By D.I. Laary, GNA
Accra, Sept. 12, GNA - The about 500 branches of the A.M.E Zion church in Ghana, Togo, Cote D’Ivoire and Liberia which form the Western-West Africa Episcopal District,(WWAED), now have an Episcopal Sub-Regional headquarters located in Accra.
The command centre is positioned in Ghana to help facilitate and coordinate programmes and projects of the Church to enhance spiritual, social and economic wellbeing of members.
The facility built in 1979 and formerly served as the residence for visiting Bishops of the church from the U.S.A was remodelled into a multi-complex sub-regional corporate headquarters at an estimated cost of GH¢500,000.00.
For close to 140 years, the A.M.E Zion churches in Ghana, Togo, Cote D’Ivoire and Liberia, were supervised by Bishops who resided in the USA and visited the Episcopal District once or twice in a year to perform part of their administrative duties like presiding over annual conferences and assessing progress of church activities in the four countries.
However, in July last year, the AME Zion church globally made history at the 50th Quadrennial Session at Greensboro, North Carolina, USA, by electing a Ghanaian, Right Reverend Dr Hilliard Dela Dogbe, as the 104th Bishop of the Church in line of succession and assigned as the First Indigenous Resident Bishop for the WWAED of the church.
It, therefore, became necessary to provide a sub-regional Episcopal Head office for the smooth administration of the branches in the four West African countries.
Church officials say previously, administrative duties of the Episcopal District were conducted at the Aggrey Memorial A.M.E Zion Church at Mamprobi, in Accra-Ghana.
But with the huge sub-regional administrative responsibilities expected of the first indigenous resident Bishop, conducting such activities from a branch of the church was no longer feasible.
The church leadership therefore initiated the process to convert the old Bishop’s Episcopal Residence at Mamprobi in Accra-Ghana into a multi complex Corporate Head office.
Speaking to journalists after the dedication service, Rt Rev Dr Dogbe said the project was also made possible because of the prevailing peace in Ghana.
He appealed to political leaders in the sub-region to work towards peace and stability to accelerate socio-economic progress to enhance the living standard of their citizens.
He said no society or organisation could make meaningful progress without peaceful co-existence among its citizens in addition to grooming visionary leaders who would leave legacies to impact positively on actions of future generations and motivate them to aspire for greater heights.
The A.M. E Zion Church will continue to strive to support West African leaders to implement visionary policies aimed at unearthing the talents of the youth so that they can use their knowledge and skills to become transformational agents who with self-confidence and passion will selflessly participate in both local and international development agenda, he said.
Rt Rev Dr Dogbe paid glowing tribute to Bishop William Alexander Hilliard, Bishop Solomon Dorme Lartey, Bishop Reuben Lee Speaks, the Aggrey Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church, Mamprobi, Mr. Harold Nanevi Kwawu and several individuals who in 1960s and 70s nurtured the idea of building the Bishop’s Episcopal residence.
He also commended current leaders including the Board of Bishops, Administrative Officers, Presiding Elders, Pastors, Missionaries, the various congregations and individuals like Dr Emmanuel Adinyira, Episcopal Director of Projects, George Brown, David Kporvie and Leonard Segbedzi, for helping to transform the residential facility into what he described as a magnificent Central Co-ordinating point for the about 500 A.M.E Zion churches in Ghana, Togo, Cote D’Ivoire and Liberia which form the Western-West Africa Episcopal District.
“We will continue to facilitate the spiritual and physical development of members and undertake activities that will position us in a manner that we can constructively engage in community development goals like quality education and healthcare delivery as well as creating favourable conditions to help the youth to tap into entrepreneurship for employment opportunities,” he said.
Secretary to the Board of Bishops, Bishop Kenneth Monroe, who is also in charge of the Eastern North Carolina Episcopal District of the A.M.E Zion Church in the U.S.A, in a message congratulated the church.
He said the church has a moral obligation to encourage citizens to take advantage of their God-given talents to support community and national development goals.