By Kwasi Baako for Amandla

Rev. Dr. Yaw Frimpong Manso, former moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana was formally installed as pastor of the Emmanuel Presbyterian Reformed Church (EPRC) Sunday, 19 May, 2013.

EPRC which was officially established on May 3, 1998 after breaking away from the Presbyterian Church of Ghana in Harlem is a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic congregation. It has grown from very humble beginnings battling with financial crises, ideological and administrative differences between the founding pioneers to be a big congregation with two branches all located within the Bronx borough. Rev. Frimpong Manso’s association with the EPRC goes back to those days of dire existence.

Preaching the sermon, the Rev. Ruth Boling extolled the Ghanaian proficiency in storytelling and used a story of her own to pass across the message that the future of the Church is in the hands of the members. Elder Tony De La Rosa, Interim Executive Presbyter for the Presbytery of New York City then led the performance of the installation.

Presenting the new Pastor to the congregation, Rev. Steve Yaw Nkansah read Rev. Frimpong Manso’s, profile and highlighted his virtues. He mentioned that the congregation was fortunate to have him as a pastor not only because of his adeptness in scriptural matters but also because of his intellectual yet humble nature. This was followed by the Propounding of the constitutional questions and the Commitment to the community which was performed by Elders Dr. David Ofori, jnr. and Daniel Ogyiri respectively. Rev. Frimpong Manso was then presented with the symbols of Ministry; a bible, a cross and a Stool.

Giving the charge, Rev. Pauline Haynes admonished Christians to be good ambassadors of Christ. She said Christians should not only reach out to other Christians but should endeavor to “bring home the lost sheep.”

In a conversation with Amandla Rev. Dr. Frimpong Manso explained his new role as a pastor of EPRC as a continuation of his pastoral responsibilities as a minister of the Gospel. He added that in the Presbyterian Church of Ghana once ordained a pastor one remains a pastor all one’s life. “Becoming a moderator or chairman of a district of the Church is an added responsibility,” he said. ”We call our pastors reverend ministers, but the understanding is that they are all pastors.” A pastor may be limited to a small congregation, but a minister is called upon to minister to all people. The moderator in the Presbyterian Church of Ghana is one among equals and until one attains the age of 70 a retired moderator remains a pastor and will be offered a congregational pastoral duties.

Regarding the Church in the Diaspora, Rev. Frimpong Manso observes that in spite of the differences in socio political and economic environments, the human heard remains corrupt in the eyes of God. Because ideas and structures here are different, ways of life may be different too. Cultural values are also be different, but communicating the Gospel remains the same. Regard for traditional values is different. When some people get to the West they assume both the good and bad values.

When asked about the current trend of Africans and African pastors and men of God coming to the West, the former moderator called African involvement in missionary activity in the West as a reversal of mission. The early missionaries came with the idea of bringing the Gospel to people in the Dark Continent and therefore shrouded the Gospel in several cultural perspectives including enforcing their own traditions and several perspectives. Rev. Frimpong Manso recalled how Ephraim Amu, the famous Ghanaian musician at Akropong Presbyterian Training College, was disciplined by the Church for refusing to wear a suit at church.

Over the years, the importance of the mission enterprise in Ghana and Africa was seen in terms of education, including training in agriculture and even leadership training. The bad things remained but the good things are obvious. There is now a paradigm shift where those who received the Gospel are now bringing the Gospel here because the Church here in the West is dying. “I see myself as part of the new mission enterprise in Africa and I see myself also in a learning situation to see how the Church collapsed in the West. The Church in Africa is now blossoming. We in Africa and in Ghana are in an important situation as missionaries now. Everybody now looks up the Church in Africa for inspiration.

On the resurgence of Pentecostalism in Ghana and the search for miracles outpacing the mainstream brand, Dr. Frimpong Manso said he was not surprised. But it is not unique to Africa. It is something that had happened years back before. The Old Testament talks about false prophets. During the time of Jesus people were looking for miracles but it was different. It was meant to ginger faith in God and to attract people to the ways of God. The danger in Ghana is poverty where people look at the word of God as a means of providing wealth. He opined that the Church needs re-examine itself about how it teaches the word. “It means the Church might not be teaching the people well,” he added. The churches need to address the situation and to teach the word that accepting the word is best miracle. Governments also have a responsibility to ensure equity in the distribution of the nation’s wealth and to provide the basic needs of the people.

Hopes and aspirations for the new congregation is to stop infighting. There is so much infighting in the Church abroad, very much unlike the Church at home. People fight for tags and nomenclatures. If we remain Presbyterians, we should all regard ourselves as one people as the motto of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana says, “that all may be one.” “Belonging to PCUSA and PCG does not make anyone different. We are all one in Christ. We need to build a Diaspora Church that will be an inspiration to the Church that is dying here.”

The newly installed pastor thanked the Elders and members of the Church for inviting him to serve with them in the Lord’s vineyard. He paid particular tribute to Elder Tony De La Rosa, Dr. David Ofori, jnr., Elder Nana Osei Nyarko and Daniel Ogyiri among others who helped to secure visas for him and his family to join the flock.

Posted by on Jun 15 2013. Filed under Community News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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