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Christianity and Cultural History in Northern Ghana

A Portrait of Cardinal Peter Poreku Dery (1918–2008)


Edited By Alexis B. Tengan

On Monday 23 April 1906 the Missionaries of Africa, also known as the White Fathers, arrived from Upper Volta, today known as Burkina Faso, in Navrongo to begin their missionary activities in northern Ghana. The small group consisted of three missionaries and a contingent of twenty Africans as helpers. Socially and culturally, the region was still suffering from the consequences of the recently outlawed practice of slave raiding and the terror regimes initiated by Zambarma generals such as Samouri and Babatu.
The inhabitants were still to come to terms with the European use of military force to try to establish colonial rule. Many of the populations and groups residing in what was then called the Northern Territories of Ghana, and also those in semi-urban trading centres such as Tamale, Wa and Bawku, had, over the past century, come to adopt aspects of Islamization within their cultures and had accepted the centralizing chieftaincy structure as their main socio-political system.
Cardinal Dery was born around this time into a priestly class among the Dagara people, and his life story as a religious leader vividly captures the cultural evolution of the whole region within this period.


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Part II: Reconciling Religions, Reconciling People


PART II RECONCILING RELIGIONS, RECONCILING PEOPLE 107 Paul’s Call for Reconciliation and its Relevance for the Church with Particular Reference to Africa Richard K. BAAWOBR M.AFR (Superior General) Introduction An earlier version of this conference was presented as an article in Missionalia, Vol. 59 (2010), a Missiology journal from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (Italy). It has been reworked for the purpose of this Colloquium upon the invitation of Alexis Tengan, who convinced me that in spite of my heavy administration schedule I should not deprive people of the fruits of this research. Following the publica- tion of the Post-Synod Exhortation, Africae munus, by Pope Benedict XVI, bringing to a close the synodal journey, the conference has also been updated. One of the important themes Paul explores in his writings to the communities that he founded was reconciliation. Although God is the one to whom people are reconciled, it is achieved in and through the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus reconciles humanity to God and at the same time reconciles people among themselves. This article will first of all explore how Paul approached the subject of reconciliation in his letters1. The second part will consider how this was later developed in the letters attributed to Paul. In the third and final part, attention will be paid to the importance of this theme for the Church, with particular reference to the Church-Family of God in Africa. Throughout his ministry as priest, Bishop and Archbishop and later as Cardinal, Dery promoted...

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