Christianity In Ghana: The History

Ghana is known as a Christian nation and every corner in Ghana has a church. Its an undisputed fact that Ghanaians are very religious. In fact Religion is seen in all aspects of the Ghanaians’ life.
How did Ghana get to be known as Christian nation?

The History Of Christianity In Ghana

The arrival of the Europeans in 15th century into the then Gold Coast brought Christianity to the land. There were many different cultural groups across the West African region who were practicing different forms of spirituality. As the Europeans explored and took control of parts of the country during the colonial days, so did their religion. Christianity is the religion with the largest following in Ghana. Christian denominations include Catholics, Methodists, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Seventh-Day Adventists, Pentecostals, Baptists etc.
According to the census figures of the year 2000, out of Ghana’s over 25 million people, Christians made up 71.2 per cent of the population of Ghana. A 2015 study estimated some 50,000 believers in Christ from a Muslim background

Early Christianity In Ghana

The Catholic Church is one of the mainstream Christian religious missions in Ghana. In fact, it is the first mission that was established by Europeans on the Ghanaian soil. This was done at Elmina (El Mina-the gold mines) in 1482 by some Catholic priests who accompanied the Portuguese immigrants who arrived in the Gold Coast in January 1482 to build Fort St.George (Sao Jaogo), the present day Elmina Castle. However, in 1642, the Calvinist Dutch proscribed the Catholic Church. This action was necessitated by the capture of all Portuguese possessions throughout the West Coast of Ghana between 1637 and 1642. The presence of the Dutch (1637-1872) in Ghana forced Catholicism into recession for two hundred and thirty eight years. The Catholic Church re-emerged in Ghana in May 1880 thus becoming the last of the major Christian denominations of the 19th century to be established in Ghana. The Rev. Frs. Auguste Moreau (33) and Eugene Murat (31), both French national and from the Society of the African Mission (S.M.A) are credited with the re-establishment of the Catholic Church in Ghana. After establishing a mission station at Elmina by 31, March, 1882, the S.M.A missionaries decided to extend the Catholic faith to Kumasi, the capital of the Asante state. They would, in due course spread the Catholic faith to other communities (Ahiable-Addo 2001:2). However, this intention was not possible and it took the Catholic missionaries twenty eighty years to found a formal church in Asante.
catholic church in ghana
Before the re-entry of the Catholic Church in to the evangelization field, other religious denominations had already established their bases along the coastal regions of Ghana. One of such religious missions was the Wesleyan Methodist, presently the Methodist Church of Ghana. In terms of membership strength and geographical reach, the Methodist Church is the second largest church in Ghana. The Methodist Church was established in Cape Coast by the Rev. Mr. Joseph Rhodes Dunwell in 1835. On March 26, 1835, he issued to fifty adherents, the first Methodist Church membership cards ever given in Ghana. This act marked the formal establishment of the Methodist Church in Ghana.
The early Christian missionaries in Ghana toed a chequered but successful path to find a footing in Ghana. The various Christian denominations have grown from their humble beginning in the 19th century into the mega-institutions that they are in the twenty first century Ghana.
The Methodist and Catholic church has now been overshadowed by Pentecostal and charismatic churches.
charismatic churches