Methodists, Presbyterians Split At Legon

The joyous singing and dancing which characterised last Sunday’s church service of the Methodist-Presbyterian Students Union (MPU) gave way to a solemn mood when the Transition Committee announced the dissolution of the church after 43 years of existence. The MPU, which is largest religious organisation on the campus of the University of Ghana, has a congregation of about 1,500. It consisted mainly of student members of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and the Methodist Church, Ghana. The Transition Committee, which has been in charge of drawing up modalities for the split, had earlier last month announced the intended dissolution of the Union. The Committee said the reason for the split was spearheaded by the Methodist Church, which said it wanted to strengthen its youth wing. The students were, however, against the split because of the vibrancy of the MPU and its subgroups such as the Dynamic MPU Choir. Some students took the issue of the breakup to court. According to the Committee, the Methodist Church provided lawyers and the court issue had been dealt with, paving way for the dissolution. Prior to the dissolution of the MPU, the Ghana Methodist Students Union (GHAMSU) and the National Union of Presbyterian Students, Ghana (NUPS-G) held their Sunday service together, but had separate services during the week. The Transition Committee announced that from next semester, NUPS-G and GHAMSU will hold separate services on Sunday though at the same venue. It said NUPS-G would have its service from 6am to 8:15am at the Central Cafeteria after which GHAMSU will take over from 8:30am to 10:45 am at the same venue. Meanwhile some members of the Union who were aggrieved by the split told The Finder that they would quit the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches on campus. “I will go to CCF (Campus Christian Family) or any other. What is the meaning of all this?” a Level 300 student said. The split of the two traditions of MPU has left members of the Union who are neither Presbyterians nor Methodists in a dilemma. Desmond Kwesi Boadu, a Level 100 student, is a member of the Christ Evangelical Ministry, but has been fellowshipping with MPU because his church has no branch on campus. “Back at Pope John’s Secondary School, I fellowshipped with PREMESU [Presbyterian Methodist Students Union] and when I came here, I decided to join MPU. Now I don’t know whether to join the Presbyterian or Methodist Church,” Desmond said. Like many members of the Union, he said split was very unfortunate: “It’s very, very bad. We are supposed to be one in Christ.” The Methodist Church - Ghana and the Presbyterian Church of Ghana have similar doctrines and approach to worship. The two churches have joint churches in army and other barracks. There are joint Methodist-Presbyterian congregations at the Kamina Barracks in Tamale, Burma Camp and Teshie Camp in Tamale and Accra respectively, as well as other barracks across the country. Until recently, students of the two churches fellowshipped together in schools even though they had their student wings of the church – GHAMSU and NUPS-G.