A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ACCRA RIDGE CHURCH

The Accra Ridge Church is perhaps the foremost “inter-denominational and international English language church” in Ghana. A 1954 leaflet on the church noted that: “The Accra Ridge Church originated in 1935 due to the community of worship desired by a number of residents from the residential area of Accra known as the Ridge.” The Ridge was then almost entirely populated by British civil servants and other servants of The Crown residing in the capital of the greater Gold Coast colony. Most such men and women as well as their spouses and children were largely Anglicans who availed themselves of worship at the local Trinity Cathedral. For very practical reasons, mostly a desire for ‘a church service fully in English and of a simpler pattern than was provided at the Holy-Trinity Cathedral,” some of the Anglican expatriates at the Ridge took the initiative to establish a neighbourhood community of worship, at the Ridge.

 

The development was fully supported by the then Bishop of Accra, Bishop Aglioby and the first Chaplain of the Anglican Church at the Ridge was Rev. W. G. Harward who was appointed by the U. K. -based Anglican Society for the propagation of the Gospel. It is a matter of record that Rev. W. G. Harward, as Canon Harward, became Headmaster of the country’s premier secondary school, Headmaster. But that is a story on its own.

 

The maiden Minutes Book of the Ridge Church opened thus: “On Monday, 18th January 1937, a meeting was held in the European Chaplaincy of members of the Congregation of the European Church. There were 19 members of the congregation present and the Chaplain, Rev. W. G. Harward and a committee was formed to be responsible for the organization and administration of the Chaplaincy services and finance.” On that day, Monday the 18th January 1937, were the seeds sown for what has now become the Accra Ridge Church Council, as always a pillar of growth for the church.

 

The Accra Ridge had, as its first official place of worship cum Manse, a wooden building that was rented from the Government. That building still stands nearby and serves as the Labour Department Youth Employment Centre. At that time, the church had a largely Anglican congregation.

 

Nevertheless, Rev. H. H. G. Macmillan of the Scottish (Presbyterian) Mission and Rev. M. B. Taylor, Chairman of the Methodist Church, conducted services at the Ridge Church from time to time. That tradition, the first tentative steps towards inter-denominationalism, held through to 1946 when the first permanent chapel (‘the old church’) was put up and opened at the current site of the Accra Ridge Church.

 

The move to the current site saw a growth in the inter-denominational character of the Ridge Church. That development was made official and sealed with the appointment of Honorary Methodist and Presbyterian Chaplains and the adoption of an interdenominational constitution. The church from then on continued to grow from strength to strength.

 

The present Church was constructed and consecrated in 1968 and an extension on the south side was been added and opened in the Jubilee Year. In addition, the Manet and Tudu branches are up and going, with the blessings of the Lord.