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Diasporian News Wed, 10 Sep 2008

Methodist Church Ghana In North America End Camp Meeting

Over 150 Delegates from 10 Societies of The Methodist Church Ghana successfully held a Retreat/Camp Meeting in Newark, New Jersey during the Labour Day Weekend.

The Camp Meeting hosted by the Ghana Emmanuel Methodist Church, Newark, New Jersey was under the theme “A CHARGE TO KEEP I HAVE; A GOD TO GLORIFY” also saw Observers from Denver and Connecticut in attendance.

Delivering the Keynote Address on the theme, the Very Rev. Stephen Kweku Owusu, Superintendent Minister of the New Jersey/ New York Circuit and host Minister asked Delegates to give serious consideration to the Methodist Hymn 578 and its contents. He declared “That Hymns is a recital of faith, it is a personal testimony, note the recurrent use of the word ‘I’. According to the Rev. Owusu our Lord calls a Christian and gives him a ‘Charge’. This charge calls for obedience for in the end the Christian would have to give a ‘strict account’. Failing he shall ‘forever die’; he stressed adding that the key is total reliance on the Lord who alone enables His own to fulfill His charge.

Rev Owusu explained further that ‘Death’ is spiritual separation from God but this has been taken of by Christ’s death on Calvary and that high price is open for all. ‘Each one of us knows where he or she belongs; you are either ‘helly’-bound or Heavenly bound. There is no middle line’, Rev. Owusu stressed. Uncharacteristic of a Forum, an Altar Call followed this charged Key Note Address, which saw about half the Delegates moving forward either to receive Christ as Saviour and Lord or to re-dedicate themselves to Him.

In a Welcome Address, Opanin Kodwo Fosu, Lay Chairman offered a hand of fellowship to Delegates and Observers alike stating that the Camp Meeting had exceeded all expectations in numbers and organization. It was his prayer that God blesses the Delegates in a special way so that they will never leave New Jersey the same. Opanin Fosu indicated that one prayer was for the unity all were seeking for our Church in North America.

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He stressed “I believe our Church will receive new lease of life thereby promoting our spiritual well being.” According to the Lay Chairman, it is strange that those who have the birthright to be Ghana Methodists are being made to apply to belong to that family. ‘It is unbelievable, but we shall persevere and overcome. It is pertinent to note that the Lord Jesus said often “Fear not” and ‘Peace be unto you”. I exhort you to hide these sayings of our Lord in your hearts and stand with the Lay Movement Council for Victory is in sight, he added.

A Forum on the Methodist Lay Movement Concept and the Structures of The Methodist Church Ghana was also held at which Sister Karen Essiful-Ansah delivered Papers on the two topics. Delegates asked pertinent questions on these areas and more in an instructive but relaxed Forum. The Clergy present offered relevant contributions on the said topics.

As part of the Retreat, there was a Revival Night led by Texas based Ghana Methodist Evangelist Edwin Oppong- Boateng. He asked Christians to endeavour to work out their salvation as the Bible states, adding that being Born-Again is an Act of God but the renewal of mind unto Christ is something the Christian must do himself. He explained that ‘Anointing is simply the power from the Holy Spirit, which enables children of God to work for Him’ God does not anoint ordinary vessels. He anoints willing vessels.’

Evangelist Oppong-Boateng revealed further “Humility, prayer and holiness are qualities of the man God uses. He stressed that God expects His chosen vessels to discard iniquity as we find in Job 11 verse 13 to 19. Even though God is merciful, loving and kind, he demands righteousness. Delegates learned that God accepts us when we truly repent and that leads to restoration and refreshment from God.

Spiritual exercises, intense prayer, praise and worship, as well as a Healing and Deliverance Session took place led by Evangelist Oppong-Boateng. The release of the Holy Spirit was evident immediately thereafter as Delegates, Clergy and Lay alike, burst into rapturous praise and dancing, signifying a release, a restoration, a reason to ‘Sing Alleluia forth in duteous praise”. This abrupt praise experience went on for several minutes and lay on Delegates hearts as they went to bed that night.

Preaching the sermon on the theme at the Divine Service, which climaxed the Retreat, the Very Rev. Dominic Sylvester Dadzie, a PHD Student of the Ohio University charged Delegates to preach the word, make converts for Christ and teach them themselves. He said “God forbid that you would have a child and pass his upbringing on to someone else, when you are very well able.” He added that Ghana Methodists belonged to the British Methodist Conference and obtained independence. There was no reason therefore why we have to be under any other Conference. Rev. Dadzie testified that obedience to the word of God and faithfulness in Tithing can make anyone excel in order to handle his own affairs. He stressed that if only Methodists would give faithfully, there would be no need to expect any foreign Conference to give them places of worship or pay their Ministers.

Rev. Dadzie charged the Lay Movement Council to explore the possibility of establishing more Societies of The Methodist Church Ghana in Denver, Ohio, Texas and California etc. all in a bid to create a Diocese of the Church in North America. This is because the Constitution and Standing Orders of The Methodist Church Ghana provides for this. Declaring ‘if God be for us who or what can be against us in this Kingdom business?’

An Induction Service was held as part of the Service for National Officers of the Lay Movement who are to serve for a year as provided by the Constitution and Standing Orders of The Methodist Church Ghana. They are Opanin Kwadwo Fosu, Chairman, Bro. Baffour Amoateng, Vice Chairman, Bro. Abraham Aboagye Agyeman, Secretary, Bro. John Kobina Koomson, Assistant Secretary, Bro. Henry Ammah Organizing Secretary, Sis. Ruby Marshall, Treasurer, Bro Dan Owusu, Member [Men’s Fellowship], Bro. Victor Joel Yamson, Member [Men’s Fellowship], Sis Sarah Coffie, Member [Women’s Fellowship], Sis. Judith Laryea, New York Zone Coordinator, Sis. Esther Owusu-Adebisi, Member, Sis Karen Essiful-Ansah, Member and Brother Ebenezer Acheampong, Chaplin.

The Induction Service and a Communion Service, which followed, were both officiated by the Very Rev. Dr. J.A.K. Bonful. Other Ministers present at the Retreat were Very Rev. S. Owusu and Very Rev Raymond Addo, formerly Superintendent Minister of the Akuse Circuit now studying in Michigan. On the whole Delegates and Observers testified that things were over and above all they imagined or thought. An elated Brother Michael Gyamfi, Society Steward of Ghana Emmanuel Methodist Church and Chairman of the Retreat Organizing Committee revealed in a post Retreat Interview, ‘It is a pleasure to serve the lord my sister; and we have the satisfaction that our toil was fruitful and not in vain. We had participants who were not so demanding and accepted our shortcomings, realizing that we were fallible as human beings. We thank you all for coming.’

Bro Victor J. Yamson, Society Steward of the Covenant Methodist Church, Silver Spring, Maryland and Secretary of the Association of Methodist Men’s Fellowships, North America told this Reporter ‘… This is not like any Conference I have attended. I congratulate the Lay Movement Council and the Organizers. His Society incidentally will host the next Retreat/Camp Meeting. In August 2009, God willing, Delegates will converge in Maryland once again to pray, praise and proceed in what has become the spiritual booster of these Societies.

On the whole to the glory of God, this Retreat/Camp Meeting was a resounding success and will be talked about perhaps until the next one.

TO GOD ALONE BE THE GLORY.

Source: Karen Essiful Ansah

METHODIST HERALD FOR BUILDERS (The newspaper of The Methodist Church Ghana-North America)

Source: Karen Essiful Ansah