Ghana Mourns Former Statesman, First Methodist Presiding Bishop

 The Methodist Church Ghana on Sunday, September 13, 2020 lost its first Presiding Bishop, Reverend Dr. Samuel Asante-Antwi, to a short illness after he was rushed to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital for medical attention.

The Most Reverend Dr. Paul Kwabena Boafo, the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church Ghana, confirmed his death to the Ghana News Agency, in an interview, after he led a delegation to visit the bereaved family to commiserate with them.

Rev. Asante-Antwi was until his passing, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral Project, and a former member of the Council of State under the Administration of Ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor.

Describing how the Church was affected by his passing, Rev Dr Boafo said their premier presiding bishop, was a strong leader, who contributed monumentally to building the Church, while in office and after he superannuated.

He led the Church to adopting the system of “Biblical Pattern of Episcopacy”, 20 years ago and led the implementation of policies that strengthened the leadership of the Church and its relationship with the laity, the Presiding Bishop said.

Episcopacy is a system of governance where a church is ruled or led by bishops, and introducing the system enabled the Church to do away with some nomenclature such as President and Chairman to adopt titles like ‘Bishop’ which was more biblical.

Most. Rev. Boafo said it was during the leadership of Rev. Asante-Antwi, that the Church built the “Methodist University College” in Ghana.

He also advocated the establishment of the Church in the diaspora, Europe and North America and ensured that they all had Mission Diocese, with confirmed Ministers to lead and serve the Church.

The Presiding Bishop, who superannuated 13 years ago from active service, played a pivotal role in offering ideas and guidance to advance the Church, he said.

Most Rev. Boafo said: “We have lost one of our strong leaders and fathers, who was a big pillar and a big support to the Church. Even when he retired, he was still supporting the leadership of the church with ideas and advice.”

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the National Cathedral Secretariat, signed by its Executive Director, Mr Paul Opoku-Mensah said: “Most Rev. Dr. Asante-Antwi’s commitment to the National Cathedral Project was passionate, inspiring, and totalizing! He deeply understood its importance for Ghana.

“Last Thursday, September 10, 2020, the Secretary to the Trustees of the National Cathedral, Rev. Kusi Boateng, and I were at the hospital to visit him. Although very sick, he was upbeat and hopeful the Cathedral would be built. We are grateful to God for his leadership and legacy,” the statement said.

Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, also described Rev. Asante-Antwi, who was also a founding member of the New Patriotic Party, on his Facebook page, “as a man who served Ghana diligently.

“He played an integral role in the transition from military regime to democratic dispensation. He was fearless and was not cowed by arbitrary use of power.

“My condolences to the immediate family, the Church and his loved ones. I will miss Papa. Rest in peace man of God until we meet again,” he added.

Rev. Asante-Antwi died at age 83, leaving behind a wife, Mrs Comfort Asante-Antwi and children.

He was born on May 22, 1937 in the Akyem Abuakwa village of Moseaso. Among the educational institutions he attended were the Methodist-Presbyterian School, Komenda Teachers’ Training College, the Trinity College, Yale University in the USA and Aberdeen University in the UK.

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