The Apostles’ Revelation Society (ARS) is an African Independent Church (AIC) founded in Ghana around 1945. Charles Kwabla Nutornti founded this church at Tadzewu in the Volta Region of Ghana where its Head office is located. Nutornti settled in Tadzevu in 1939 and founded a school and a prayer group. He initially voluntarily affiliated with the Ewe (now Evangelical) Presbyterian Church. In 1940 the prayer group received in a revelation the name Apostles’ Revelation Society. In July 1943, Nutornti added the name Wovenu (meaning ‘one who has received grace’) to his names. In 1944 the movement came into conflict with the Ewe Presbyterian Church over Wovenu’s spiritual practices, as well as the administration of a grant of money to the school he founded, from the colonial District Commissioner. Nutornutsi had a revelation at this time that transformed the group, the Apostles Revelation Society into a church. Wovenu died on 10 April 1999, and was succeeded by Apostle Amega. Seventeen principal officials bearing the title of Apostles run the Church. Below them are Regional Superintendents, Ministers, district and station pastors.

The church leaders, especially the founder, were renowned for their prophetic ability, healing and spiritual guidance to members. They also extended these spiritual resources to communities and groups that sought the guidance of the Church. In addition to the normal Christian sacraments, the ARS instituted additional ones, that sanctify traditional African practices. These include sacraments of insurance and protection for pregnancy, maidenhood, children, marriage and property. There are also foundation rites for putting up buildings, and acquiring the spirit of one’s profession, etc. Many traditional rites of passage such as the outdooring of children, rites for twins, widowhood rites and the installation of traditional chiefs have been Christianized in the ARS.

The Church uses both Old and New Testament as the full basis of its faith and worship with the OT providing the basis of ARS culture. It also promotes traditional culture in a Christian way. For instance it has rules and codes of behaviour for its members as found in many AICs. Its code of conduct includes abstention from alcohol, worshipping barefoot, regular periods of fasting, and a dress code for the leadership. It also practises animal sacrifices. One of the purposes of a sacrificed sheep is to bring life and cleanliness to the individual and society. Also the sacrifice of coconuts, honey, and salt as burnt offering are meant to bring their sweet flavour into one’s life.

ARS liturgy is rich in African imagery and symbolism. It incorporates forms of singing with drums and African musical instruments which are adapted to scriptural lyrics. The Lord’s Prayer for instance is set to Anlo Ewe songs. The great Ewe poet Hesinor Vinorko Apaloo Akpa converted and joined the ARC in 1964 bringing into the Church his rich repertoire and gift in traditional composition. ARS has liturgy for many African events such as outdooring, and naming of children, the birth of twins, widowhood rites, elevation to traditional leadership, etc. Major celebrations of the Church include all Christian celebrations and a special end of year Anniversary Celebration, as well as a Founders’ Day and Marriage Day. There are associations within the Church including a welfare group and an Associations of Traditional Chiefs, which is unique to the ARS.

The Church also encourages development in communities in which congregations are established. In addition to New Tadzewu, which serves as the Headquarters of the Church, the Church also developed four other new townships. It has established over fifty schools. The leader is also credited with the establishment of important markets in the Volta region thus boosting economic activity. It also promotes the provision of public conveniences and clean water for drinking. Members are themselves exhorted to hard work and to abjure laziness.

Though membership is drawn predominantly from the Ewe ethnic group, the Church has grown to embrace Akans and other Ethnic groups along the West Coast from the Ivory Coast to the Republic of Benin. ARS has around 638 branches in Ghana and several international branches in Canada, USA, England, Holland, Germany, France, and Belgium.

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