The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby visited the King of the Ashanti Kingdom (the Asantehene) in Ghana today and thanked him for his “consistent support for the Anglican Church and the nation of Ghana.” The Archbishop presented the Asantehene with a Lambeth Award: The Cross of Saint Augustine, in recognition of his service to the Anglican Communion.
Archbishop Justin and Mrs Caroline Welby travelled to Kumasi for an audience with His Royal Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II at Manhyia Palace, the Asantehene’s official residence, on the eve of the 18th plenary session of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-18), which starts in Accra tomorrow.
Archbishop Justin was joined by the Primate of West Africa, Archbishop Cyril Kobina Ben-Smith, the Bishop of Kumasi, Oscar Christian Amoah, as well as Archbishops and Bishops from across the Anglican Church of the Province of West Africa.
After a traditional ceremony of orations and songs, the Archbishop and the King exchanged greetings and spoke of their mutual respect and affection.
Presenting the Cross of Saint Augustine award, Archbishop Justin said His Royal Majesty has “generously provided guidance and support to the Church, which have had a tremendous impact on its growth and development”. He also praised the King’s contribution in areas including sustainable development, education and healthcare.
The King and Archbishop later held a private meeting during which the Archbishop prayed for the King and gave him a special blessing. They were joined by the King’s wife, Lady Julia, and Mrs Welby.
In his greeting, the Archbishop praised the Ashanti King and his predecessors for having “preserved the honour and dignity of your throne and of your line through many years, during the British colonial period and afterwards.
He added: “We always remember as Christians, that the greatest model of service was the God who washed his disciples’ feet, the crucified God. That is how to lead, to save and to serve. I know of your own faith and I thank Your Royal Majesty for the example you have given.”
The King thanked the Archbishop for the award – saying he accepted it “on behalf of my people” – and for his ongoing prayers. The Archbishop and the King later planted a tree in the grounds of the Palace.
Archbishop Justin welcomed His Royal Majesty to Lambeth Palace in August 2014. He also visited the King at Manhyia Palace in October that year.
On arriving in Kumasi this morning, the Archbishop went to St Cyprian’s Anglican Cathedral. The Archbishop gave an address and blessed the Anglican faithful gathered, which included many students from local schools as well as Mothers’ Union members.
In his address the Archbishop encouraged the young people to trust in Jesus Christ who is always faithful.
“The world is uncertain,” he said. “There are wars and famines. There is poverty. There is richness. There is success. There are places of peace. We cannot control those.
“But if we say to Jesus Christ, ‘My life is in your hands, and I will always follow you’, and if we listen to what He says to us, he will say: ‘I love you, I died for you, I saved you and I will always be with you.’”
Archbishop Justin, Archbishop Cyril and Bishop Oscar planted a tree in the grounds of the Cathedral to commemorate Archbishop Justin’s visit to Kumasi
The Archbishop is in Ghana for the ACC-18, which begins in Accra tomorrow. Some 110 delegates representing 39 of the Anglican Communion’s 42 member churches, or provinces, are gathering in Accra for the meeting. The last Anglican Consultative Council meeting (ACC-17) took place in Hong Kong in 2019.