Archbishop backs national cathedral campaign

Archbishop Daniel Yinkah Sarfo of Ghana backs campaign to build an ecumenical cathedral in Accra

The Primate of the Church of the Province of West Africa has lent his support to the campaign to build an ecumenical “national” cathedral for Ghana. On 8 September 2018 the Most Rev. Daniel Yinkah Sarfo, Archbishop of Ghana and Bishop of Kumasi told reporters this week that critics of the national cathedral under construction in Accra were misinformed.

Designed by Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye, the national cathedral will be built on six hectares near Accra’s parliament, and will seat 5000 people. The complex will include gardens, a chapel, baptistry, and Africa’s first Bible museum. The building project will be funded from private sources, and is intended to be a “house of prayer for all people” President Nana Akufo-Addo said in March.

Writing in the New York Times in April, Prof. Chika Okeke-Agulu of Princeton University welcomed the project. “It signals that the country is poised to consolidate the gains of decades of democracy,” adding the cathedral would give Ghana a “globally architectural landmark”.

President Akufo-Addo has appointed a 13-member board of religious leaders to raise funds for the project, which will be built on land donated by the state.

However, not all Ghanaian Christian leaders have backed the building campaign. The General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana Cyril Fayose said he wanted to know more about the costs of the project and the source of funding before he endorsed the campaign. The “motives behind it are not very clear to us,” he told reporters this summer.

A lawsuit has also been filed by a man seeking a halt to construction, arguing that by donating the land the state was violating the constitution by giving preferential treatment to Christians.

Government spokesman Clara Napaga Tia Sulemana said the litigation had slowed fundraising, but noted she expected the case to be dismissed as the state had also donated land for the construction of a national mosque and funded the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

Archbishop Yinkah Sarfo told reporters after last weekend’s 19th session of Synod for the Diocese of Kumasi meeting at St Cyprian’s Cathedral that he was at a loss to understand the objections. The cathedral project was being facilitated by the office of the president, but was being financed by Ghana’s Christian churches, including the Anglican Church, and would be used for all religious and state gatherings as an ecumenical house of prayer once it was completed.


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