Religion of Thursday, 1 November 2007
“That’s what happens when children of God pray. We were expecting 40 Delegates, but had over 100 and for the first time in our history in America we were united in prayer and resolutions”, an elated Opanin Kodwo Fosu Lay Chairman of the Fellowship of Ghanaian Methodist Churches and Chairman of the Lay Movement Council, stated to sum up results of the three day Retreat/Camp Meeting for the Revival of Ghana Methodists Churches in North America.
The Retreat under the theme “MISSION AMONG GHANAIAN METHODIST IN AMERICA-CHALLENGES, CONFLICTS AND THE FUTURE” featured Rev. Dr. Jacob Atuahene- Nsowah, Minister in charge of the Ghana Methodist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, and Rev. Francis Acquah, Minister in charge of Ebenezer Methodist Church, Hyattsville, Maryland as Main Speakers.
Rev. Dr Bonful, the Chairman of the Fellowship of Ghanaian Methodist Churches and Minister in charge of the Calvary Redeeming Methodist Church, Rockville Maryland, welcomed participants on Friday evening and challenged them to make it their goal to be renewed in their walk with Christ and one another as individuals so that they might empowered to fulfill their roles in their Churches toward the advancement of God’s kingdom.
On Saturday, Rev. Dr. Atuahene led discussions on the theme and group discussions to help identify problems bedeviling the Church and the way forward. The discussions that generated much attention were centered on the sub-theme, “To be or not to be,” and that was to help resolve the conflict with Churches that are inclined to affiliate with the United Methodist Church of the USA or the United Church of Canada.
Very Rev. Francis Acquah dwelt on the Book of Acts 2: 42-45 and exhorted all to be united as exemplified by the early Church and to end the days of conflict, beginning from the individual and Society levels. Very Rev. Peter Acheampong of the Ghana Calvary United Church, Toronto, Canada, led the prayer session that followed.
Saturday afternoon was devoted for two separate Meetings, “Fellowship of the Kingdom” [FK], comprising solely the Methodist Ministers, and then also the Lay Movement. The two Meetings ended with a Joint Session, which agreed to unite all Ghana Methodist Churches. At the Lay Session, 10 of the 16 Societies present resolved to have a direct relationship/affiliation with the Ghana Conference and moved to have a North America Diocese. The Lay Session sang the Lay Movement Anthem and also directed all Societies to sing the Anthem during Church Services. A Revival Service was held on Saturday evening led by Rev. Nathan Addo-Nartey, Minister in charge of the Ghana Calvary Methodist Church, New Jersey. Sis Esther Naana Agbosu preached the sermon and Bro Agyenim Boateng later assisted in prayer for deliverance for delegates. At the same Service the two newly-founded News Media of the Methodist Church Ghana North America, namely, the Methodist Herald for Builders [MHB] a quarterly newspaper and a Website were successfully launched. The Editorial Board revealed that these would serve as mouthpiece for all Ghana Methodists and vehicles for evangelism.
Very Rev. Jacob French, Chairman of the F.K. and Minister in charge of the Ghana Methodist Church, Toronto Canada, preached the Sermon at the Sunday Thanksgiving and Divine Service. He dwelt on Psalm137 and called on all Ghana Methodists to make it a point to ‘Sing the Lord’s song in a strange land’ by standing firm in the faith passed on by the founder of Methodism. He stressed the need for us as believers to keep to our Christian traditions and cultures so as to be the light to a dying world. He added that Methodists were encouraged by Father John Wesley to spread scriptural holiness everywhere they lived.
Sis Lydia Akesson of Ghana Wesley Methodist Church, New York, was happy to participate in the weekend Retreat, because she heard the Lay Movement Anthem and ‘Monsore John Wesley Mba’ sung at the meeting. With broad smiles, she stated, ‘I am happy to go back to Ghana with the hope that our efforts over the years to have Churches united under the Ghana Conference have not been in vain.’ She joined many in prayer for on-going success for the work of the Organizers.
Bro. Jeff Cornelius of the Turkston United Methodist Church, Athens, Georgia, who was an observer, said, ‘As an American I am happy to see people devote their time and resources to build their Church. Indeed we need the passion with which these Brethren pray’.
Many who made it to the Retreat have declared that it was worth coming down to wait on the Lord, especially, as the results were so profound that delegates have asked that as it used to be in the old Camp Meeting days in Ghana Methodism, this programme must be a yearly affair. In response, the lay Representative Session resolved to hold the Retreat/Camp Meeting annually and also decided to congregate in New Jersey during the Labor Day Weekend of 2008, as the good Lord permits. We give all praise, thanks and glory to God for making this first meeting successful.