A hush fell over the crowd at the Hilton America’s Grand Ballroom. One by one, each bishop bowed his head as an exquisite stole was placed around his neck. Each colorful, intricately embroidered vestment was handmade by Gifty Dawson Ahmoah, wife of The Rt. Rev. Edmund Dawson Ahmoah of the Diocese of Dunkwa-on-Offin, Internal Province of Ghana, to grace the necks of the bishops who surrounded Bishop Philip Jones at his installation as Apostolic Vicar at the 2014 Winter Conference.
Gifty, an accomplished seamstress with more than 20 years’ experience in church embroidery, made the stoles to celebrate the installation of the new Apostolic Vicar and the new partnerships between The Mission and its Concordat bishops. She used expensive Kente fabric, a silk and cotton blend native to the Ashanti ethnic group of South Ghana and the best known of all African textiles. This royal and sacred cloth was the cloth of kings, worn only in times of extreme importance, and continues to be held in high esteem with Akans. She adorned the bishops’ stoles with religious designs and finished them with a fringe.
From her home in Dunkwa, Gifty makes and sells liturgical garments to help support the new Diocese of Dunkwa-on-Offin. Six girls work for her and study the art of church embroidery, “something like a school,” Gifty says. As a young woman, she joined her husband at college and graduated in 1988 with a degree in church embroidery. When she began to make sacred garments for her husband in her spare time, she noticed that everyone appreciated them, especially because she used African materials. She began selling them to benefit the church and now the new Diocese. In their province, it’s common to see clergy wearing Gifty’s stoles, chasubles, cassocks and girdles (cinctures), and the beautiful garments are now available for Anglican clergy around the world.
“My dream is to expand this so that our new diocese will grow,” Gifty says.
Contact Bishop Edmund’s Commissary Canon James Kennaugh to place an order for Gifty’s liturgical garments.