REPORT OF THE CLERK OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESENTED TO THE 21ST GENERAL ASSEMBLY HELD AT VICTORY CONGREGATION, FAFRAHA IN THE GA PRESBYTERY
- PREAMBLE. 2
- STATISTICS. 3
- SPECIAL SUPPORT FOR MINISTERS IN DEPRIVED AREAS. 5
- THE PROJECT 300 AND RELATED MATTERS. 5
- PROMOTING VISION 1.5. 6
- SUPPORT FOR OVERSEAS MISSION.. 6
- DECISIONS ARISING OUT OF THE SPECIAL 2020 G.A. ASSIGNMENT TO GAC.. 7
- DECISIONS OF REGULAR GAC MEETINGS. 8
- ICT RELATED MATTERS. 14
- ACADEMIC SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS. 14
- NEW PRESIDENT AND COUNCIL CHAIRPERSON AT THE PRESBYTERIAN UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, GHANA (PUCG) 14
- CREATION OF DISTRICTS. 15
- THE TEN-YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN.. 16
- NEW MINISTERIAL VESTMENTS FOR PCG AGENTS. 16
- 2021 COMMISSIONING AND ORDINATIONS. 17
- PROGRESS REPORT ON THE OFFICIAL RESIDENCE OF THE MODERATOR.. 17
- CONSTRUCTION OF HOSPITALITY FACILITY AT RAMSEYER TRAINING CENTRE, ABETIFI KWAHU.. 18
- LAND DOCUMENTATION AND REGISTRATION.. 18
- EXPANDING THE FRONTIERS OF PCG GLOBAL MISSION.. 19
- A CASE FOR SPECIAL SPIRITUAL AND PASTORAL INTERVENTION IN THE LIFE OF THE VOLTA PRESBYTERY.. 19
- ACQUISITION OF VEHICLES FOR THE PRESBYTERIAN REGIONAL EDUCATION UNITS. 19
- SUPPORT FOR SOME PRESBYTERIAN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS. 20
- OPERATIONALIZING ORDER 25: ACCOUNTABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP REVIEW MEETING OF COMPANIES. 20
- SPECIAL SOCIAL INTERVENTIONS. 20
- THE TV MINISTRY.. 21
- GRATITUDE TO OUTGOING GAC MEMBERS: CHAIRPERSONS AND LAY REPRESENTATIVES. 22
- WELCOMING NEWLY ELECTED CHAIRPERSONS AND LAY REPRESENTATIVES. 22
- WELCOMING NEWLY ELECTED PRESBYTERY CLERKS. 23
- RETIRING AGENTS. 23
- A FAITHFUL MANAGER BOWS OUT OF CHURCH HOUSE. 23
- GRATITUDE. 24
- OTHER SIGNIFICANT ISSUES. 24
- CONCLUSION.. 25
REPORT OF THE CLERK OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESENTED TO THE 21ST GENERAL ASSEMBLY HELD AT VICTORY CONGREGATION, FAFRAHA IN THE GA PRESBYTERY
Rt. Rev. Moderator, Very Reverends Past Moderators, Venerable Former Clerks of the General Assembly, Commissioners, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Peace of the Lord be with you all.
We are grateful to God for granting us the gift of another General Assembly and can safely say it is the providence of our Lord that has brought us this far. Without any shred of doubt, God has been good to us and because of Him, we have kept hope intact and have been able to manage what could easily have been a faith crisis. The good Lord has partnered and accompanied us through all the changing scenes of the pandemic.
We have met here to celebrate, discuss, and make decisions on the life and work of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. We have also gathered to bring Commissioners up-to-date with how the work of the Church is progressing and lead the Assembly to dream for our collective future. The year 2020 was particularly a tough time for the nation and our Church. Many saw much suffering, and especially for us when we did not have enough funds to pay the monthly stipends of Agents. Many Church leaders have become exhausted managing their Congregations at the time of crisis but we are grateful to God for His leadership! Some Agents, staff of the National Office, and few members of the Church contracted COVID-19. Unfortunately, we lost Ministers, a staff member at the National Office, and a few others in the various Presbyteries. May their souls rest in peace.
COVID-19 is not over yet and we may not know fully, what the new normal will be for the Church after the virus is over. We should however be proud of what we have achieved so far in spite of it. Among other things we have, at all Courts of the Church, managed to do so much using online resources and as a result, new people, the world over, have connected with the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. We may have had our ups and downs during last year but the sum total of our lives is that our Lord has been good and our eternal lesson is that, still the best policy is reliance on God. The Psalmist, therefore, spoke for the Presbyterian Church of Ghana when he stated in Psalm 20, that ‘Some put their trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will call only the Name of the Lord.’ These words, calling for greater dependence on God, should take us into the New Year; and it is with such assuring words that I present the report on the activities of the General Assembly Council for the year, September, 2020 to August, 2021.
I will be reporting on the following:
- Special Support for Ministers in Deprived Areas
- The Project 300 and related matters
- Promoting Vision 1.5
- Supporting PCG Overseas Missions.
- A call on this Assembly to Ratify the Decisions arising out of the Special G.A. assignment to the G.A.C.
- Ratifying Decisions of the Regular GAC meetings
- Some Legal Issues for the attention of the General Assembly
- ICT Related Matters
- Scholarships Awarded
- New President and Council Chairperson at the Presbyterian University College, Ghana
- Creation of new Districts
- The Ten-Year Strategic Plan of the PCG
- New Vestments for PCG Agents
- 2021 Licensing of Probationers and Ordination of Ministers
- Construction of the new Official Residence of the Moderator
- Construction of Hospitality Facility at RTC, Abetifi
- Expanding the Frontiers of PCG Global Mission
- Acquisition of vehicles for the Presbyterian Education Unit
- Support for some PCG Educational Institutions
- Gratitude to outgoing GAC members.
- Welcoming newly elected Presbytery Chairpersons, Lay Representatives and Clerks.
- A faithful Manager bows out of Church House
- Some Special Social interventions
- A word of Gratitude and a Conclusion.
There was a slight improvement in membership population for 2020 (1,063,649) over the 2019 (1, 015,174) figure. The increase was approximately 4.78%, which is about 48% of our annual minimum growth target of 10%. Within the Generational Groups, the figures below show how the groups performed in 2020:
Table 1: 2020 Statistics of Generational Groups
|No.||Group||2020 Value||2019 Value||% Increase|
|7.||Total number added in 2020: 48, 383|
All the Generational Groups had increased over the 2019 statistical figures. However, Children, JY, YPG and YAF moved down from 9.23% (2019) to 3.57% (2020); 7.90% (2019) to 4.29% (2020); 6.79% (2019) to 5.72% (2019) and 8.66% to 6.80% respectively. The Adults, however, moved up marginally, from 4.57% (2019) to 4.78% (2020). It is recommended that motivational, inspirational, and encouraging programmes should be provided for strengthening the Generational Groups to swell and grow the groups.
The Church had an overall increase of 4.78% over the membership of 2019; it could have been better but for COVID-19 and the resultant lockdowns globally. Despite this, the quantum growth for 2020 was the second-highest since the year 2001. I call on all not to relent but to be resolved to do more to increase our evangelism target for the coming year. This, no doubt will contribute to the attainment of the target of 1.5 Million members (Vision 1.5), as enshrined in the PCG 10-Year Strategic Plan, 2020-2029.
Breaking the statistics of PCG for 2020 and 2019 into Presbyteries yields the figures below:
Table 2: Presbytery Statistics – 2020 and 2019
|19.||PCG USA Inc.||5,622||5,412||210||3.88|
The above Presbytery statistics indicate that Northern was the only Presbytery that attained growth above the annual minimum target of 10%, i.e. 13.46% for the Year 2020.
The Northern Presbytery, therefore, deserves congratulations. The Presbytery has performed marvelously well by achieving the annual minimum growth target of 10 percent.
West Brong (9.92%), West Akyem (8.08%), Asante South (7.0%), Sekyere (6.72%), BA (6.33%), Akyem Abuakwa (6.22%), Sefwi (5.63%), and Ga West (5.25%) did well by achieving over 50% of the annual minimum growth target of 10 percent. Congratulations to these eight (8) Presbyteries! The Asante Presbytery (6,888) had the highest number of new members added to the Church, with Ga Presbytery (6,630) being the second highest, in terms of quantum, for the Year 2020.
Moderator, in response to a decision of the General Assembly, and effective March 2021, the Head Office started the payment of additional monthly or supplementary financial support to all Ministers in some specially designated areas. All such areas, identified by the leadership of the 19 Presbyteries within the country, are difficult to minister in because of the difficult social and economic terrain, and most Preaching Points and Congregations are often very small and have little or insufficient financial clout to support the ministry and Agents. This facility is station-based and not attached to individual Ministers. It means that the moment an Agent is posted out of the deprived area he or she will cease receiving the allowance.
I am also happy to report that all such Ministers have received this financial intervention of GH₵ 400 each month. It has now become a regular feature of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and Ministers in deprived areas will continue to receive the said amount as long as they remain at post in the defined area.
Operationalizing the 20th General Assembly Decision to build 300 Pavilions has started in earnest. Code Named Project 300, the Head Office is funding the construction of 300 Pavilions to support Preaching Points and Congregations with decent places of worship. Every Presbytery in Ghana has benefited from this intervention and so far an amount equivalent to ninety-five (95) pavilions have been released to the Presbyteries. Together with those being funded directly by the Presbyteries and some Districts, 38 have been completed and dedicated and 110 are at different stages of completion bringing the total number to 148. Moderator, this project is unprecedented and it will no doubt broaden the geographical spread and local base of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. We are grateful to the various Presbytery leaderships who have actively partnered with the Head Office to manage and administer Project 300. It is worth reporting also that the Head Office supported many Preaching Points and Congregations with either the full or partial funding of the cost of roofing of their chapels or acquisition of parcels of land. In tune with this same project, two Presbyteries, i.e. Sefwi and Upper have received funding to the tune of 150,000 and 250,000 Ghana Cedis respectively to support the completion of the construction of residences for their Chairpersons.
Branches of the National Union of Presbyterian Students – Ghana (NUPS-G) on the various campuses of Tertiary institutions in the country received funding to support their operations. These include the University of Education, Winneba, and the University of Development Studies Medical School who received direct funding of GH₵100,000 and GH₵50,000 respectively in support of the roofing and construction of their respective chapels. NUPS-G branches in the University of Ghana, KNUST, Cape Coast, etc also received various sums of monies to support their work.
The Presbyterian Church of Ghana launched its 10-Year Strategic Plan at the 19th General Assembly, under the theme, ‘Agenda for growth.’ This plan affirmed the earlier decision to grow the Church by 10 percent every year. Over the years the Department of Mission and Evangelism has developed various tool kits to equip and mobilize members for evangelism, outreach, and church planting in all the 21 Presbyteries. Thankfully, sixty-four (64) new congregations were planted in the year 2020.
As an encouragement for the attainment of the objectives of Vision 1.5, the General Assembly Council has supported some Congregations and Preaching points with the provision of motorbikes, to enable a wider coverage of their evangelistic efforts. A total of forty-eight (48) motorbikes have been distributed across the country and it is hoped that these, together with other interventions, will give a fillip to the project.
The Presbyterian Church of Ghana is now present in a few countries of the world as the overseas mission is now a very important aspect of our life and ministry. I am happy to report that we now have a Congregation in Pretoria, South Africa, and during the year under review, we appointed and posted a Minister to take charge of it. We have rented a house in Pretoria to accommodate the Minister and I am happy to state that he is at post and doing so well. We are thankful to the then Ghana Ambassador to South Africa, Ambassador Dr. George Ayisi Boateng, himself a Presbyterian, who encouraged the formation and development of the Congregation, and Rev. Dr. Emmanuel K. Sarbah who was the founding Minister.
In a similar vein, we have added a very meaningful value to the Togo Congregation, by acquiring two plots of land for the construction of a Presbyterian Church of Ghana place of worship. By the grace of God, the Volta Presbytery is leading the process of acquisition and much progress has been made. Moderator, the Presbyterian Church of Ghana is moving forward!
The 20th General Assembly meeting, held at Akropong in the Akuapem Presbytery, mandated the General Assembly Council to deliberate on some major issues which, but for COVID -19, should have been discussed at that Assembly. The General Assembly Council, as a sequel to that mandate, met at Abokobi from Monday, 30th November to Friday, 3rd December 20201 and examined these matters. Past National officers and the Church’s National Departmental Committee Chairpersons were in attendance: The following decisions were taken by the Council:
- The minimum qualification required for entry into the Ordained Ministry is pegged at Bachelor’s Degree with a 10% window for very special cases.
- The General Assembly Office shall construct Three Hundred (300) Pavilions across the country.
- The proposal ‘One District — One Pavilion Project’ is accepted. In the year 2021, each Presbytery in conjunction with lower Courts is to build Pavilions corresponding to the number of Districts within it.
- North America/Australia and Europe Presbyteries were tasked to submit proposals to address the pastoral needs of the older generation and second-generation Ghanaians born in those Presbyteries.
- The Committee on Heritage and Doctrine was tasked to prepare and present a document on the faith and ethos of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana for consideration by GA.
- Congregational Welfare offering has been included in the list of funds exempted from the 50/50 contribution effective January 2021. It shall be collected only once a month.
- An Ad Hoc Committee on Ministry to the Aged was to be created to advise the GAC on matters relating to the Aged.
- Congregational Sessions that do not have youth serving on them are encouraged to co-opt the local YPG President to serve on Session (that is, if he or she is not already an elected Presbyter. Such co-opted members would not have voting rights).
- The audited Financial Statements of the Trinity Insurance Brokers (TIB) Limited for the year 2019 were accepted.
- The audited Financial Statements of the Presbyterian Press Limited for 2019 were accepted.
- The audited Financial Statements of the Salem Water Company Limited for 2019 were accepted.
- The General Assembly Council was tasked to ensure the Senya Breku land is properly documented and appropriately utilized.
- The Committee on Ministry and Presbyteries will be required to give recommendations on Ministerial Probationers before they are accepted for Ordination.
During the year under review, the GAC met once on Zoom in March 2021. For the June, 2021 GAC, under strict COVID-19 guidelines and protocols, we met in-person at Abokobi. The GAC is grateful to God for guiding the Council throughout the year and we acknowledge the unalloyed support of all. The following decisions were arrived at and I present them to you for ratification:
- Recommendations for an investigation into the sale of missionary lands at Oyibi in the Ga Presbytery were ratified. The GAC Standing Committee was empowered to implement the recommendations.
- Management was empowered through the GAC Standing Committee to work with the University Council to find a new President for PUCG.
- A definite Decision on the hosting of the 21st General Assembly meeting was taken by the June 2021 GAC meeting.
- All recommended persons on the list for further studies were approved.
- The following Sub-Districts in the Sekyere Presbytery were approved for elevation to District status: Effiduase West, Banko, and Kwamang.
- The establishment of the PCG TV station was referred to the GAC Standing Committee.
- Seventy-two applicants were approved for the SMT programme for 2021. Sixty of the applicants reside in Ghana and twelve are in the two overseas Presbyteries.
- The following sub-Districts in the NAAP were approved for inspection by the Clerk of GA: North Washington, Californian, Australia, and Texas/Oklahoma.
- The Clerk of GA was tasked to see to the fine-tuning of the PCG Intellectual Property documents after which it should be remitted to the Presbyteries.
- “Jesus Christ, The Light of the World” (John 8:12) was approved as the ecclesiastical theme for 2022.
- Dr. Bernard K. Adinkrah was appointed as the National YAF Chaplain.
- Director, CLAN was tasked to work with the Groups’ Constitutional Review Committee to review the JY and Children Service Leaders Constitutions and re-present for consideration during the June 2021 GAC meeting.
- Management to register ‘Salem’ as a Trademark together with all Church insignia/brand names and report to the June 2021 GAC.
- Director, Education to collate all land documents on the Church’s SHS in Greater Accra and Eastern Regions by the end of March 2021 to be perfected/registered by the Property Manager.
- Committee on Specialised Ministries to repackage the concept of the “Mega-Church” and “Shepherding” in the Church for the attention of the GAC at its sitting in June 2021.
- 2020 Evangelism Consultation Affirmations were endorsed for implementation.
- Finance Department to budget and pay medical bills of retired Ministers for the next three years until it is reviewed.
- GAC approved the PCG affiliation to the National Coalition on Proper Human Rights and Sexual Values.
- Develop a brief document to guide Agents of the Church in responding to LGBTQIA+ issues whilst the Committee on Heritage and Doctrine takes time to develop a comprehensive document.
- Renewal of Ecumenical Partnership Agreement between PCG and the Evangelical Association of World Missions, Austria was approved.
- Remit the document on electing Tent Ministers as Presbytery Clerks to Presbyteries.
- The following six proposed Districts in the West Brong Presbytery were approved for inspection: Berekum East; Duadaso; Asiri; Koraso; Kato and Jericho.
- The proposed New Gbawe and Amasaman Districts in the Ga West Presbytery were approved for inspection.
- Full-time Ministers in Europe and N. America Australia Presbytery will be paid 40% of their Basic Salary as pension effective 2016. Tent Ministers will continue receiving their stipends and allowances.
- Proposals to address pastoral needs of older and second-generation Ghanaians in Europe and North America Presbyteries were to be completed by end of May 2021.
- Committee on Worship to present a progress report on the development of Guidelines to regulate the Celebration of Traditional Sundays.
- GAC Ad Hoc Committee to present a full report on the Guidelines of the PCG Financial Contribution System to the June 2021 GAC meeting.
- Committee on Specialised Ministries to present a progress report on the “Revitalization of the Activities of the Bible Study & Prayer Group (BSPG)” and “Operations of Prayer Camps” to the GAC meeting in June 2021.
- The list of Ministers who qualify to be elected as Chairpersons in 2021 was approved. Copies were to be distributed to all Presbyteries.
- A virtual GAC meeting will be convened to discuss and authorize the draft contract and financial proposal for the establishment of the PCG TV Station.
- Allowances for Ministers in deprived areas are station-based and not for the individual.
- Medical bills of Agents payable by the Head Office are capped at Twelve Thousand Ghana Cedis per person per annum.
- The Committee on Specialized Ministries to present a concept paper on structured ministry to prisons to the GAC.
- Debts to PUCG and ACI impaired from the Account Books of the Church
- A Thirty-Unit Hospitality Centre approved for construction at the Ramseyer Training Centre, Abetifi
- The naming of the Daaban Congregation as Royal Congregation, Daaban in the Asante Presbytery was approved.
- The naming of the Church Hall of the Ebenezer Congregation Asawasi in the Asante Presbytery as Comfort Ansah Hall was approved
- Request from the Aburi Girls Senior High School to name facilities in the school after some former Headmistress approved.
- Documents on the registration of Blue Cross referred to the Legal Unit for study and advice
- The Research Unit of the Department of ESR was directed to research the causes of the recent deaths of Ministers of the PCG, particularly in the Volta Presbytery.
- Further consultations are to be done on the impending Decision of the Presbyterian Church of Canada on the ordination of gay ministers.
- All Chairpersons to study the Internal Auditor’s report to the June 2021 GAC and advise Agents on the recommendations
- GAC decided to hold a (four) day in-person meeting for the 21st General Assembly (Monday to Thursday).
- Before that, there will be a virtual meeting to constitute the 21 General Assembly for the workshop groups to start work.
- The ceremonial part of the GA will be held on the last day (Thursday).
- Total Commissioners expected will not be more than Two Hundred and Ten (210)
- Some of the Commissioners from Ga and Ga West Presbyteries to commute from their homes.
- Postings and Transfers for the 2021 ecclesiastical year were approved.
- The Property and the Legal Units under the Department of Administration and Human Resource Management at the Head Office to be strengthened in the short term. In the medium to long term, preparations should be made to establish a Company to take care of the Church’s landed properties
- The following vestments were approved for Ministers:
Black, white, shades of blue and grey clerical shirts
- In addition, Chairpersons(when in office only ) are permitted to wear wine-coloured clerical shirts.
- Principals Officers: to wear wine-coloured shirts, white, black, shades of blue and grey.
- Cassock is approved for Ministers. Approved colours are black, beige, and white. However, the use of white cassocks and gowns would be piloted for a year before a final decision is made on their use.
- Additional stoles were approved for various Ministers/Offices.
- Kente or smock-fabric stoles together with the blue stole will be official for all ministers. In addition, wine-coloured stoles for Chairpersons, white or gold coloured stoles for Moderator of GA and white or purple for the Clerk of GA.
- The paper on the assessment of the capacities of the Legal Unit was approved and referred to the 21st General Assembly
- The IT Unit at the Head Office to continue with the creation of the digital map for all PCG Congregations and Institutions
- The paper on the definition of an “external auditor” was approved for implementation.
- The Junior Youth Leaders Constitution was approved.
- The Children’s Service Leaders Constitution was approved.
- The paper on enhancing PCG Visibility in the public space was approved for implementation
- The following Sub-Districts in the West Brong Presbytery approved for elevation:
- Dormaa North
- Berekum South
- Berekum East
- The New Gbawe and Amasaman Sub-Districts in the Ga West Presbytery were approved for elevation.
- The following Sub-Districts in the North America/Australia Presbytery approved for elevation:
- North Washington
- The Legal Unit to quicken process on the registration of Ordained Ministers as Marriage Officers [Gazetting]
- The list of candidates for ordination was approved.
- CLAN Department to provide revised English hymn book to November 2021 GAC
- List of 2021 admission to TTS and SMT were approved
- Regional Directorate of Education to provide their draft budgets to Presbyteries.
- Reconstituted PRESED and Health Committees were approved.
- Recommended list of skill set for the members of the board of PRESED accepted
- Submit Provisional Cash Budget to the 21st GA
- Submit audited Financial Accounts Statement to the 21st GA
- Report writing format for the Strategic Plan approved for piloting
- Nzema and Abosso Sub-Districts approved for inspection
- Develop a paper for the attention of GAC on the determination of the ecclesiastical year
- Request by the Ga West to build a pavilion on the Kuntunse land approved.
- The following sub-Districts in the Ga Presbytery were approved for inspection: Sebrepor; Atomic Hills and Ashaiman North
- Find out about the monies paid to Sekyere Presbytery and the monies collected from Teachers for the purchase of a duty vehicle.
- Document on Guidelines for 50/50 contributions was approved.
- Education, Health, and Evangelism week proceeds are to be managed at the District and Congregational levels.
During the March 2020 General Assembly Council meeting, it became necessary that an interpretation be sought for the phrase “approved external auditor” as used in the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. A reference was therefore made to the Committee on Legal and Constitutional Matters for guidance. Even though the committee had earlier attended to this request, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the recommendations of the committee could not be placed before the 2020 General Assembly. It must be noted that per Article 24(7)(l) of the PCG Constitution, it is for the General Assembly to provide an authoritative interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution.
The June 2021 General Assembly Council considered and approved the recommended interpretation by the Committee on Legal and Constitutional Matters. The paper which is attached to this report as Appendix 1 is forwarded to this Assembly for ratification or otherwise per Article 24(7)(l) of the PCG Constitution.
The 20th General Assembly 2020 reiterated the 2019 General Assembly recommendation for the General Assembly Council to review the capacity of the Legal Unit. The said recommendation is as follows:
- It was recommended at the 19th GA that the “GAC must review the capacity of the Legal unit at the GA office to handle the numerous litigations that are related to properties. This must be done in a comprehensive manner. The output for the review must include the extent of the problem of land litigation and land documentation; a needs assessment; a policy paper on how the needs must be met; and an action plan to address the identified needs.” It was reported that this has not been done.
- The need for Presbyteries to engage proper legal representation to deal with the land issues was also noted.
It is recommended that:
- GAC must undertake the capacity review of the Legal Unit as a matter of urgency and implement recommendations arising from the review.
- Presbyteries must engage legal representation for their land cases. Support from the GAO must be on a need basis.”
The Committee on Legal and Constitutional Matters was tasked to assist in this assessment of the Capacity of the Legal Unit. A comprehensive report was submitted by the Committee which highlighted the scope of work at the Legal Unit, challenges, and recommendations. Some of the recommendations are mainly administrative and are being handled as such. The key recommendations are as follows:
- That steps be taken to have and maintain at least three (3) lawyers to ensure that there is a team of lawyers to attend to and effectively discharge all the work at the Unit. The following three (3) areas of focus for the lawyers is proposed:
- Statutory meetings of the General Assembly, the GAC, and the Standing Committee and tasks emanating from these meetings; constitutional and policy issues
- Land and land-related issues, and attending to and coordination of court cases involving the Church
- Corporate and compliance issues; preparation and review of commercial and other transactional issues
- That steps be taken to put in place an administrative staff of at least two (2) non-lawyers, a Law administrative person, and an Office Bailiff, to assist with the administrative aspects of the work of the Unit. These must have a background in paralegal studies or be prepared to be trained as such:
- The Administrative person will manage files and ensure appropriate record-keeping, and attending to other internal issues, making meeting arrangements, etc.
- An Office Bailiff to coordinate court-related errands, undertaking filing of court cases, following up on court orders, filing of updates of the Registered Trustees, assisting in the processing of Ordained Ministers as Marriage Officers, following up on other external compliance issues, and undertaking external engagements of the Unit which does not necessarily require the presence of a lawyer.
The June 2021 General Assembly Council discussed and approved the recommendations. The recommendations are being implemented, beginning with the professional staff, and I am happy to report that one additional lawyer has been engaged effective 1st August 2021. She will be introduced to this Assembly in due course. Indeed, Management at the Head Office identified the need to beef up the capacity of the Legal Unit and had initiated a process to that effect, and this has coincided with the recommendations of the Legal Committee.
During the course of the year, the Church, under the aegis of the ICT Unit, undertook several projects to facilitate the administration and ministry of the entire Church, to enhance operations and make information easily accessible. Among other things, the Church undertook the following projects:
- Increased Social Media Presence via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Telegram and pcgonline.
- PCG Multi Portals for data storage and Retrieval for G.A., G.A.C, Departments, Presbyteries and other specialized Portals.
- PCG Smart Workplace
- PCG Mobile App was expanded to include Digital Map and Children’s Hymns.
- PCG Video Conferencing Facility
- Documents and Archival system and the
- PCG Enterprise Resource Planning Software for Congregations.
Thankfully, all these projects are functional.
Twenty five (25) persons, (17 Agents and 8 Laypersons) for various levels of tertiary education, were approved by the GAC to receive financial support to enable them to pursue different areas of study which are of interest to the Church. The areas of study include the following:
- Pastoral Care and Counselling
- Church History
- Muslim/Christian Relations and Interfaith
- Theology and Mission
- Public Health
- Biomedical Engineering
- Theology and Administration
- Biblical Studies and others.
The Rev. Prof. Addow Obeng’s tenure as President of the Presbyterian University comes to an end this year, 2021. Prof. Addow Obeng has been instrumental in raising the image of the University. He has used his experience as an astute University Administrator to improve upon the life and image of the Presbyterian University and will leave behind a solid foundation upon which to grow and further develop the Institution. The Presbyterian Church of Ghana is grateful to Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Addow Obeng for his hard work and impactful service and congratulates him for his good work. When the history of the University comes to be written, his name will be in gold and we wish him well in retirement.
In his stead, God has through the instrumentality of the GAC and the University Council selected Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, to lead the University. Prof. Oduro Owusu, who is a Presbyterian and a well-known figure in University academic circles worldwide and we are thankful to God for blessing the Presbyterian Church of Ghana with such a ‘big fish’ to help steer the affairs of the University into the future. He has written to accept the offer to serve and he is assured of the support of the General Assembly Council and the entire Church family.
Again the Chairperson of the PUCG Council, Her Ladyship Justice Akuffo has been appointed by the government to the position of Chairperson of the University of Ghana Council. Because of the relationship between the PUCG and the University of Ghana, and to avoid a conflict of interest situation, Her ladyship has tendered in her resignation from the PUCG, and the Standing Committee, acting for the GAC, at an emergency meeting, has accepted her resignation. We wish to thank her for her services and love for her mother Church, the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. We wish her well with her new appointment.
In her stead, a Supreme Court Judge, His Lordship Justice Prof. Nii Ashie Kotey (Ph.D.) has been appointed to the chair of the PUCG Council. His Lordship is a dye in the wool Presbyterian, a former Senior Presbyter of the Eben-Ezer Congregation, Osu in the Ga Presbytery. He was also the former Chairperson of the National Lands Commission and Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana, Legon. Thankfully, he has accepted to serve the Church and the University.
The General Assembly Council at its meetings during the year, approved requests from the Brong Ahafo, Sekyere, West Brong, Ga West, and North America Australia Presbyteries for the creation of new Districts, having satisfied the requirements as enshrined in the Church’s Constitution. In all, twenty (20) new Districts were approved for inauguration and the detailed break down are as follows:
- Brong Ahafo Presbytery: Maabeng, Nsakaw, Sunyani Estate, Techiman South, and Nsakaw North.
- Sekyere Presbytery: Effiduase West, Kwamo, and Banko Districts.
- West Brong Presbytery: Berekum South, Dormaa North, Koraso, Adamsu, Duadaso, and Berekum East Districts.
- North America / Australia Presbytery: California, North Washington DC District, Texas-Oklahoma, and Australia Districts.
- Ga West Presbytery: North Gbawe and Amasaman
In the case of the four Districts in the North America /Australia Presbytery, the GAC invoked article 12.2a of the PCG Constitution to wave the specific requirement on adult membership and accepted the proposal to create the four Districts.
On the Ten-Year Strategic Plan of the Church, we want to say a big thank you to Agents for supporting the implementation of the Plan since its adoption during the 19th General Assembly.
Based on the Strategic Plan Implementation Framework, the Courts of the Church were expected to develop their Three-Year Rolling Plan (TYRP) and also come up with strategies (Annual Quarterly Targets (AQTs) to help achieve their set goals and targets.
It is worth noting that the Courts of the Church for the first time, prepared their TYRPs and AQTs for 2021. The Presbyteries have submitted copies of these documents to the Head Office.
Again, as at the end of March 2021, Chairpersons of Presbyteries had signed the 2021 Performance Target Agreement with the Clerk of General Assembly.
I am reliably informed that District Ministers have signed Performance Target Agreements with their Presbytery Chairpersons and Agents in Charge of Congregations have also done same with their District Ministers.
We want to encourage Agents and the Lay to keep an eye on the implementation of the Strategic Plan. Let us consciously follow the plans and strategies we have developed to avoid missing out on very important time-bound activities. As the saying goes, “what is measured gets done.”
Also, to help us report, monitor, and evaluate our activities, the National Strategic Plan Facilitation Team has developed Guidelines and Templates for Report Writing. This is to enable each court to prepare its quarterly/annual report and submit it to the immediate higher court. The Guidelines and Templates for Report Writing based on the Strategic Plan have been shared with Chairpersons and Clerks of Presbyteries at different meetings. The Office of the Clerk of General Assembly will organize training sessions on the Guidelines on report writing based on the Strategic Plan right after the 21st GA.
The 19th General Assembly mandated the General Assembly Council to reflect on and take another look at the ministerial vestments for Agents of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. A committee was then tasked to tease out suggestions from stakeholders on the way forward. This Committee reflected on the whole gamut of the journey of ministerial vestments in the Church and used the compass of Biblical, Historical, Socio-cultural, modesty and Reformed Theological understanding to prescribe alternative and in some cases, new vestments, all together, for the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. After two years the Committee presented its report to the Standing Committee, then to stakeholder meetings, by zoom and in-person, that included members of the Council of the National Ministers’ Conference, and subsequently to the GAC at its meeting in June, 2021. GAC accepted the report with very minor changes and I am happy to seek the ratification of the 21st General Assembly.
For clerical shirts, in addition to the standard colours of black and shades of grey and blue, white is now officially permissible. Principal Officers, in or out of office and serving Chairpersons of Presbyteries, are permitted to use the wine Clerical shirt.
Ordained Ministers are allowed to wear black and beige cassocks. The use of white cassocks and gowns would be piloted for a year before a final decision is made on their use.
In addition to the blue stoles in use, all ministers are permitted to use a few variants of kente and smock fabric stoles for official purposes. Black coloured stole for all ministers is permitted to be used during burial services. Some specifically Ghanaian indigenous traditional and theologically meaningful symbols will be embossed on the stoles to reflect the functional roles of some Presbytery and National officers of the Church.
In consultation with the National Catechists Conference, prescribed attire for ceremonial and non-ceremonial programmes have also been affirmed. Details of this and others are contained in appendix 2 of my report.
This year thirty-one (31) Ministerial Candidates were licensed by the Church into the Holy Ministry of the Lord. Twenty-two (22) of the number were trained at the Trinity Theological Seminary, Legon and commissioned in two batches in Ga and Ga West Presbyteries, and nine (9) were trained under the Special Ministerial Training Programme at the Ramseyer Training Centre and were commissioned at Abetifi. All the newly commissioned Ministers have been posted and we commend them to the Lord.
The Sod cutting for the beginning of the project was done on 29th July, 2020 by the Principal Officers in the presence of some members of the GAC Standing Committee, Standing Committees of Ga and Ga West Presbyteries, some staff of the Head Office, the Technical Committee handling the project and some other GAC members were in attendance. The work has since progressed quite steadily and at the time of compiling this report, the building itself has been roofed and was nearing completion. What is outstanding are external works and furnishing. It is expected that the building will be completed and made ready for dedication by November 2021.
The original 60 unit Guest House which was earmarked for RTC, Abetifi has been remodeled into two separate project phases. The designs and detailed drawings for the first, a 34 room hostel facility with four additional suites and two-family units, have been worked on by the Projects and Investment Committee (PIC). To the glory of God, a sod-cutting ceremony was held on Sunday, 25th July 2021 by the Principal Officers of the Church in the presence of members of the GAC. We expect that the project would be completed within 15 months. A second project of the same capacity will be tackled later after this first one. I am happy to inform this Assembly that funding for this project has been internally secured.
Among several others, the following were achieved in the year:
- Documentation and registration of the lands of three (3) out of the five (5) Colleges of Education (CoE) of the PCG were fully completed. The three colleges were Akropong CoE, Aburi Women’s CoE, and Abetifi Presbyterian CoE. The Church reached very far in completing the remaining two, namely Agogo Presbyterian Women’s CoE and Kibi Presbyterian CoE.
- For the first time, the Head Office embarked on aggressive documentation and registration of the lands of our Senior High Schools (SHS). Of the thirty-three (33) Senior High and Technical Schools of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, twenty-one (21) are currently being worked on. They have reached various levels of completion. This bold step has been as important as revealing since very little had been done by the Church and the Schools. It has been discovered that there was massive encroachment on the lands of almost all the schools and many of the schools were losing the battle of land ownership and registration. It must however be stated that the exercise has been quite capital intensive. So far an amount of GH₵ 284,761 has been spent on this national exercise.
- The Head Office has also spent money on property related issues including the following:
(i) Part payment on documentation of our 100-acre land at Senya Breku in the Central Presbytery.
(ii) Protection and regularization of our missionary land at Oyibi in the Ga Presbytery.
(iii) initial payment for the registration of Agogo Hospital and Nursing & Midwifery School land in the Asante Akyem Presbytery.
(iv) Registration of Bosuso Presbyterian School lands in the Akyem Abuakwa Presbytery.
(v) Protection and regularization of our missionary land at Kpong in the Dangme Tongu Presbytery.
(vi) The final payment of GH₵ 119,000.00 on our Kutunse land which remained unpaid because the Church was waiting for the documents from the grantors was made when the documents were received from the landowners.
(vii) Details of all the above and other land matters would be provided by the Department of Administration and Human Resource Management.
Wanting to expand the frontiers of the PCG Global Mission, the General Assembly Council has supported our congregation in Lome Togo to acquire two plots of land for a Presbyterian Church. The Volta Presbytery is leading the process for the acquisition.
Additionally, the General Assembly Council has rented a house to be used as a manse for the Minister in Charge of the PCG Congregation in Pretoria South Africa. Thankfully, a minister from Ghana has been posted to take charge of the infant Congregation whose total membership stands at 92.
In the course of the year, the Volta Presbytery experienced, what looks like an unusual death of a number of her Agents. Within a very short time from, November 2020 to May 2021, four ministers and one spouse passed on. Whilst this may be a mere coincidence, the General Assembly did not take it kindly. For starters, a directive was given to all Presbyteries to ensure that Agents of the Church undergo a mandatory annual medical check-up and to remember to pray, specifically, for the Volta Presbytery. Additionally, a special residential prayer session, under the aegis of the Department of Mission and Evangelism, was organized at Patmos Retreat Centre, Akropong, led by the Moderator and Evangelist Abboah-Offei for all Agents of the Volta Presbytery. Meanwhile, we have tasked the Research Unit of the Church House to present a paper on the recent happenings in the volta Presbytery. The clarion call is still let us continue to bear each other in prayers!
The 19th General Assembly held at Abetifi Kwahu decided that operational vehicles be bought for all the Presbyterian Regional Educational Units. I am happy to inform the Assembly that the process to acquire the vehicles has started in earnest. To be fair to the financial position of the Church, however, we have decided to undertake the exercise in tranches. Moderator, during the snack break today, I will invite you and members of the General Assembly Council to hand over three Nissan Hard Body 4×4 Pick Ups to the Eastern, Western, and Volta Regional Managers of Presbyterian schools. It will be the turn of three (3) other Regional Education Units in 2022.
- The General Assembly Council has fully renovated and refurbished the ICT laboratory for the Anum Presbyterian Senior High. In addition, thirty brand new (30) computers were bought to make the ICT laboratory functional.
- The Kwamo Presbyterian Senior High School also had a fair share of the cake. The sickbay has been renovated and refurbished and it is in full operation now.
- Some Desktop computers were also distributed to some educational institutions as follows; Aburi College of Education (10), Akropong College of Education (5), Abetifi College of education (5), Agogo College of Education (5), and Nsaba Senior High School (5). Kibi College of Education had the equivalent of 800 bags of cement to help complete an ongoing project. In addition, fifty Ipad tablets were distributed to all the heads of our institutions (from secondary to tertiary). This is to enhance their administrative and managerial work.
The Order 25 Policy Guidelines for the Operation of Businesses requires that the appropriate Court engages the Board of Directors of its companies in a face-to-face Annual Comprehensive Accountability and stewardship Review Meeting. This is to be so organized as to coincide with the statutory Annual General Meeting of the company. Accordingly, the General Assembly Council (GAC) in July 2021, on behalf of the General Assembly, undertook a review of the activities of the Board of Directors of the Presbyterian Press Limited and the Trinity Insurance Brokerage Limited. The meeting allowed the GAC to receive and discuss the audited financial statement of the two companies as well as reports of the Directors. I am happy to report that the GAC had a fruitful engagement with the Directors, critiquing and commending where necessary. It is refreshing to report to Assembly that the Board of the Presbyterian Press Limited promised to donate GH¢50,000.00 to the Church in August 2021.
Under the aegis of the National Department of Development and Social Services, the maiden edition of the Jesus Christmas Street Party was organized at Osu, at the precincts of the Bethlehem Congregation, behind the Castle. The objectives of the event, among other things, were to spend time and share the word of God with children in a deprived neighbourhood during Christmas. It was also to promote the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and to serve as a fillip towards the realization of the Vision 1.5 Agenda. The event also provided an opportunity, for the Principal Officers and staff of the Head Office, to interact with children in and around the place.
In all, a total of one thousand (1,000) children and about 200 adults were feted on the day. These included about 20 children with disabilities. The children were also given educational materials such as exercise books, pencils, etc. the Gideon Society also provided bibles and tracts that were shared to the adults.
The Principal Officers and Directors at the National Office interacted with the children by dancing with them and sharing the word of God with them. An Altar Call was also made.
This idea of a ‘Street Party’ was shared with all Presbyteries in Ghana which graciously and enthusiastically organized similar events in various parts of the country, thus creating a bigger effect and impact on the society.
At Easter time, the General Assembly Council led Presbyteries and Districts to practicalize the Gospel mandate of Matthew 25, by visiting inmates of various prisons, Police cells, and Hospitals. I wish to propose that these should be annual events and be organized and led by the various Courts and in tune with Vision 1.5. General Assembly Council wishes to commend the technical knowledge and professionalism of the National Director for Development and Social Services, Mrs. Teiko Sabah.
In 2019, the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, the Rt. Rev. Prof. J.O.Y. Mante initiated a National Cleanliness and Ecological Integrity Campaign as one of the four main strategic objectives of the Church. This pilot project was jointly propelled multi-sectorally by the Departments of Ecumenical and Social Relations (ESR), Ecumenical and Social Relations, and Education in thirteen (13) Presbyterian Basic schools.
During the year and under the able coordination of the Director for Development and Social Services, the PCG started a project aimed at planting one million trees in all parts of the nation in 2021. We are happy to observe that, so far, this project has been enthusiastically carried out by the Presbyteries in Ghana and its initial impact has already been felt in the whole country. A total of 271,079 trees have so far been planted by the Church. The General Assembly Council is grateful to all, the government, the Forestry Commission, all Courts and institutions of the Church, and members that contributed to make the nation green again. Reports indicate that all Congregations and institutions of the Church took the exercise very seriously and reckoned it as part of our worship of God.
Following the ban on public gatherings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the GAC approved the airing of Church Services on some selected media stations. The Departments of Mission and Evangelism and Church Life and Nurture were, therefore, charged to ensure regular beaming of the Presbyterian Hour on National Television. The Moderator has been the regular preacher. Reports reaching the office indicate that most viewers, especially those with underlying medical conditions who are unable to attend regular Sunday service in their churches are happy with the programme and view it regularly. The Church has been receiving donations from individuals and groups in support of the programme.
After serving God and the Church at the General Assembly level, the following seven (7) Chairpersons and six (6) Lay Representatives have completed their tenure of service. They are:
- Timothy Ernest Annor -Western
- Dr. Anokye Nkansah -Asante Akyem
- Dr. William Kwabena Ofosu Addo -Brong Ahafo
- Alex Owusu-Addo -Central
- Dr. Benzies Isaac Adu-Okore -West Akyem
- Samuel Atteh Odjelua -Dangme Tongu
- Daniel Amoako Nyarko -Ga West
- Randa Asare -Western
- S. Kwaku Woanya -Volta
- Robert G. Adu Mante -Akuapem
- Madam Alice Oforiwaa -Asante Akyem
- Stella Amofaa Dodoo -Central
- Getrude Ametefe -Sefwi
Moderator, we must thank God for blessing the Church with such illustrious men and women, Lay and Ordained, who have applied their spirituality, time, skill, and knowledge to help run the affairs of the Chruch. GAC will no doubt miss them all for their faithfulness and dedication to duty. We salute all of them and I urge the Presbyteries to continue using them in areas of their experience.
In the same way, seven (7) new Chairpersons were elected to continue with the business of leadership of the Church in their respective Presbyteries and as members of the GAC. They are:
- Rev. Enoch Adjei Pobee – Ga West Presbytery
- Rev. David Aboagye-Danquah -Asante Akyem Presbytery
- Rev. Raymond Baah Abeka -West Akyem Presbytery
- Rev. Dr. Joseph Appiah Asamoah -Western Presbytery
- Rev. Benjamin Appiah -Brong Ahafo Presbytery
- Rev. Abraham Djaba Okai -Dangme Tongu Presbytery
- Rev. Fiifi Foh Arkhurst -Central Presbytery
Six (6) new Presbytery Lay Representatives were elected. They are:
- Ms. Evangeline Amegashie -Akuapem Presbytery
- Mr. John Ofori Jnr. -Central Presbytery
- Mr. Ishmael Arko Mantey -Asante Akyem Presbytery
- Dr. Paul Addo Essah -Western Presbytery
- Mr. Emmanuel Afrifa -Sefwi Presbytery
- Mrs. Patience Doreen Kailey Atsakpo -Volta Presbytery
In the same vein, we are welcoming seven (7) Presbytery Clerks, elected to serve their respective Presbyteries for the next four (4) years (2021-2025). They are:
- Rev. Ebenezer Ninepence -Sefwi Presbytery
- Rev. Edwin T . Buertey -Akuapem Presbytery
- Rev. Emmanuel Omari -Europe Presbytery
- Rev. Gilbert Yao Miwornunyiue -Dangme Tongu Presbytery
- Rev. Jasper Maas -Northern Presbytery
- Rev. Dr. Bernard Kofi Adinkra -Akyem Abuakwa Presbytery
- Rev. Martin Ansu -West Brong Presbytery
We pray for God’s guidance for them in the performance of their duties.
Fifteen (15) Ministers who have served God and the Church for various lengths of time, are retiring at the end of August this year, 2021. We are grateful to God who called them all to serve His interest through the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. We celebrate them all for their services to the Church and wish them restful and peaceful moments in their retirement. A formal Send-off will take place on Thursday morning.
The National Property Manager, Rev. David Aboagye-Danquah, bows out of the Church House this year 2021, after serving God and the Church continuously for Fifteen (15) years. Moderator, the Presbyterian Church of Ghana is grateful to Rev. Aboagye Danquah for his committed and faithful service to the Church. Unassuming but firm and very knowledgeable in the area of property management, and general land administration, Rev. Aboagye Danquah served for Eight (8) years as the Estates Officer and Seven (7) years as the Property Manager of the church.
In the course of his service at the Head Office, he published 5 books and donated all the proceeds to the PCG. Three (3) of the books he co-authored with the current Moderator of the General Assembly, Rt. Rev. Prof. J.O.Y. Mante are:
- General Assembly Decisions and the rationale behind the decisions (2001 to 2010)
- Synod Decisions and the rationale behind the decisions (1975 to 2000)
- General Assembly Decisions and the rationale behind the decisions (2001 to 2020) -which is now at the Press.
Currently, he also has the following at the press:
- Compilation of Constitutions, Policies, Guidelines, Bye-Laws and Manuals developed by the PCG (2001 to 2020) and
- The Church as a tool for the Promotion of ADR in Ghana
Moderator, it is worth mentioning that Rev. Aboagye Danquah supervised and professionally managed, for six years, PCG’s largest single land acquisition (759.89 acres) Salem City Project for the Church. He has been a member of the National Planning Committee of the annual General Assemblies for the past 14 years and has been part of the team responsible for accommodation, workshop groupings, etc.
Moderator, Rev. Aboagye-Danquah deserves a tumultuous round of applause from Commissioners and Corresponding members for ably managing the unit. Thankfully, it is a farewell to him and not a goodbye. This is because he will be serving the Church now in another capacity and will be a full member of the General Assembly Council. I can assure him that we will con
We are grateful to God for walking the journey with us and illuminating our path. In the midst of the pandemic, the Lord has been good to us and has given us a near semblance of normalcy. In the midst of COVID-19, God has given us a new revelation of what our lives can be and the new normal ought to be considered well into the future and we are grateful.
I am also grateful to the Moderator for his leadership of the General Assembly. It is very clear that under him and for the next few years, we have a clearer agenda for growth and the future development of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. As I keep saying to people, there is no dull moment at the Office and in the general life of the National Church, as there are more than enough programmes and projects to relate to, manage and administer.
I am thankful to God for the life and ministry of the National Directors at the Church House. Moderator, our Directors are doing their best to facilitate the smooth workings and coordination of the life of the Departments of the Church at all Courts. They are my able lieutenants and I am able to lead the administration of the Church because of them and I am grateful to all seven. By extension, I salute all staff of the Church House for the collegial way they work to help achieve corporate goals.
As regards reports of other significant issues in the Church, I will refer Commissioners to the reports of the seven (7) Departments.
It is the Lord, alone, who has led us this far. Through the vicissitude of the past year, 2020, the God of life has been our guide and stay. Once more we thank God for our Church, her life, and witness in the past year. We salute all Agents of the Church and the lay leadership at the various Courts of the Church, for keeping the torch of Presbyterianism alive. We commit our future into God’s hands and pray that He will cause us to recognize what He would have us do in the year ahead; to grow closer to God, to look to Him for guidance, and to serve Him more faithfully. I thank God for the pastoral and spiritual leadership of the Moderator. The various National Directors and their Departmental assistants and the entire staff at the Church House have been up to the task. By them and with them, we have had many more exciting programmes and projects and the technical side of the work of the Church has been in safe hands.
Our God has called us to be one branch of the Kingdom tree, the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. May He help us to honour that calling for His Name’s sake.
And now to the one whose goodness is without equal, whose love is without comparison, whose mercy is beyond understanding and whose power is beyond words, be glory and praise, worship and thanksgiving, now and always. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Godwin Nii Noi Odonkor
Clerk of General Assembly
Kuku Hill, Osu
16th August, 2021
This request for interpretation was a reference from the March 2020 General Assembly Council. The following provisions of the PCG Constitution were the subject of the interpretation as regards the auditing of the books and accounts of the respective Courts: Article 9(25) for the Congregation, Article 13(26) for the District, Article 19(24) for the Presbytery and Article 24(22) for the General Assembly. These provisions require that the books and accounts of the Court shall be audited by an approved external auditor.
The Committee recognizes that there is generally a technical definition of who an external auditor is; that person being a chartered accountant or otherwise qualified under the law which regulates the Institute of Chartered Accountants Ghana, and licenced to practice as such. Such is the standard auditing requirement under the Companies Act. The Committee, however, took the view that to the extent that the PCG is not incorporated under the Companies Act but rather under the Trustees Incorporation Act, the PCG is not bound by the provisions of the Companies Act which requires auditing according to that standard. The Committee, nevertheless, recognizes the need for accountability, and this can be achieved by the independence of the auditing process.
The Committee therefore, after reading the applicable provisions in context, came to the conclusion that for the Congregation and the District, the requirement of an “approved external auditor” as used in the constitution is met when an auditor or an audit team approved by the Presbytery is appointed to audit the books of accounts of the said Court. This is to meet the “approval” requirement. Such an auditor or audit team must be appointed outside of the Court in question, in order to meet the “external” requirement. The Committee recommends that the basis of qualification for the appointment as auditor or member of the audit team be left to the Presbytery Session. This is to take into account the varied nature and dynamics of our Congregations and Districts. It is, however, recommended that if a Congregation or District is willing and able to afford Chartered Accountant or an Accounting Firm as an external auditor, they shall be free to appoint one subject to the approval of the Presbytery Session.
As regards the books and accounts of the Presbytery and the General Assembly Office, it is recommended that at this high level, the Church should endeavour to engage qualified external auditors in terms of Chartered Accountant or an Accounting Firm licensed for the purpose of auditing.
RICHARD DUA-ANSAH PROF. AKUA KUENYEHIA
Secretary Committee Chairperson
CLERICAL VESTMENTS FOR AGENTS OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF GHANA – RECOMMENDATIONS PRESENTED TO THE 2021 GENERAL ASSEMBLY
TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR COMMITTEE:
- To study the issue of vestments for Agents of the PCG as it has evolved in recent years.
- The current situation of vestments of Agents of the PCG and concerns.
- Make a proposal to the Moderator for standardizing of vestments for Agents of the PCG by the G.A. Council and the National Ministers’ Conference and finally by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana.
The Committee met several times to draft the document which was discussed at various times with various stakeholders, including the General Assembly Council and the General Council of the National Ministers’ Conference for their inputs. Also, the female Ministers and the National Catechists’ Conference were consulted for their specific inputs.
- This report is informed by the fact;
- That the Presbyterian Church of Ghana belongs to the Reformed Tradition;
- That, unlike the Episcopal system, the polity of the Reformed Tradition which the PCG practices is not hierarchical;
- That Ministers are basically either Probationers or Ordained;
- That Ministers may be appointed or elected to serve in an office for a specified period after which they revert;
- That such an appointment is not an elevation in rank.
- The Committee appreciates the fact that individual Ministers and Catechists may have special preferences for certain clerical vestment designs, fabrics and colours, but for the sake of uniformity, certain parameters must be set.
- The report also takes note of clerical vestments as it pertains currently in the PCG.
- The Presbyterian Church of Ghana has over the years, as much as possible, refrain from anything that would introduce a hierarchical order into its ministerial structure. As we endeavour to bring sanity and uniformity into the vestments for Ministers and Catechists, care has been taken not to eradicate this beautiful culture.
Ministers are permitted to wear suits, which colours are not too loud and bright. Dark-coloured suits are generally recommended. Fabric may be stripped or checked. Tail coats and tuxedo suits are not permitted.
Ordained Ministers are allowed to wear black and beige Cassocks.
Probationers are not allowed to wear cassocks.
Decision on a white cassock for ordained Ministers would be taken after piloting its use for a year.
Cassocks must be worn with clerical shirts, collars and bibs.
- CLERICAL SHIRTS
In addition to the standard colours of Black, shades of grey and blue, white is now officially permissible.
Chairpersons of Presbyteries and General Assembly Principal Officers are permitted to wear wine-coloured Clerical shirts while in office, in addition to the standard colours.
General Assembly Principal Officers are permitted to wear the wine-coloured Clerical shirt after leaving office in addition to the standard colours.
The standard collars permissible are white which may come as slip in, band (around the world) and the sit in.
Clerical collar must only be worn on plain cloth shirts and never on a printed church anniversary cloth or any other multicolored cloth.
- CLERICAL GOWNS
The following clerical gowns are permissible: Black and Beige. White clerical gowns to be piloted for a year. A committee is to be formed to assess the results of the piloting before a final decision is taken on it the following year.
Apart from the use of an embroidered cross on both sides of the chest of the gown, no other embroidery is permitted on the gown.
The following coloured stoles embossed with specific insignia only shall be worn by ALL Ministers:
Stoles for all Ministers shall be:
- Blue for all season
- Black for burial services
- Kente for joyous and all other liturgical occasions (seasons)
- Kente shall also be the official stole for Ministers during special services.
- Stoles may also be produced with fugu/batakari fabrics.
The National Ministers’ Conference, in consultation with the General Assembly Council, will decide and prescribe the colours for the Kente fabrics.
INSIGNIA FOR STOLES
Adinkra symbols will be embossed together with traditional Christian symbols on stoles as indicated below:
- ALL MINISTERS
The stoles shall have embossed on them, crosses, one on each wing of the stole at the chest level and the Presbyterian crest and the Gye Nyame symbol at the bottom of each wing.
- PRESBYTERY CLERKS:
Lemon Green stoles embossed with the insignia for all Ministers.
- PRESBYTERY CHAIRPERSONS:
Wine colour with the Adinkra symbol for worship ‘Som Onyankopon’ and the Chi-Rho will be embossed at the chest level, one on each wing of the stole of Presbytery Chairpersons.
At the bottom of the wings shall be embossed the Presbyterian crest and the cross, one on each side.
- PRINCIPAL OFFICERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OFFICE:
White stoles with specific symbols of office.
In addition, the Moderator may use a gold stole and the Clerk a purple stole as alternate colours for their offices.
- The insignia for the stole of the Clerk of General Assembly will be the Adinkra symbol for Law and Order, Mmara krado and the ICHTHUS (fish) to be embossed at the chest level of the wings on the stole. At the bottom of each of the wings shall be embossed the Presbyterian crest and the cross.
- The insignia for the stole of the Moderator of General Assembly should reflect the foremost character of God, i.e. Holiness and Excellence. The dove (representing the Holy Spirit) over the Holy Bible and the Adinkra Symbol, Nsaa representing excellence, genuineness and authenticity is to be embossed on the chest level of the Moderator’s stole. At the bottom of each of the wings shall be embossed the Presbyterian crest and the cross.
Past Principal Officers and Chairpersons
Past Principal officers of the General Assembly are permitted to use their respective office stoles on ceremonial service days. Eg. General Assembly Sunday, Presbytery Sunday, Induction of a Principal Officer etc. and also when they are delegated to officiate a function that relates to that previous office. Otherwise, they should revert to the general stoles for all ordained Ministers.
Past Chairpersons are also permitted to use the stole of their previous office only if delegated to officiate a function in that capacity. Otherwise, they should revert to the general stoles for all ordained Ministers.
- HATS FOR MALE MINISTERS
In consultation with the General Assembly Council, a prescribed design of hats will be produced by the National Ministers’ Conference for male Ministers who desire to wear hats.
- FUGU (BATAKARI)
The fugu/batakari can be worn over the prescribed clerical shirt with the clerical collar instead of a jacket/coat. The fugu/batakari, however, does not replace the gown.
- VESTMENTS FOR FEMALE MINISTERS
Under the remit of these general guidelines, female Ministers are permitted to wear skirt suits and slits with descent tops over the clerical shirts. The skirts and slits should be long enough and drop below the knee.
Female Ministers must always wear a hat (modest) when officially dressed.
In consultation with the Catechists Conference, the following vestments are proposed:
Two types of uniforms for Catechists:
This must be won during Consecration, Communion, Induction, Introduction services, Conferences, Weddings and Funeral services and other official services.
- Blue-black suit with white or sea blue long sleeve shirt, Catechist flying Tie and Black shoe for male Catechists.
- Blue Black skirt suit or frock dress with white or sea-blue inner tube under a descent top, Black shoe and a hat for female Catechists.
The length of female skirts and frock dresses must drop below the knee.
Could be worn on ordinary Sundays and naming ceremonies, etc.
- Ash suit with white long sleeve shirt, Catechist flying tie and black shoe for male Catechists.
- Blue Black skirt suit or frock dress with white or sea-blue inner tube under a descent top, Black shoe and a hat for female Catechists.
The length of female skirts and frock dresses must drop below the knee.
- DRESSING OF MINISTERS FOR MAJOR OCCASIONS
|General Assembly/Presbytery Sunday||All officiating Ministers must wear the black clerical gown;
All other Ministers must wear a black cassock or suit with a clerical collar.
|Opening ceremonies of General Assembly/Presbytery/District Sessions||Black Cassock or black Suit with a clerical collar|
|Commissioning and Ordination||All officiating Ministers must robe in black clerical gowns; other Ministers must be in a black cassock or suit with a clerical collar|
|Induction of Principal Officers and Chairpersons||All officiating Ministers must be in black clerical gowns; all other Ministers must be in black cassock or suit with a clerical collar|
|Dedication of chapels||All officiating clergy must be in black clerical gowns; all other Ministers must be in black cassock or suit with a clerical collar|
|Academic Programmes, e.g. Graduation/Commendation Services||Officiating clergy and officers may wear academic gowns and hoods from the institutions where they trained.|
|Sacraments and other special church services such as weddings, funerals, graduations, inductions, etc.||Ordained Ministers must wear clerical gowns. Probationers must be in suit with clerical collars.|
Modesty and decency must inform dress codes of all Agents of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana wherever and in whatever capacity they find themselves.