Adventism in Ghana
• In 1888, the first Advent message in the form of a pamphlet reached one Francis I. U. Dolphijn of Apam, a coastal town in Fantiland in the central regions of the then Gold Coast, now Ghana. One William Kweku Attah Dawson of Fetteh and Mayenda, also in Fantiland, is said to have either preceded Dolphijn as the first Adventist, or even the one who introduced Adventism to Dolphijn.
• Feb. 22, 1894: The first SDA missionaries, Edward L. Sanford and Karl G. Rudolph, arrived at Apam. Within five months frequent attacks of malaria forced Sanford’s departure; but Rudolf continued and moved the Cape Coast.
• On Oct. 3, 1895, Cape Coast became the official headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in West Africa as a team, headed by Dudley Upton Hale of Texas who led a group of missionaries to Cape Coast the same year. Dudley U. Hale (the new mission superintendent) arrived with George and Eva Kerr (both nurses), and G. P. Riggs (a colporteur). They met Rudolph, who had previously moved there from Apam. On June 3, 1897, Hale left for home.
• Before the close of the 19th century, a team of Adventist missionaries arrived at Apam, Ghana from the General Conference to begin what is now known as the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ghana. They were Karl G. Rudolph and Edward Leroy Sanford. Sanford returned to America due to ill-health.
• On Mar. 27, 1897, in the first Seventh-day Adventist baptism in West Africa, Hale baptized Francis I. U. Dolphijn, Fred and Isaac Dolphijn, and George Peter Grant. G. P. Grant was joined by Dawson and Dolphijn to spread Adventism along the coastal towns of Ghana
• In March 1903 Hale returned to Ghana with his family and Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Hyatt.
• In August 1905, the headquarters of the work in West Africa moved from Cape Coast, Ghana, to Freetown, Sierra Leone with the arrival of David C. Babcock and his family.
• February 1907 was the beginning of Adventist education as it was the year in which Christian Ackah (Snr) of Kikam, who had identified himself with Adventism in 1903 established the first school based on Adventist principles in Cape Coast.
• C. A. Ackah introduced Adventism to his hometown Kikam in 1907. Kikam became the headquarters for the church work in Ghana from 1908.
• In September 1908 the first official SDA School which was built by C. A. Ackah started to function at Kikam. Among the students were S. B. Essien, J. B. Arthur & J. W. Quarshie. The first Teachers included J. D. Hayford, F. Dolphijn, J. A Bonnie, S. D. Morgue and J. K. Garbrah.
• April 1915 marked the beginning of official pioneering work at Agona, in Asante, led by William Lewis. He was joined there later on by J. K. Garbrah as his assistant. Garbrah had been transferred from Axim after Lewis had gone there to re-organize and strengthen the work there.
• 1915: The paramount chief of Agona, Nana Kwame Boakye, gave a larger plot of land, where Lewis erected a house and a school building with the assistance of the chief and his people. In the school there, which became the center of a group of schools, J. K. Garbrah, H. E. Boyce, J. J. Hyde, H. K. Munson, F. L. Stokes, and F. Edwards taught at various times.
• In 1918, the work in West Africa was organized with headquarters in Waterloo, Sierra Leone. L. F. Langford was made the General Superintendent of the work in West Africa.
• On 7th May 1921, J. K. Garbrah of Shama, became the first Ghanaian minister of the Gospel to be ordained into the Gospel Ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This took place in Waterloo, Sierra Leone at a General Conference session.
• Late 1922, L. F. Langford came to Gold Coast (Ghana) and took over the work as acting director. While still the general superintendent of the work in West Africa.
• In 1923, L. F. Langford transferred the West African Headquarters from Waterloo, Sierra Leone to Agona, Gold Coast (Ghana). At the same time, he became the Director of the Ghana Mission.
• In 1924, the joint headquarters of the West African Field and the Ghana Mission under the leadership of L. F. Langford moved from Agona to Kumase and the joint office became officially known as West African Union Mission.
• In 1927, J. J. Hide, the new superintendent of the Ghana Mission transferred the headquarters of the church from Kumase to Agona once again. He preferred there to Kumase.
• In 1933, the Mission, then based at Bekwae, was re-organized with a new name, Gold Coast Union Mission covering five territories in West Africa. These were Gold Coast, Ivory Coast, Dahomey, Togoland, and Upper Volta with Jesse Clifford as the Director. He was also the Director of the Ghana Mission.
• 1938 marked the beginning if the Printing work in Ghana. F.L. Stokes invited Emmanuel T. Abbey from Accra then resident in Bawjiase to man the press at Asokore, Koforidua.. That was the beginnings of the Advent Press. The press later moved to Bekwae, was taken to Nigeria and was finally settled in Accra.
• In 1939, the first SDA Teacher Training College was established at Bekwae with C. A. Bartlett, a British Missionary as the first Principal.
• January, 1946: The West African Union Mission which had Willian McClements as Superintendent and was based in Ibadan, Nigeria, moved headquarters to Ghana. Jesse O. Gibson who was the Director of the Ghana Mission was made the head of the new headquarters at Osu, Accra.
• 1955: To meet the medical needs of the people, the Kwahu Hospital was established at Atibie by Dr. J. A. Hyde and was officially opened on July 28, 1957; later a School of Nursing was begun and a midwifery course offered.
• In 1970, Ghana Mission was re-organized into Ghana Conference of SDA with J. K. Amoah as the first President. Kumasi remained the headquarters of this first local Conference of the church in the West African Union Mission and the whole of black Africa.
• On October 8, 1974, the Adventist Girls’ Vocational Institute was opened in Techiman, Brong Ahafo region, as a day school by action of the Ghana Conference and the West African Union Mission, with Mrs. Emelia Kusi as headmistress.
• 1979: The Adventist Missionary College was established at Adentan in Accra. In the late 1980s, it took on the name – Valley View College and then Valley View University. It is the first accredited and chartered private tertiary University in Ghana. The first Director was W. S. Whaley and the current President is Seth A. Laryea, who has led the university since 1995.
• In January, 2000, the West African Union Mission was re-organized with Ghana being organized into Ghana Union Conference; Accra was maintained as the headquarters and P. O. Mensah, the first President.
• 2000: The rest of the West African Union Mission territory, which included Liberia Mission, Sierra Leone Mission and the Gambia Mission Station, was re-organized and remained as West African Union Mission. The headquarters was moved to Monrovia, Liberia with Carlyle M. Bayne as acting President.
• In December 2006, S. A. Larmie became the President of the Ghana Union Conference with six local conferences: – CGC, EGC, MGC, SCGC, SGC, SWGC and one Mission field, North Ghana Mission.
1. Editor, “Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia”, Review and Herald Publishing Association,
Hagerstown, USA, 1900.
2. Prof. Kofi Owusu-Mensa, “Ghana Seventh-day Adventism: A History”, Valley View University
Monograph Series vol.1, Advent Press, 2005.
3. Seventh–day Adventist Church, “Year Book, 2008”, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Hagerstown, USA, 2007.