Nobody “Disgraced” Rev. Frimpong-Manso, Trust Me, Kofi Adoma TV
I personally interviewed the Moderator-Emeritus of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana at the time of his very public rift with the Executive Administrators at the Accra Headquarters of the Swiss-Scottish founded Christian establishment, of which my own ancestors and relatives have played a major role, having also produced Moderators and Synod Clerks who long preceded our protagonist, my own maternal grandfather, The Rev. T H Sintim, of Akyem-Begoro and Asiakwa, having also played a seminal role in both the development of the Asante-Mampong Presbyterian Church and Primary and Middle Schools and taught and mentored the likes of the legendary Prof. J H Kwabena Nketia and District Commissioner J C Akosah, of blessed memory. And, by the way, yours truly was also born in Asante-Mampong and lived at Serwaa-Amaniampong, a Mampong suburb, until he was three years old, when his father got admitted to the University of Ghana’s School of Music and Drama, presently renamed the School of the Performing Arts.
Him being a well-respected journalist who is widely known and respected in the global Ghanaian community, I expected Mr. Kofi Adoma “The Wonder Boy” (or Onwanwani, in Akan parlance) and Kofi-TV fame to have first dug into the background of the fracas between the Very Rev. Yaw Frimpong-Manso and the leadership of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana before conducting his rather pathetically one-sided interview with Dr. Frimpong-Manso in The Bronx, New York City, and performing such a hatchet image- and reputation-smearing job (See “The Sad Story of How Reverend Frimpong-Manso Was Disgraced by Presbyterian Church” Ghanaweb.com 1/23/21). Having both read the Ghanaweb.com print media report and watched the Youtube.com-streamed “Kofi TV” version of the Frimpong-Manso interview, it is patently clear to me that this controversy is primarily one of personality squabbling or a personality conflict luridly and subtly laced with tribalism or tribal incrimination by our protagonist, at least as evidenced by the palpable tone of contempt in his pronunciation of “Akyem,” as in “Akyem Presbytery,” more than anything else. Trust me, I know what I am talking about; I am also a bona fide child and son of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana.
In his interview with Kofi Adoma, the Rev. Frimpong-Manso jarringly attempts to pull ranks by unnecessarily alluding to the fact that the colleagues and former colleagues with whom he has been sparring are either academically and/or professionally his subordinates within the hierarchy or the clerical pecking order of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana or people he personally taught, ordained and elevated through the pyramidal order of the hierarchy of the Church. This is a rather extraneous and intemperate expression of self-serving sentiments, which does not get to the heart or crux of the real issue at stake here, which unmistakably has to do with Church Discipline or Administrative Protocol. In other words, this case has very little to absolutely nothing to do with the “abominable” acceptance of Gay or LGBTQI Marriages by the leadership and rank-and-file membership of the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America (USA), which has had a longstanding relationship with the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana spanning at least a century.
Significantly, though, it needs to be pointed out that the issue that we are presently dealing with did not rear its head, magnificent or ugly, as a major problem until the arrival here in New York City, in particular, of a critical mass of Ghanaian citizens within the last 30 to 40 years, when it increasingly became necessary for Christocentric Ghanaians, especially Ghanaians of Swiss-Basel and Afro-Scottish Presbyterian Faith, to amicably split from the hitherto African-American-dominated subdivision of the Greater Presbyterian Church of the USA, headquartered in the State of Kentucky. I know this for a fact because my own late bona fide Presbyterian parents were among the foundational membership of the US-based Presbyterian Church of Ghana (The Harlem Assembly), which would be seminally led by the Rev. Francis Kumi-Dwamena and hosted by the late Mrs. Ohemeng, originally of the Asante-Akyem Presbytery and widow of the late Rev. Ohemeng-Akyeampong, in whose living-room, in an apartment building near Columbia University, I am reliably informed, the nucleus of the US-based Presbyterian Church of Ghana was germinated.
There may, of course, naturally, be some slight variations to the preceding narrative based on the knowledge and biases of the teller of the same. Even so, the true story of what generated the heat of the conflict between Dr. Frimpong-Manso and the leadership of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana back home, as it were, cannot be fully and accurately told until the canonical narrative of the indigenous Ghanaian-administered US-based Presbyterian Church of Ghana has been fully told. It is also important for this writer to highlight the fact that in his interview with the Rev. Frimpong-Manso several years ago, the unmistakable impression that this Moderator-Emeritus gave was that he had gone through a far too rigorous process of liturgical and theological examination and a battery of professional and character evaluation by the Board-of-Directors of the Presbyterian Church of the USA, for him to be so abruptly recalled home to Ghana, at just about the same time that he was beginning to gain the confidence and total acceptance of the membership of his new pastoral district, station or assembly.
In his “Kofi TV” interview, Rev. Frimpong-Manso gave his audience subtle but crystal clear hints of the fact that being officially tenured to serve as a bona fide pastor by the implicitly far more erudite leadership of the Presbyterian Church of USA was to be cherished and better valued and accorded a higher premium than what presently prevailed in Ghana, where pastors were routinely posted by headquarters throughout the country without comparatively subjecting any of our pastors at home, in Ghana, to the same rigorous level of critical examination by the Board-of-Directors or the “Sessions” of the recipient local Ghanaian assemblies. Now, this revelation is very interesting because recently, at my own local assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, right here in The Bronx, New York City, when some of us church members proposed the imperative need for the governance of our local assembly to become more democratic and more congregation oriented, per state law, we were scrappily and peevishly informed by our Ghanaian-born and Accra-posted presiding pastor that “Your sort of American Mentality is what the Chief Administrators at the Accra Headquarters of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana are seeking to rid our Church of.”
Our pastor also found the sort of rigorous quizzing of prospective clerical hires that Dr. Frimpong-Manso alluded to in his “Kofi TV” interview to be insufferably offensive and one that invited utmost disdain, not to speak of downright disgust. I also know that there is quite a slew of human-related problems, like all human-centered institutional establishments right here on Planet Earth. But I equally fail to see the sort of irreligious spirit of vindictiveness that some of the sympathizers of Dr. Frimpong-Manso were bitterly complaining about, in view of the fact that even our Christian God or Divine Godhead is often said to be a vengeful divinity who has sadistically scheduled a Day of Judgment on which to punish the failures and wrongdoing of every one of us in the Afterlife, for sins and crimes committed right here on Earth.
*visit my blog at: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
January 24, 2021
E-mail: [email protected]
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