The Emmanuel Presbyterian Reformed Church (EPRC) at Woodlawn, Bronx, NY recently held its inaugural ceremony to officially welcome the church into the Presbytery of New York City, Presbyterian Church USA (PNYC-PCUSA) and RCA Classis of New York. The ceremony which took place on December 9th, 2007 was attended by special guests of both PNYC and RCA Church organizations. Among the dignitaries were:
- Rev. Pauline Haynes-Moderator of PCGM Task Force(PNYC),
- Rev. Dr. Jon Norton-RCA Synod Executive
- Rev. Margaret Orr Thomas-Vice Moderator & Moderator Elect of PNYC
- Rev. Samuel Atiemo-Member of PCGM Task Force & Minister, Bethel PRC.
- Representatives of Sister Churches in the area as well as Presbyterian Congregations in New York City.
The Occasion was also used to introduce the Rev. Dr. Kwame Amoah-Kuma, The Organizing Minister of the EPRC. A special prayer was said by the Rev. Peggy Thomas for the Organizing Minister and his wife Constance and family after they had been introduced by Rev. Samuel Atiemo. Rev. Pauline Haynes officially blessed and welcomed the new church.
A brief narrative history was read by Elder Dr. David Ofori, Jnr. The program ended with a special benediction offered by Rev. Dr. Jon Norton-RCA Executive. An appeal for funds by Rev. Mrs. Georgina Achampong yielded about $6,000.00.
A special commendation was showered on Elder Dr. David N. Ofori and all those who played special and several roles to bring the dream project into reality.
Congratulations and a big welcome to Rev. Dr. Kwame Amoah-Kuma and family, and the entire membership of the Emmanuel Presbyterian Reformed Church, Bronx, New York.
1. *EARLY HISTORY OF THE EPRC*
*PREAMBLE:* "All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)
1. *INTRODUCTION AND EARLY BEGINNING *
Empowered by this Biblical mandate, the founders of the EPRC, formerly known as the Presbyterian Church of Ghana Mission (PCGM), swam across the tide and cut against the grain to establish this church in the Bronx, New York.
*The architects, Rev. Andrew Akwasi Aboagye, Mr. S.K. Atakora (Presbyter), Edward Ansong (Presbyter) *were invited to the house of Ms. Mercy Asiedu to pray for her. At the next meeting, Janet's household joined the group for prayer and that meeting became the genesis of the church on May 3rd,1998 at the residential address; *2059 Davidson Avenue, Apartment 2C*. Hitherto the members were worshipping with the Presbyterian Church of Ghana in Harlem, New York.
Membership began to increase and on May 24th, 1998 the group moved to another apartment of Mercy Asiedu which was more spacious. Twenty five (25) members were present that day. They included;
*Rev. A. A. Aboagye, Edward Ansong, S.K. Atakora, Mercy Asiedua, Asante Asiamah, Joyce Boakye, Emma Boakye, Derek Boakye, Alberta Boakye, Boafoo Boakye, Boakyewaa Boakye, Otema Boakye, David Martey, Andrew Martey, Ruth Aboagye and others. Elders; Alfred Bediako, Grace Obeng and others joined later.*
On August 2nd 1998, the group moved to *1272 Ogden Avenue*, Bronx, NY 10452 with the assistance of Rev. Dr. Jon Norton of the RCA. Thirty three worshippers worshipped in the Ogden Church the first day. The first session members (interim) of this new group were:
*Rev. A.A. Aboagye (Chairman), Seth Atakora (Senior Presbyter), Edward Ansong (Clerk of Session), Late Oko Danso (Treasurer).Other members were: Betty Osei-Mensah, Janet Dwamena, Mercy Asiedua and Alfred Bediako.*
The church grew rapidly to about 80 members worshipping every Sunday at the Ogden Sanctuary.
1. *SUDDEN BREAK-UP:*
The PCGM suffered a break up in 2003 on the issue of whether to be a fellowship or an affiliate under the PCUSA-Presbytery of New York City and the Reformed Church in America (RCA) or to operate as Presbyterian Church of Ghana Mission directly under the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. The congregation was sharply divided on this issue and about 80% of the 120 membership left to form the Ebenezer Presbyterian Church of Ghana in Bronx, New York.
The remaining group pastored by Rev. A.A. Aboagye continued to worship at the Ogden sanctuary, however, under serious financial difficulties. Within a year, membership grew up to 45. But the PCGM suffered a more serious trauma when the Rev. A.A. Aboagye left to respond to a call in Columbus, Ohio to be the Organizing Pastor for the Ramseyer Presbyterian Church.
During that same period, the Classis of New York (RCA) decided to close down the United Highbridge Reformed Church with whom the PCGM shared the Ogden facility. The PCGM was asked to vacate the premise to an Interim Administrative Committee of the RCA to decide on the fate of the RCA property, either for sale or re-designate its utilization in the community.
1. *THE PCGM CONGREGATION IN SURVIVAL STRUGGLE*
The PCGM without; a leader, funds, a place of worship was faced with a triple challenge for survival. A Prayer Warrior Team was formed to network with some PCG leaders including Catechist Aboa-Offei, Elder Samuel Asare, Rt. Rev. Dr. Yaw Frimpong Manso (Moderator, PCG).The Team of Warriors and the whole congregation sprang up to action and prayed for God's intervention in their situation. Members were:
*Elder Alfred Bediako, Bright Kwaku Duah, Elder Christina Serwaa, Elder Grace Obeng, Elder Ophelia Obeng, Johnson Saka Adomako, Kennedy Opare and others.*
It was this same period of struggle for survival that Elder Dr. David Ofori, Jnr. also joined the church. With his administrative and entrepreneurial skills, Dr. Ofori led the church as Chairman of the Session and Interim overseer. He, with the help of the session, recovered and secured the church's bank account, salvaged the church's official documents and equipments and launched an economic recovery campaign to restore the church's depleted coffers. He also pursued the affiliation process with the PCUSA and RCA. Together with the session and the entire congregation, he worked tirelessly for a new Pastor from PCG who will lead the Congregation to her dream land.
Before the Rev. Dr. Amoah-Kuma came to take over the spiritual and temporal oversight of the Church, the Rev. Joseph Kusi-Achampong and his wife Rev. Georgina Achampong offered pastoral care and leadership to the Orphaned congregation. We are very grateful to them.
The fruit of the partnership with PCUSA and RCA is the release of Rev. Dr. Kwame Amoah-Kuma to take spiritual and temporal oversight of the church. This struggle was supervised by a dynamic Task Force set up by the Presbytery of New York City with its membership as:
*Rev. Pauline Haynes(Chair), Rev. Peggy Thomas, Rev. Dr. Glen Missich, Rev. Dr. Jon Norton, Rev. Samuel Atiemo, Rev. Agnes Blackmon, Elder Dr. David Ofori, Elder Nana Osei-Nyarko together with the Stated Clerks of both PNYC and Classis of NY(RCA).*
The outcome of this partnership is the birth of the Emmanuel Presbyterian Reformed Church which is being inaugurated today. The EPRC is focused on a multi-cultural mission working towards church planting, spiritual development and socio-cultural integration into the Woodlawn Community.
5.0 *VISION, MISSION, CORE VALUES AND GOALS OF EPRC*
* VISION: *- The Vision of the Church is to be Christ centered, evangelistic, disciplined, democratic, united, self-sustaining, and a growing church.
* MISSION: *- Our Mission is to* *uphold the centrality of the Word of God, and through the enablement of the Holy Spirit adopt a holistic development of her material resources in order to:
- Improve church growth through evangelism and nurture - Attain Self –Sufficiency through effective resource mobilization. - Address all factors that inhibit development through advocacy and effective delivery of social services. - Uphold the Reformed Tradition and cherish partnership with the worldwide body of Christ.
* CORE VALUES:-* As a growing immigrant church, and notwithstanding our socio-political and cultural heritage, the EPRC is committed to maintaining Discipline, Faith, Transparency, Accountability, Honesty, Hard work, Love, Truth, Justice and Right Attitude towards God and humanity.
* GOALS: -* The EPRC wants to establish itself as a multi-cultural Community Church whose members corporately and individually affirm the three priorities of God First, God's family second, and God's work third.
The EPRC's comprehensive community outreach programs among other things are intended to encompass the following benefits:
- *Day Care Center, * - *Soup Kitchen, * - *Music and Cultural Dance Education Center,* - *Elder Care,* - *After School Tutoring,* - *Computer Training Center, * - *Piano/Organ Training School,* - *Flea/Thrift Market Program and others.*
1. *CHURCH LIFE:*
In its Church Life and Nurture, the EPRC has established the following ministries:
- *CHILDREN'S SUNDAY SCHOOL MINISTRY:* This was initially organized by Ruth Aboagye, daughter of Rev. A.A. Aboagye but left the church when her father received the call to Columbus, Ohio. Today, the Children's Sunday School Ministry is under the able leadership of Elder Grace Obeng, Deaconess Stella Amo-Asare, Emelia Boaheng and Loretta Takyiwaa Mensah. Membership to this ministry has steadily increased with strength of about 30 children.
- *YOUNG PEOPLES GUILD:* Formed in February 2003, the YPG has been functioning effectively is and affiliated to the Conference of Ghanaian Presbyterian Churches in North America. The first executives included:
*Isaac Wiafe (President), Sylvia Nyarkoa (Vice President), Bright Kwaku Duah (Secretary), Lilian Nana Asiedua (Assistant Secretary), Charity Addai (Treasurer), Clement Ofosu-Ntiamoah (Financial Secretary), and Ruth Aboagye (Organizer).*
- *JUNIOR YOUTH GUILD: *Formed in 2005 by Ruth Aboagye, the JY takes care of graduates from Children's Service preparing to join the YPG. The JY is organized and helped by Rev. Georgina Achampong, Elder Ophelia Obeng, Deaconess Linda Akuamoah, Deacon Bright Kwaku Duah and Johnson Saka Adomako. Through Elder Ophelia Obeng providing the seed money of $1000.00, the Session has instituted a Scholarship Fund to help youth members who gain admission to Colleges.
*THE WOMEN'S FELLOWSHIP: *
Formed in 2003 at Mercy Asieduaa's house at *2064 Davidson Avenue*, the Women's Fellowship was committed to the growth and welfare of women in the church. Mercy Asieduaa became the first President. Later, the Fellowship met at several places-*Margaret Owusu's house at 111 Tudor Place*, then to *Agnes Corley-Simpson's house*. It was from here that they moved to meet at the Ogden Sanctuary. The Women's Fellowship was affiliated to the CGPC on March 25th, 2001 at Toronto, Canada. The Women's Fellowship enjoyed double inauguration;
- *By the WFPCNA, Toronto, Canada on March 25**th** 2001, and* - *By the Bronx Presbyterian Women's Fellowship at Worcester, Massachusetts on June 24**th**, 2001 when they joined the local group*. - Executive members included Agnes Corley-Simpson (President), Grace Attakora (Vice President), Grace Obeng (Secretary), Grace Gyimah-Danso (Treasurer), Linda Nelson (Financial Secretary), Margaret Owusu(Porter); Patrons included Elder Dr. David Ofori, Jr., Seth Atakora (Presbyter), and Ntow Agyei-Danso (Deacon). - *CHURCH CHOIR/MUSIC MINISTRY*: The music ministry has in recent times seen tremendous improvement. The choir was officially formed in July 2007 when Rev. Dr. Kwame Amoah-Kuma came in. The first set of instruments was acquired through appeal for funds in November 1998. Individuals like Elder Dr. David Ofori, Elder Grace Obeng, Elder Nana Osei-Nyarko, and Deaconess Ama Adusei had donated several items to help the growth and development of the choir and the church. Special mention must be made of Elder Edward Mensah through whose instrumentality the choir has come this far. Mr. Daniel Agyekum, Bright Amankwah, and Bro. Ishmael Hodanu all deserve high commendation for their roles played to the growth of the choir.
The Praise and Worship Team is another arm of the Music Ministry which is performing to the growth and development of the church. Special commendation need to be given to; Deacon Bright Kwaku Duah, Johnson Saka Adomako, Mrs. Rose Attor, Comfort Birago, Eugene Owusu-Mensah, Bright Amankwah, among others. ** *PRAYER & DELIVERANCE MINISTRY**:* Traveling through the disturbed waters, the EPRC committed itself to serious prayers. The initial members of the Prayer group were *Rev. A. A. Aboagye, Elder Alfred Bediako, Sylvia Nyarkoa and Elder Grace Obeng*. They usually met at Grace's residence and nearby open parks to pray. Today, the whole church is committed to prayer, and Friday evening is set aside for Prayer Meetings. Rev. & Mrs. Achampong and the Tower Group are committed to this program. When the Organizing Minister, Rev. Dr. Kwame Amoah-Kuma came, he soon strengthened this ministry by establishing Healing and Deliverance Service held on Saturdays at the Woodlawn Sanctuary. You are invited to come and experience God's love and favor for His children. ** *CHURCH PROGRAMS*:
The EPRC undertakes the following activities and programs:
Revivals, Prayer Crusades, Marriage(Couples* and Singles) Seminar, *Leadership Training Seminar, Worship in Songs, Picnics, Bible Quizzes, Friday Night Prayer Meetings, Healing and Deliverance Sessions, Group Anniversaries, Childr*en's Day Programs, *Youth Day, and many more.
*CURRENT LEADERSHIP OF THE CHURCH:* * SESSION:*
- ** - *Rev. Dr. Kwame Amoah-Kuma (Organizing Minister)-Moderator of Session.* - *Rev. Joseph Kusi-Achampong* - *Rev. Mrs. Georgina Achampong* - *Elder Dr. David Ofori, Jnr. * - *Elder Alfred Bediako* - *Elder Edward Mensah* - *Elder Christiana Serwaa Amoafo* - *Elder Mary Atuahene* - *Elder Nana Osei-Nyarko* - *Elder Ophelia Obeng* - *Elder Grace Obeng* - *Daniel Ogyiri(Clerk of Session)*
* Others are:*
- *Clement Ofosu-Ntiamoah- Financial Secretary* - *Mr. William Yaw Donkor-Auditor* - *James Amankwah-Auditor*
- *Bright Kwaku Duah* - *Emma Frempong* - *Susana Serwah* - *Linda Akuamoah* - *Stella Alexandra Amo-Asare* - *Ama Adusei* - *Juliana Domfeh* - *Ntow Adgyei-Danso* - *Ethel Sarpong* - *Georgina Agyekum* - *Linda Antwi-Nelson* - *Faustina Owusu-Ansah* - *Mark T Addo* - *Samuel Achampong*
*CONCLUSION & ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:*
The EPRC hopes to live by the Vision, Mission, Values and Goals she has set for herself and continue her evangelism and missionary enterprise at this Woodlawn location while we continue to journey through our chattering process; God being our helper.
The EPRC acknowledges and recognizes the following key contributors to the realization of our dream.
- Rev. Arabella Meadows-Rogers(EP Presbytery of New York City)
- Rev. Pauline Haynes(Moderator-PCGM Task Force)
- Rev. Peggy Thomas(Vice Moderator, PNYC)
- Rev. Dr. Jon Norton(RCA Executive)
- Rev. Dr. Glen Missick(African-American Council, RCA)
- Rev. Agnes Blackmon(PNYC Office)
- Elder Margaret Shaffer(PNY)
- Classis of New York, RCA
- Mr. Clement Ofosu- Ntiamoah(Financial Secretary, EPRC)
- Mr. Daniel Ogyiri(Clerk of Session, EPRC) - Rev. Joseph Kusi-Achampong, EPRC. - Rev. Samuel Atiemo, Bethel Presbyterian Reformed Church, Brooklyn - Rev. Georgina A. Achampong (EPRC)
- Elder Dr. David Ofori(Treasurer, EPRC)
- Elder Nana Osei-Nyarko(Properties Committee EPRC)
- All members of Session, EPRC.
God Bless you all.
Contact Address:Emmanuel Presbyterian Reformed Church (EPRC)
Locations: *1272 Ogden Avenue, **Bronx, New York 10452, **Phone:(718)708 7565* *4371 Martha Avenue, **Bronx, New York 10470, **Phone:(347)3267624*
*425 East 239**th** Street, **Bronx, NY 10470* *Contact the Organizing Minister at **Office :( 347) 326 7624 **Cell: (646) 488 7409* *Email:email@example.com*