Friday, May 15, 2009

The Best of Ghanaian Church Greetings

One of my colleagues at work, an Ewe man who speaks twi with a thick accent greeted me this week saying: “yɔnko dɔ” (tr: the love of friendship?). He said I was supposed to respond “biako yɛ” (tr: unity). The whole greeting and response thing made me laugh, but I laughed even harder when he mentioned that the greeting is for the Presbyterian Church close to his house. It reminded me of the Methodist church I used to attend. Their greeting was “Hail Savior” with the response “Prince of Peace”. In that church, the “hail savior” was badly butchered by the less schooled of the church members; It was not uncommon to hear “hey savior”. Then the women’s fellowship also had “Nyame edwuma na hwɛ” (tr: focus on the work of God), the response was “ ama wo dze akɔdo”(tr: for yours to prosper?). The Sunday school (children’s service) greeting was “good news” with the response “Christ died for you and me”.

Do you know if other African countries also have church greetings? I don’t remember hearing anything like that in American churches. Anyway I thought it would be interesting to do a blog entry that would discover /collect Ghanaian church greetings and responses. I’m sure you have some killer ones, and funny stories about how some people say those greetings.


  1. Yay! I remember most of those greetings too because I attend a Methodist church when I am at home in Ghana.The post made me so happy. It's great to be able to reminisce.

  2. Esi, i remember back in St Peter Claver R.C. church @ Dzelukope-Keta most of the members of our congregation would greet:"Ne wo kafu Yesu Kristo"(tr: May the Lord Jesus be Praised), to which one must respond "tegbetegbe Amen" (Now and forever).

  3. yeah, pretty interesting,if u think those are weird, you should go to the 'x'matic churches! They take It a step further! Heres a conversation between 2 members of lighthouse chapel (LCI) which I attend.
    member 1:"oh my friend, I tried calling you but you didnt ans. your phone!
    member 2:"oh,(places hand on head) MERCY FOREVERMORE!when?
    member 1:"yesterday"
    mem. 2 :"FO-O-ORGI-I-IVE!"
    mem.1 :"how is your BELOVED?"
    mem.2 :"she is fine, we are FLOWING well"....etc etc.
    Its really amusing if you ask me. :)

  4. It's interesting, the way you capture this.

  5. When there was TV theatre, a church in one of their episodes had; "Armageddon" the response was "Last Battalion!"

  6. Esi, yeah! it's intriguing how you bring up lifestyles!

    Americans won't do these perhaps especially in the urban because the system doesn't allow them the space to breathe such life into one another.

    @20Savvy, ah, i remember; we used to sing it our hood: "Last Battalion"! hahahahaha

  7. "We" = "One", "Ambassadors" = "for Christ", "BB" = "Sure and steadfast", "Mesi" == "Masore", "Christ nti" == "Yɛyɛ adehye". I do remember all the from my old Wesleyan days. Its something that really identifies the group member.

    I realize you have changed your profile picture. Now we have new ones from your photo shoot-out huh? It's impressive anyway.

    "Krɔnkrɔn!" .... "Ma awaurade"

  8. Interesting Esi..., I can see that ''Methode asore fuo do so wo ha paa''.
    In my church the response to Emmanuel is God is with us. I was in another Immanuel methodist church sometime ago, and the osofo shouted Immanuel I shouted on top of my voice ''God is with us'' only to realise that the whole church was saying something totally different. I am sure I looked like some necompo to those around me...Same greeting different response...

    By the way the Women's fellowship greeting is a favourite line from the MHB , the meaning of which has somehow been lost in the translation to both Ga and Twi- it goes like
    '' make you his wants your needs and he will make your wants his care''
    the Ga greeting is'' nyomo nitsumo no okwe'' to which the women respond, ''ni ono aashwele''. Ooohhh my mama would be so proud of me)))...

  9. oooh, oooh, Nii Ayi, i believe that line was
    "Make you his service your delight, and he'll make your wants his care".

    @Edward, yeah, the pic is from the photo shoot. i'm glad u like it. Krɔnkrɔn! I used to be in the youth fellowship. We!

    @Novisi and 20savvy. Armageddon!

    @Nana Yaw. Wey church u dey go?

    Any catholics in the house? I was a catholic once, and i went to a church where the som (tr: service) was held in fanti. The priest would sing:

    ewuradze nye hom ntsenaaaa
    the lord be with you

    church responds: ɔnye hom so ntsenaaa
    and also with you

    priest: hom ma hom akoma doooo
    lift up your hearts

    response: y'ama do ama ewuradze
    we lift them up to the lord

    and so on...

    any moslem in the house? I have to do a makalanta story one of these days.

  10. Awww Mannnnn. It seems 20Savvy beat me to it. LOLOLOL

    All I remember is:

    Last Batallioooonnnnnn

  11. awwwhh Esi, aden? You are right...
    My mama would be ashamed of me now)))

  12. Armageddon! Last battalion!

    I simply can't stop laughing!

    Esi, did you say the less schooled said "Hey Savior" instead of "Hail Savior"? Hilarious! Aserewsɛm paa ni!

  13. I wonder who came up with the Armageddon! - Last Battalion! call! That is the funniest thing i have heard in some time!

  14. Hehehe, loving this people! well let me add my small Methodism call-response:

    Resurrection! Power!!- courtesy Kpeehe Methodist church.

    Maazi nyinaa, oye Christ dzi! -My all is Christ's -

    @ Anonymous with Lighthouse story: you have to love how they say it nowadays: "FORGAIEVE!!" mehn! accompanied by hands clasped on the head actions!!, lolol.

  15. @ Esi, i'm a catholic. Actually, i just remembered this one from my Pax Romana days at UG.
    Greeting: Pax!
    Response: Peace!
    Greeting: Thumbs up!
    Response: For Jesus!
    Greeting: Pax Ladies!
    Response(Women): Fearfully and wonderfully made!
    Response(Men) Fearfully and wonderfully made (for us)!

    Question: Guess which group(the women or the men) was louder?

  16. Greeting: Maranatha!
    Response: Ewuradze reba!
    (Mt. Olivet Methodist Church)

  17. What i remember is from the prebyterian church,women's fellowship was
    Yehowa Nyira Wo (tr: God bless: you)
    response: Yehowa nni w'akyi(tr God should be with you or God should follow you)and for sunday school; Yesu (tr: Jesus)
    Response: Mmofra adanfo (tr:friend of children)

  18. There's a very origional one i heard last semester on campus.MPU transport commitee greet;
    ARISE AND EAT!!!!!
    Hmmm!!!!The things ppl come up with

  19. @...Esi, from my presbterian church (Prayer Group)

    Greetings:Asomdwee ekan wo

    Response: Enka woso/Amen...

  20. And when I went to the Ghanaian traditional worship meeting, their greeting was Amon-ra
    with the response Ame
    Or Amon-ra, with the response, biribi wo ho

  21. HERRR!...."arise and eat......for the journey is long" ??????????ROFL!!!

  22. hahaha I also remember Armaggedon! last battalion

  23. this brings me to another childhood memory. The pastor ending the sevice"The Lord is with you"
    Member 1 - And with our spirits
    Member 2- And with my spirit
    My big sis- Mercy!!!!
    Me- "Where? where?where's mercy?" lol, best sunday ever!

  24. Thoughts of a SimpletonNovember 06, 2009 3:54 PM

    If you know this Orange Phone advert- ( UK peeps)

    My pastor once said, the
    "The Future is Bright" and my brother and I looked at each other, laughed and replied- " the future is orange".

  25. Presbyterian Junior Youth says - Junior Y then response "show yourself approved of God"

    Sing ! ,,,, Praises!

  26. let me add my pentecostal voice to it. the children's movement greet'Yesu(Jesus)and they respond mofra adanfo(children's friend.
    The women's movement greet Kronkron(holiness)and they respond ma 3wurade(unto the lord) or Abigail and they respond obaa ne wo ye fe na owo adwen pa menso me ho ye fe na me wo adwen pa (a lady who is beautiful and had a good mind set am also beatiful and have a good mind set) can u imagine this, everyboby will be sayin some(u know what i mean). The men will great man and the response will be "we are the image and glory of God" and they will greet again "man" and they wil respond "be strong and courageous.
    The youth wing will great "Youth" and the response will be "arise and shine" another greeting will follow "youth" the response will be "we are the future leaders of the church.
    the witness wing will greet "sons of God"and the response will be"match forward"or greeting "victory" response "through the blood of Jesus"

  27. Hey, i'm a member of the Ghana Police Church. Our slogan is "Love" and we all respond " and help each other"...needless to say, we never help each other, but that is besides the point LOL. and what is with cupping your hands while recieving the benediction and grace? I always do it but i dont know why i do it frankly! I love being a ghanian sooooo much. we are truly special! Akua, Ghana

  28. from the apostolic church of ghana
    kronkron response ma awurade for the women movement
    victory response through the blood of jesus
    sons of God response march forward for the youth
    men of God response be strong in the lord
    all these re said before we even carry on with the program of the day