Psalm 115:1 (NIV)
Things normally do not just grow by themselves. Everything has a beginning, and more often than not, it centers around one person or a group and that is how our church started.
Between 1970 and 1980 the number of Ghanaians living in the Tri-State, namely, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut increased tremendously. Unfortunately, many deaths occurred among the Ghanaians in the early 1980s, and that resulted in organized wakes and funeral services. Most of the hymns and songs sang at these gatherings were Presbyterian hymns, and that was an eye opener to seek the Presbyterians in the Ghanaian community for fellowship.
In 1982, the late Mrs. Margaret Ohemeng became so concerned about the high death rate that she suggested a day of prayer to be held for divine intervention. Several prayer meetings followed. During one of these prayer meetings, the group discussed the possibilities of forming a Presbyterian Church. In 1983, Mr. Francis Kumi Dwamena who was then a Doctoral candidate in Ministry and Education at Columbia University, New York City, volunteered to compile the names, addresses and telephone numbers of Ghanaians who were Presbyterians and lived in the Tri-state area.In the summer of 1985, the following people met at 310 Convent Avenue, New York City:
- Mr. Yaw Asiedu
- Mr. Emmanuel Bediako Yirenkyi
- Mr. Frank Kwame Sakyiama
- Mr. Eugene Adum Kwapong
- Mr. Osew Asare
- Mr. Joseph Boateng
- Mrs. Mary Boateng
- Mrs. Thelma K. Annan
- Mrs. Margaret Ohemeng
- Mr. Francis Kumi Dwamena, and
- Mrs. Victoria Dwamena
Sunday, November 24, 1985 marked a significant point in the history of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana in New York. On that day, over a hundred worshipers congregated at the Broadway Presbyterian Church at 601 west 114th Street, New York City, for the first organized service. The church continued to rent the space at the Broadway Presbyterian Church or five years. Those were difficult times. It was a real hardship to come up with the rent because monies realized on most Sundays were not enough and some goodwill members had to subsidize. Church service was held once a month.
On that same day the following people were commissioned as elders of the church;
- Mr. Yaw Asiedu,
- Mr. Eugene Adum Kwapong,
- Mr. Emmanuel Bediako Yirenkyi,
- Dr. Enoch Amo Gyamfi,
- Mr. Okpoti Sowah,
- Mr. Michael Ofori Mankata,
- Mr.Ben Dodoo Djoleto,
- Mr. N.A Olleennu,
- Mrs. Thelma K. Annan,
- Mrs. Angelina Akiwumi, and
- Mrs. Margaret Ohemeng.
In 1991 through the efforts of Rev. Dr. Francis Kumi Dwamena, the Session at Mount Morris Ascension Presbyterian Church at 2 West 122nd Street, New York City, gave the P.C.G. in New York permission to use its premises for worship and activities. that felt very welcoming. The rent was affordable and two years later the infant congregation started going to church thrice a month and soon after services were held every Sunday. P.C.G. in New York worshiped at Mt. Morris Ascension Presbyterian Church for over a decade.
The church continued to flourish, and in less than a decade the another service and generational groups had been inaugurated. The Singing Band was inaugurated on December 28, 1988. Two years later, the Church Choir was dedicated on October 28, 1990. Thereafter, the Women’s Fellowship was inaugurated on April 25, 1993, followed by the inauguration of the Men’s Fellowship on June 26, 1994. The children’s service and the YPG were also functioning effectively. The first confirmation service was held on June 28, 1992. Nine young girls and boys were confirmed. Today we have a Bible Study and Prayer Group and a professional church band and a Young Adult Fellowship
In 1995, the church celebrated its 10th Anniversary and purchased a van for pastoral work at the cost of $25,000.00. It was paid in full by member contributions. The Rt. Rev. A. A. Berko, Moderator of the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana was the Officiating Minister.
As the church grew, it became necessary to find its own place of worship to accommodate the ever increasing needs and pave the way for spiritual growth. In 2000, while still worshiping at Mt. Morris Ascension Presbyterian Church, the Church after numerous search purchased a building at 259-261 West 123rd Street at a cost of $1,500,000 from the Police Athletic League. At the time of purchase, the church was not credit worthy so the bank turned down its application for a mortgage loan. The owner of the building held a balloon mortgage at a 9.25% rate for five years. Soon after closing, the building was thoroughly cleaned with removal of debris through communal labor. The first and second floors of the building were renovated piecemeal over a period of time which allowed for holding of meetings during the week and on Saturdays.
On December 8, 2002, Rev. Yaw Asiedu was commissioned in Accra, Ghana as a Minister of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. On September 1, 2003 he became the Minister-in-Charge of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana in New York. He succeeded Rev. Dr. Francis Kumi Dwamena who retired after 17 years of dedicated service.
On October 24, 2003 when the Overseas Mission Field, USA was erected, Rev. Yaw Asiedu was ordained as Minister-In-Charge of PCG-New York by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Sam Prempeh and Rev. Dr. Charles Gyang-Duah, Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. PCG-New York became the headquarters of the Overseas mission Field-USA.
After many years of service, Rev. Yaw Asiedu retired on August 31, 2011. Rev. Barimah Appiah-Dankwa was appointed as the Minister-In-Charge of PCG-NY on September 1, 2011. Unfortunately, he could not get into the United States until May 5, 2012. In his absence, Rev. Yaw Asiedu was given the charge by PCG to be the Minster for PCG-NY.
On October 21, 2012, Rev. Barimah Appiah-Dankwa was inducted into office as the Minister-In-Charge of PCG-NY and District Minister of the Overseas Mission Field by the Moderator of the General assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, The Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Martey.
Two representatives from the Church attended the Overseas Mission Conference held in London, UK from May 23-27, 2012.
In 2005 the mortgage on the Church's newly acquired building matured with a balance of $950,000.00 to be paid. The payments of nearly $1,000.000.00 were applied to the interest. The two options available were to come up with the balance or lose the building. God provided a safety net. A loan loan was approved and quickly applied at the bank at a lower interest rate to refinance the building and pay off the balance of the mortgage.
In the spring of 2007, Mt. Morris Ascension Presbyterian Church was scheduled for renovation and the Church was encouraged to relocate. Although the information was passed on late, the Church managed to move its property within the given two weeks into its own building. Church members used their vans, cars and whatever means to get the work done. The second floor of the former gymnasium was set up as the new sanctuary to be used for Church services.
In the same year the Church had to host the Overseas Mission Field Annual Convention. The Session after much deliberation decided to turn the third floor of the building into a sanctuary convene the services there. This was done in March and the convention was held in July. It was a real challenge. Work was done around the clock and the renovation was completed. The Church went ahead to procure the much needed furnishings, Chairs, the floor was carpeted and the entire building was decorated and prepped for the next chapter all to the glory of God.
An elevator was installed in 2012 to meet the needs of seniors and the physically challenged and part of the building was leased for Commercial use by a Construction Consultium for a period of time. The vision is to enable the Church to build some capital by the time the lease matures, which could be chanelled into developing the site to meet its specific future needs.
The building was officially dedicated as a place of worship on April 5, 2009 when Rev. Dr. Charles Gyang-Duah was inducted into office as a Minister-In-Charge of the Ebenezer Congregation and chairperson for the Overseas Mission Field, USA.
Major renovations have taken place since the dedication of the building. The first floor has new offices and conference rooms equipped with modern amenities. One of the offices was donated to the OMF as the chairperson’s office.
To God be the Glory.