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West Africa elects two archbishops and a primate: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 14, 2012 p 6. October 12, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of West Africa.
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The Most Rev. Tilewa Johnson, Primate of West Africa and Bishop of The Gambia

The Bishop of the Gambia, the Rt. Rev. Tilewa Johnson has been elected the ninth primate of the Church of the Province of West Africa (CPWA).

The 25-28 September 2012 special meeting of the provincial synod held at Cuttington College in Liberia also voted to form two internal provinces for the CPWA. Dr. Johnson was then elected Archbishop of the ecclesiastical province the Church of West Africa, while the dioceses of Ghana elected the Bishop of Kumasi, the Rt Rev. Daniel Yinka Sarfo as the first archbishop of the new province of the Church of Ghana. The full synod then elected Dr. Johnson to serve as primate of the province.

In a statement released after his election, Dr. Johnson, who had served as Dean of the Province, said his duties as primate were twofold. In addition to overseeing the administration of the province 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, Dr. Johnson was elected Bishop of the Gambia in 1990 and has taken a leading role in ecumenical and interfaith work in Africa. He is also the first Gambian to be elected primate. His province will be comprised of the church in Cameroun, Cape Verde Islands, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone and The Gambia. Archbishop Sarfo will oversee the church in Ghana.

The vote to create two internal provinces follows several years of negotiations within the synod over allowing the dioceses of Ghana to form their own province. Created in 1951, the 16 dioceses in Nigeria withdrew in 1979 to form the Church of Nigeria. Ghana, which comprises the majority of members in the CPWA has sought to withdraw for over ten years. However, the ACC 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 of full independence for Ghana, one of its bishops told CEN.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.