not refuse. Work began to collect funds to build an Adventist church at the police academy.
“Looking at what we have done in the military barracks, they are entrusting it to us to build,” said local church leader Christopher Annan-Nunoo, who serves as executive secretary of the Southern Ghana Union Conference.
A Building That Preaches
The military barracks church has proven to be a light to the armed forces, said Lieutenant-Colonel Peter N. K. Duodu, a military chaplain with the Adventist Church.
“Because of this edifice, people want to come and worship here,” he said. “They say, ‘Your building is wonderful.’ So even without us going out to preach, the building is doing the preaching for us.”
He said military personnel who worship in the church gain a better understanding of Adventists and, most importantly, learn about God and salvation.
“We thank God for this wonderful medium that he has provided for the Seventh-day Adventist Church to evangelize military personnel,” he said. “It means a lot.”
Samuel Marfon, a 17-year veteran police officer and the only Adventist chaplain in Ghana’s police force, is hopeful that the future police academy church will have a similar impact on police personnel. The church is expected to seat 1,500 to 2,000 people. “God will do it for us,” he said. “He will build the church”
Josiah Nwarungwa, Adventist Mission director for the West-Central Africa Division, whose territory includes Ghana, said he was thrilled about the impact that the 2007 Thirteenth Sabbath project in the military barracks is having on the police force.
“It’s inspiring,” he said. “The Adventist Church is present in the Ghanaian military forces. My prayer is that the Lord will make it a center of influence for eternity for those who come into contact with it.”
Thank you for your 2007 Thirteenth Sabbath Offering that is having a big impact on military and police elites in Ghana. This quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering also promises to have a big impact on lives in Ghana. It will help the Seventh-day Adventist Nursing and Midwifery Training College expand, with the construction of new classrooms and dormitories. Thank you for considering a generous Thirteenth Sabbath Offering on December 30.