'Rev. Joe' heading back home
SEAFORD - The man of God commonly known around Seaford as "Rev. Joe" is no ordinary Joe.
A 64-year-old West African native, the Rev. Joseph Kinglsey Ossei-Akoannor plans to return to his native Ghana in July, ending some 23 years in America that includes a seven-year stint in the Seaford area where he has served the Seaford "charge" as pastor for John Wesley and Mt. Hope (Md.) United Methodist Churches and also Seaford Police Department Chaplain.
"My main motivation is I feel I have to go back to help my own people. God is asking me to go," said Rev. Ossei-Akoannor.
Rev. Ossei-Akoannor's work in Seaford, which began in July 1998 and will end this month, received an appreciative salute from Seaford Police Chief Gary W. Morris, who presented a certificate to the departing chaplain.
"Along with the support person for the police department, Rev. Joe has been an advocate of the point department," said Chief Morris. "He's very much into community relations. He's been there as a bridge to build community relations with some of the communities and the police department."
In getting to know the community and a feel for the area, Rev. Ossei-Akoannor participated in ride-alongs in police cruisers with Seaford officers.
"Also I sell the police to my churches in my community, by selling, meaning that I tell them the usefulness of the police department in the city, something like public relations work," said Rev. Ossei-Akoannor, a 2001 graduate of the citizens police academy.
He says his role as chaplain was to provide "comfort" to an officer in dealing with a death in the family or stress, "something like a family."
In July, he and his wife Gladys will fly back to Ghana, a modernized county in the African continent, and reunite with friends and some of the relatives he left behind more than 20 years ago. He'll then take an active appointment with the Methodist Church in Ghana, served for about five years then officially "retire."
Rev. Ossei-Akoannor and his wife have four children, two grandsons and three granddaughters, here in the U.S.
A trained teacher before attending Trinity Theological Seminary, Legon, in Ghana, Rev. Ossei-Akoannor received a diploma from Ghana Institute of Journalism in 1979. He served in publicity capacity for several years before arriving in the U.S. in 1983, with full sponsorship of the World Council of Churches, based in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Christian Council of Ghana, to study communications.
A Wesley Theological Seminary graduate, Rev. Ossei-Akoannor was a doctoral candidate in mass communications at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
"When I completed my education I refused to go, that is the truth. I refused to go back to Ghana," he said. "Now, I feel that I am well-equipped to go back to my people."
News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at 629-5505 or [email protected]