The Acting Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) and Municipal Coordinating Director (MCD) of the Ga East Municipal Assembly (GEMA), Alhaji Shehu Awudu Kadiri, has underscored the crucial contribution of Churches to national development. He was speaking as the Special Guest of Honour at a service to name the Taifa Congregation of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana in the Ga East Municipality.
The Taifa Congregation of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana started on Sunday, 29th April, 1984, following a church-planting initiative by a group of people from the Bible Study and Prayer Groups from the Accra New Town Congregation of the Church.
According to the Church history, the foundation of the church was first laid when some 27 members, 11 males and 16 females along with 30 children, met for church service in an uncompleted building belonging to one Mr. Anthony Fordjour near the Taifa Lorry Station.
Nana Ntim Gyakari, now a Reverend Minister, was the first Caretaker of the Church which was inaugurated as a full-fledged church on 13th October, 1984 by Rev. I. A. Sowah the then Presbytery Chairman, following the visit to the church for the first time by the then District Minister of the Accra New Town, Rev. B. N. Addico.
The membership of the Church now stands at 1,614 out of which 428 are children and boasts of a 100 feet by 210 feet stretch of land which houses the Church Manse and ongoing 2-storey Church Auditorium from the previously acquired 100 feet by 70 feet plot of land.
In line with the tradition of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana in naming its congregations, which stipulates that congregations are identified by names either Bible-based or historic figures, the Taifa Congregation set in motion the idea to select a name for the congregation on Sunday, 16th October, 2016.
About 130 names were proposed out of which 5 were shortlisted; Ramseyer, Macedonia, Emmanuel, Bethel and Peace, which the members voted to select one after the background of each name read in the church on 30th October, 2016.
Ramseyer emerged the overwhelming choice of the congregation and was subsequently unanimously endorsed by the Session.
Fritz August Louis Ramseyer, according to the history of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, born in 1840 in Switzerland, trained as a builder and mason and entered the Seminary to be trained as a Missionary Crafstman.
He was posted to the Gold Coast and arrived in 1866 at the age of 26 and first stationed at Akropong and is credited with the establishment and spread of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana in the Ashanti Region and other parts of the Eastern Region including Kwahu
Owing to his industrious evangelism efforts in the Gold Coast, many institutions and congregations have been named after him including Ramseyer Vocational and Technical Institute, Kumasi and Ramseyer Training Centre, Abetifi.
On Sunday, 12th March, 2017, a week on after Ghana marked its 60th Independence Day anniversary, the Taifa Congregation followed in the path of Ramseyer Memorial Congregations in Adum, Kwaso, Dansoman, Bubiashie, Bompata, and Wiaso in Asante-Akyem among others to be christened “RAMSEYER CONGREGATION”, Taifa.
The mood at the service to herald this historic and momentous day in the congregations history was one ecstasy and nostalgic.
The obviously excited congregation, joined by the clergy and dignitaries including representation from sister-churches within the area, danced to some popular and melodious songs in jubilation and in praise and honour of God.
Rev. Victor Okoe Abbey, Chairman of the Ga Presbytery, who delivered the sermon and performed the naming ceremony, on the theme: “When the Holy Spirit Moves My Identity will Change, admonished the congregation to see themselves as children of light but not darkness and avail themselves to the Holy Spirit to enable them fill the change God has already brought into their lives.
He charged them to let the name given to the church reflect their lifestyles and apply themselves to the evangelism work Ramseyer did and witness to win souls for Christ.
“The name Ramseyer is not named on the physical building or the church but the congregation so I charge you to go out and do what Ramseyer did”, he stressed.
Rev. Abbey identified lack of integrity within the church, the people and among politicians as the bane of our under-development and urged the members to lead a life guided by the Holy Spirit to help change the situation.
Speaking at the service, the Acting Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) and Municipal Coordinating Director (MCD) of the Ga East Municipal Assembly (GEMA), Alhaji Shehu Awudu Kadiri, underscored the significant contribution the Presbyterian Church has made towards the nation’s development in the areas of education, health and job creation among others.
He said the Assembly, and for that matter the state, shared in the ideals and values of the church of transparency, honesty, loving relationships, diversity, inclusivity, mercy and justice.
“To the Presbyterian, doing justice includes being generous in sharing one’s wealth and time in meeting immediate needs, but it consists also in being advocates for people with less social power, and more broadly, engaging as citizens in the city in order to make it a good place for all people to live.”
He further called for collaboration between the church and the Assembly to facilitate the development of the municipality.
“The need for collaboration between the Church and the Assembly becomes imperative if we are to accelerate the pace of social and economic emancipation of our constituents”.
Alhaji Shehu Awudu Kadiri mentioned that the Assembly has put in place a number of interventions to help address the developmental shortfalls of the people citing improvements in the road networks as one.
He bemoaned the deplorable sanitation conditions the communities grapple with, identifying the lack of access to household toilets as a major cause, and announced an intervention by the World Bank to provide subsidy for low-income earners to construct toilets in their homes whereby the beneficiaries pay half the cost of construction of the toilet.
“The Assembly expects strong communal interest in the programmes of Government if these challenges are to be surmounted. At the moment, the World Bank is providing subsidy for household toilets in the municipality. I wish to appeal to the leadership of our churches as partners in development to support the Assembly when it comes to implementing such important programmes”.
He was hopeful that the Assembly would continue to count on the church for the spiritual as well as the social and economic development of the people in the municipality.
Some members of the church who have served well were recognized and presented with citations including the first Caretaker, Rev. Nana Ntim Gyakari.
A plaque was also unveiled to signify the christening of the church as Ramseyer Congregation.
By: Okunyin Boaz Orlan-Hackman
Picture: Stephen Quartey