After more than a year without a functioning choir, the Ghanaian Methodist Fellowship-UK Chaplaincy has inaugurated a new choir called Ghanaian Methodist Chaplaincy Choir (GMCC). The formation of a new choir became necessary after the previous choir which had received several praises in the past for its splendid performances was embroiled in bitter leadership struggle for almost two years. The choir wasn’t singing from the same hymn sheet and therefore it was dissolved in March 2013.
The new choir was inaugurated in a special service held on Sunday 12 October 2014 at Westminster Central Hall, London. In his sermon, the chaplain, Rev William Davis called on the new choristers to be different. He told the choristers to emulate the good example of Daniel who purposed not to become ritually unclean and remained steadfastly different.
Rev Davis was assisted by Rev Canon Ansah, of Ghana Christian Council-UK, and Mr. Emmanuel Quayson, Chair of Ghana Union-UK in dedicating the new purple choir robe.
The scene at the hall when the choristers came in with their new robes was like reconstruction of the day of Pentecost; the congregation praised God in English, Fante, Ga, Twi, etc. The choristers sung many songs to the glory of God.
When asked by the fellowship reporter what would make this new choir different, the choir master, Kofi Amo Aidoo, said: “The previous choir was set up by some individuals and later incorporated into the fellowship.”Therefore, some individuals always wanted their views to be supreme.” This new one has been set up by the fellowship and all members have signed to follow the guidelines,” He assured the prospective choristers that discipline will be the hall mark of this new choir. He appealed to especially men in the fellowship to join the choir.
Many members the reporter spoke to after the service expressed their happiness about the service and are happy that we once again we have a choir. Many said they were so excited about what they saw and are considering joining the choir.
Report by Felix Adoko Otabil
The GMF-UK Chaplaincy is fortunate to have many local preachers actively preaching in many circuits. This series of interviews is intended to find their experiences, views and suggestions.
Q1. Share with us what prompted your call to preach
I was very disappointed one Easter Sunday when the preacher failed to turn up, and the steward didn’t have any alternative arrangement. Few months after that incidence, I was appointed a steward. I know it’s a steward’s role to step in when a preacher fails to turn up. I planned to read the lessons for the week and prepare a sermon in any event the preacher fails to turn up. I was doing this every week. On one Wednesday while reading the texts for the week, I felt a heavy touch on my shoulder and a voice saying: “Why don’t you stop this mock exercise and become a real preacher?” We had a bit chat and gave all the reasons why I can’t be a local preacher. That voice went quiet for some months and I never bothered about it. One Sunday during notices which in my church is usually after the preaching, I decided to say few words. As soon as I started I noticed a stare. When the service was over, members kept coming to me encouraging me to be trained as a local preacher. At home that day, the voice came again in a teasing manner: “I told you that you could preach”. That voice never stopped until I said yes.
Q2. What is your favourite hymn?
My favourite hymn is “HELP us, O Lord, to learn”. It was written by William Watkins Reid. This hymn has only 3 verses but very useful lessons.
Verse 1 says: “Help us, O Lord, to learn the truth your word imparts”. Verse 2 says: “Help us, O Lord, to live that faith which we proclaim”. Verse 3 says: “Help us, O Lord, to teach the beauty of your ways”.
The world will be a better place if we can learn the truth, live by the faith we proclaim, and teach the beauty of God’s way.
Q3. Who is your favourite character in the Bible?
My favourite characters are those whose names are not mentioned but played important roles in the scripture. Their roles give us important lessons. Some of these characters are:
i. The Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-30)ii. Naaman’s servant (2 Kings 5:2-3) iii. The Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:21-27) Q4. When did you last preach in the GMF service or event? I have never been planned to preach by the GMF. I am a new guy in the block Q5. Do you have any suggestion for the GMF in the area of preaching? Today there are several local preachers but do we know what might happen in few years time? More youth must be encouraged to take up the challenge to preach the gospel. I will also suggest periodic meeting of all local preachers within the GMF. Q6. Where and what was the thrust of your last sermon? My last preaching was some months ago at Walworth Methodist church. I spoke on Kingdom attitude. I challenged the congregation to pursue the kingdom winning ways including: going the extra mile, turning the other cheek and loving our enemies. Q7. What should be done about the falling church attendance in the UK? While admitting that it will take a miracle for any significance change in the trend, I have 4 suggestions I believe could help improve the drop. 1. Improve the menu: For many Methodist churches in England, what you get on many Sundays is 5 hymns and few minutes sermon. Is 5 hymns and 10 minutes sermon unmissable? We need to add few more extras. 2. Open for more hours: Many Methodist churches in England operate strictly one hour service. If you need to bring your children to church on Sunday it could take about 2-3 hours of preparation and travelling. Not many people will like to exchange 3 hours for something gained in an hour. People are burdened with so many things and we should make time available to talk about them. 3. Expand the delivery channels: It’s shocking that at this stage the pulpit continues to be the main channel of propagating the gospel. Many customers go on-line before venturing the shops. Preachers and churches should think of other innovative ways of sharing the gospel. 4. Invest in the future: Many churches do not have any well structured plan to nurture young people and youth into adulthood. As a result many youth give up on their Christian journey. If we can spend just 1/3 of what we spend on pastors/ministers on children & youth, attendance would improve. Q8. Apart from the pulpit, where or how do you share the word of God? When an evening had come. he told them, Let’s cross to the other side.” (Mark 4:35). More people are spending time on-line so that’s where I spend some time engaging them with the gospel. I share the gospel on my blog and other social media. Felix Adoko Otabil received his accreditation as a Methodist Local Preacher in 2009. He preaches in Southwark & Deptford Circuit. Blog: http://kobinaotabil.wordpress.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/adokosons