The Rt. Rev. Tilewa Johnson
By George Conger
THE ANGLICAN PROVINCE of West Africa (CPWA) has voted to form two internal provinces, one of them comprised of the new province of the Church of Ghana. The vote follows several years of negotiations within the synod over allowing the dioceses of Ghana to form their own province.
The Province was created in 1951, but in 1979 the 16 dioceses in Nigeria withdrew to form the Church of Nigeria. Ghana, which now comprises the majority of members in the CPWA, has sought to withdraw for over ten years. However, the Anglican Consultative Council in London had urged the Province not to split until the church outside Ghana was financially self-sufficient. The decision to create two internal provinces, each with its own archbishop, is an interim step in the process towards full independence for Ghana, one of its bishops told CEN.
The special meeting of the provincial synod held Sept. 25th-28th in Liberia elected the Rt. Rev. Tilewa Johnson, the Bishop of the Gambia, as Archbishop of the ecclesiastical province of the Church of West Africa, while the dioceses of Ghana elected the Rt Rev. Daniel Yinka Sarfo as the first archbishop of the new Province of the Church of Ghana. The full synod then elected Archbishop Johnson to serve as the ninth primate of the CPWA.
Dr. Johnson said his duties as primate were twofold. In addition to overseeing the administration of the province, he was tasked with “speaking God’s word to the Church and to the world as a representative of the CPWA in its corporate capacity.”
Educated in Nigeria and at the University of Durham in England, Dr. Johnson has taken a leading role in ecumenical and interfaith work in Africa. His province will be comprised of the church in Cameroon, Cape Verde Islands, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone and the Gambia. Archbishop Sarfo will oversee the church in Ghana. TAP
–First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.