The newly elected Chairman of the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG), and the Presiding Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (A.M.E Zion Church), Western West Africa Episcopal District - an area covering Liberia, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, and Togo, with additional responsibilities over Angola and Namibia - has called for a depoliticisation of the National Cathedral Project. In making the call, Rt. Rev. Dr. Dogbe, the first Resident Indigenous Bishop of the A. M. E Zion Church in Ghana, was concerned that the national conversations on the National Cathedral are framed, negatively, by political actors making it difficult for the church to understand the nature of the project. As he put it:
“...many church leaders do not have full insight as to the dynamics of the project—the concept and content, joy, and fulfillment the project is going to bring to the church and nation. People still think that the National Cathedral is just a place of worship.”
Consequently, he charged the leadership of the project to adopt a communication strategy that showcases the National Cathedral and its relevance to the church and nation. As he argued, the National Cathedral has a compelling story, so its media engagement should not only focus on responding to negative stories. Rather the NCG should frame its own narrative that builds on the contributions and relevance of the project.
Rt Rev Dr Dogbe made the call when a delegation from the National Cathedral project, led by Board Member and Spokesperson, Rev Dr Joyce Aryee, paid a courtesy call on him at the AME Zion Headquarters in Accra to congratulate him on his election as the Chairman of the CCG, and to brief him on the National Cathedral Project.
In her remarks, Rev Dr Joyce Aryee indicated the delegation was there to congratulate him, update him on the project, and discuss ways the AME Zion Church and the CCG can support the project. As a project that will symbolically represent the Christian presence in the country, she stressed that relations with the Church is central to its legitimacy and progress. Thus, a Church Relations Committee, led by Archbishop Justice Ofei Akrofi, has been set up to provide strategic leadership to the project’s church engagement.
A Church Leaders Forum, for periodic interaction with sitting Heads of Churches, is also planned. She explained that the integration of the Bible Museum, with its thematic focus on Africans in the Bible and the Bible in Africa, will tell the story of Africa in the global Christian story. This history will include the history of the AME Zion, a church established by Africans in the Diaspora (African Americans) in the US in 1796, and brought to Ghana in 1898 —a reality not widely known by many African Christians. She concluded that at the heart of the National Cathedral’s fundraising is a focus on the “willing,” and called on the church leadership to help disseminate the message of the Cathedral to congregants.
In the ensuing discussions, Rev Dr Dogbe commended the leadership and Secretariat for its recent public engagement. He proposed a number of practical measures that will help depoliticize the project, and enhance fundraising. These include:
Fundraising Breakfast and Dinners at different venues throughout the country
Youth Activities, including Music festivals (Youth Jams)
Social Media presence to counter misinformation, and most importantly, to proactively tell the story of the National Cathedral. As he put it: “stories of the National Cathedral should be everywhere”
Others present at the meeting were the Personal Assistant to the Presiding Bishop, Rev David Zungbey; NCG Board Member Archbishop Justice Ofei Akrofi; NCG Executive Director, Dr Paul Opoku-Mensah; NCG Director of Admin and Finance, Ps. Dr Nicholas Darko; and NCG Church Relations Officer, Rev Eben Ameyaw.