Established 83 years ago, Hill House is Ghana's only Friends meeting and possibly the oldest meeting in West Africa. A simple roofed pavilion in the middle of a garden on one of Ghana's oldest campuses, it has provided three generations of Ghanaians and guests from the world over a peaceful space for unprogrammed worship while connecting with nature.
Built in the 1930s, the pavilion has stood without modification against sunshine and rainstorm alike.
But these forces have taken their toll.
Pillars were cracking, gaps were beginning to appear on the roof, and each meeting, several Friends had to sit underneath a rotting beam labelled “DANGER”. Several months ago, it came to the point where – for the sake of safety and with great sadness – we had to pull the pavilion down and relocate our meeting to a temporary structure.
We are now confronted with the rare opportunity to reconstruct the pavilion so it serves as a light on the hill for the next three generations – or more – of Quakers in Ghana.
A New Hill House
The new pavilion will make use of earth bricks as an eco-friendly alternative to concrete, while a strong foundation means that it will be built to last. We are also reusing the ceramic roof tiles and some paving stones from the original pavilion. The new design also emphasizes equality by creating a disability-accessible entrance by which all members will enter, rather than the stairs used by the past structure.
Our design and construction plans for the new pavilion have been guided by an architect, Kuukuwa Manful of the NGO Sociarchi, and a quantity surveyor, Johnson Kennedy, who are both members of our meeting. Their involvement has helped us to design a new pavilion that embraces sustainability while keeping costs to a minimum.
Our cost estimate for rebuilding the pavilion is GHS 26,830 (approximately US $5,951). An itemized breakdown of the costs is below (in Ghana Cedis).
Materials: GHc 15,780
Labour: GHc 6,750
Demolition: GHc 1,000
Strip Foundation: GHc 3,300
In addition to crowdfunding to meet this cost estimate, we are also raising funds within our meeting to contribute to the cost of construction and to carry out other infrastructural improvements in the meeting compound, such as repairs to walls.
Once we finish fundraising in early 2018, we will start construction immediately and expect the new pavilion to be ready within two months.
Even if you cannot contribute financially but you have a connection to Quakers in Ghana or Hill House, please do get in touch with us at +233 57 527 3638.
As we rebuild our structure, so too are we rebuilding and rejuvenating our community. Our Meeting is a small one, but we are part of a broader family of Friends with whom we share testimony. We have begun reaching out to isolated Friends, to Friends who have visited us from overseas in past years, and to like-minded individuals in Ghana who are looking for a peaceful and simple alternative to our many noisy and ostentatious churches. In this way, we are rebuilding a physical and spiritual presence for Quakerism in 21st century Ghana.
We hope you will join in our rebuilding project and share in our community, and come worship with us soon at the new Hill House!
- Mary Pittsburgh FM, US King
- Rosemary Andoh
- Kenneth Sutton
- Gladys Okatakyie