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05.12.2005 Diaspora News

The History of the Ghana United Methodist Church, Bronx

By Albert Osei-Owusu -Chairperson, History/Archives
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The history of the Ghana United Methodist Church is a story of people who had to migrate from their various traditional homes in Ghana to the USA in the 1970's and 1980's to the present time.

In 1985, Rev. Jacob O. Sarfo gathered some few Ghanaians and tried to form Ghana Methodist Church to enable them to worship in their own unique way, as it is practiced in Ghana.

Rev. Sarfo started by visiting Ghanaian based Associations at their meetings to inform them of his intentions of starting a Ghana Methodist Church.

There were a few meetings with some interested Ghanaians on January 4th and 11th 1986. Through Rev. Sarfo's initiative and the support of the late Rev. Dr. Samuel Akesson, and advice of Rev. Dr. J. A. Stephens (who was then Ghana Methodist Church Conference), the founding members responded to the call to form the Church.

On January 11th 1986, the first Church Service was officiated jointly by Rev. Jacob O. Sarfo and the late Rev. Dr. Samuel Akesson. The service was held at Salem United Methodist Church in Herlem. The late Rev Dr. Akesson preached at the first Church Service and Mrs. Elizabeth Sarfo conducted the Order of Service. There were 13 members present. Now our highest weekly Church attendance is 306 and lowest is about 200. Our membership to date is 551, and we keep adding to our number.

The founding members who were present at the first Leaders meeting on April 17th 1986 were:

The late Rev. Dr. Samuel Akesson

Rev. Jacob Owusu Sarfo, Founder

The late Mr. Bonsu Anane

Mrs. Grace Oteng Sarkodie, Vice President

Mr. James Kusi, Secretary

Madam Charity Dede Campbell, Member

The late Abeeku DeGraft Johnson, Member

Mrs. Elizabeth Sarfo, Member

Places of Worship

In January 1986 the Rev. Dr. Thomas P. Grissom, who was then the Pastor of the Salem United Methodist Church offered Rev. Sarfo, and the founding members a place to worship.

In 1989, we moved to Columbia University, Union Theological Seminary and started worshiping at the St. James Chapel.

Due to high rent at the Seminary, we move again to Broadway Temple United Methodist Church in Washington Heights at 174th Street, Manhattan in 1991.

In April 1995 we finally moved to Tremont United Methodist Church on 1957 Washington Avenue, Bronx where we still worship.

Registration of the Church

The Church was originally registered in October 1986, but due to some few changed in the registration package, it was re-registered in Albany in 1987 by our lawyer, Dr. Victor Essien.

Inauguration of the Church

Our Church was inaugurated on April 17th 1988 by the late Rev. Dr. Bassaw, who deputized the late Rev. Dr. J. S. A. Stephens, the then President of the Ghana Methodist Church Conference. During the same year, our Brothers and Sisters from Brooklyn broke off from us to form a new Church in Brooklyn due to problems with proximity.

Ghana United Methodist Church Choir

The Choir was initially started by Rev. J. O. Sarfo, the late Charles Kumah, Sister Becky Kumah, Madam Charity Dede Campbell and others. Dr. Stephen Agbenyagah was the Choir Music Director/Organist. Choir rehearsals were held at the residence of Madam Charity Dede Campbell until 1998 when it was moved to the present Church premise.

Membership to New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church (NYAC of the UMC)

In 1993 we were accepted into the NYAC of the UMC. Rev. Dr. George T. Johnson was the District Superintendent of the Metropolitan North District at that time.

The following Pastors Served the Church Time:

Rev. Jacob Owusu Sarfo, Founder 1986 to Oct 1998

Rev. Isaac K. Boamah Dec1998 to 2000

Rev. Dr. Samuel Q. E. Ghartey Jan 2001 to April 2002

Rev. Ebenezer K. Dadson Aug 2002 to Present

The Following Pastors Assisted Rev. J. O. Sarfo:

Rev. Dr. Samuel Acquaah-Arhin

Rev. John Ansah Arkorful

Rev. Helina Opoku-Sarkordie

The Following are the District Superintendents who have worked with our Church:

Rev. Dr. George T. Johnson

Rev. Carol Matteson Cox

Rev. Noel Chin

Past and Present Lay Leaders:

Mr. Kwame Sekyiamah 1986 to 1993

Dr. Frank Essien 1993 to 1996

Mr. Albert Osei-Owusu 1997 to 2003

Mr. Samuel Baah Addo 2004 to Present

Past and Present Church Council Chairpersons:

Dr. Frank Essien

Dr. Samuel K. Amoako

Mr. James Kusi

Mr. Andrews Ofei Amankwah

The Church acquired a new Church Building last year and is preparing to embark a major renovation soon. We hope to worship in this new building located on 65 Reiss Place in the Bronx by the middle of 2006.

Below are the Current Members of the Church Council:

Rev. Ebenezer K. Dadson Resident Pastor

Andrews Ofei Amankwah Chairperson, Church Council

John Akpalu, Esq. General Counselor

Samuel Baah Addo Lay Leader

Benjamin Agyepong Assistant Lay Leader

Alex Boakye-Ansah Secretary, Church Council

Samuel Afful Associate Secretary, Church Council

Kofi Ewusie Appram Chairperson, Finance Committee

Charity Dede Campbell Vice Chairperson, Church Council/C'ttee on Christian Ed.

David Dadson Vice Chairperson, Finance Committee

Albert Kusi Chairperson, Men's Fellowship/PPR

Rebecca Acquaye Treasurer, Finance Committee

Alberta Donkor Chairperson, Young Women's Fellowship

Fred Ansah Chairperson, Young Men's Fellowship

Nana Yaw Oppong President, Church Choir

Edward Kwesi Bedford President, Singing Band

Albert Osei-Owusu Chairperson, Committee on History and Archives

James Kusi Chairperson, Worship Committee/Rep to NYAC

Ohene Ofori Financial Secretary

Christina Blay Chairperson, Membership Committee/Church Secretary

George Boateng Chairperson, Family Council/Usher Board

Victoria Kittoe Chairperson, Evangelism & Mission Committee

Rebecca Adjei Ofori Chairperson, Women's Fellowship

Victoria Kusi Chairperson, Harvest Committee

Samuel Baah Youth Coordinator

Evelyn Grace Parker Chairperson, Stewardship Committee

Kwabena Konadu Chairperson, Board of Trustees

Esther Konadu Marquaye Superintendent, Sunday School

Patience Kate Dadson Member

Isaac Donkor Chairperson, Building Committee

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