By: Ewoenam Kpodo | Voltaonlinegh.com |
The Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana and the Evangelical Presbyterian University College (EPUC) have led discussions to restructure the Ho-Kpodzi Old Mission House of the North German (Bremen) Mission into a Cultural, Training and Conference Centre.
The impressive structure built with unique techniques of woodwork and clay construction, having well-arranged rooms, and ventilation, goes beyond denominational limits to represent a historical and cultural identity of the Ewe people.
A colloquium organised on Tuesday at Kekeli Hotel, Ho, brought together stakeholders including Deputy Volta Region Minister, Johnson Avuletey, President of the University, Dr. Kenneth Nyalemegbe, chiefs, the clergy, officials from Ghana Tourism Authority, Museums and Monuments Board, NGOs, reps from HTU and UG.
It was to deliberate on the renovation of the over 100-year old architecture, its benefit to the Christian community, the Volta Region, Ghana and the entire world among others.
Lecturer at the University of Lome, Togo, Prof. Kokou Azamede prayed that the renovation and retooling of the building would reconcile the European Christian culture with the African traditional culture.
Prof. Azamede who alluded to a presentation he gave on the topic, “Ewe People between Christianity and Traditions in North German Mission Stations: 1847-1939” said, the early missionaries committed a blunder by forcing the early converts to assume entirely different identities to be considered Christians.
His presentation which chronicled the early history of the EP Church settling on two ordained officers who had to suffer in one way or the other because their cultural practices were in conflict with their newly found faith.
Hermann Yoyo was excluded from the church because of his conviction that polygamy was not a sin but a cultural fact while Pastor Theodor Martin Sedode Bebli (born in Agbozume) stood against his traditional culture and died from chickenpox few weeks after making some proclamation in defense of his stance.
Dr. Gunther Rusch of University of Cottbus, Germany who made a presentation on “The Ho Mission House and its Socio-Cultural context, Special Attention to Architecture”, underscored the need to renovate the place saying, it held many offers for the people of the region.
Dr. Rusch believed the historic structure should be preserved to “contribute to the improvement of cultural offers in Ho and in the entire Volta Region” adding that, it would “demonstrate the responsibility of the church for social development through a museum, archives, and an exhibition room.
Afetornyonufia of Ho Bankoe, Mama Agblatsu III who chaired the occasion, urged Christian bodies to respect traditional cultures of the people such as preserving the environment.
Mama Agblatsu observed that Christianity brought along with it, a great loss where people “in the name of Jesus destroyed the environment.”
According to her, in the past, traditional cultures forbade people from indiscriminate felling of trees by designating some of the vegetation as “tror-ve”(sacred forest).
The structure when completed in 2022 at about Gh¢500,000, will be stocked with literature on the first Christian group in Eweland (the EP Church), and other Ewe literature and artworks currently in museums in Germany, thus, making it a religious tourism destination.
The Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana (founded in 1847), and the Eglise Evangelique Presbyterienne du Togo are the products of the Bremen Mission.