Creative innovations in the vestments of the clergy in the Presbyterian Church of Ghana

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Conservativism - one of the hallmarks of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) has enabled the Church to faithfully keep the foreign clerical vestments introduced by the early Christian missionaries about 175 years ago. However, these have following problems: they are not suitable for Ghana’s tropical climate; they do not reflect Ghana’s rich culture; and do not help in better identification of the ministers and their various administrative ranks. This research is therefore aimed at identifying the various administrative ranks among the clergy of the PCG as well as the current vestments of the church and designing appropriate vestments for the church. Experienced reverend ministers of various ranks and some lay persons in the PCG were either personally observed, interviewed or both to help find objective and pragmatic ways of innovating the current vestments of the clergy in the church and to help alleviate the problems stated. This research report considers the various administrative ranks of the clergy in PCC and their outfits the Biblical basis of vestments, historical background and symbolisms of PCG vestments, liturgical colours, Ghanaian traditional colours, Adinkra symbols and cloths/motifs of Ghana, and their symbolic meanings. Different fabrics and their properties are also considered so as to make the best choice for the vestments in the report. The use of Adinkra symbols, kente cloths/motifs and liturgical colours coupled with Ghana’s traditional colours on vestments were found to be the best for indicating the administrative ranks of the clergy and also to reflect Ghana’s culture. New fabric type and colour that suit Ghana’s climate have been proposed in this thesis to replace the current heavy and black vestments of the PCG ministers. A number of modified designs of some clerical elements and liturgical colours, being proposed for PCG clergy, are presented in this research report. Churches like the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Salvation Army, the Methodist Church and some academic institutions in Ghana and abroad have conducted research on costumes introduced by their founders and have effected changes to suit their environment. It is the researcher’s wish that PCG considers the recommendations in this research report for much constructive innovations in her vestments.
A thesis submitted to the College of Arts and Social Sciences in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts, 2004