West Africa Area Seminar

In September Alison Judd the World President of  The World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women attended the Methodist and Uniting  Church Women’s West Africa Area Seminar which was held in Ghana. An abridged version of her report can be found below. If you would like to see all the Photographs read the full report or find out more about the Work of  The World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women please see their website at:-

http://wfmucw.org/

When the Presiding Bishop, the most Reverend Titus Pratt welcomed the 300+ women to the West Africa Area Seminar in September 2018 he encouraged us to ‘be among the decision-makers’ in our communities, to ‘shout for peace and justice’ and believe that when women speak with one voice, united by their relationship with Christ, the world listens.

The Seminar was held at the Pentecost Convention Centre outside Accra and attended by women from Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, the Gambiaand Togo Units many of whom led us in vibrant worship, dance, praise and prayer. I was particularly in awe of one woman, Fatou Kine Mane from Senegal, who had travelled alone on public transport for five days in order to attend this Seminar. It was good to welcome Catherine Akale, from Cameroon, the UMW missioner supporting women across many nations of Africa. We were grateful to Rev Jemima Amanor, Area President, Deaconess Aniema Udofia, Area Vice President, Georgina Donkor, Ghana Unit President and Janet Thompson, who worked so hard to make the Seminar a success.

Speakers explored the theme first introduced at the World Assembly in Houston, ‘Chosen People: Called to Proclaim.’ Special guest Justice Mrs Georgina Wood asserted, ‘God in his infinite wisdom as placed us in a uniquely strategic position to work with him to restore hope to a dying world. We need to be obedient to be used by God forhis holy purposes.’ She listed some of the issues facing the people of Ghana: lack of potable water, high youth unemployment, corruption, tax evasion, greed…..and urged us to support one another in prayer and engage with our governments to combat injustice.

Mr Eric Appiah Okrah spoke about Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery.From Ghana, many young girls are sent to the Middle East as domestic workers. Globally, 800,000women annually are subjected to sex trafficking. He urged us to be alert, to raise awareness of the dangers facing vulnerable girls and young women who (seeking a better life) are recruited, abducted and forced to work through coercion, fraud and deception and exploited by those who control them.

Mrs Gladys Ghartey urged us to recognise the ‘Power of a Women’s Prayer’, to pray fervently and fast as Jesus did and believe that God will answer our prayers. The Bishop of Sefwi Bekwai, the Rt Rev Sampson K Gyabeng, led a bible study on 1 Samuel 25:1-37, the story of ‘Abigail, This gentle, humble and wise woman knew when to speak and when to remain silent and wait for the right time to challenge her husband. She had the courage and wisdom to speak to David in a way that got the desired result. His anger against her husband turned to kindness and blessing towards her.

Mrs Angela Bwamena-Aboagye from the Ark Foundation, providing the first centre for battered women in Ghana, quoted John Wesley ‘Give me ten men who hate nothing but sin and love nothing but God, and we will change the world.’ She encouraged us to consider what makes a good leader. She identified five fundamentals of leadership, all exemplified in Jesus: challenge the process, inspire a shared vision, enable others to act, model the way andencourage the heart.

This was the week that the body of Kofi Annan was brought back to Ghana for burial, so it was particularly poignant to be thinking of his legacy and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

For me personally, one of the highlights of being in Ghana was to have this opportunity to return to West Africa and meet two women from the Benue Plateau State of Nigeria where I spent the year 1972 teaching in Wesley HighSchool, Otukpo. The prayers of the children and staff at that school effectively brought me into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and had a sustained influence on my whole life since then. I give thanks even now for those Christians whose prayers and witness led to my own transformation.

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