West-Central Ghana Conference is a church administrative unit of the Seventh-day Adventist church in Ghana. The conference operates under Southern Ghana Union Conference of the West-Central Africa Division. West-Central Ghana Conference was formerly part of South-West Ghana Conference. It was organized 2017 and consists of the following territories: central part of Western region of the Republic of Ghana; bounded on the north by Anyafuri, on the northeast by Twifo Nyinasi, on the west by Cote d’Ivoire, on the southeast by Mpohor district, and on the south by Ahanta West district. The conference headquarters is in Tarkwa, Ghana.1
As of June 30, 2018, West-Central Conference had 107 churches, membership of 12,825, and total population of 591,438.2
Events Leading to Establishment of the Conference
The Sabbath message was brought to Tarkwa in 1940 by two goldsmiths from Kikam and Bobrama, named Philip Quarshie and J. K. Amoh. The two friends worshipped in the home of Philip Quarshie with their families at Tarkwa na Aboso (TNA), a suburb of Tarkwa, for some time until new members joined them as a result of their sharing the message at their goldsmith shops at TNA and Abontiako.
They were later joined by some migrants who had come to seek work in the mines. They were Elder Amoh, Elder Kwofie, Elder Mensah, and Kyei Baffour. Having come from Adventist roots, they started to preach the Adventist message earnestly from house to house and village to village. By the turn of 1968, the message had spread in the city of Tarkwa, including Nsuta, and companies and branch Sabbath Schools were opened.3
They applied to the chief and were allowed to worship at the Tarkwa Community Centre. The youth of Tarkwa prevented the church from conducting divine service at the Durbar Centre one Sabbath because the chief and the people wanted to hold their festival there. The church then moved to a school near the central market called Amo Memorial DC School and worshipped there. As the membership continued to grow, they later moved to Adwenbeba Nursery School. Pastor C. A. Tuffour was the pastor for Tarkwa from 1972 to 1975. They decided to acquire land on which to build a church of their own. In 1975 the pastor and an engineer from the goldmines at Tarkwa contacted the chief who gave them land at Kangakrom, a suburb of Tarkwa, at no cost, on which to build a mission house and a school. They gave the chief The Desire of Ages and The Great Controversy as appreciation for what he had done for them. Pastor Tuffour was transferred and Pastor John Kweku Adu-Mintah, who was then a colporteur, was sent to start organizing Tarkwa into a district.4
There arose another group of Adventists in a town called Kofi Gyan in the northern part of the Wassa Fiase traditional area, who migrated from Ashanti region in search of land for cocoa farming. Those cocoa farmers were Elders John K. Owusu, Samuel Affum, and Samuel Obrako Sarpong, all from Agona Wiamoase; and Samuel Acheampong and Opanyin Kweku Sah, from Agona Asamang. They established companies and branch Sabbath Schools throughout the area of Bogoso and Tarkwa.
Between 1967 and 1969, when the church was spreading in the middle belt of the Western region, Nana Ben Ansah, and Elders Konadu, J. Y. Gyabah and James Nkrumah came to settle and farm in Samreboi. These people also came from Adventist backgrounds and quickly participated in spreading the Adventist message from their various villages—Ahuntem, Samreboi, Benda Nkwanta, and Aworabo. By the close of the 1970s, all of Samreboi and its environs had been saturated with the Adventist message and many churches, companies, and branch Sabbath Schools had been established. Through the hard work of these pioneers, the Adventist message spread through the middle belt of the Western region and many people joined the church. The whole middle belt starting from Samreboi through to Tarkwa was one district until 1981, when Tarkwa, Prestea, and Samreboi were created as separate districts from Takoradi, and by then the message had spread to Asankragwa, Wassa Akropong, and Manso Amenfi.
After some time, Tarkwa district was created to take care of Prestea, Bogoso, and Samreboi, under the leadership of Pastor Adu-Mintah who tried to secure land given to the church by Apintohene Nana Kwamina Fobil to build a permanent church building.5
In 1981, Pastor Adu-Mintah was transferred, and Pastor R. A. Mensah came to replace him on September 1, 1981, as district pastor. All these pastors resided in rented houses. The district was assisted by the South Ghana Conference in purchasing an incomplete building at a cost of 140 Ghana Cedis (GH₵ 140). The building was completed with the contribution of members and was ready for Pastor R. A. Mensah to reside in the first mission house of the territory. This block has now been converted to the West-Central Ghana Conference office.6
The leadership of the South-West Ghana Conference saw the need to carve out this area as a conference to enhance organization, supervision, and expansion through evangelism, since it had become difficult for the administration at Sekondi to administer this vast territory, taking into consideration logistics and finances. The following pastors and elders were appointed to serve as a working committee to facilitate the organization of this territory. They were Pastors Kwakye Adeefe and Abraham Binzuwah-Siah; and Elders Ohene Djan E., Peter K. Thompson, Alex Y. Ababio, James Afful, Enoch Boateng, Stephen K. Ocran, Patrick Nartey, Brown, Samuel Obeng, Kwaw Cudjoe, Thomas Cobbinah, Nicholas Sakyi, Adjei Tuffour, Kyei Akomeah, Madam Vida S. Bonsu, and Madam Agartha Ababio.7
The South-West Ghana Conference Executive Committee voted on March 3, 2016, to recommend to the Southern Ghana Union Executive Committee the creation of a new administrative unit. Pastor Abraham Binzuwah-Siah was appointed as director of the new West-Central Ghana Administrative Unit, while Pastor James Panford Kwame Ayiah and Pastor Emmanuel Cobbina were appointed secretary and treasurer, respectively.8
On April 7, 2016, the Southern Ghana Union Conference Executive Committee voted to confirm the decision made by the South-West Ghana Conference, maintaining the three officers as the administrators of the new unit.
The Southern Ghana Union Conference and West-Central African Division (WAD) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church did the inspections required by policy for an administrative unit to become a conference. Inspections were led by Dr Kingsley C. Anonaba, executive secretary of WAD; Elder Afolayan Tunde, associate treasurer of WAD; and Pastor J. K. Badu, Stewardship and Trust Services director of WAD. The Southern Ghana Union Conference (SGUC) was led by Dr Thomas Techie Ocran, president; Dr Chris Annan-Nunoo, executive secretary of SGUC; and Elder Ebenezer A. Odonkor, treasurer of SGUC, which resulted in approving the new administrative unit as a conference at the WAD Executive Committee meeting in October 2016 at Abidjan, La Cote D’Ivoire.9
On March 18-21, 2017, the Southern Ghana Union Conference organized a Commencement Session for the newly created conference at Tarkwa which resulted in maintaining the three officers, Pastor Abraham Binzuwah-Siah, president; Pastor James Panford Kwame Ayiah, executive secretary; and Pastor Emmanuel Cobbina, treasurer, at a colorful ceremony.10
The final event in the history of the West-Central Ghana Conference took place on April 28, 2018, when the Southern Ghana Union Conference inaugurated the conference at Tarkwa in a colorful ceremony under the three union officers, namely, Dr Thomas Tachie Ocran, president; Dr Chris Annan-Nunoo, executive secretary; and Pastor Bright Osei Yeboah, treasurer.11
The history of West-Central Ghana Conference is a shared history and its success is the result of a collective effort of all the participants: namely, the laity, the clergy, and leaders and officers from the Southern Ghana Union Conference.
President: Abraham Binzuwah-Siah
Secretary: James Panford Kwame Ayiah
Treasurer: Emmanuel Cobbina12
Executive Committee minutes of November 26, 2015, West-Central Ghana Conference archive, Tarkwa, Ghana.
Executive Committee minutes of South West Ghana Conference, March 3, 2016.
SGUC Yearend Meeting Minutes November 2016. Southern Ghana Union Conference archives, Accra, Ghana.
Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Nampa, ID: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2019.
WAD Yearend Meeting Minutes, October 2016, West-Central Africa Division archives, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
WCGC Executive Committee Minutes, January 2017, West-Central Ghana Conference archive, Tarkwa, Ghana.
“West-Central Ghana Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Nampa, ID: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2019), 407.↩
Interview with Elders Amoh and Kyei Barfour by Alfred Asiem in November 2016.↩
Interview with Pastor C. A. Tuffour by Pastor Kwakye Adeife in November 2017.↩
Interview with Pastor Adu Mintah by Pastor Panford Ayiah in Agona Swedru in January 2018.↩
Interview with Pastor Richard Afona Mensah by Pastor Kwakye Adeefe in November 2017.↩
Executive committee minutes of November 26, 2015, West-Central Ghana Conference archive, Tarkwa, Ghana.↩
Executive Committee minutes of South West Ghana Conference of March 3, 2016.↩
WAD Yearend Meeting Minutes, October 2016, West-Central Africa Division archives, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.↩
SGUC Yearend Meeting Minutes, November 2016, Southern Ghana Union Conference archives, Accra, Ghana.↩
WCGC Executive Committee Minutes, January 2017, West-Central Ghana Conference archive, Tarkwa, Ghana.↩