The Evangelical Presbyterian Church (Nyanui-Hame) in New York City held a solemn but emotional farewell service on Sunday 17th July in honor of their industrious and inspiring Resident Pastor Rev. (Dr) Philip Elike and his wife, Mrs. Fidelia Elike who are relocating from Bronx, NY to Tennessee for another appointment.
It was indeed a touching ceremony with a bouquet of tears, hugs, kisses, exhortation and demonstrable genuine gratitude and platitudes.
The occasion attracted powerful and notable E.P. Church Ministers within the North American jurisdiction, Community Leaders in NYC, relatives and colleagues. Presbyter James Mattey astutely moderated the ceremony with Minister Dzidula Masiku being the officiating Pastor.
In his sermon, Rev. Dzidula eulogized Rev. Dr. Elike and his wife for their impeccable contributions, exemplary leadership, their commitment and sacrifices, and unadulterated love for the congregation. He acknowledged the immeasurable depth and size of the crater Rev. Elike’s absence would create in the organization, while still being prayerful for his replacement—a sentiment that was unanimously shared by all friends and congregants. Nonetheless, the leaders and the members do accept that God’s work is unlimited, borderless, and non-selective; therefore, wherever one’s services are needed, the Cross takes the lead, and the person follows. Rev. Charity Goh of Global Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Rev. Benjamin Dornya, Rev. Sappati and Pastor Peter Dzandza also prayed for God’s guidance and anointed the family in turns.
Various associations and individuals presented “forget-me-not” gifts, memorabilia, and “envelopes” to the outgoing family. Ms. Ivy Quashie, the President of the United Volta Association (UVA) presented an envelope to the family for their membership, moral and spiritual support to the socio-cultural organization.
Other presenting organizations were the E.P. Church, New York (Nyanui-Hame Willis Avenue Chapter); Mawuli E.P. Church; the New York E.P. Church (Washington Ave Chapter); Peki Association; and benevolent individuals.
In his final remarks, Rev. Dr. Elike captured the hearts of the congregants with his usual reverberating voice in eloquence. He recounted his undulating days and persevering spirit in his 10 years’ service to both the E.P. Church and the UVA where he once held a position as a Chaplain. Surely, difficult moments require difficult decisions to circumvent, and he described those situations as the springboards that elevated him to his present status.
The theme of his remarks centered on people viewing life and success as being “beautiful” despite their “ups and downs” and added that “before, you measure how far someone has come, you must first know how low he started…”, he stressed. In other words, we should not bear false impression of successful people without considering their struggles. He pointed that, both “good” and “bad” exist to compliments each other to make the world a beautiful place. He further admonished passionately that, whenever we encounter these “drawbacks”, we should not succumb to them; but rather, we should toil to overturn those bitterly, savory, and unpleasant situations to our advantage. Rev. Elike promised to use the experience gathered in NYC to set up a new Church in Tennessee to propagate the Gospel.
As eloquent and confident as he is known behind the podium, the celebratory Rev was shy to utter “Goodbye” to the congregation because he understands that no matter the length of one’s tongue, it continues to rest at the back of the teeth. Home is home; and in the diaspora, New York City is the Home that no place would replace for them.
He thanked the Church and UVA for their immerse support and promised to come back soon to continue his doctoral research on the topic “The Ghanaian American Clergy’s Perception and Experiences with Senile Mental Health and its Treatment”.
Mr. Maxwell Dzandza, Chief Trumpeter Francis and a skillful organist ushered the Holy Spirit to the Church with their mellifluous and electrifying music; while Sisters Gloria Dzandza and Aseye Sunu marshalled the “Refreshment Platoon” with delectable edibles to ensure that each participant departs the venue with extra pounds of body weight—ostensibly, their unique way to say “Thank you”.
Rev, (Dr.) Philip Elike and Mrs. Fidelia Elike, the United Volta Association, the E.P. Churches, Peki Association, New York and all your acquaintances will miss you so dearly. We appreciate your stewardship. May God be with you and best of luck in your new assignment.