BRIEF BACKGROUND OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF GHANA
On Thursday, December 18, 1828, a ship from London landed at the African coastal town of Christiansborg (Osu). The ship carried four European Christian youths who were sent from Basel, Switzerland at the invitation of the Danish government to begin a mission on the Gold Coast. These young men were three Germans, Karl F. Salbach (28 years), Gottlieb Holzwarth (25 years), Johannes Henke (29 years), and a Swiss, Johannes Gottlieb Schmidt (23 years). Together with a young prince from Osu, Frederick Noi Dowuona who had been baptized in Copenhagen, Denmark, they started what has become known today as the Presbyterian Church of Ghana.
The Basel Mission’s enterprise in the Gold Coast in the nineteenth century was troubled with many challenges, especially a high death rate. Paul Jenkins the former Basel Mission archivist, has said that between 1828 and 1914, 141 missionaries and their wives died in the Gold Coast alone, not counting the children. The mission work, however, started to produce fruit with the introduction of quinine treatment in the Gold Coast, which helped missionary families like the Widmanns, Maders, Dieterles, Mohrs, Zimmermanns and Rottmanns to spend long terms in the country. This brought about a period of advancement and consolidation, and so in 1878, the Basel Mission celebrated 50 years of its presence in the Gold Coast. Again in 1928, the church celebrated its centenary, and from there, the celebration of the anniversary became a regular annual feature.
The celebration on December 18 marks an opportunity to re-tell the story of the PCG’s heritage. The history of the PCG is reiterated in all PCG congregations as well as the local histories. The celebration also provided an opportunity for the congregations to recognize the work of outstanding members who had served the Lord in His church.
PCG says ayekoo to all members of the church, which is the longest continuously existing church in Ghana and has become the beacon for Christianity not only in Ghana but beyond. We celebrate all kinds of services, including leadership, evangelism, and financial support individuals keep on rendering to God in the church.
All glory be to God for being the Head of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana from its inception. Indeed, Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega of PCG. “That they all may be one.”
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