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Regional News of Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Source: GNA

Role of Basel missionaries still relevant â?? Okuapehene

The Okuapenhene, Oseadeeyo Addo Dankwa has said that the role played by the Basel Missionaries in Ghana’s development is still relevant and could not be overemphasized.
He has therefore pledged that the Akuapem Traditional Council would continue to collaborate with the Presbyterian Church of Ghana to propagate the good works of the missionaries.
Oseadeyo Addo Dankwa said this in an address read on his behalf by the Gyaasehene of Akuapem Traditional Area, who is also the Chief of Amanokrom, Nana Osim Kwatia II, at a mini-durbar and exhibition at Akropong, on Sunday, as part of activities to mark the 200 years anniversary celebration of the establishment of the Basel Mission.
He said the Basel Missionaries role in formal education, trading, agriculture, construction, craftsmanship and others, was part of the foundation for Ghana’s development.
The Swiss Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Gerhard Bruger, thanked the chiefs and people of Akuapem for recognizing the role played by the Basel Missionaries many years ago.
He paid tribute to the Missionaries who sacrificed and travelled to the then Gold Coast to propagate the Gospel of Jesus Christ and urged the people not to consider the 200 years celebration as a time for drinking, eating and merry making, but rather reflect on what they did in their time.
He said the Missionaries established the first school at Akropong, to develop formal education in all aspects, and that, his outfit was constructing a monumental modern library for the school.
Mr Bruger also pledged that the Swiss Embassy in Ghana, in collaboration with a Swiss company, would establish breast and cervical cancer screening centres in some selected Presbyterian hospitals and health centres across the country to support women with such problems.
The Ambassador also mentioned that his outfit was collaborating with the various towns and communities in Akuapem to recycle plastic materials to mould pavement blocks to help generate employment for the people. He named the project as “greening Akuapem”.
Rev George Kwapong, the Akuapem Presbytery Chairperson of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, in a speech also mentioned the role the Basel Missionaries played in establishing the Presbyterian Church of Ghana in the 18th Century.
He traced the history of the Basel Mission and said it was founded as the German Missionary Society in 1815 and later changed its name to the Basel Evangelical Missionary Society, and finally the Basel Mission.
Rev Kwapong said the society built a school to train Dutch and British missionaries in 1816, who were sent to Africa and other parts of the world to do missionary work.
He said on 18 December 1828, the Basel Mission Society sent its first missionaries, Johannes Phillip Henke, Gottlieb Holzwarth, Carl Friedrich Salbach and Johannes Gottlieb Schmid, to take up work in the Danish protectorate at Christiansburg, Gold Coast.
He said on 21 March 1832, a second group of missionaries including Andreas Riis, Peter Peterson Jäger and Christian Heinze, the first mission doctor, arrived in the Gold Coast only to discover that Henke had died four months earlier.
Rev Kwapong said it was in 1835 that Andreas Riss, a Danish trained by the Basel Mission arrived at Akropong.
The durbar was attended by chiefs from all the seventeen towns in Akuapem, 25 student delegations from University of Basel in Switzerland, the Danish Ambassador to Ghana, Her Excellency Margit Thomsen and the Norwegian Ambassador to Ghana, Her Excellency Ms. Hege Hertzberg.