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14.12.2007 General News

Missionaries came to liberate rather than colonize - Dr. Fayose


European missionaries who came to the Gold Coast were liberators rather than colonizers, Rev. Dr Cyril Fayose, President of the Trinity Theological Seminary, Legon has said.

"It is for this reason that God motivated the Bremen missionaries to brave all hazards, including death, to bring the Holy Gospel to our forebears in spite of their rather lowly conditions at the time", Rev. Dr. Fayose said.

These were contained in his message at the 150th anniversary celebration of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church at Anyako under the theme, "The Lord has done great things for us."

"During our struggle for political independence in Africa, some politicians used to say that the white people came to colonize us 'holding the Bible in one hand and the gun in the other'. Even now, some people still say this, implying that Christianity is foreign and must not be accepted", Rev. Dr. Fayose said.

"This imagery is not correct history," he said.

He said while it was the United Kingdom that colonized the Gold Coast, "the missionaries, motivated by love, came from many countries in Western Europe. The activities of the two groups were totally different", Rev. Dr Fayose said.

"Christianity that the missionaries brought with schools, modern medical care and scientific outlook gives us knowledge of the Almighty God".

Rev. Dr Fayose appealed to Ghanaians to embrace and be strong in the Christian faith and discard the notion that "we should worship a different god or gods", because "the worship of the one Almighty God always brings greater scientific outlook, reduces superstition and fosters values that promote peace and progress".

In "A Short History of the Anyako E.P. (Bremen Mission) Church 150 years (1857-2007), Mr L.P. Tosu recounted that the "arrival of the Missionaries in Anlo land in the 1850s was the time the British were determined to establish their authority in the area".

At that time Anyako was the only town where all the three war wings of Anlo land were fully represented and it was therefore the focal point of Anlo war campaign and bore the full brunt of the wars with the British.

The historical accounts also indicated that fetish priests at the time were also strongly opposed to the presence of the missionaries whom they blamed for the drying up of the Keta Lagoon in 1858 as punishment by the gods for their presence.

But some elders insisted that it was customary to ask the gods a second time to confirm the oracle against the missionaries.

In the morning of Easter Sunday, the few Christian converts joined the missionaries in prayers and a large crowd gathered to see what would happen as the missionaries and the converts prayed earnestly for rain.

At about 1700 hours the heavens opened and there was what was believed to be the heaviest downpour in living memory at the time, which lasted deep into the night.

Mr Emmanuel Vorkeh, a member of the anniversary publicity committee, said the Anyako E.P. Church would remain grateful to God for making it the cradle from which many Christian leaders and workers in Ghana had their roots.