Church of the Province of West Africa
The Church of the Province of West Africa was formed in 1951 by five West African Anglican dioceses holding mission from the See of Canterbury, in Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia. The dioceses of Liberia and Guinea were added in 1982 and 1985. Nigeria became a province in 1979. Cameroon became a missionary diocese under the province in 2003. The province has currently 14 dioceses, of which eight in Ghana and two in Sierra Leone. The process is in motion for Ghana to become an autonomous province, once it has fulfilled the conditions and guidelines set by the Anglican Communion. The five other countries will make up the Continuing Province of the CPWA.
Article I of the constitution of the province states: "In conformity with Christian principles, the Church of this Province proclaims that all men have equal rights, value and dignity in the sight of God and while mindful to provide for the special needs of different people committed to its charge, it shall not allow any discrimination in the membership and government of the Church." The primary mission of the province is to witness for Jesus Christ through its life and work in all aspects of the lives of people in the various countries, in order to achieve the abundant and holistic life envisaged in the gospel. The method of achieving this mission is evangelism through teaching, preaching and other pastoral services. The chief objective is to bring into submission to Jesus Christ the members of the church and those with whom they come into contact. That includes proclamation of the gospel, living a common life, and striving to create a just and fair society. In pursuing this goal the church carries out a variety of programmes that could be classified as evangelistic, educational, agricultural, medical and pastoral. The province supports four theological seminaries (two in Ghana, one in Liberia and one in Sierra Leone) and a lay training centre in Ghana.
For the past fifteen years the church in the sub-region existed in an atmosphere of tension, civil strife and armed conflict which made growth a slow process. But things are improving and even Sierra Leone and Liberia, the two most badly war-torn countries, are beginning to enjoy some peace.