I worship in a quiet place.
There are no crowds. No megaphones or speakers. No screaming. You don’t have to dress up if you don’t want to. There’s no spiritual warfare. Just a focus on a social gospel: treating people like full human beings. Trying to improve this world we’ve been tasked with taking care of.
There are no pastors.
Nkrumah passed through this place. Sutherland stayed. Some have more. Some do not. All are equal. Ours is an open space: both physically and in terms of inclusion. Everyone is welcomed wherever they are in their faith journeys: at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end. Christian or not. Sinner or ‘Saint’. Bring your certainty. Bring your doubt:
Hill House welcomes everybody.
I read a BBC summary of Quakerism once. I didn’t agree with everything (and – so, so beautifully – don’t have to), but it was by far the closest I had ever seen to someone peeking into my soul and shaping out of it a space in the physical world.
I searched online for evidence of Quakers in Ghana, but couldn’t find any. A year later though, I felt compelled to look again and there it was:
A website. And it had directions.
Seek and You Will Find
That first Sunday I tried to find it, I took a wrong turn somewhere and failed. I tried again the next week though and stumbled into a small garden compound that had been in a corner of the Achimota School campus since 1934 for a small group that had formed in 1925.
As with every time thereafter, there were no more than ten people present. At first, they were quiet: each person praying in silence. All you could hear was the surrounding sound of nature. And then, we talked:
About Life. Humanity. Faith. Community. About Love.
I was home.
Sadly, Hill House is showing the wear and tear that comes with almost a hundred years of being battered by African sun, wind and rainfall.
Simplicity + Truth + Equality + Peace + Sustainability.
Taking cues from these principles, two members of our meeting have come up with a really sustainable and affordable redesign:
Using earth bricks as an eco-friendly alternative to concrete, we will reuse our old ceramic roof tiles and keep the paving stones from the original pavilion, creating a disability-accessible entrance by which all members will enter (rather than the stairs used by the past structure).
The project has given us an opportunity to reach out to old friends and to those who have visited us from overseas in past years. It also reveals us to like-minded individuals in Ghana who are looking for a peaceful, simple alternative to our many more noise-inclined, ostentatious churches.
If that’s you, then come and visit sometime: you’ll be welcome too.