On the Saturday after our 2016 Conference concluded, around 30 delegates undertook the three hour trip to Elmina Castle on the Gold Coast of Ghana.
The castle has significant historical value, being the first European fort built in the tropical belt. For many it was a deeply spiritual experience as the delegates had a guided tour followed by a time of repentance and intercession through the use of movement using symbols, declarations with tambourines and the use of banners.
Belinda (New Zealand) writes:
“After the conference had officially ended several of the delegates including me chose to visit Elmina Castle – one of several castles along Ghana’s coastline where African slaves were held for 3 months before being shipped around the world. Also known as the African diaspora or, as I saw it after our trip to this area, the African holocaust. After a sobering guided tour of the castle, including the slave dungeons and ‘door of no return,’ Rev. Mary Jones led the group in a time of repentance.
"We then went outside where David had set up various banners alongside the outer wall and we flew banners over the walls in a declaration of blessing to Ghana and her people. Finally David pulled out his ‘giant’ (10m x 6m) freedom banner and went up onto the top seaward facing wall and wielded it in majesty and freedom - a declaration from the Lord over Elmina Castle and to all those who had passed through her gates; and to Ghana’s future.”
Carol (Kenya) describes the trip as follows:
”The Saturday Gold Coast trip to Elmina Castle was both moving and liberating. We prayed through the fort and gathered together in the old church to pray for the descendants of the slaves who had passed through the castle. We also repented of the sins of those who had participated in and benefitted from the slave trade; declared freedom and liberty over Ghana, Africa and the world; and dedicated ourselves to courageously stand for freedom and liberty wherever God has placed us.”
From Sue Sutherland (Britain):
"One last thing is a personal journey, on the final day we had a trip to visit one of the slave castles, used to keep slaves before transporting them to the new world, a deadly evil trade that Britain was involved in. We joined in the prayer focus team led my Mary Jones and Saartjie, through a time of repentance and blessing.
"One very sad point is that slavery is very much still part of our world today, and I have previously helped to raise awareness and funds for Hope for Justice (hopeforjustice.org), a Christian group working to end slavery today. A plaque on the castle wall said “May humanity never again perpetuate such injustice against humanity. We, the living vow to uphold this.” This has given me fresh impetus to carry on with this important work to end slavery in our generation."
Daniel (Australia), the youngest member of the team, writes:
“On the day after the conference we went on a prayer journey to Elmina – the oldest slave castle in Africa. It was interesting to learn about what had happened in the past. I was deeply saddened and sickened to know what humans can do to other humans. I was gladdened that people on our tour really repented and asked for forgiveness for what their relatives did during the slave trade.”
As one pilgrim phrased it on the way back to Accra: “Now it is complete.” There was a feeling of fulfilment and contentment knowing that this assignment had been accomplished.