Two Ghanaian pastors of the A. M. E Zion Church are contesting the high Office of the Presiding Bishop of the Church in charge of the Western-West Africa Episcopal District.
The two contestants are Rev Dr Hilliard Dela Dogbe, who is in-charge of the Aggrey Memorial A.M.E Zion Church, Mamprobi and also the Chief of Staff for the Western West Africa Episcopal District.
The second is Rev Dr Richard Gadzekpo, who is the Episcopal Liaison at the Western-West Africa Episcopal District office in the United States.
The current Presiding Bishop Rt Rev Dr Seth Lartey has officially introduced the two contestants at a delegates conference held at the Aggrey Memorial AME Zion Church at Mamprobi Accra this week.
For more than 140 years, the Presiding Bishop?s position for the Episcopal District, which comprised Ghana, Togo, Cote d?Ivoire and Liberia, have been occupied by persons from the US.
The A.M.E Zion Church Board of Bishops at a recent meeting in the US gave the green light for the election of an indigenous citizen from the Western-West Africa Episcopal District to administer the Church from 2016.
The term of office of the current Presiding Bishop, Rt Rev Dr Seth O. Lartey would end in 2016.
Rt Rev Lartey noted that the unique opportunity being offered to members of the Episcopal District to elect the first indigenous presiding bishop should be used to sustain the harmonious relationship among citizens of the Episcopal district.
He called on the Church in the sub-region to continue to strive to be instrument for promoting peace, unity and purposeful development.
He described electing an indigenous West African Bishop as an historic process, which should not be taken for granted because the next time such an opportunity might come the way of the Western West Africa Episcopal District would be 2024 or 2036.
He observed: ?The two individuals are dear to the work in the Lord?s Vineyard, and have been helping to project positive image of the Episcopal District in all their endeavours. Both have exhibited enormous sacrifices, labour, diligence in the formulation and implementation of the Bishop?s vision for the growth of the church in West Africa.
?Both have been instrument and vital in the crafting of the policy vision document for the Episcopal district.
?So we need to pray for them, pray with them, encourage them and let God give the Episcopal district who he wants at the appropriate time.
?We do not have the luxury to be divided. Africa will be an enviable position. When this happens this will be the very first time not only will we have someone in America who is a bishop, but someone in America who is a bishop from Africa,? Rt Rev Lartey emphasized.
Rev Dogbe said his core commitments when elected would be building lasting legacy with God, a New Zion, Youth Empowerment, Leadership Development with focus on Lay and Clergy, and the growth of the church to continue to play critical roles in national and sub-regional.
Rev Gadzekpo said his vision for the Church is growth, sustainability, leadership development and viability of the Work of Ministry in the Western West Africa of the A.M.E Zion Church.
He promised to expand and upgrade the Zion University of Liberia and establish a university in each country within the Episcopal District by 2030.