Reverend Professor J. O. Y. Mante, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG), on Tuesday opened a five-day international theological conference of the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS) at the Christ Presbyterian Church at Akropong.
The conference, would discuss the meaning of mission work today and for the future of the global community.
About 40 young people from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe would join the conference online to discuss together mission work, the Church, and the future on the theme: “Free for the Future.”
This is expected to prepare a position paper at the close of the session.
The Conference, which is being hosted by the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and the Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission, and Culture, is part of the opening activities of the Jubilee celebration of the EMS in 2022 and the official opening is scheduled for September 19th, 2021 at the Osu Ebenezer congregation of the PCG.
The EMS was established in 1972 as the “Evangelical Mission in South-West Germany” with the seat at Stuttgart as an international Association of 23 Churches and five mission societies in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe and connect about 25 million believers across three continents.
The Moderator, Rev Mante, in his opening address said freedom “is elusive or a mirage when defined literary according to the dictionary as having the right to do everything,” and that, “that understanding is not practical since we are connected and relate as a people at every point in life”.
He charged the participants of the conference to come out with a practical meaning of freedom as the theme for the five days meeting to guide the Church and society at large, as to how to be in freedom yet connected, other than the wrong perceptions about freedom which was leading to bondages.
According to the Moderator, involvement of the youth today was relevant in ensuring a better future for all and added that moral and economic freedom in the context of the mission was imperative, since it directed on how to proceed in the mission of God to bring relief and development to the people.
Reverend Dr Dieter Heidtmann, General Secretary of EMS, said with its jubilee year, the EMS will take up the tradition of the biblical “year of Jubilee” and explained that “here we find the three core elements that the EMS already had in its name, ‘Gospel, Mission and Solidarity’ and they are the guiding principles for the international community in EMS”.
He indicated that long before the institution of the organisation, Christians had lived in peace with other religions especially in Ghana and that, it must be strengthened for better linkages and benefits to the world at large.
Reverend Prof Bernhardt Yemo Quarshie, Rector of the Akrofi-Christaller Institute, on his part noted that engagement between gospel and culture had been smooth, but lately there was a decline in Christianity since many churches were operating in different post-Christ contexts.
He indicated that the EMS offered a new model of how to relate on an equal basis “and I want to invite EMS to seriously consider how that model would be shared with Western organizations to do away with colonial tendencies because nobody can be free in a vacuum, all must relate”.
A tree-planting ceremony followed later at the Akrofi-Christaller Institute and a tree was planted jointly by the Moderator, the General Secretary of the EMS and the Rector of the Institute to mark the beginning of the yearlong activities of the 50th anniversary of EMS to be launched later.