Christians in Africa must not deny their cultural identity – Bishop

Rt Rev Prof Safo KantankaThe Kumasi Diocese of Methodist Church Ghana (MCG) has affirmed its resolve to rekindle the long-standing relationship between the church and traditional rulers to advance Methodism.

The Right Reverend Professor Osei Safo-Kantanka, Diocesan Bishop, said Christianity was culture-conscious and, as such, recognised the critical role of chieftaincy in the spread of the gospel and human development in general.

“The palace is important in the African setting because it is the wheel around which our cultural identity and heritage revolve. For that matter, any attempt to sustain the growth of Christianity which, in itself, is culture-specific, without the involvement of chiefs and queens would not achieve the desired results,” he said.

Addressing a cultural evangelism programme in Kumasi, Right Rev. Prof. Safo-Kantanka said most Christians in Africa had identity crisis within the context of Biblical doctrines and principles.

This, he said, made it difficult for some ministers of the gospel to come to terms with some aspects of African traditional beliefs and practices, a situation which had triggered religious conflicts in some communities over the years.

“Church leaders must make conscious efforts to sensitising members to appreciating who they are and where they come from. Otherwise, Christianity will be seen as an imposition from the western world or religious imperialism,” the Bishop said.

The programme, dubbed; “The Church’s Mission to the Palace” was put together by the MCG leadership to strengthen its relationship with chiefs and queens who are members of the church.

The spread of Methodism in the Kumasi Metropolis and its environs, particularly in the early part of the 1900s, was said to have been encouraged by the Manhyia Palace, with the latter providing large tracts of lands to the missionaries to facilitate educational and church work.

It had since established a strong presence in the Ashanti Region and through its reputable educational institutions a number of traditional rulers had attained formal education and leadership training to benefit the people.

The MCG, laying strong emphasis on the holistic development of the human beings, has one of the largest societies of Christian chiefs and queens in the West African sub-region.

Rt. Rev. Prof. Safo-Kantanka said it was imperative that religious adherents found a common ground to understand each other to foster inter-tribal harmony.

Agyewodin Adu Gyamfi Ampem, Paramount Chief of Acherensua, and President of the Brong-Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs, stressed the need for the clergy to liaise effectively with traditional rulers to promote the welfare of the people.

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