Churches discuss succession plans

A day’s round-table dialogue was on Friday held for Christian Churches across the country to deliberate on transitional processes and succession plans, especially charismatic denominations.

Dubbed the “Ekklesia Roundtable Series 2018,” the conference was aimed at offering a one-stop view of the transition and the succession policies of denominations in the country, to identify and address the key factors militating against smooth transitions and successions in order to recommend the legal and governance strategies to address the situation.

Under the theme, ‘Transition and successions in the Ghanaian church’, it was organised under the auspices of Kingdom Equip Network (KEN), a coalition of individuals and organisations seeking to promote governance within and among churches, para-church institutions and the society as a whole.

The annual events which kick started last year with the inaugural dialogue brought together the clergy, academia, media and experts in specific fields to build a consensus on policy initiatives that would enhance the governance of the churches, especially on successions and transitions.

Welcoming the participants Dr. Adu Gyamfi, Chairman of the group said in the recent past, many Ghanaian churches had experienced some form of leadership transition or succession.

He said it was not an overstatement to say that a significant number of these transitions and successions had left ripples in various denominations when such challenges were encountered.

Dr. Gyamfi said it therefore had become imperative for the church to introspectively review its policies, practices and patterns with the aim to sanitise it and lay a better foundation for future generations.

Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Ansah, the Convener and also the Executive Director of the Network said it was particularly significant that since the emergence of indigenous Pentecostal and African independent churches, the appointment of leaders to succeed founders of the churches after their challenges.

“Unfortunately, a significant number of these churches have had protracted conflicts since their founders passed on,” he said.

He said such a development posed many challenges such as breakdown of pastoral care, unhealthy fellowship, unproductive evangelism and missions, poor mobilisation of resources among many while accountability and legitimacy of leadership would also compromise.

Rev. Dr Ansah said in order to resolve the challenges, there was the need to streamline welfare policy for ministers and their dependents, to build a strong legal and constitutional and accountability structures within the churches, while ensuring that sustained vision of the church was maintained irrespective of any challenges.

Among Christian leaders who shared their views with the participants were Apostle Prof. Kwadwo Nimfour Opoku-Onyinah, the immediate past chairman of the Church of Pentecost and also Past President of the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC), Rev. Dr. Robert Kwasi Aboagye-Mensah, the Past Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church Ghana and Past General Secretary of Christian Council of Ghana who is currently the Director of Research and Publications, Pentecostal Theological seminary.

Bishop Gordon Kisseih, the founder and General Overseer of Life International Church (formerly Miracle Life Gospel Church) also shared his experience on transitions and succession processes.

Mrs. Georgina Theodore Wood, the immediate past Chief Justice of the Supreme Court chaired the event.

 BY Lawrence Markwei and David Takyi

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