THE EPISCOPAL SYSTEM OF CHURCH ADMINISTRATION
The Methodist Church Ghana, in 1999 at its annual Church Conference in Koforidua, adopted the Biblical pattern of Episcopacy for its church administration. A service of Proclamation was held on Sunday January 23, 2000, at the Wesley Cathedral, Accra.
With the adoption of the Episcopal system of the Church governance in 1999, certain significant changes were made in the church’s structure. Districts are now known as Methodists Dioceses. The leading chapels of the various Dioceses are known as Methodist Cathedrals. The President is now The Presiding Bishop. And takes the title, Most Rev. The Secretary of Conference changed to Administrative Bishop, with the title, Rt. Rev. The Chairman is now the Diocesan Bishop and takes the title, Rt. Rev. The Superintendent Minister has not changed, but takes the title,
the Very Rev. All other Reverend Ministers are known as Reverend.
Regarding the use of vestments, there are some changes too. The Bishops wear Mauve or purple. All Superintendent Ministers wear Green. Other Ministers wear black, gray/ash, and off-white. Ordained Ministers are required to wear the preaching gown and bands with the appropriate stoles for preaching. The official dressing for worship service is now cassock, and not suits as it used to be.
Officers at the higher level can wear the colours of the normal ministerial vestment as prescribed by The Methodist Church, Ghana. Also some senior Ministers serving as Senior Lecturers, Headmasters, General Directors, Chaplain Generals in the security services among others, are permitted to use the title ‘Very Rev.’ after undergoing some special training, even though they are Superintendent Ministers in charge of circuits.
Related to the adoption of Episcopacy was the creation of the Office of the Lay. The Vice president of Conference became the Lay President of Conference and the Office of a Diocesan Lay Chairman was also created to Deputise the Diocesan Bishop in all things apart from the strictly ministerial duties like the administration of the sacrament and membership of the committee for ordained ministry.
The use of the prefix ‘Lay’ to the offices of the President and Chairman does not mean that the offices pertain to the Laity of the Church only. They are offices for the whole Church. What is important to note is the fact that these offices are next to that of the Presiding Bishop and Bishop respectively. At the moment, there are 16 Dioceses in the Methodist Church of Ghana. These are in order of chronology, Cape Coast, Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi, Winneba, Koforidua, Sunyani, Tarkwa, , Akyem Oda, Effiduase, Obuasi, Tema, Wenchi, Somanya and Sefwi Bekwai. The Church is now nursing the Upper-Ghana Mission, with the aim of creating the Upper-Northern Diocese out of the Northern Ghana Diocese.