Brief History of Accra Ridge Church
The Accra Ridge Church originated in 1935 or 1936, but not precisely when , and as the first Chaplain was appointed in 1936, the Golden Jubilee is being celebrated during 1986.
In its origins fifty years ago, the Ridge Church was, in some ways, very different from the present “interdenominational, international, English language congregation,” and yet, some similarities appear as one looks back over the earlier years.
The location has always been the Ridge, and leaflet about the Church produced in 1954 say: “The 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 Ridge. ”
The Church began its life in wooden building rented from Government, one half being the church and other half the chaplain’s house; and this building still stands down the road from our present site, housing, at present, the Labour Department, Youth Development, Youth Employment Center. As the congregation became well established, a permanent building was put up and opened in 1946 (the present “old church”).
With the continued growth of the congregation , the present Church was built and opened in 1968.
The most recent development has been the erection of an extension on the south side of the Church, and this was opened at the beginning of the Jubilee year.
The records of the Church include a Minute Book which begins: “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. Howard.” At this meeting, a committee was formed “to be responsible for the organization and administration of the Chaplaincy services and finance,” and thus began what has now become the present Church Council.
The initiative in establishing this Church came from a number of Europeans, mainly in Government service and large Anglicans who wanted a service in English and of simpler pattern than that available at Holy Trinity Cathedral. This development was supported by the then Bishop of Accra, Bishop Aglionby. The first Chaplain was Rev. W.G. Harward, appointed by the (Anglican) Society for Propagation of the Gospel, which supported similar chaplaincies in various parts of the world. (As a matter of interest, it may be mentioned that Mr. Harward-as Canon Harward- later became the Headmaster of Adisadel). So the Church began as an English-speaking congregation, with vigorous lay participation from its inception.
Although the Ridge started as an Anglican congregation, Rev. H.H.G. Macmillan of the Scottish Mission and Rev. M.B. Taylor, Chairman of the Methodist Church, conducted services at the Church from time to time, and the time the congregation moved to its present site, it had begun to assume its present interdenominational character. In due course, this development was finalized by the appointment of honorary Methodist and Presbyterian Chaplain, and the adoption of an interdenominational constitution.