CHURCH collections or offerings, monthly payment of tithes and annual harvests have been the main sources of revenue for most churches in the country, particularly the orthodox churches.
This has put pressure on the congregations or the church members as they have to always dip deep into their pockets and purses to bring out money to donate generously to enhance the activities of their respective churches.
It has also prevented genuine members who cannot afford these multiple offerings from attending the church, particularly on Sundays, to worship the Almighty God.
To avoid such a situation, the Sekondi Diocese of the Methodist Church in the Western Region has embarked on many income-generating ventures to boost its financial standing and not to rely solely on the traditional sources of income.
The diocese has established a 90-acre rubber plantation out of the 200 acres it intends to cultivate within a period of five years at Bamiankor, as well as cassava-processing and corn mill project at Wiredukrom.
The Bishop of the Sekondi Diocese, the Rt Rev. John Harvey-Ewusi, announced this at the 48th annual synod of the diocese at the Bethany Methodist Chapel at Essikado on the theme: “Oh Holy Spirit, establish us in the Lord Jesus to finish the task ahead”.
The synod was attended by 57 reverend ministers of the gospel and 100 lay persons who discussed, among other issues, the 10-year strategic plan of the Methodist Church of Ghana, the proposed teacher training college , a Bible college, women, youth and children’s issues.
The spiritual development of members, finance, membership drive, and welfare of members also featured prominently.
Rt Rev Harvey-Ewusi said progress report from the rubber plantation was very encouraging, adding that the project was thriving, with labourers on the farm regularly receiving their wages from the diocese.
“We are yet to receive progress report from the Wiredukrom cassava and corn mill project, especially to render account for the grant it has been receiving for the purpose occasionally,” he added.
Rt Rev. Harvey-Ewusi said the diocese should be grateful to God for the vision to go into rubber plantation, which, in four years’ time, would be matured for harvesting to boost the diocesan finances.
“So far the church’s source of income has been the traditional payment of tithes, collections and harvests”, he said, and questioned, “But for how long should we depend upon these, considering the global rising inflation with its corresponding high rate of unemployment?”
Rt Rev Harvey-Ewusi stressed the need for the congregation to seriously consider other sources of income.
He urged societies and circuits of the church which had not yet considered that idea to begin to think aloud and see that as a very urgent agenda which should not be brushed aside, adding, “To do so is to expect financial down-trend within your scope in the near future”.
The bishop said almost all circuits of the church had participated in the training workshops of the steering committee/coordinators of the 10-year strategic plan of the Methodist Church of Ghana (2008-2018) at all levels from the diocese to the societies and anxiously looking forward to its actual implementation.
He said the objective of the strategic plan was to help the church to grow effectively in all sectors of the church’s life, namely spiritually, financially, socially, numerically, not forgetting to achieve the target of having the membership doubled within the next 10 years.
Rt Rev Harvey-Ewusi announced that the Methodist University College delegated two separate teams to inspect infrastructural facilities in the diocese with the intention of establishing a Faculty of Administration in it.
He said the Connexional Christian Education Division of the church had been regularly preparing materials for the nurturing of scholars of the church’s Sunday schools and also giving the opportunity to the scholars to participate in connexional and international programmes, with the result that some of the scholars had showed evidence of potential future leaders.
The bishop said beneficiaries of the scholarship awards continued to excel in their respective courses of studies.
The diocese, he said, played its part to also offer similar awards to, at least, two brilliant, needy students annually, while some societies of the church such as Bethel, Takoradi, Wesley and Sekondi were also showing such gestures, apart from sponsoring others to learn vocational trades.
Rt Rev Harvey-Ewusi commended the Bethel Men’s Fellowship for sponsoring the education, medical care and general up-keep of nine needy children.