Lost tradition and new approaches
„In the past, missionaries were wrong in considering all African habits as heathen or pagan, to be put away“, complained Seth Nomenyo, Synod Clerk of the Evangelical Church in Togo (1925-2004). Nomenyo strove towards encounters of the Gospel with local religions in Togo.
In spite of his criticism of the missionaries, the early publication of the missionary Jakob Spieth (1856–1914) about the Ewes is still a main source of knowledge regarding the Ewe religion. This source is, however, insufficient because Spieth informed himself of the beliefs at a time when people hardly ever disclosed information about their God to strangers. This problem still exists. Because according to African tradition one is afraid to be hit by blows of fate if one discloses ancient customs to outsiders, thereby violating the ancestral traditions.
Today's task of the churches is, therefore, to respect non-Christians and their own religions, to tell them of God's love and to practically prove it in their day-to-day lives. In this manner, the church in Togo develops its own Christian liturgies for African traditional rites, the so-called passage rites (transition rites), for instance the first presentation of a new born child or mourning rites for widows.