At the beginning of May 2016, Pauline Vaughton, Dr Keith Vaughton and Revd Roger James visited the Diocese of Asante-Mampong to prepare for Bishop Cyril Kobina Ben-Smith’s visit to Brecon in June. Here, Roger records his reactions:
The Church in Mampong is in a very competitive market place. There are some signs of secularisation, but most Ghanaians are very religious and there are many Christian denominations, sects and ministries.
The Diocese is financed by a levy of 40% of all monies received by parishes. The diocese has 13 parishes, divided into four archdeaconries, with 20 priests supported with a number of catechists (23, I think). Each archdeaconry has a minimum of 3 parishes. To become a parish, with a stipendiary priest, there must be a main church with 2 or 3 out-stations and a congregation of at least 100, or fewer if it is particularly strong. The aim is to expand out-stations so they become full parishes.
So, there is a great emphasis on building congregations and expanding the geographical reach of the diocese. There is also a strong desire to build large, airy, buildings to cope with the growing numbers. At first, this seemed unwise, particularly as some congregations are small and struggle to raise the money needed. However, there is much development taking place throughout the country and there is competition to obtain the necessary land for a church, with the buildings usually associated with it, such as a mission house and primary school.