West-Central Africa Division Heritage Fund

By Emmanuel Manu, and Abraham Bakari

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Emmanuel Manu is the current treasurer of the West-Central Africa Division.

Abraham Bakari is the Communication director of the West-Central Africa Division.

First Published: May 12, 2022

The West-Central Africa Division Heritage Fund is an initiative of the West-Central Africa Division that seeks to alleviate the financial challenges of church workers and church entities in WAD. Local churches, church institutions, and church workers in a country or a union are encouraged to save and invest their money (other than tithe) in the Heritage Fund. This fund is operated by the church. Borrowers are charged an interest, which pays the salaries of the full-time managers of the Fund and contributes to the general increase of the funds.1

The Birth of the Idea

A proposal for the WAD Heritage Fund came from Emmanuel Manu, the current treasurer of WAD. He realized the plight of many pastors who after years of service retired without having a house. As he developed the idea, he saw that local churches and church institutions could be assisted financially through the plan.

The first time the church tested the plan was in 1994 at the then Central Ghana Conference, which at that time faced financial difficulties. Manu was an auditor with the General Conference Auditing Service (GCAS) at that time. The Heritage Fund proved to be a success, as the conference recovered its financial stability. The success motivated WAD leaders to implement the plan on a larger scale.2

His job as a GCAS auditor took Manu to many places, and he witnessed the financial difficulties of the Seventh-day Adventist churches in West-Central Africa. One experience stands out in his memory. He was invited to lunch by a pastor in Northern Ghana Mission. When he saw the poor quality of the food served, he was deeply moved. “The way the food was served touched me so deeply that I pledged to support pastors whenever I get a chance to serve as a treasurer.”3

Implementation of the Plan

The opportunity to implement the plan for the whole division when Manu was elected the treasurer of the division in 2008.4 By a vote of the WAD administrative committee in January 2009, the plan for the WAD Heritage Fund was adopted. At first, the division headquarters workers started contributing to the Fund. Among the workers who began to save in the fund were the three officers of the division: Gilbert Wari, the president, Emmanuel Manu, the treasurer, John Enang, the Youth department director, and Onaolapo Ajibade, the executive secretary.5 The initial challenge in launching the WAD Heritage Fund was the reluctance of some administrators who thought the plan could not succeed. The GCAS, the then General Conference treasurer, Elder Robert Lemon, and the under-treasurer, Juan Prestol-Puesan, gave crucial advice about how best to operate the fund.6

After several months, the fund became sufficient to allow the contributors to borrow money. Borrowers were charged interest on the loans they took. A borrower had to be backed up by a guarantor, a fund contributor. A safeguarded against non-repayment of loans is that a borrower must have a guarantor, who pledges to pay if the borrower defaults. Both the borrower and the guarantor must be the Fund contributors, so the guarantor’s saving serves as the collateral for the loan. There has never been a case of any debtor failing to pay the charge. The contribution to the fund and payments were deducted from workers’ monthly salaries.

The first manager of the Heritage Fund was Isaac Boadi-Mensah, an assistant treasurer in WAD. The current managers of the Fund are Pastor James Kwakwu Badu, chairman, Pastor Elems Ugochukwu, secretary, and Appollos Bello, treasurer. Since these are all division employees, they are not being paid additionally for their services for the Heritage Fund.7

The Cameroon Union Mission has also started its own Heritage Fund.8

Impact

In Ghana, the Heritage Fund which started with a capital of $75 in 2009, has increased to $10,000,000 by September 2021.9 Many local churches have borrowed from the Fund to construct church buildings. The Fund has solved the problem of housing for pastors as many have taken loans from the Fund to build their houses. Thus the situation where pastors retire without having homes in Ghana has been resolved.

Since only those who save their money in the Fund can borrow from it, the plan has engendered a culture of saving money among local churches, church institutions, and church workers. This is a needed culture for financial stability for individuals and church entities.

Sources

2021 Report of the Ghana Heritage Fund, WAD Archives, Lot, Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. https://www.adventistyearbook.org/.

Notes

  1. Emmanuel Manu personal knowledge as the current treasurer of WAD.

  2. Ibid.

  3. Ibid.

  4. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook, “West-Central Africa Division,” accessed May 2, 2022, https://www.adventistyearbook.org/2009.pdf.

  5. Emmanuel Manu personal knowledge as the current treasurer of WAD.

  6. Ibid.

  7. Ibid.

  8. Abraham Bakari, personal knowledge as WAD Communications director.

  9. 2021 Report of the Ghana Heritage Fund, WAD Archives, Lot, Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

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Manu, Emmanuel, Abraham Bakari. "West-Central Africa Division Heritage Fund." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. May 12, 2022. Accessed February 27, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=8JIB.

Manu, Emmanuel, Abraham Bakari. "West-Central Africa Division Heritage Fund." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. May 12, 2022. Date of access February 27, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=8JIB.

Manu, Emmanuel, Abraham Bakari (2022, May 12). West-Central Africa Division Heritage Fund. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved February 27, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=8JIB.