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Dynamics of international mission in the Methodist Church Ghana

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Kirk Sims

This book assesses the conceptualisation of international mission in the Methodist Church Ghana. It demonstrates that Ghanaian Methodists possess a robust ecclesiology with roots in the Akan concept of «abusua» and an evangelical theology rooted in John Wesley. The author gives interpretations to the ways mission takes place and proposes twelve models of mission whereby members of diasporic communities are agents of mission. As mission is seen a responsibility of the whole church, mission is a common theme related to the migration of Ghanaian Methodists to other contexts, often understood in terms of in the global North. The church’s presence in North America and Europe presents challenges and opportunities that must be negotiated in a broader Methodist mainline milieu.

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6. Methodist deference or a world parish: paradoxical realities of territorial Christianity in relation to international mission in the MCG

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6.1 Introduction

The Methodist Church Ghana has long had relations with Methodists beyond its fold. In Ghana, the MCG has an enduring history of being cordial with other Methodist Church bodies while being the predominant voice in its primary context for Methodism. However, with its expansion beyond Ghana, we see concurrent theological currents paradoxically being articulated by the church hierarchy and within the church. As a mainline denomination in the ecumenical movement, we see a deep sense of deference to other Methodist bodies. Yet with an evangelical heritage and armed with the Wesleyan maxim of a ‘world parish’, we also see the confidence of a denomination that knows its place in a marketplace of religions with less of a regard to the territorialism of old Christendom. These seemingly contradictory approaches have a bearing on the international mission of the MCG.

6.2 Background

The Methodist Church Ghana is a body that has always known itself as the largest and primary heir of Methodism in Ghana. First, as British Methodism splintered in the nineteenth century and reunited in the 1930s, the tie was with the predominant branch of the chair of Wesley in Britain. As other Methodist bodies were introduced, particularly the African American Methodist denominations, the MCG has been the senior body in Ghana, so it does not have a heritage as a breakaway denomination over theological or political matters. In a sense, the MCG has an institutionally conservative nature and has not...

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