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THE VERY REV. ANTHONY A. BEEKO
FORMER MODERATOR, PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF GHANA

I deem it a great honour to be invited to write a message and add to the pelting shower of congregations as the Church at Akropong embarks on this celebration. We thank Almighty God for sending faithful massagers to us. We are grateful to the people who were “ not disobedient to the heavenly vision”.

By its enviable history, Akropong can truly be described as a “city set on a hill” which “cannot be hidden”. Since 1835 when Nana Addo Dankwa I, the Omanhene of Akuapem, received with open arms, Andreas Riis and George Lutterodt, who were in search of a healthy location, and a truly indigenous people among whom to live and work, God has showered blessings on Akropong in many ways. This includes being the venue of first establishments.

The first school for the indigenous people of Ghana was established in 1844 at Akropong. The first college in the country, the Presbyterian Training College, was founded in 1848 at Akropong. The first Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana was held at Akropong on 18th August 1918. To add to the string of firsts, Akropong has become the “seat of research for scholars and the continuing education of pastors and other Church agents” with the establishment of the Akrofi Christaller Memorial Center.

Besides, Akropong became the cradle of “Presbyterian Christianity” in Ghana. The first fellowship of Christians to be nurtured into a congregation was formed here. This gave rise to the seed of Church polity to germinate, grow and flourish in Ghana. Consequent upon the activities of the church at Akropong, streams of seasoned preachers and teachers have flowed from here. Some of these people became, not only heralds of truth and enlightenment, but also pace- setters for entire country of Ghana and the rest of the world.

This simply reminds us of Akropong Salem trained people, some of whom became Heads of State, in the Republic of Ghana, professionals of repute, and the first African to be the head of the highest institution of learning in Ghana, and an academic of international recognition. We can indeed assert without fear of contradiction that the sons and daughters and Akuapem have contributed immensely to the progress and uplift of values and standards held dear in Ghana, simply because most of Akuapem teachers became models of discipline lives where they served.

Above all, the Church at Akropong used to be the epitome of the Church of Christ in Ghana, boasting not only of Christian values and standards, but also of class singing groups.

We are however tempted to slot in a question: if the pioneer returned to this “city set on a hill” to see how we have continued their mission, will they borrow the words of William Wordsworth and say:

“The things which I have seen I now can see no more……………..
There hath passed away a glory from the earth”.

Or will they be happy ad exclaim contentment using the words of Miranda in “the Tempest,” by Shakespeare,

“O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here.
How beauteous mankind is. O brave new world
That has such people in it”.

The message then is simple. We must not sleep on past records, or recede into a complacent relaxation. If we don this, our Church and its institutions will become, in the words of Plato, “poor copies of the original". We must spring into action and strain every nerve to maintain the standards and values of the past so that we of this generation can also “leave behind footprints on the sands of time”.

The writer of the letter to the Hebrews put it succinctly,

“With this great cloud of witnesses around us, therefore, we too must throw off every encumbrance and the sin that all too readily restricts us, and run with resolution he race which lies ahead of us, Our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. (REB)

May the Lord richly bless you all

The Very Rev. Anthony A. Beeko
New Achimota, Accra - Ghana

 

 

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