The Ramseyer Training Centre (RTC) Abetifi was started in 1898 as a Seminary to train teacher – catechists for the Presbyterian Church of the then Gold Coast. The Abetifi Seminary (as it was called then) was to compliment the training of Teacher – Catechists at the Akropong Seminary which was established in 1848. Some of the subjects taught at the time were – Ethics, the Creed, Baptism, Communion, the Psalms, Preaching and English. In their free times, the students helped to work on the Centre’s farm.

The Rev. Edmond Perregaux, Rev. Emmanuel Bellon, Cat. James Adae, Cat. Samuel Agyei and Cat. T. Hall were the tutors at the Seminary. Plans were made in 1899 to expand the facilities at the Seminary. Thus, a request was sent to the Committee in Basel for the construction of two more classrooms, offices and three dormitories. In addition, it was also proposed that a dwelling place be built for the “house father” and a dining hall for the students. Mr. Kirchner, a builder, arrived in September 1900 from Basel to supervise the construction of the projects. The buildings were completed in 1902.  The completion of the buildings paved way for the increase of student intake. It was on record that in 1905, there were 30 students, in 1910, 52 students and in 1914 there were 34 students. However, in 1917, training at the Seminary came to a halt, when the missionaries were taken as prisoners of war by the colonial authorities. This was during the First World War (1914 – 1918).

Between the World Wars

After the First World War, from 1919 to 1923, students who had completed their teacher training at Akropong (a course of 2 years) went to the Seminary at Abetifi for their theological training which lasted for 2 years. The Church of Scotland appointed G.D. Reith to Abetifi in 1918 and in 1919, Rev. William Forguson, an Irish, was sent to be the principal for the Seminary. Mr. E. V. Asihene who later became the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, served as a tutor with him.

The Reopening of the Seminary: 1945 – 1968

In 1945, the Presbyterian Church decided to re-open the evangelists’ training at the Seminary and asked Basel to send a principal. Upon this request, Rev. W. Stamm was recruited and with many difficulties he managed to arrive with his wife at the Coast in April, 1946. In the first year, the course could be given only in fragments as Rev. Stamm had duties at the Book Depot too.

The following year, the course was revised with the help of Rev. T. T. Laryea. Every day started with physical education and the morning prayers. Lessons were given in biblical subjects, doctrines and ethics, church history, and English. On some Sundays the students went to the villages to preach and once a year a longer preaching tour was made to the Afram Plains or into Asante Akim.

In 1948, Rev. R. Haller also came to help at the seminary. He was followed by Rev. O. Tschudin in 1949. When Rev. W. Stamm left in 1950 to take up his new appointment as Principal of the Trinity College in Kumasi, Rev. Tschudin was appointed acting Principal, assisted by Rev. S. R. Ntiforo. In November, 1950, Rev. S. S. Odonkor, was appointed the new Principal of the Seminary. He held this office until the end of 1954.

At the Synod held at Akropong in August 1952 the question was raised as to whether a catechist training should once more be inserted in the teacher training course at Akropong. But Synod decided by a large majority “that Abetifi be made the centre for all catechist training”. Therefore, while the evangelists’ two-year training course was continued, Cert B. teachers were invited to a one-year catechists’ training at Abetifi in the same way as the Cert A. teachers were doing their “Fifth year” at Akropong.

In the period from 1952 to 1958, refresher courses for Evangelists and Catechists were held. Between the school terms similar courses were organized for Presbyters and on one or two occasions also for pastors from the Akim – Kwahu Presbytery.

The “Birth” of Ramseyer Training Centre

However, the Church took steps towards special lay training programmes and for this purpose the Ramseyer Memorial Retreat and Study Centre was built on the Seminary compound. The new institution was opened on 1st September, 1962 by the Rev. Dr. J. Rosel, President of the Basel Mission and under the Chairmanship of the Rt. Rev. E. M. L. Odjidja who was instrumental in building the Centre.

The Rev. T. A. Kumi was appointed the first Warden of the Centre; he arrived at Abetifi in September, 1962. Mrs. Janet Kumi also was the Matron. From 1962 – 1967, the two institutions ran con-currently the Seminary for the training of full-time evangelists and deaconesses under the headship of the Rev. R. R. Ntiforo, and the Ramseyer Memorial Retreat and Study Centre with the Rev. T. A. Kumi as its warden.

The two institutions were merged into one with the name ‘Ramseyer Training Centre’ in 1968, with the Rev. Rutishauser as the warden. Paul as he was popularly known laid a good foundation and had foresight in programme planning. The Rev. I. H. Frempong who had been with the Seminary and then the Ramseyer Training Centre, succeeded the Rev. P. Rutishauser as the warden in 1970, and since then the training in leadership of potential men and women in the Presbyterian Church and other churches has continued. In 1971, Rev. Brunno Bassi joined the staff and later Revds. K. A. Lartey and I. K. Fokuo came to help for shorter periods. In 1974, evangelist T. K. Sakado was also appointed to the Centre.

In 1978, Rev. Samuel Atiemo was appointed the warden to succeed Rev. Frempong who had then been elected the Moderator of the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. During the period, tutors who taught at the Centre included Rev. G. A. Ollennu and Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Martey. It was at this same period that Dr. Martin Breidert also served as a Fraternal Worker.


Today, the Ramseyer Training Centre is maintaining the vision of the founding fathers in training Clergy, Lay Leadership and members for the Church. In addition to this, the Centre has upgraded herself to run some other courses namely.

Training has been given to Special-Special Ministerial Candidates in 2015 – 2017, training has been given Special Ministerial Candidates to prepare them for the ordained ministry. This special dispensation is a slot given to professionals who may not be able to opt out of their professions, but still fulfill the mandate to be in the ministry as tent ministers.

The Centre continues to run courses for Catechists, Caretakers, Service leaders, Group leaders, Presbyters and a host of refresher courses for all classes of leaders in the church. These courses are aimed at equipping the lay leadership and members of the church for effective ministry. There are manuals based on various subjects used for running the courses.

To facilitate these courses, the Centre also runs a training of trainers (TOT) program for ministers and leaders in the Presbyteries. These trained personnel in turn help to train members of their congregations and districts or presbyteries.

The Centre also hosts the General Assembly (GA) of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and other ecumenical meetings. The Evangelism Consultations of the PCG – Mission and Evangelism Department is a regular program being hosted by the Centre among other Church based programs. The Presbyterian University College, Ghana also holds regular graduation ceremonies at the Centre.