Diasporian News of Monday, 9 June 2014
Before the verbal give and take ensued between some bishops of the Methodist Church Ghana, and some NDC government officials, some concerned followers of the church in North America were raising red flags about the troubles facing the church over there.
The concern Methodists as they want to be referred to in North America which comprises United States of America, [U.S.A] and Canada were not happy about the way some visiting ministers focus on money, luxury, foreign citizenship which creates factionalism in the various societies which is killing the ideals of Methodism in foreign missions.
According to them, some of the ministers appointed by the [presiding bishops] and approved by conference of Methodist Church Ghana, to head societies in foreign countries such as America and Canada, upon taking up reporting at their duty posts, seek their personal welfare instead of offering pastoral leadership for members and the entire church to attain spiritual growth.
They observed that many of these ministers over several years now have either defected from the church that appointed them to head foreign societies or have refused to return to Ghana for reappointment or are over staying their office and imposing their ideas outside that of the church on members thereby creating factionalism in the societies.
As a result of this, the Methodist Church both in America and Canada have been experiencing rampant breakaways where some members are not satisfied with the way a minister forces decisions on members, get some leaders to break away from the mother church to form their own church register the new church with a Methodist name and then ask the mother church to nurse the break away church.
Let us first look at what is going on in America where the breakaway has caused so much division among the Methodist church and thwarting the general effort of the church to spread the gospel to ensure total salvation even in a foreign land.
In New York one can count three societies in the name of Ghana United Methodist church in Bronx, Wesley Ghana Methodist Church in Woodruff and Ghana Wesley United Methodist Church in Brooklyn.
When you come to Maryland you have Covenant Methodist Church in Silver Spring, Ebenezer Methodist Church in Hyattsville, and Calvary Redeeming Methodist Church in Rockville.
For Virginia there are Ghana Wesley United Methodist Church in Arlington, Ghana Resurrection Methodist Church in Alexandria and Gaddiel Acquaah Memorial Methodist Church in the same Alexandria area.
Columbus in Ohio has two Methodist Societies in the same area in the names of Mount Olivet Methodist Church and Ebenezer United Methodist Church with one breaking away from the other.
The situation is getting worse in Canada where in Toronto alone, there is the Ghana Methodist Church of Toronto, and Calvary United Methodist Church both in the west end of the city and about ten minutes drive from each other. These two churches used to be together but split some years ago.
What makes the situation worse is another breakaway church which is emerging from the mother church Ghana Methodist Church of Toronto, which poses a big threat of collapsing the mother church should the break away society be recognized by the church at its biannual conference which is coming up in August in Ghana.
As some members with the support of the minister in charge of Ghana Methodist Church of Toronto Very Reverend Dr. Emanuel Asare Kusi, are pushing for the break away society to be formed and inaugurated in Brampton, information is rife that some other leaders of the church are pulling the cloak off the minister to rescind that decision or would not be recognized by members of the mother church as their minister in charge.
The leaders protest contained in a resolution document addressed to the Methodist Advisory Commission [MAC] in America which we managed to track a copy in Maryland-USA, resolved among other things to eject the minister out of the church’s manse, retrieve the church van from him, freeze his monthly salary and further cut ties with the church headquarters if the minister should go ahead and form the breakaway church.
Apart from this, other members of the church from Edmonton and Calgary are also bracing themselves up to file a resolution before the conference which is coming up later in the year concerning one time ministers of the church who refused to return to Ghana for reappointment and defected from the Methodist Church in order to over stay in the country and are now imposing themselves over certain people as ministers ordained by the conference to lead.
In order words they will be filing a petition to flag the imposition of these one time ministers who were ordained to lead the Methodist Church Ghana in Toronto but due to some selfish interest defected from the church in order to over stay in Canada.
A COPY OF THE RESOLUTION FILED BEFORE THE MAC.
Dear Sir/Madam January 5 2014
RESOLUTION ON FORMATION OF NEW SOCIETY AT BRAMPTON
Based on a spontaneous response that the North America Mission, chaired by the Supervising Missions Coordinator (SMC), Rt. Rev. Benjamin K. Asare, has accepted and recognized a group of persons that broke away from Ghana Methodist Church of Toronto to form a church in Brampton, Ontario; the leaders and majority of the brethren of Ghana Methodist Church of Toronto-Canada hereby resolve in this resolution that:
Ghana Methodist Church of Toronto will cut ties with the North America Mission if the later goes ahead and give recognition to the breakaway church (Policy Document, Article 10.2)
Any group of persons that break away from an existing church shall not be recognized by the Conference. In case of a break away or secession from an existing church, all funds, all properties and projects, whether real moveable or immovable shall be kept by the original church. Under no circumstance shall any person or group of persons break-away with properties belonging to the original church.
The Supt. Minister, the Very Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Asare-Kusi, who supported the breakaway from Ghana Methodist Church of Toronto will not be recognized by members of the Ghana Methodist Church of Toronto until the matter before us has been resolved through the Toronto Circuit’s Quarterly Meeting and the Annual General Meeting of the North America Mission (Policy Document, 10.3)
Any minister who engineers, colludes, supports or incites any persons to break away from recognized societies shall be disciplined by the Conference.
Immediate plans would be put in place to let go the services of the current Minister, V. Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Asare-Kusi, suspend his salary and eject him from the premises of the church manse.
The GMCT will not sponsor the Superintendent Minister or any church member to the MAC/AGM meetings.
No Assessment will be remitted to the SMC/MAC/AGM from the GMCT effective immediately.
The Toronto Circuit inauguration will have to or must be suspended until further notice. A new date should be scheduled resulting from the resolution of the issue at stake.
When the idea of forming a church in Brampton was brought before the Leaders’ Meeting on March 15, 2012, there was an intense debate which led to the formation of a committee. The joint committee of the Committee on Ministries and the Committee on Administration was tasked to collate views from recognizable organizations and groups within the church.
Unfortunately, on June 30, 2012, the Superintendent Minister terminated and disbanded the group, leaving the Brampton issue ‘hanging’ and thereby creating disillusionment among members and simmering potential for fractionalization of the church
Whilst on a visit, the Presiding Bishop, Most Reverend Professor Emanuel K. Asante, in a meeting with the Ghana Methodist Church of Toronto [GMCT] leadership on May 9, 2013 mentioned that “anybody can open a church; however it has to go through the proper channel”. We understand “proper channel” to include the full involvement of the Leaders’ Meeting of the ‘Parent Church’ and the Circuit Leadership in terms of how the new church can be supported. Unfortunately, this ‘proper channel’ has not been followed in the case of the issue at stake. Indeed, not even Policy Document 10.1
The planting of churches shall be undertaken in consultation with the Supervising Missions Coordinator through the Committee on Ministries.
was applied as the Committee on Ministries does not have any documentation in support of the new church.
Without any deliberations at the Toronto Circuit level, the Superintendent Minister, announced during a telephone circuit meeting on Thursday, November 28, 2013 that the Brampton church issue has been sent to the MAC for approval.
At the last MAC meeting on December 14, 2013, the Superintendent Minister, garnered support for acceptance of the Brampton church. He argued that the establishment of the Brampton church has not had any effect on GMCT whatsoever. As a proof he made reference to the Harvest recently held at GMCT which successfully raised one hundred thousand Canadian Dollars [$100,000].
We wish to submit strongly that (i) neither the congregation (through Society Meeting) nor the Leaders (through the Leaders’ Meeting) of the GMCT has recorded minutes indicating support for the Brampton church (ii) The Leaders’ Meeting has never agreed to nurture the Brampton church. There is no such minutes as evidential proof (iii) The reference to the $100,000 Harvest Proceeds was a rather ‘poor assessment’ of the situation at stake. Members were motivated to go that ‘high’ not because they wanted to support any church but because the Harvest Committee promised to utilize money raised at the Harvest to defray part of the Church’s mortgage. A fairer way to calibrate the impact of the Brampton issue is to look at attendance at the Brampton Prayer Meeting. It has been low since the whole issue started. Another sensitive impact is that this issue is gradually and seriously drawing a ‘wedge’ between family members!
We are convinced that what the group in Brampton is seeking to establish is nothing but a ‘break-away’ church because those currently spearheading its activities (including sending invitation e-mails to some members of GMCT) were/are members of Ghana Methodist Church, Toronto, who for not-very-clear reasons have chosen to de-escalate their involvement in GMCT activities. The fragmentation in the church is affecting the other societies in the circuit.
During the last society meeting on Sunday, October 6, 2013, the superintendent minister stood up and said, that we “have nothing to do with the Brampton group and that we should concentrate on the growth of our church, GMCT”. Why the ‘turn-around’? Why is GMCT being again dragged into an issue we “have nothing to do with”?
The committee that consulted with recognizable organizations and groups in the church was informed about how a church in Brampton at this time would negatively impact GMCT. Besides, any time the issue came up at the Leaders’ Meeting, leaders have argued strongly against the pre-mature nature of that project. Unfortunately, the Superintendent Minister seems to be impervious to the voices that are coming from majority of the congregation/leaders against a new church in Brampton now. On Sunday December 22, 2013, a select group of leaders and concerned members of the church met with the Stewards, expressed their discontent with the turn of events and tasked them to meet with the Superintendent Minister to impress upon him the possible backlash that his decision at the MAC could cause the church. At the meeting held on December 26, 2013 (with the Stewards and members of Pastor-Parish in attendance), the Very Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Asare-Kusi, remained adamant in his support for the founding of the Brampton Church; he refused the group’s suggestion to take the initiative to get the MAC to rescind its decision. Instead, he advised the group to send a resolution (petition) if they had concerns.
It must therefore be understood, that this resolution is not the product of any ‘hasty decision’. It was resorted to after all efforts to get the Superintendent Minister to ‘listen to the voices of his own congregation’ have failed.
Membership at the MAC must be reviewed and changed at the GMCT society to ensure the integrity of the process.
The misinformation regarding harvest situation should not be used as a financial assessment of the society and the Toronto circuit for the fiscal year 2014.
All reporting information from all societies if not documented in a report should not be adopted by the MAC. (MAC should always work with documented report and not hear say)
We expect that by February 15, 2014, the MAC will respond by rescinding its decision to accept and recognize the group in Brampton, Ontario as a church. Any response that intends directly or indirectly to perpetuate the MAC’s earlier recognition of the Brampton group as a Church shall be compel us to implement to the letter, our resolution (points numbered 1 to 6).
Yours in His Service
Leaders Meeting Secretary
On Behalf of Leaders – GMCT
Mission Advisory Committee (MAC) Members,
North American Mission Lay Movement,
Toronto Circuit Lay Movement Chairman