The Ghanaian Methodist Fellowship at Walworth Methodist Church in Camberwell held its silver jubilee thanksgiving service on Sunday 13th July 2014. Formed in 1986 but inaugurated in 1989 to support one another, the fellowship has grown from strength to strength. Stalwarts of the fellowship include late Mr Francis Djan-Krofa, Mr John Badu, the late Ms Beatrice Donkoh, Reginald Gyasi, Doris Ofori-Mensah, and Lydia Donkor.
The fellowship has made significant contributions to the church and many organisations. In 2010 the fellowship spent thousands of pounds on hospital equipments for the children hospital in Ghana. It also made cash contribution to the building of the music department of the Methodist University College, Ghana. It was the success story at Walworth which led to the formation of Ghanaian Methodist Fellowship-UK Chaplaincy, umbrella fellowship of all Ghanaian Methodists in UK & Ireland.
Preaching the sermon on the theme- Ebenezer, “Thus far the Lord has brought us”, Rev Emmanuel Aggrey Ogoe, said 25 years is great but urged the fellowship not to be complacent; for there is more work to be done. He said the fellowship was not only formed to help members in times of need but also to help integrate new members into the fellowship and the church, and wondered what score the fellowship will get on that role. He told the congregation that it’s about time our conduct did the talking instead of the cliché the Bible says this or that.
Rev Eric Mustapha, Minister of Walworth Methodist Church was full of praise to the Ghanaian Fellowship for its continued support to the church, and for a member to have given birth to a first medical doctor from the church.
The service was attended by representatives from the Ghana High Commission UK, Ghana Union, deputy major of Southwark and many local Ghanaian Methodist Fellowships.
We continue with our leadership monthly interview. In the month of July the person to be interviewed is Sis Ama Brehene- Ankra. Sister Ama has been a staunch member of GMF-UK Chaplaincy. She has held many positions. She chaired the 10th Anniversary Planning Committee. This interview is regarding her role as GMF lay representative to the Ghana Christian Council UK & Ireland. (GCCUK)
Question: Sis Ama, not many people would know about Ghana Christian Council UK & Ireland (GCCUK). Share with us the main role of the GCCUK
Answer: May I express my honour and appreciation to you and your team in granting this interview. It really is an opportunity for our congregation to gain some in-sight into the work of the GCCUK & Ireland. The GCCUK & Ireland is the official body endorsed by the Ghana High Commission in collaboration with the Ghana Union UK, charged with the task of working to unite Ghanaians to serve God and Country.
As an Ecumenical body the role of the Council is numerous, but I’ll mention a few.
- Foster and build a constructive relationship by welcoming all Ghanaian Faiths Communities.
- Ensure inclusion, offer of Pastoral Care, support in areas of Legal, Health, Finance,
Inter-personal relationships, Family, Housing, Safe-guarding of children including other areas with
social challenges. Such support hopefully to be undertaken through experts’ advice.
- Foster knowledge and understanding amongst all.
- Promote Ghana’s Christian Faith and Religious Culture in the Diaspora (UK)
- Co-ordinate, organise and execute national celebrations, church services and other key events which show-case Ghana both in good and challenging times to the Diaspora (UK)
Question: You have been representing the GMF at GCCUK. What has that entailed?
Answer: First and foremost, it has been a humbling experience. I see the representation as a servant’s role and an opportunity to serve my Lord as well as GMF-UK Chaplaincy albeit, on a different forum. My role includes the following;
- Ensuring GMF-UK Chaplaincy’s good relations with the Council, part-taking of the Council’s activities, welfare and the promotion of its fortunes are my primary responsibilities.
- Attend meetings, usually at the High Commission sometimes at pretty short notices.
- Pre-visits to hosting churches to familiarise one’s self with the venue and their facilities.
- Attend weddings, funerals and other social events as part of GCCUK & GU delegation.
- Feed back our Chaplain Revd. William Davis on matters that affect GMF Chaplaincy or any issue/s needing his attention
- Briefly I was the custodian of the Committee’s funds during the Treasurer’s travels.
- Holds a Welfare Officer’s role on the committee which comes with its own commitments.
Question: In your interaction with other GCCUK members have you come across something you would want to recommend to the GMF?
Answer: Working with Ministers and other Lay Reps. from different churches, organisations and fellowships bring a rich variety of knowledge, skills and talents. I witness selfless commitment of proud Ghanaians in various churches as the GCC worship or attend different churches for events. Men, women and children of God, who genuinely give their time, skills and talents with passion to move heavens for their churches and organisations to bring success to whatever occasion they host. The respect congregations behold of their leaders. Such commitment and dedication is what I would recommend to the GMF.
Question: I am sure you’ve come across many Ghanaian Methodists in UK worshipping with other denominations. Should the GMF try to encourage them back to the Methodist or we should be happy that they go to church?
Answer: Sure, I have come across many who wish they had stayed Methodists, particularly on hearing Methodist Hymns and Canticles during ecumenical services. Some confide in me that, they attend Methodist churches during Ghana visits. For the dithering sisters and brothers, prayer support to enable their decision making may be right thing to do on their behalf. We must also be happy for those who are settled wherever they find peace. Being in God’s house in faith in my opinion is fine, for we serve a one God, moreover, are we not Ecumenical?
Question: What has been your proudest moment in your involvement with the GCCUK?
Answer: Oh dear, how I wish this question had been my proudest moment with GMF-UK Chaplaincy? Nonetheless, the proudest moment to mind was the outcome of the memorial service to Late President Prof J.E.A. Mills-a task charged to the GCCUK & Ghana Union. The pride of H.E. and his staff amongst his peers of High Commissioners, Ambassadors, other Dignitaries and the GCCUK leadership was clear for all to see. May I, take this opportunity to further express the GMF’s and my personal appreciation to Revd. Martin Turner, Superintendent Minister-Methodist Central Hall, Westminster who availed the MCH to GCCUK and went on to light the pipe organ lights to the Ghana National colours. Appreciation also goes to Revd. William Davis, for doing underground work on behalf of the High Commission and the GCC. It was such a proud and patriotic feeling. Shame it was under the circumstances of the passing of our leader.
Question:You have been involved in different roles for the GMF. Is there anything left you would want to do?
Answer: On reflection, yes, I have undertaken different roles within GMF since the days of Revd. Hayford Adu- Darkwah, Founder of GMF-UK. The roles seem to find me, as I have never lobbied, chosen or asked for a role. I humbly accepted whatever I felt I could do, felt privileged to be asked and prayed about them, each single one of them. Truly, my God who strengthens me saw me through them all successfully. Of course, mistakes and challenges came but with Him in the boat, all becomes plain sailing in the end and learning process. I cannot think of anything presently I would like to do, however, allow me to borrow a line from SUWMA’s Pledge- “I will answer the call of GMF-UK Chaplaincy at any time to serve God and in whatever situations pleasing to Him”. For I trust, He will strengthen, guide, guard, give wisdom and open and close doors as and when He see fit to His glory.
Question: What are your highs and lows for being so active with the GMF?
Answer: My Highs: During visits of the Methodist Church, Ghana hierarchy, confirming their pride on what Ghanaian Methodists in UK have embarked on, hosting the Ghana@50 in 2007 with President J.A. Kufuor in attendance, during inauguration of various organisations within GMF, the day the Junior church sang in Akan during an independence anniversary service in the presence of a Ghana High Commissioner who proudly commented on it, Susanna Wesley-UK’s restoration and re-dedication of mother Susanna’s Memorial at Wesley’s Chapel, last but not least GMF-UK’s year-long celebration of its 10th Inaugural Anniversary which will not have been possible without the dedication and commitment of you Bro. Felix and many others. My heartfelt appreciation to you all and God bless you. My Lows: I don’t have any within GMF-UK, seriously. Rather, I have sadness. Sadness because, when as one people, and as Christians with one destiny with a common Methodist heritage exhibit unholy, non-spiritual behaviours, utter blatant fabricated negative stories about others in the house of God. I am saddened when people exhibit total disrespect to authority. The Bible talk of showing respect to authority and it does not mean being literally fearful of anyone. It just saddens me and I suspect every descent Christian and human being gets saddened in situations such as I have described above.
Question: What lessons has your different roles in GMF taught you?
Answer: A book I read some years back on Christian Church Leadership, suggested that, all good and evil can be found in the church environment. Lessons learnt in the different roles confirm that. There will always be some people who will try to demoralise you with some negative attitudes. I’ve also learnt to take inspiration from others knowledge, skills, talents to build upon them together with whatever good I possess and to impart to others.
Colossians Chapter 3 verse 23 reads: “Whatever, you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for human beings”. Finally, I express my appreciation to Revd. Davis, and Chaplaincy Management Committee of GMF-UK for believing in me to be entrusted with such responsibility.