First National Retreat for Service Chaplains and Families

West-Central Africa Division

First National Retreat for Service Chaplains and Families

Ghana | Solace Asafo

A maiden family retreat for military and police chaplains and their wives was recently organized in Accra, Ghana. The chaplains are ordained pastors of the Seventh-day Adventist Church who also serve as commissioned officers of the Ghana Armed Forces and the Ghana Police Service.

The aim of the retreat was to enhance and equip the spouses of the chaplains to better support their husbands in their specialized ministry. The participants included seven military chaplains and their spouses as well as one police chaplain and his spouse. 

According to Chaplain Lt. Col. Peter Nyarko Duodu, acting director for Religious Affairs of the Ghana Armed Forces and convener of the program, the retreat was organized to offer a special time for prayer, counseling, sharing, and learning for the officers and their wives.

“Serving as a pastor and a military officer can be a daunting task, and knowing you are not alone in your struggles is helpful. That is why we have brought them together to learn, pray, get counseling and encouragement from each other. Another objective is to equip wives of the chaplains to support their husband[s] at home and in the barracks,” Duodu said. 

The three-day retreat was opened on February 18, 2022, by Pastor Chris Annan Nunoo, executive secretary of the Southern Ghana Union Conference. He emphasized that the field of ministry for military and police chaplains is much wider, as they serve not only as pastors in the Adventist churches in the barracks but also to a diverse group of officers and their wives.

“To do this, the home and family life of the chaplain must stand out. You must endeavor to deal with the little foxes that will threaten your marriages and make you ineffective,” Nunoo said as he led a short service based on Song of Solomon 2:15.

Speaking on the role military wives play, Patricia Gustafson-Asamoah, regarding the Officers’ Wives Association to which they belong, said wives are viewed as having the same rank as their husband. “So I also serve more or less as a chaplain in the association. Other officers’ wives will come to you for prayer support, counseling on marital and family issues and Bible study.” 

Topics discussed included Team Ministry, Home Making Ministry, Communication in a Military Chaplaincy Home, Mission, Ministry and the Family, and Legacy of Chaplains’ Spouses, among others.

The retreat was crowned with a 90-minute interview on Hope Channel Ghana, where the chaplains and their spouses expounded their views on various topics relating to the specialized ministry in which they serve. 

“The maiden Military Chaplains and Wives retreat was successful, and God’s gallant officers in uniform and their spouses are poised to fulfill their calling into the Ghana Armed Forces,” Captain Christenof Nketiah Yamoah happily exclaimed. 

Keynote speakers for the program were Dr. Sarah Opoku Boateng, coordinator for Shepherdess International at the West-Africa Division, Dr. Solace Yawa Asafo, the Communication director for the Southern Ghana Union Conference, and Duodu.

The Seventh-Day Adventist Military Chaplaincy is made up of ordained ministers of the church who have been called into specialized pastoral ministry in the Ghana Armed Forces. In 2002, the first ordained minister of the Adventist Church in Ghana passed out of the Military Academy to serve as a commissioned officer of the Ghana Armed Forces. Since then, six more Adventist pastors serve as military chaplains in the Ghana Army, with one pastor in police chaplaincy.