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General News of Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Source: aL-hAJJ

Sad plight of a Presbyterian Rev Minister

After 35 years of dedicated service -Paid GHS1, 200 as retirement package

There is no better way to describe the travails of a 73 year-old retired Revered Minister of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, than in the words of the Bible “many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19).

After giving his all to the church, country and God; ministering in remote villages where many of his colleagues had declined postings for 35 years, establishing over 30 branches for the Presbyterian Church and hoping to be taken care of by the church after retirement, the Presbyterian Church of Ghana bid Rev Alex Obeng Agyemang ‘fare thee well” with a paltry GHC 1,200 for his 35 years of dedicated and meritorious service towards the growth of the church.

Irked by the state in which the church had left their tribesman, whom they said would have been ‘better off’ been an ordinary member of the church had he focused on building his future here on earth, relatives of Rev Obeng Agyemang, who is currently residing at his native village, Pra River in the Eastern region, have been complaining about the sordid condition in which the Presbyterian Church has left him.

Aside a monthly stipend of GHC 246.00, close relatives of the retired Reverend Minister disclosed to The aL-hAJJ on strict condition of anonymity that the Presby Church has left Rev Obeng to his fate to the extent that he is struggling to feed himself not to mention how he takes care of his health needs and other related issues.

The general feeling among his relatives is that the church had not treated him fairly and that if he had been informed earlier that he was not due any ‘reasonable’ retirement package, he would have prepared adequately whiles serving as Reverend Minister to put things in place ahead of his retirement.

An angry relative of Rev Obeng Ageymang remarked “when his retirement was due, we were all invited to Kwahu Abetifi for the ceremony with hopes that ‘we’ would be offered a befitting retirement package…at the ceremony which was in August 2011, he was given a citation and white envelope. We thought that was just for the ceremony and his real retirement package would be given him later.”

The family source noted that to their utter surprise and dismay days later when they enquired from the headquarters of the church in Accra when Rev Obeng Agyemang’s ‘real’ retirement package was coming, “we were told there was nothing like that for him and that what he was offered at the retirement ceremony was all that was due him.”

“My brother, I was shocked to know that a Church like the Presbyterian Church, which is one of the oldest and well established churches in Ghana, will give a meager GHC 1, 200 and a citation as sendoff package to someone who started the church as lay preacher in 1979 and rose through the ranks to become Reverend Minister.”

Rev Obeng Agyemang refused to comment on the question of ill-treatment and neglect; even though looked inwardly worried. But his relatives are in anger with the Presby church suggesting that at his present age, the church should have been taking care of him aside the paltry monthly GHC 246.00 allowance, which they say was his 5 percent SSNIT contributions deducted from his salary when he was a serving Minister.

“There is no help from the Church; the monthly allowance is from his SSNIT contribution. He is now old, the wife too is old and his children too are not working so how do you expect him to cope with life? The Church has not been fair to him; they ‘used him and dumped him’. He was posted to remote villages were most of his colleagues declined posting and he discharged his duties diligently to the growth of the church but the church chose to pay him back this way,” the family source disclosed in sorrowful tone.

When The aL-hAJJ caught up with Rev Obeng Agyemang at his abode at Pra River, he confirmed his sorry state but said his case should rather serve as lesson to up and coming ministers of the church to have alternate sources of income and livelihood, stressing that “they should not think the church will take care of them when they retire because there is nothing like that in the Presby Church.”

He said; though he and his wife and seven children are living under sever and challenging conditions, unable to fend for themselves, he is eternally grateful to God for their lives.

With eyes almost filed with tears, Rev Obeng Agyemang recounted some of the difficulties he had to endure in some remote villages when he was serving the church.

“Because I was still healthy at 70 when I retired, the Presby church offered me another contract to serve the church for three years in one of the villages, but unfortunately I took ill a year later so I was brought home. Now I’m ok so I have applied to the church that I want to continue my work so I’m waiting for my postings,” he stated.

From all indications, it is obvious that Rev Alex Obeng Agyemang has been through torrid times and murky waters since his retirement in 2011, perhaps, it was their (family) own fair share of the Biblical “being tested in the crucibles of fire” which every believer must pass through at one point or the other.

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