USPG welcomes Archbishop Cyril Kobina Ben-Smith

First published on: 28th July 2023

On Wednesday 26th July, Archbishop Cyril Kobina Ben-Smith, Primate of the Church of the Province of West Africa, visited the USPG office to meet with staff to share updates and reflections from the West Africa region. 

Archbishop Cyril Kobina Ben-Smith with USPG staff

Growth is on the horizon for the Church of the Province of West Africa. By the end of 2023, ++ Cyril shared plans to create two new dioceses in rural areas of Ghana: in Tema and Nkoranza. This exciting plan comes with the move to focus on traditional discipleship and evangelism, particularly attracting young people who appreciate the simple and sincere worship of the Anglican Church of Ghana. There are similar plans for two missionary dioceses in Togo and Côte d'Ivoire as the Province seeks to deepen its francophone connections. 

The Primate of the Church of the Province of West Africa currently oversees 17 dioceses: 11 in Ghana, 2 in Sierra Leone, and 1 diocese each in the Gambia, Guinea, Liberia and Cameroon. As the church increases its presence, ++ Cyril is very aware of the economic disparity that persists - especially within Ghana. The high national cost of living is one such example, significantly restricting some from pursuing theological education. However, ++ Cyril is inspired by the many emerging candidates who are faithful and committed to serving God in their communities. USPG is responding to the economic hurdles by providing funding towards the strengthening of leadership capacity training and theological colleges across the region including St Nicholas' Seminary in Cape Coast, Ghana. 

It is hard to miss how unity in Christ is a deeply important truth for the Primate. For example, he praised the Anglican Church of Ghana’s commitment to sharing wealth and resources across its dioceses. Similarly, ++ Cyril remains hopeful that amid difficult conversations across the Anglican Communion, there is an opportunity for growth and leaning into our call to be one in Christ. 

The visit was arranged by Fran Mate, Regional Manager for Africa, and Venetia Asare, Regional Programme Co-ordinator for Africa (and Latin America and the Caribbean), USPG. It was a special opportunity to reaffirm our partnership with the Archbishop and the Church of the Province of West Africa.