The Rev. Canon Petero Sabune, the Episcopal Church’s Partnership Officer for Africa, recently visited the Diocese of Cape Coast in Ghana. During his visit, he met with the Rev. Dr. Jenny Coley, a missionary from the Diocese of Long Island. Below is a brief description of Petero’s time in Ghana:
My time in Ghana has been very busy, but it’s been a great blessing! I met with Jenny and Bishop Allotey. I visited the eye clinic, which is currently undergoing renovation and spent time with Jenny and the diocesan health coordinator discussing healthcare in the Diocese of Cape Coast. Thanks to Dr. Coley, the 11 dioceses in Ghana all have strong healthcare ministries. Unfortunately, Malaria is still the number one killer. The combination of stagnant water and high humidity makes the central region a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Later, I had a chance to engage in dialogue with the cathedral clergy about the upcoming election for a new primate for West Africa. We also had honest discussions about the Five Marks of Mission and how that applies to the church here in Ghana. They asked about some of our decisions at General Convention and told me that I would get more questions about that and many other topics when I visited the seminary. They were right! My conversations with Bishop Allotey and the students at St. Nicholas Seminary (including an American named Michael from Long Island) were very engaging and productive. They included, but were not limited to: gender-based violence, theological education, leadership in the church, and various social issues, as well as the upcoming elections (in December)for the next President of Ghana and the elections for the next Primate of West Africa.
We tried to identify the differences and similarities between the role of Primate and President. What are the leadership qualities necessary for a good leader? Are issues like gender and education relevant? What about ethnicity and country of origin? The students were also intrigued by the two candidates for US President. We even spent some time discussing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was surprised about their depth of knowledge of the Mormon faith. They shared that Mormons have been very active in Ghana and have strategic locations of churches at major intersections in cities.
During my visit, I also spent an hour at the Cape Coast Castle where Africans were sold like cattle for plantations in Brazil, the West Indies, and the Americas. I walked through the dungeon and saw the Door of No Return. It is a must visit for anyone coming here.