OPENSPACE Global marked the culmination of its in-person events for the year with a compelling gathering at Basecamp Initiative in Accra, Ghana, on the 24th of November, 2023. The event, expertly moderated by Cyril Gockel, a serial entrepreneur, on-air personality and social activist and Sydney Scott Sam, the founder of OPENSPACE Global, aimed to present a candid and brutally honest discussion about the contemporary landscape of church and spirituality in Ghana.
Moderators at the event: Sydney Sam (left) and Cyril Gockel (Right)
The event was opened by Sydney Sam, who introduced OPENSPACE and the moderator, diligently highlighting their invaluable contributions. To kick off the conversation, a cleverly curated self-awareness game was played. Did you grow up in a religious home? Are you spiritual, NOT religious? Would you never date someone from the church? Are most churches a scam? Do you think many Christians in Ghana have lost the plot? What are the healthy and the unhealthy reasons people really go to church in Ghana? Well, the humorous elaboration of responses to these questions infused the atmosphere with laughter, leaving the audience in stitches.
With the stage set, the attendees dissected the church scene in Ghana, first by evaluating how and why the church has become such an integral part of the Ghanaian culture. Secondly, the conversation unpacked the value prepositions of different churches, with ‘miracle’ and ‘prayer warrior’ churches topping the list. Furthermore, with the emergence of churches that arguably mislead their congregation by straying away from the original biblical teachings, some people stated that they had boycotted chasing the faith. So when and where did some churches miss the plot?
Attendees at the event
1. Deeper spiritual exploration: In the spirit of addressing our fundamental desires and spiritual emptiness, it is paramount to introspect and share reflections on the deeper motives behind one’s religious beliefs.
2. Pathways to spiritual growth and renewal: Beyond the hurt that has been caused by the church, the attendees collectively agreed that reading the bible, asking questions and doing research on the bible's teachings were the initial steps to renewing the faith and growing spiritually.
3. Churches should empower their congregants through open dialogue or/and surveys! This could create a space where individuals feel comfortable expressing their doubts and concerns, promoting a healthier spiritual journey.
This gathering provided a unique platform for attendees to share their experiences and encouraged a critical examination of the church's role within the broader sociocultural context of Ghana. Until next time, what role do we play in changing the negative outlook associated with religion?
Credits: Margaret Mathenge