On Sunday, April 5, 2009, the Overseas Mission Field (OMF-USA) of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) will host an induction ceremony for Rev.-Dr. Charles Gyang-Duah, former Synod Clerk and Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, who was recently named Minister-in-Charge of the Ebenezer Congregation of the PCG in Bronx, New York.
The ceremony, which will be officiated by Rt.-Rev. Yaw Frimpong-Manso, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, will also entail the further induction of Dr. Gyang-Duah as Chairperson of the Overseas Mission Field (OMF-USA) of the PCG. Assisting Dr. Yaw Frimpong-Manso in officiating the ceremony will be Rev.-Dr. Isaac Fokuo, chairperson of the Global Mission Committee (GMC) of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana.
In an interview with Atumpan News Agency (ANA) at his manse, or pastoral residence, Dr. Gyang-Duah stressed the significance of the overseas assemblies of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana by poignantly observing that language barrier and an unfamiliar cultural environment necessitated Ghanaians resident abroad having ready access to religious and cultural institutions fashioned according to both their cultural norms – or ethos – and linguistic needs.
“While, in fact, it cannot be denied that most Ghanaians living here [in the United States] have a good working knowledge of the English language, when it comes to effectively grasping, or understanding, the theological mysteries of the Church, as contained in our liturgy or doctrinal precepts, most non-native speakers of the English language ( or any other language, for that matter) find themselves to be out of depth and out of their league,” the former chaplain of the Presbyterian Boys' Secondary School (PRESEC) at Legon said.
Even so, Dr. Gyang-Duah was also quick to point out that Ghanaians resident abroad, especially those here in the United States, needed to actively participate in mainstream American culture as well as their host country's socioeconomic, political and cultural development as a whole.
“We need to move away from our seemingly invariably acquisitive and palpably unhealthy immigrant mentality. After all, this is the modern era; we live in an organic global community of inextricable interconnectedness,” Dr. Gyang-Duah opined and added, “We [American-resident members of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana] see the mainstream Presbyterian Church of the United States as our partner Church; and we want to assure them of our unstinting support and cooperation.”
The induction ceremony, which is being jointly hosted by the Bronx and Manhattan congregations of the PCG, will be held at 259 West 123rd Street, New York, New York 10027, located in the Harlem section of Manhattan. The resident minister in charge of the Manhattan congregation of the PCG is Rev. Yaw Asiedu.
Born at Seekwa (with the double “e” pronounced like a prolonged version the “e” in “Edward”), in the Brong-Ahafo Region of Ghana, to Mr. C. A. Duah and Mrs. Rose Gyanwaa Duah (both deceased) on Nov. 18, 1945, Dr. Gyang-Duah attended the Seekwa Presbyterian primary and middle schools between 1950 and 1960. Shortly thereafter, he served as both a pupil (or informally trained) teacher as well as a formally trained professional teacher, with a Teachers' “Certificate A” diploma awarded him by the renowned St. Andrews' Teacher-Training College, located at Asante-Mampong, between 1961 and 1976.
Ordained a minister of the PCG in 1983, Rev. Gyang-Duah, who holds the Doctor of Philosophy degree from Edinburgh University, Scotland, as well as a Bachelor of Religions and the Master of Philosophy degrees from the University of Ghana, Legon, has been married for 33 years to the former Gladys Ampomaa Donkor. The couple has six children, namely, Ophelia, Gloria, Alexander, Irene, Dan and Charlotte.
Highlights of the schedule of activities for Rev. Gyang-Duah's induction ceremony include a choral night on Saturday, April 4, at 259 West 123rd Street, from 6-9p.m. There will also be an open forum for the congregation and the clergy to discuss issues of concern and relevance to the church community, as well as a general meeting for the executive membership of the Overseas Mission Field (OMF) of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, USA. All the nine congregations that currently constitute the USA branch of the PCG, among them Worcester, Massachusetts; Houston, Texas; Newark, New Jersey; Richmond, Virginia; and Chicago, Illinois, are expected to actively participate in the program of activities.
Asked about his favorite Biblical text, Rev. Gyang-Duah quoted the Book of Philippians, Chapter 4 verse 8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (RSV).
The Bronx, New York, congregation of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, USA, which was founded in 2003, has an approximate active membership of 200.
Asked about any plans that he has for the short-term development of his new congregation, Dr. Gyang-Duah mentioned the imperative need for the Bronx congregation to acquire its own church building, in order drastically reduce its operational costs. Currently, Ebenezer Presbyterian Church of Ghana, USA, rents worship space from the Epiphany Lutheran Church, located at 302 East 206th Street. The presiding minister also threw a general invitation to all Ghanaian Presbyterians and Christians who are not registered with any formal or recognized institution to join “Ebenezer PCG, Bronx, New York.”
For further information and contact, dial the following numbers: 646-964-8335 and/or 347-761-7535.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr.
Atumpan News Agency