Ecumenical Social Relations

Ecumenical and Social Relations (ESR)

History of Ecumenism in PCG

The Presbyterian Church of Ghana’s partnership in Mission (ecumenism) traces its origin to the early missionary work of the Basel Missionary Society, and later to the United Free Church of Scotland.  The Mission Boards pursued their evangelization and expansion programs through religious and secular education and evangelistic campaigns.  Given the philosophy of missions at the time, their endeavours included the building of churches, schools and hospitals.

In 1950, when the PCG became fully self-governing, the relationship was described as a “mother-daughter relationship”. This means that the Basel Mission Society and the United Free Church on the one hand and the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) on the other hand formed a trusting relationship to share complementary strengths and resources to reach mutual goals.

In 1956 the Presbyterian Church of Ghana established relations with many other churches in Europe.  All along, the relationships had been between the Basel Mission Society (BMS) and the Church of Scotland (COS).  Relationships were also established between the Netherlands Reformed Church and the United Reformed Church, UK.

Later on in the century, the world ecumenical bodies such as the World Council of Churches (WCC), the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the All Africa Council of Churches (AACC) recognized the PCG as a member in the ecumenical system.

In 1960 the PCG established the Inter-Church and Ecumenical Relations Desk. The functions are as stated below:

  1. To advise the General Assembly Council on policy matters affecting the relations of the Church with local and international and local ecumenical bodies, such as the World Council of Churches (WCC), the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), the All-Africa Conference of Churches (AACC),The Christian Council of Ghana (CCG), the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Ghana Pentecostal Council, and other recognized Christian bodies;
  2. Resource and facilitate the direct partnership relationships between Presbyteries and overseas churches and institutions;
  3. Maintain close contact with the Inter-faith/Inter-Church committee of CCG and to advise the Church on its relations with people of other faiths;
  4. Organize programs/fora on issues of local and international ecumenical interest.

Work of the Department

There are two committees that operate under the department to help achieve its mandate.  The committees are:

  1. Church and Society Committee:
    The Committee is entrusted with the responsibility to study the various social, cultural, political and moral trends of the country and advise the General Assembly Council on them, in order for the General Assembly to respond to them by Communiqué or any other means that the General Assembly would deem necessary to adopt.
  2. The Committee on Ecumenism and Relations with People of Other Faiths
    The committee is entrusted with the responsibility to advise the Church on matters affecting the relations of the Church with other churches and with Inter-Church or Ecumenical Bodies.  It is also to work in close contact with the inter-faith Committee of the Christian Council of Ghana and advise The Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) on its relations with people of other faiths and organize programs on Christian witness in the midst of other religious and Christian relations with members of other faith

 

(1) Committee on Ecumenism and Relations
with People of Other Faiths
(a) Membership
(i) One Minister
(ii) One former Ecumenical Co-worker of
the Church
(iii) One Woman
(iv) Two Youth (one male and one female)
(v) One member from the Northern
Outreach Programme/Ministry
(vi) One expert in African Traditional
Religion/Affairs
(vii) One expert in Islamic Religion
(viii) The Public Relations Officer
(ix) The Director, Department of Ecumenical
and Social Relations
(b) Functions
(i) To advise the General Assembly on
policy matters affecting the relations of
the Church and dialogue with national
and International Ecumenical bodies,
and in particular, to maintain contact
with the World Council of Churches
(W.C.C.), the World Communion of
Reformed Churches (W.C.R.C.), the
All-Africa Conference of Churches
(A.A.C.C.) and the Christian Council
of Ghana (C.C.G.), and report to the
Church on issues of bilateral interest.
(ii) To advise on relations with Churches
abroad, recommending ecumenical
co-workers for service in the PCG or
in the Churches abroad, and on the
integration of ecumenical co-workers
into the PCG.
(iii) To arrange for the orientation,
language study and other training of
new ecumenical co-workers after their
arrival, and to assist in welcoming
other Christians from outside Ghana
coming to work in the PCG in any
capacity.
(iv) To oversee the work of ecumenical coworkers
in the country and to receive
reports from PCG ecumenical coworkers
overseas.

To be in close contact with the Interfaith/
Inter-Church Committee of the CCG and with people of other faiths.
(vi) To organize training programmes on
Christian witness in the midst of other
religions and Christian relations with
people of other faiths.
(vii) To study proposals on the formation and
membership of Church associations,
federations, co-operations, or unions
and to report to and advise the General
Assembly on the viability and progress
of negotiations, if any.
(viii) To promote full ecumenical
understanding within the Church and to
develop partnership and dialogue with
Para-Church, Non-denominational,
and/or Inter-denominational Churches
or bodies such as the Bible Society of
Ghana.
(ix) Perform any other functions as may be
directed by the General Assembly.
(2) Committee on Church and Society
(a) Membership
(i) Two Ministers
(ii) One Presbyter
(iii) One Lawyer
(iv) One Sociologist
(v) One expert in African Traditional
Religion/Affairs
(vi) One Industrialist/Business Executive
(vii) The Editor, Christian Messenger
(viii) The Public Relations Officer
(ix) The Director, Department of
Ecumenical and Social Relations
(b) Functions
(i) Study the socio-economic and political
climate of the Ghanaian society and
make recommendations to the General
Assembly for its intervention.
(ii) Monitor over developments in the
country’s life especially in areas where
moral and spiritual considerations arise
and consider what actions the Church
may from time to time take to further
the highest interest of the people.
(iii) Present to General Assembly in session
a draft communiqué for adoption.
(iv) Study and make recommendations
about contextualization of Christianity
in the Ghanaian Society.
(v) Organize symposia and other
programmes on topics of national and
international interest.
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(vi) Perform any other functions as may be
directed by the General Assembly