CITY SET ON THE HILL CANNOT BE HIDDEN..."
part of His sermon on the mount, Jesus, the Christ made it
plain that a city that is set on the hill can never be hidden.
How true this is is seen in the history of the Presbyterian
Church of Ghana as a whole and the Akropong Christ Presbyterian
Church is particular. Just read the following interesting
observations made by four eminent historians of the Church,K.
Nkansah-Kyeremateng: the late Rev. T.A. Osei, the late Fred
Agyeman and Rev. Dr. Edward Reynolds
though not all the West Indian brethren proved to be shining
lights, with them around, Akropong became a city set on a
hill, the light of which could not be hidden” . -Nkansah-Kyeremateng.
must make it clear that … the foundation of the Presbyterian
Church as a whole has roots more or less in the foundation
of the Presbyterian Church at Akropong. Both are so interwoven
and intertwined here and there that the Church historian must
exercise care to separate them” . T.A. Osei.
Basel Mission’s first station was Osu but the first
three years proved fruitless so they moved inland to Akropong
and then came back from Akropong to win Osu …”
. -Fred Agyemang.
Akropong Presbyterian Church is undoubtedly the most significant
Presbyterian Church in the history of Ghana. Although the
early Basel Missionaries who laid the foundation for the Presbyterian
Church of Ghana did not initially begin their work of evangelization
at Akropong, it was from this town that the gospel took root
and spread to all parts of the country” . – Edward
town, Akropong, is the seat;
Of the Akuapem Presbytery
2. Of the District Assembly
3. Of the Okuapehene
4. Of the District Directorate of Education
5. Of the District Police Command.
i. The Town:
to Prof. Kwamena-Poh, the recorded history of what is now
Akuapem State goes as far back as the 17th century . By 1646
the Guans who were living on the hill had come under the power
of the Akwamus. According to the learned Professor, “The
Akwamu suzerainty witnessed a period of disturbed conditions
among the Guan communities: incessant plunder, bad harvests
… actions of cruelty” .
atrocities of the Akwamus heightened to such an extent that
it became unbearable. That and other factors became so crucial
for the inhabitants to fight for their liberation. An appeal
was therefore sent to the King of Akyem Abuakwa, Nana Ofori
Panin to come and help in this regard. He also detailed his
nephew, Ofori Dua or Ofori Kae or Ofori Kuma who later won
the accolade, Safori, to come and lead them to fight against
the oppression and suppression of the Akwamus .
the grace of the Almighty God, the Akwamus were defeated.
With joy and gladness, Safori and his people were made to
live here with the Guans and as the political leaders of the
new nation that had come to be known as the ‘Akuapems’,
out of the Twi words, ‘Kuw’ and ‘Apem’
meaning, thousand groups. And so “in 1731, the representatives
of the various communities on the hills converted their rebel
organization into a political association. A new State was
inaugurated at a meeting held at Abotakyi, of various heads
of communities. With this ‘Concord at Abotakyi’
the Akwapims gave their allegiance to the Akim war leader”
Akim immigrants, according to Kwamena-Poh, came to settle
on the Akuapem hills. They settled in two areas, Amanokrom,
the seat of the Gyaase division and Akropong, the capital
of the new State. The capital was initially built at Amamprobi
on a piece of land given by Okyeame Aworoben of Mamfe; but
this place was waterlogged and hence, unsuitable for settle
ment. Due to this, Nana Baagyiri of Abiriw offered a new site
at the place known today as Nsorem. Here Akropong arose under
the shades of the Mpeni trees, and has since remained the
seat of the overlords.
about a century later in 1835, during the reign of Nana Addo
Dankwa 1, a young man by name, Andreas Riis arrived in Akropong
with his Mulatto friend who served as his interpreter to begin
a mission work. This was after almost seven years of fruitless
efforts of the Basel Mission at Osu. It could be recalled
that at the invitation of the then Danish Governor, Richlieu
to the Basel Evangelistic Mission in Basel, 3 Germans and
a Swiss were sent and on 18th December, 1828, they arrived
in Osu in the then Gold Coast.
unfortunately, they all died within a short span of three
years. Andreas Riis with two others, one of them, a Medical
Doctor were sent to replace the pioneers. Hardly had those
missionaries started work when two of them died, which incidentally
included the Medical Officer. The only survivor was Andreas
had once read about the cool and the salubrious weather of
the Akuapem Hills. In the company of his friend Lutterodt,
a Mulatto, Riis journeyed to the hills in January 1835. The
paramount chief and his elders warmly accepted Riis. The typical
African hospitality, which is deeply embodied in the Akuapem
were made manifest by Nana Addo Dankwa I and his elders, especially
Nana Kwaw Kutruku, who was made to seek the welfare of Riis
and his friend.
finally decided to live in Akropong. According to the Very
Rev. A.A. Beeko, Riis’ decision to move to Akropong
was based on three main reasons:
i. The climate was healthier,
ii. That he would be able to work among a truly indigenous
people who had been influenced or affected by the demoralizing
life of Europeans at the coast.
iii. That working in Akropong he would be free from the suspicion
of being an agent of any colonial power.
And so on 26th of March 1835, the late Rev. Andreas Riis moved
to live in Akropong. He was his own building, which earned
him the sobriquet, ‘Osiadan’, a builder.
For a couple of years Riis was the only Christian in Akropong.
That is to say, he had no convert.
Nana Addo Dankwa had the impression that, Christianity and
for that matter, the Bible was for the white and idolatry
and its related primitive customs were for the dark-skinned
person. He therefore told Riis that he believes if his people
see a dark-skinned person who believes in the God of the white
and also reads the Bible, it would go a long way to change
their perception about Christianity.
Riis went back home for holidays, he shared this with the
Home Committee. This made the Basel Mission to go to Jamaica
and Antigua to recruit Christian families. On 17th April 1843,
six families and three bachelors arrived in Osu and proceeded
not long afterwards to Akropong . It was their presence that
changed the face of the mission work in Akropong and for that
matter the country as a whole.
on the role of the West Indies in Akropong, the Very Rev.
Beeko has this to say, “By the grace of God, sadness
and hopelessness gave way to joy and the feelings of great
expectations” . At long last a church was formed; a
Primary school was also established in 1843. Four years later
in 1848, the Training College was also established. The famous
Akropong Salem also followed in 1867.
schools went a long way to produce scholars who contributed
so much to the growth and development of the church. The Emeritus
Professor A. A. Kwapong, the immediate past Chairman of the
Council of State, in his foreword to the Very Rev. Beeko’s
Trail Blazers, was proud to say, “It would be erroneous
to come away with the impression that the great missionary
scholars like Christaller accomplished their outstanding work
for the Basel Mission in Ghana in a one-sided, foreign donor-native-recipient
relationship with their African Christian converts. In this
regard, the outstanding contributions of people like David
Asante, Theophilus Opoku, Jonathan Palmer Bekoe, and Paul
Keteku, who collaborated with Christaller in translating the
Bible into Twi and later in compiling his great Twi Dictionary
and book of Akan proverbs …” .
At the time the church attained independence in 1918, she
was structured into eleven main Pastoral Districts in the
whole country and you can be sure that Akropong was not left
out . As to how many stations came under her pastoral jurisdiction
could be your own guess.
of this pastoral District, several other pastoral Districts
have been created. This includes, Anum, Adukrom, Adawso, Larteh,
Amanokrom, Mamfe etc. The last one to be elevated was Abiriw.
much talked about, the Akuapem Campus of the Presbyterian
University College is underway in Akropong. This comes as
no surprise at all because as noted elsewhere in this write-up,
the first Primary school, the first Middle school, the first
Teacher Training College were all established here. The University,
for us as people of Akropong, is a reward for the many firsts
we have played in the history of the Presbyterian Church of