Methodist Church Ghana
The Methodist Church Ghana was established through the collaboration of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society and a band of local Christians dedicated to the study of the Bible. At their request the first missionary arrived in 1835. He and many others died of malaria. All these pioneer missionaries are buried under the pulpit of Wesley Chapel at Cape Coast. The Methodist Church Ghana, which used to be under the British Conference, became autonomous in 1961. Methodism has since spread throughout the country and beyond. The Methodist approach to evangelization in Ghana has always included formal education and other social services including medical care. The church has several hospitals and health care facilities in the country. It also has a school for the visually impaired, and two of the best secondary schools in the whole of West Africa. In addition, the foremost teacher training college in Ghana, Wesley College, is also a Methodist institution with more than 80 years of history behind it. In 2000, the church established the Methodist University College Ghana that is accredited by the government to offer courses in business administration, economics and information technology.
In 1999, the church adopted a "Biblical Pattern of Episcopacy". The head of the church was re-designated "presiding bishop" instead of "president" and the "district chairman" is now "diocesan bishop". The presiding bishop is assisted directly by a lay president and each diocesan bishop also has a lay chairperson as assistant. Through this system of church government, the Methodist Church Ghana has maintained its belief in the teaching of John Wesley that sees the ministry as belonging to both the clergy and the laity. The expression "superintendent minister" has been maintained for ministers in charge of circuits, that is, groups of congregations around a specific geographical area constituting an administrative unit. The highest decision-making body of the church is the Conference, made up of equal numbers of lay and clergy representatives from the 15 dioceses in the country. The work of the church is facilitated through boards including the board of ministries, board of social responsibility and development, board of education and youth, and the board of administration.
In 1942 the church together with the Presbyterian and Evangelical Presbyterian churches of Ghana co-founded the Trinity Theological Seminary for the training of ministers. Over the years it has expanded its team of sponsoring churches to include the Anglican Church and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. It also accepts self-supporting candidates from other ecclesial communions like the Pentecostal/Charismatic churches into its programmes.
Methodist Church Ghana maintains fraternal links with the British Conference and United Methodist churches worldwide. Within the last decade Ghanaian Methodists in several cities in Western Europe and the USA have established "Ghanaian Methodist Churches" in order to provide a more relevant worship context for themselves in the diaspora. The church remains one of the strongest Christian communions in Ghana and indications are that it will continue to grow both in numbers and influence mediating God's kingdom among his people.