A history of the apostolic church in ghana

Change of Name to “Church of Pentecost”

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Change of Name to “Church of Pentecost”

The above ruling formed the text of Ghana Press Release No. 442/62 headed CHURCH TO ADOPT NEW NAME which was broadcast over Radio Ghana and issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on behalf of the office of the President on 23rd July 1962. The new name that was adopted by the faction supporting Pastor McKeown was Church of Pentecost. From that date, a large section of the followers of Pastor McKeown in Accra transferred their allegiance to The Apostolic Church, Ghana.

Sharing of Properties

After President Nkrumah had met with representatives of the two factions and had ruled on the dispute, he appointed a Committee comprising Nana Sir Tsibi Darko (Chairman), Mr. Baisie (Accountant General, member), Mr. S. S. Okunor to share the properties between The Apostolic Church Ghana and the Church of Pentecost.

The Committee’s first meeting was held on Thursday 3rd of Janauary 1963 at the Cocoa House. Its terms of reference aimed at a reconciliation of the enstranged factions. The Chairman expressed not only the committee’s desire but also that of Osagyefo the President, to unite the two factions who were given time to consider separately what action they wished to take. The representatives of The Apostolic Church quickly arrived at their decision to find a basis for unity. It was agreed that each side should appoint five representatives and that a meeting should be held on the 25th and 26th of January 1963.

The Apostolic Church was to be represented by Pastor Ofori Addo, B. A. Mante Adu, Nyarko Jones, A. K. Anderson and C. H. G. Rosser. Pastor James McKeown and his group refused to reconcile with The Apostolic Church and the committee’s wish therefore proved futile. Sharing of the properties was, therefore, the only obvious line of action.

The committee’s secretary, MR. S. S. Okunor, began to obtain statements from all available witnesses on all properties acquired by the church from 1935 to 1953. He travelled extensively and later became the only person handling the assignment.

However, instead of concentrating on the sharing of the properties, the two churches turned their attention rather to their church activities and became less concerned about the sharing of properties. The Church of Pentecost had accepted the various court rulings that restrained her from taking possession of properties that belonged to The Apostolic Church, and had agreed to pay sums of money as compensation to The Apostolic Church for properties already being used by her.

In 1965, Mr. S. S. Okunor again invited representatives of the two parties. The Apostolic Church was represented by Pastor F. Johnson, Ofori Addo, E. Aboagye Atta, D. K. Boateng and A. K. Anderson and some of the properties were shared out. But in 1966 the Government of President Kwame Nkrumah was toppled and this considerably delayed the share out of properties.

As a result of the overthrow of the Nkrumah government also, further action on the matter was suspended and almost swept under the carpet. It was not until October 28th 1968 that a petition signed by Pastor C. B. Sercombe, Pastor Ofori Addo, J. A. C. Anaman, Aboagye Attah and D. G. Ofosu revived the matter concerning the sharing of the properties with the Chairman of the National Liberational Council. The Acting Secretary of the Presidential Commission, in an open letter dated 11th December 1969, required the National Secretary of The Apostolic Church to supply information regarding: -

  1. The date of appointment of the Commission for the sharing of properties

  2. The composition of the Commission

  3. The date of the report submitted by the Commission

These requirements were submitted by the National Secretary of The Apostolic Church on 15th December, 1969.

On the 22nd of July 1970 a letter dated 17/7/69 issued from the Minister of Education Mr. William Ofori Attah invited representatives of The Apostolic Church and the Church of Pentecost to meet on the 24th of July 1970.

The meeting took place as scheduled. The Apostolic Church was represented at the meeting by Pastors J. A. C. Anaman (Vice Chairman), Ofori Addo and E. Aboagye Attah. The Church of Pentecost was also represented by Pastors James McKeown, G. A. Wood and Egyir Paintsil. The Minister was assisted by Hon. S. K. Oppong (Ministerial Secretary), Mr. G. O. Annan, Secretary of the meeting and a lady Secretary.

At the meeting, Hon. William Ofori Attah, being an ardent Christian, read Gen. 13:8-17 and 1 Cor. 6: 1-7 and passionately appealed to the church leaders to allow peace and the Spirit of Christ to prevail over the meeting. He then requested them to express their opinions.

Pastor James McKeown made three suggestions as follows:

  1. That each group should hold what they had acquired

  2. That all properties should be shared on 50/50 basis

  3. That if the two suggestions were not acceptable then The Apostolic Church should take properties they thought were theirs and he would add what he knew belongs to The Apostolic Church to them

The Apostolic Church advised the Minister to settle the matter on the basis of what the late Nana Sir Tsibu Darko and Mr. S. S. Okunor had already recommended. The meeting eventually agreed to adopt most of the recommendations made by the Tsibu Darko Committee. Most properties acquired before 1953, were, therefore, handed over to The Apostolic Church. A joint communique’ signed by both parties and the Minister read as follows:


  1. In further efforts to resolve the outstanding controversy between The Apostolic Church, Ghana and The Church of Pentecost over ownership of property, representatives of the two churches led respectively by Pastor F. Johnson and Rev. James McKeown, have at the invitation of the government, held meetings recent under the chairmanship of the Minister of Education, Culture and Sports. At these meetings, the report and recommendations of a Committee, which the government appointed in July 1962, to investigate the matter, were discussed.

The meetings which were characterized by a spirit of compromise and a desire to solve, without any further delay, the long standing differences ended with a general agreement between the two parties on their respective entitlements and as a basis for the peaceful co-existence of the two churches in the country.

  1. It will be recalled that in 1953, differences arose among the mebers of The Apostolic Church, Ghana which resulted in the establishment of the two separate churches namely, The Apostolic church, Ghana and The Church of Pentecost. These differences came to a halt in 1962 when the government intervened to resolve the deadlock.

It was agreed then that two churches should remain independent and operate, but the question of ownership of church properties remained unresolved. It was to investigate this outstanding matter that a committee was appointed in July 1962 under the Chairmanship of Nana Sir Tsibu Darko.

  1. Although the final agreement was different in certain ways from the recommendation of the Committee, we the leaders of the two churches appreciate the useful basis which the Committee’s Report provided for our discussions during our recent meeting. While giving thanks to the Almight God for the opportunity for resolving our differences, we hereby record our sincere thanks to the government for its timely intervention and to Hon. William Ofori Attah and the officers of his Ministry for their special assistance. We are also grateful to Mr. S. S. Okunor of the special assistance. We are also grateful to Mr. S. S. Okunor of the Attorney General’s office who was the secretary to the Tsibu Darko Committee and on whom fell the task of completing the single-handedly.

  1. Finally, we believe that our two churches will flourish to the glory of God


Pastor J. A. C. Anaman (Vice Chairman) Rev. J. McKeown

Pastor Ofori Addo (National Sec.) Rev J. Egyir Paintsill

Pastor E. Aboagye Attah Rev. J. Egyir Painstil (Gen. Sec.)


William Ofori Attah (Minister of Education, Culture and Sports)

Mr. S. K. Oppong (Ministerial Secretary)

Mr. G. O. Annan (Secretary)

Details of the share out are attached herewith as Appendix A

Recovery of The Apostolic Church, Ghana in Ashanti

When information reached the members of the church in the Ashanti that Pastor McKeown had been dismissed because of the visit of the Latter Rain, a meeting was called on 6th December 1953 at Wiamoase. It was attended by representatives from various assemblies in Ashanti and Asanti Akim, Apostle Anaman and Pastor F. D. Walker, Overseer of the various assemblies and some 80 elders.

Pastor S. H. Ankama who was stationed at Ashanti Mampong opened the meeting and informed the members of the dismissal of Pastor James McKeown which was bringing about a division in the church. After a lengthy debate, the following resolution was passed: -

  1. That some assemblies which through ignorance have entertained divisions among them should be instructed to come to oneness, and should see that harmony is restored between them and their pastors and overseers

  2. That we reserve to ourselves the right as a church to invite any Latter Rain Team or any team of Evangelist to visit us, be they from Europe or America

  3. That in considering the work of the recent visit of the Latter Rain and their assistance to us, the Council decided that our unity with them must not be limited, but that a general unity for oneness in the church

  4. That our state of independence should be stressed, and if there be any unity with Bradford, it should be on the basis of fellowship with autonomy.

  5. That we write a letter to Pastor Rosser at Somanya to communicate with Bradford to reinstate Pastor McKeown.

Copies of the reolution were sent to Pastor Rosser, McKeown and Seaborne.

After the Bradford delegation had gained opportunity to give their version of what happened at the Quadrennial Council, a good number of Pastors, Elders and members of the church were convinced that it was Pastor McKeown’s refusal to reaffirm his belief in the doctrines and beliefs of the church which separated him from his colleagues at the Council and not that he was purposely dismissed for bringing the Latter Rain to Ghana.

Alex Bonsu a General Deacon of Ashanti, who suggested that adoption of the name Gold Coast Apostolic Church for McKeown’s faction of the church, after hearing the Bradford Delegation, later wrote to Pastor Rosser to reaffirm his loyalty to The Apostolic church, Ghana.

Pastor Rosser temporarily took charge of the church as Superintendent. He was a member of the Delegation but was left behind until a substantive Superintendent would be sent to Ghana by the Missionary Committee.

In March 1954, Pastor C. B. Sercombe was posted back to Ghana to take over from Pastor Rosser and was stationed in Kumasi. Pastor Sercombe was well known in Kumasi and was cordially received by members of the church who had decided to remain in the parent church.

Those who would follow Pastor McKeown had already made up their minds and had left the Kumasi central church which had been given back to The Apostolic Church by a court order. Elder Karikari, Doku, Essandoh, Britwum and Alex Bonsu were seasoned members remained in the Central church.

The return of Pastor Sercombe and his wife to Kumasi was a moral booster and great encouragement to those who remained in The Apostolic Church. The split had occurred in many assemblies in the Districts of Ashanti with the majority joining the Secessionists. Pastor Sercombe and few Pastors on his side had to work slowly through the Ashanti church Districts to salvage the small groups of members who remained for the parent body.

Brother Bossman of Sunyani was able to win a good number of members to remain in the Central church which was given to the parent church.

Most church buildings had to be left behind for any number of members who refused to follow Pastor McKeown. In effect, The Apostolic church remained in almost all the church Districts in Ashanti and Brong Ahafo but with small numbers of membership. It became necessary to staff all the small assemblies with Overseers owing to the effect that a great majority of trained and experienced Pastors went with Pastor McKeown, all of them having been ordained by him and therefore owed allegiance to him.

It was only by the grace of the Lord that The Apostolic Church survived the great ordeal of what may be considered as a real visitation by the gates of hell which tried to prevail against the church throughout the country.

One would observe from the resolution of the Ashanti ministers that it was passed by the people who did not know and had not properly understood the real issues of the matter and its implications.

Pastor Anaman and Pastor Ankamah were there to implement the accord reached at Dunkwa-on-Offin. That accord envisaged the return of McKeown to continue leadership of the church without the authority of the parent church if he were dismissed. The Bradford Delegation had come to explain that McKeown was not dismissed. The Ashanti churches were therefore asking that Pastor Rosser should “communicate with Bradford to reinstate Pastor McKeown” which could have curtailed the troubles and misunderstandings raging in the church. But that was in contrast with the real motives of Pastor McKeown. He and his followers maintained that he was dismissed and went ahead with their planned secession from The Apostolic Church.

Return of Pastor Anaman to The Apostolic Church

The sequence of events that followed the Resolution sent by The Apostolic Church in Ghana to its missionary headquarters in Britain on being informed by Pastor James McKeown that he had been dismissed, were such as would move any Christian with good conscience like Pastor J. A. C. Anaman to repent and wish to re-unite the two main factions and splinter groups that were produced by that rather harsh and ill-motivated resolution. Pastor Anaman tried to do this but efforts came too late and could not succeed.

The faction which he led grouped on the side of Pastor James McKeown with the belief that he was really dismissed as a result of the visit of The Latter Rain Team from America. They were therefore standing by him as the Pastor resolved to do at Dunkwa-on-Offin in 1950.

The other faction accepted the explanation of the Missionary Delegation, that by refusing to re-affirm his belief in the Beliefs and Practices of The Apostolic church, it was Pastor James McKeown who disassociated himself from the common ground taken by all the Apostles and Prophets who attended the Quadrennial Council Meeting in Bradford on the 2nd May 1953. It was observed that Pastor McKeown had planned long time ago to take the church in Ghana and that by the African Pastors Resolution passed at Dunkwa-on-Offin he had prepared the minds of the Pastors towards secession from the church in Britain. This faction deduced that Pastor McKeown consciously refused to re-affirm his belief in The Apostolic Church doctrines to create a semblance of his dismissal which the African Pastors would take as an excuse to support his ulterior motive of secession from the Apostolic Church in Britain.

To free his conscience from the guilt of having caused a split in God’s church for ill information, Pastor Anaman returned to The Apostolic Church.

Return of Other Leading Pastors to The Apostolic Church

Pastor Anaman was not the only one who felt betrayed by the news of Pastor McKeown’s purpoted dismissal and wished to return to the mother church. There were such stalwart and leading Pastors as A. S. Mallet, E. K. Aboagye Attah, S. Lartey Adotey, A. K. Yaw and P. T. Otchie who realized that they had gone wrong with the bid for secession. They, however, tacitly followed the events hoping that sanity would eventually prevail for the church to re-unite. They, incidentally, had to boldly decide to come back to The Apostolic Church when they realized finally that Pastor McKeown was too far from seeking unity and peace with the Bradford Committee.

Pastor A. S. Mallet openly declared that he was happy to come back and would wish to live and die as an Apostle of The Apostolic Church. He had been posted to Lome by the Gold Coast Apostolic Church but came back to Accra where after a short illness, he passed away and was indeed buried as an Apostle of The Apostolic Church. Others who joined these Pastors were Overseers S. Y. Nsiah, C. K. Twum, S. K. Ackah and Pastors J. K. Badu, A. K. Quansah, Oko Addo, S. T. W. Frimpong and a good number of Elders and members. The marvelous come back of Pastor Anaman and the other leading Pastors of the church was hailed as a great moral courage on their part and a significant triumph for recovery of The Apostolic Church in Ghana.

Recovery of The Apostolic church in the Volta Region

The church in the Volta Region was placed under Pastor Diaba before the split. Instead of joining either The Gold Coast Apostolic church or The Apostolic Church, Ghana, he formed his own church with a large section of the assemblies in the region and called it the New Covenant Church. He later renamed it “New Covenant Apostolic Church.” Pastor Blewusi who was in charge of a district in the region also formed a church with members under his administration and called it Christian Assemblies. Another section of the Church called themselves ‘The Latter Rain’, but they split up again and most of them later joined The Church of Pentecost.

Pastor Atia Yao who was in charge of The Apostolic Church in Benin visited his town at Kpedze and met Brother Adzudzor of Holuta who wished to remain in The Apostolic Church. The two of them travelled to Accra to see Pastor H. L. Copp about the recovery of the Church in the Volta Region. On the 19th of January 1959, Pastor Copp, Ofori Addo and Tenobi went to Holuta and on the next day they travelled with Brother Adzudzor to Taviefe and Anoe and re-established The Apostolic Church there with a few members.

Brother Adzudzor’s baby girl was born on the day he came to Accra with Pastor Atia Yao to see Pastor Copp. That child was dedicated and named ‘Unity’ by Pastor Copp on 20th of January 1959 to commemorate the efforts to get The Apostolic Church re-united in the Volta Region.

Brother Adzudzor accompanied Pastor Copp and the two others to Ho where Brother Homevor was the only person who stood for The Apostolic Church. He was encouraged to start a prayer group which gruadually grew into a church. From Ho, the visitors went to Afiadenyigba, Dzodze, Anyako, Monenu, Akatsi, Ave and Wute. The church was re-established in all those towns. Brother Adzudzor was later ordained as a Pastor. He sold his land to pay lay leaders whom he arranged to take charge of the small assemblies until the Headquarters absorbed them into the ministry.

The Gold Coast Apostolic Church in 1954 wrote to Pastor Seaborne to stop him from preaching in the church at Hohoe where he was posted as a Missionary.

The Apostolic Church at Somanya went for him but a few members at Hohoe opted to remain in The Apostolic Church. Gradually, assemblies were opened in almost all the districts in the Hohoe Area.

Recovery of The Apostolic Church in Benin

In Benin, the struggle between the two factions of The Apostolic Church as a result of the split in the church in Ghana led the Government of the republic of Benin to ban The Apostolic Church from operating in the country.

Pastor McKeown’s followers had gone to persuade the members of the church there to surrender their Baptismal and Dedication Certificates for new ones bearing the name of Gold Coast Apostolic Church.

Pastor Atia Yao, the resident minister in charge, challenged the change of name and incited members to oppose it, but he was arrested and imprisoned by government authorities.

Pastor Tenobi was sent from the church in Ghana to Benin to explain matters to the authorities there. He was himself arrested and detained, but he was able to convince the authorities of the authenticity of his mission and he was released together with Pastor Atia Yao.

Many members of the Church who had defected to The Latter Rain Movement returned to The Apostolic Church. On the 28th of May 1955, a grand convention of the Church was held at Cotonou which was attended by over 2000 members after which Pastor Copp and Tenobi returned to Ghana. It was later arranged for Pastors Copp and Tenobi to visit the work in Benin. They ordained some natives into the pastorate to take charge of the church in their own country.

The supervision of The Apostolic Church in Benin was, in 1960, handed over by Ghana to The Apostolic Church administration in Lagos for reasons of proximity, and the fact that the Togolese authorities had for political reasons closed their side of the border with Ghana, which made it impossible for the church in Ghana to continue with the administration of the church in Benin.

Recovery of The Apostolic Church in Lome, Togo

The church at Lome was, by 1953 when the split started, under Pastor A. S. Mallet. He had expected the church to be reunited but when in 1962 it became clear that Pastor McKeown had chosen to break away in spite of all efforts by Government agencies and President Nkrumah to settle the dispute between the two factions of the church, Pastor Mallet left Lome and came to Accra to affirm his loyalty to The Apostolic Church. The Lome Church was left in charge of one brother Darko.

In 1966 when President Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown, Eyadema the President of Togo closed the border between Ghana and Togo. He banned churches other than the mainline churches – Roman Catholic, Methodist, Anglican and Presbyterian from operating in Togo. New Churches could however operate under the mainline churches. The administration of The Apostolic Church in Togo was referred to the Church in Nigeria. A few members who opted to remain in The Apostolic church did not feel comfortable under The Nigerian Administration and Brother Darko several times sought Ghana to re-establish administrative relationship with the church in Togo but practical difficulties of language and politics led to a lukewarm attitude from the Ghanaian church. The church in Togo was eventually left to its fate.

A summary of Events Leading to the Split in the Church and After

  1. Pastor Anaman who was the executor of the secession moves failed in his first bid to take the whole church along for the separation. Not all the mebers could support the idea of breaking away.

  2. Pastor Anaman saw the conflagration of confusion he had caused in the church with members fighting each other. He wished this had not happened at all.

  3. The confusion in the church had caught the attention of the Police and the law courts and even the general public was looking at what was shameful phenomenon in the house of God.

  4. Pastor Anaman was a witness to the fact that cases brought before the courts were being decided against his side of the divide with scathing criticisms against his faction for engaging in criminal activities such as encroaching on properties belonging to the The Apostolic Church and forging documents to take possession of the church’s money in the Bank.

  5. Pastor Anaman had failed to prevent the Bradford Delegation from entering their own Missionary Field to explain their side of the story to a large section of the Church.

  6. A section of the elders in Accra confronted Pastor McKeown with a Resolution rejecting his story of dismissal, and refused to send their tithes until the church was re-united.Another Resolution had come from Ashanti requesting that “Pastor Rosser should arrange for reinstatement of Pastor McKeown and that assembly which had entertained divisions among them should be instructed to come to oneness.”

  7. The Blay Committee Report was enough to make Pastor Anaman repent of the role he played in the confusion that had engulfed the church.

  8. The Blay Committee pointed out that members of the church on both sides of the divide were willing to have the church re-united but that Pastor McKeown “was an obstacle in the way of unification” this was well known to Pastor Anaman whose apparent efforts towards unification incurred the displeasure of them with whom he had so loyally collaborated in the Lord’s vineyard over the years.

It had also become clear to Pastor Anaman that Dr. Thomas Wyatt was persistently supporting McKeown to sever connections with The Apostolic Church and be on his own, giving him massive financial assistance. This realization of Pastor Anaman vindicated the apprehension expressed by the Missionary Committee that the visit of Dr. Thomas Wyatt was likely to disunite the church and warned Pastor McKeown to be wary of him.

A meeting was called on the 28th of July 1962 by Pastor McKeown and his new Executive Council to which Pastor Anaman was not invited. The purpose of the meeting was to consider the outcome of the meeting with Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Any talk about reunification with The Apostolic Church was ruled out. It was resolved that the new name for the Ghana Church should be the “Church of Pentecost.”

Pastor Anaman, however, got to know of the meeting and attended without an invitation. It was at this time he got to know that his efforts at reversing the sesession and reuniting the church had come to naught. He may have attended that meeting prepared to tender in his resignation to Pastor McKewon to purge his conscience of the guilt he had been burdened with for some considerable time after he realized that he had been misled by Pastor McKeown to break up The Apostolic Church in Ghana.

Pastor Anaman said on his return to The Apostolic Church that he felt the only way to set his mind at peace and to seek peace with God was to show his repentance openly by retracting his footsteps to The Apostolic Church as a prodigal son and to seek restitution for the role played in causing a rift in the church.

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