“Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain” (Psalm 127 vs. 1)
HISTORY OF FAITH CONGREGATION, SHIASHIE, KAAJAANO DISTRICT [1971-2015]
THE BEGINNING: SOWING THE FIRST SEED
Faith Presbyterian Church, Shiashie, was founded in 1971 through the instrument of Madam Helena Ayorkor Dapaah who settled at Shiashie from Osu that same year due to challenges in her life. Maa Dapaah, as she was affectionately called, gathered children of the village in the house of the then Chief of Shiashie, Nii Apan Kofi, to tell them Bible stories and to teach Presbyterian Children’s Service hymns. Later, she moved to the house of Nii Kwabla Nkpa where Mr Adukwei Hammond, his wife Mercy Akyeampomaa and Mr Jacob Agoe Otoo joined in the mission of founding a Church. As more joined, Maa Dapaah sought the assistance of Osu Eben-Ezer Presbyterian Church in the mission. The Rev. E.A Anteh, then-District Minister at Osu, accepted the challenge and responded by sending lay-preachers to minister.
The “mustard seed” sown through Maa Dapaah germinated and the Shiashie Presbyterian Church, like a new plant, began to ‘sprout’. On 1st January 1972, the first 36 children and five adults were baptized into Christ by the Rev. E.O. Tettey of the Osu Ebenezer Presbyterian Church. The ceremony was held in the former Shiashie Royal School building.
THE FIRST CHURCH BUILDING
In 1972, encouraged by developments at Shiashie, the Osu Eben-Ezer Presbyterian Church decided to replace the dilapidated Royal School building with one constructed with corrugated iron sheets to serve also as a place of worship. The late Mr Quartey, also known as “Tsonotsatsu” was assigned this task. Out of his own resources, he constructed a new building with bricks instead of corrugated sheets. He began the project in 1972 and completed in 1973. That building became available for school and for worship. The nucleus of a Presbyterian Church with a building was therefore established. This infant Church had the status of a preaching point Church and was named "Tsuishitoo".
TURBULENT PERIOD – TESTING THE ‘FOUNDATIONS OF THE EARLY CHURCH’
In 1978, Madam Dapaah moved back to Osu on account of ill health. There was a leadership crisis after her departure, and interest in the young Church began to wane. Those who ministered from the Osu Presbyterian Church also grew weary, as income from the young Shiashie Tsuishitoo Presbyterian Church dwindled and was insufficient for the transportation of the lay preachers. Ministry to Shiashie from Osu, therefore, ceased for a while. But this experience of difficulty was necessary. The "seed" planted must first die for new life to spring forth, as in Presbyterian Hymn 276. Madam Dapaah's departure was necessary to prove whether the foundation of the new Church was the Lord Himself.
For three years, the new Church went through a period of severe testing and trial and nearly died. But the Lord, her sure and firm foundation (PH 269), kept it alive through the Adjah family of Shiashie.
HANDING OVER OF SHIASHIE TO THE KAAJAANO DISTRICT
On the 13th December 1981, the Osu Presbyterian Church, under the District Minister Rev. E. Ayitey-Atiapa, handed over the struggling Church at Shiashie to the Rev. N.A.K. Ollennu, Minister at Kaajaano to manage. In January 1982, Mr Edmund Akwetey Adjah of Epiphany Presbyterian Church, Kaajaano was appointed Caretaker for Shiashie. He served till 1989, promoting the beginning of the formation of groups such as the YPG. Mr Akwetey Adjah was assisted in this mission by a Management Committee of the following:-
Mr. Isaac Quist - Financial Secretary
Mr Manasseh Kotey - Member
Mrs Vivian Mettle (nee Shandorf) - Treasurer
Mr. Jacob Agoe Otoo - Member
Mr Samuel Adom Adjah - Secretary
In the year 1990, Mr Raymond Nii Annan, also of Kaajaano Epiphany Presbyterian Church, replaced Mr Akwetey Adjah as Caretaker. He worked till June 2000, when he was recalled to Epiphany Congregation. At the same time, he worked with the Ghana Prison Ministry. As a caretaker, he built further on the foundations laid by earlier workers.
From 1994 to 2000, the Legon Interdenominational Church (LIC) at the University of Ghana faithfully supported mission work at Shiashie, providing lay-preachers and contributing financially to the needs of the Church. Mr Victor Nortey, former Executive Secretary of the University of Ghana Medical School was coordinator for this mission. Dr. & Mrs Duttie of the University of Ghana were key instruments in that mission. L.I.C later extended their mission support to Martey Tsuru Presbyterian Church that, together with Shiashie and Epiphany congregations, constituted the Kaajaano District.
APPOINTMENT OF FIRST MINISTER TO SHIASHIE AND FURTHER GROWTH OF THE CONGREGATION
The Call of the Rev. Prof. A.S. Ayettey to Serve:
In March 1993, the Rev. Prof. Andrews Seth Ayettey (then Head of Anatomy Department of the University of Ghana Medical School) requested the Rev. E.S Mate Kodjo (then Synod Clerk of the Presbyterian Church) to consider assigning him to Shiashie as a pastor, additional to his prime duty to establish a national prisons ministry under the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. Rev. Ayettey and his wife Cecilia had recognized the leading of the Lord for them to serve at Shiashie where they had been allocated a plot of land and were building a house for the family. Each time they drove by the Church at Shiashie to the building site, about a kilometre away, they longed in their hearts to be part of that congregation.
His request to serve at Shiashie was granted but it was not until two years later that arrangements were completed for the assignment. In March 1995, the Rev. C.K. Sackey, the District Minister for Kaajaano at the time, introduced Rev. Ayettey to the congregation as their minister.
Establishment of a Brigade & the Brigade Band
At a congregational meeting in the year 2000, Mr. Adukwei Hammond proposed the formation of a brass band. This was accepted. Through Jim and Mary Beth Thomas and friends at First Presbyterian Church, Slidell and the Rev. John Huffman of Newport Beach Presbyterian Church, a set of musical instruments was acquired. The congregation also contributed to this. On 18th February, 2001, the instruments for the Brigade band were dedicated.
Mr. Samuel Adom Adjah (now Rev. Adom Adjah) recruited Mr. Edwin Tetteh Nartey of the Ghana Fire Service and a Brass Band Instructor to teach the youth to play the various instruments procured.
On 26th June 2002, the Boys and Girls Brigades were enrolled as the 64th and 63rd Companies respectively of the Ghana Brigade. The officers were Mr. Jonathan Saka and Mr. Daniel Ocquaye and Miss Patricia Anum, Lieutenants Cynthia Tetteh and Sarah Ayettey. Ruth Ayettey was the Drum Major.
After nearly two years, the first recruits into the Band had learnt to play so well they were teaching others. Today, Faith has a strong Brigade Band as a result and their role in worship is very significant, helping with discipline also among the children and youth.
Of the first batch of young people enrolled in the Brigade band, four, namely Mr. Dominic Nyann, Mr. Evans Adjei, Nii Noi Okpoti and Mr. Daniel Mensa Badagbor; became proficient to the level that they were selected for training as Ghana Immigration officers in 2013 and were appointed as Immigration officers in 2014. Dr. Mrs. Adelaide Kastner facilitated their recruitment. The Church is most grateful to her for this and for several other services faithfully and joyfully rendered.
Establishment of Church Library
Being aware of the critical need for quality education for children in the Shiashie community, Session focused in the building of a library for use by both children and adults including those who were not members of the congregation.
In the year 2002, the Library was established in the new building with books first from the First Presbyterian Church, Slidell, USA, through the instrumentality of Mr. Jim Thomas. The late Professor Emeritus Kwame Oppong, an elder of the Church built shelves for books and donated a set of his own books. The Library was further equipped with computers through an Australian friend of Rev. Ayettey, Mr. George Savvides, CEO of MediBank in Australia. These computers came through World Vision Australia and World Vision Ghana. Children and youth of Shiashie benefited hugely from this resource, acquiring skills in information communication technology.
In October 2009 Marjorie Ratel of Canada, leader of an NGO called the Korle Bu Neuroscience Foundation (KBNF) that sought to strengthen neurological care in Ghana and West Africa, sent a container full of school materials on behalf of friends in Canada.
These include textbooks on various subjects, exercise books, pencils, toys, tables and chairs, a large number of carpentry tools and clinic beds and other equipment. The consignment was so large Faith Congregation shared the gift with the Ga Presbytery, the Epiphany Congregation, Oyibi Praise Congregation, Abokobi Zimmerman Congregation, the Osu Orphanage and the Prison Ministry. Even after that, there was much more than the library could contain.
The Library was named after Mr. & Mrs Gustav Narh-Dometey of Epiphany Congregation in recognition of Mr. Narh-Dometey's invaluable construction to the Church building project; he designing the building free of charge. Mr. Narh-Domitey, who also served as Eastern Regional Minister under President Kufuor said his contribution was a tithe of the talents God had given him. What an amazing act worth emulating.
The library continues to be a major resource for students of the congregation especially. Through it, the academic performance of students had improved, making it possible for some children to progress to University, graduate and gain good employment. We praise God for this major resource.
Establishment of a Health Clinic
As the Congregation grew with members of varied skills, Session considered the need to cater for the health of members. It was felt there should be health education for men and women as well as the youth.
On the 29th of September 2002, Mr. Ablorh-Odjidja, his wife Dr. Mrs. Mercy Ablorh-Odjidja and children set up and equipped a clinic for health-care of members of the congregation and of the Shiashie Community. The clinic was managed by Dr. Mercy Ablorh-Odjidja and was assisted by Mrs. Cecilia Ayettey and the Rev. Prof. Ayettey. Financing the clinic became a challenge, as many in the community could not afford the token fees charged to cover medications and other medical supplies.
After running the clinic for almost five years twice weekly and on Sundays, the Session decided to stop the service. It is now well equipped to offer emergency services and operates also as a sickbay. Basic diagnostic instruments include an ECG machine donated by Nancy Hartman in 2014, diagnostic strips for blood sugar testing donated by Mr. Jim Thomas in 2014. As already noted, friends in Canada through Marjorie Ratel donated beds and other equipment. Other contributions to equip the clinic include a diagnostic set and a stethoscope from Dr. Kofi Oppong, son of Professor Christine Oppong, a sphygmomanometer from the late Professor Dako of the University of Ghana. World Vision Ghana contributed medical supplies through the Prison Ministry of Ghana.
Members of the Committee on Health who provide care at the clinic as health professionals include, Dr. George Bortei-Doku; Prof. Albert George Amoah; Dr. Yaw Asare; Dr. Alfred Lutterodt; Dr. Hannah Naa Gogwe Ayettey (an oncologist), Dr. Naa Barkor Ayettey-Adamafio (a Dental Surgeon), Dr. Ruth Nyan Brew (a Medical Officer), Mrs. Cecilia Ayettey (nurse); Ms. Mercy Annang (nurse) and the Rev. Prof. Seth Ayettey.
Inauguration of the Young Adult Fellowship
At the General Assembly of 2008, the PCG, introduced a new generational group, the Young Adult Fellowship, for members in the age range of 30-40.
On the 26th of July, 2009, Session began to work towards establishing such a group. A first meeting of members in that age group was held on the 8th of August, 2009. On the 21st of March, 2010, YAF was inaugurated, with Mr. Eric Ambasaki as President, Mr. Emmanuel Padi as Secretary and Dr. Hannah Ayettey as Treasurer.
Appointment of a Catechist
As Faith congregation grew and as Rev. Ayettey neared retirement, it was considered prudent to have a Catechist to support him and also to learn from him. On July 01, 2013, Mr Silas Aristotle Tagoe was appointed the first Catechist of the Church.
He and his wife Jennie and their children have already been a blessing. The experience of Silas in evangelism from other areas he had served including the Ga Presbytery has benefited Faith already. He was attracted to faith through the film mission which brought him to Shiashie to support evangelism. The request of Session through the District to the Ga Presbytery for his assignment to Faith was approved.
Retirement of the Rev. Prof. Andrews Seth Ayettey
On August 16th, 2015, the Rev. Prof. Andrews Ayettey retired from the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, ended his tenure also as Minister-in Charge of Faith Congregation of the Kaajaano District.
FURTHER GROWTH OF THE CONGREGATION
Formation of Church Groups:Under the leadership of Rev. Ayettey and with the assistance of Mr Raymond Annan, Faith Congregation grew further, with generational groups formed and inaugurated. The YPG (1999), Junior Youth (1999), the Women’s Fellowship (February 2000), the Men’s Fellowship (2003) were established by 2003. The Boys and Girls Brigade and the Brigade Band (2001) and the Singing Band (2004) were also formed. The first Session was constituted in 2003, alongside the formation of Ushers group. In 2004, the Church Choir was formed (see below). There was also the beginnings of the formation of Departments within the Church, starting with the establishment of functional committees.
Inauguration of the ChurchOn the 13th of February 2000, the Tsuishitoo Church was elevated from a preaching point to full congregational status and named Faith Congregation at a service officiated by the Rev. Peter Maugbi Kodjo, Ga Presbytery Chairman. He was assisted by the Rev. Ebenezer Nmai Ollennu, Kaajaano District Minister. In attendance were the Rev. Prof. Andrews Seth Ayettey, the Rev. Dr. Chris Hesse and the Rev. Dr Maxwell Aryee of the Legon Interdenominational Church, the Church.
Establishment of an Interim SessionTo facilitate administration of the early Church, the Management Committee that was formed by the late Akwetey Adjah was re-organized into an interim Session in 1996 with the following members: Mr. Isaac Quist (Chairman and Treasurer), Mr. Emmanuel Barnor (Secretary), Mr. Manasseh Kotey, Mr. Samuel Adom Adjah, Madam Felicia Obuobi, Mrs. Janet Abiti, Mr. Ago Otoo, Mrs. Adelaide Kastner, Mr. Andrew Oyinka and Mr. Joseph Ablorh Odjidjah.
Election of First Session: 23rd March 2003On the 23rd of March 2003, the first Session was officially nominated and elected under the supervision of elders of La Nativity Congregation of the Presbyterian Church. The elected members of Session were:- Mr. Ablorh-Odjidja (Senior Presbyter), Dr. Mrs. Adelaide Kastner (Secretary), Mr. Ago Adjah (Assistant Secretary) Mr. Jacob Otoo, Mrs. Matilda Aziamor (Treasurer), Mr. Manasseh Kotey, Mr. Patrick Tetteh, Mrs. Grace Toppah, Mrs. Gritty Gboloo and Madam Rose Hwananaope, with Rev. Ayettey as Chairman, and the Rev. Samuel Adom Adjah in attendance. Mr. Daniel Agoe Adjah, a leader of the Junior Youth, served as co-opted member.
Appointment of Full-time StaffAs the ministry grew, it became necessary to appoint full-time workers to serve. Mr. Manasseh Kotey, an elder of the Church, was the first to be appointed fulltime worker in 2001 to serve as sole contractor and builder for the new building project (see below). On 26th July, 2001, Mr. Adukwei Hammond was appointed security officer. In 2002, Madam Comfort Amerle Laryea and Mr. Gabriel Kumedjina were appointed cleaner and gardener respectively to take care of the new Church building. Mr. Andrew Oyinka was appointed Administrative Secretary of the Church in August 2003 and Hon Benjamin Oklah (Assemblyman) was appointed Accounts Manager in May 2004.
English and Vernacular ServicesIn anticipation of using the auditorium for services, Session, in November 2009, proposed to the Congregation two services - one in English and the other in Vernacular. This was accepted. In February 2011, the congregation moved into the main sanctuary for two services, the first (7.30-9 AM) in Vernacular and the second in English from 9.30 AM to 12 Noon. The French service continued in the Church Hall till it was withdrawn by the Presbytery.
Call of Mr. Samuel Adom Adjah into the MinistryOn the 30th of June, 2001, Mr. Samuel Adom Adjah was accepted for Ministerial Training at the Trinity Theological Seminary, nominated by the Rev. Ayettey and approved by Session and the Kaajaano District. This was a most significant development, noting that Mr. Adom Adjah was one of the early instruments God used in laying a strong foundation for the Church at Shiashie. Mr. Adjah had demonstrated passion, dedication and commitment to service. On the 13th of July 2003, he was commissioned at Aburi Emmanuel Congregation by the Very Rev. Dr. Sam Prempeh and was posted to Faith Congregation where he served for two years as a probationer. On the 10th of July 2005, the Rev. Samuel Adom Adjah was ordained.
Visit of the Rev. Steve Kim of First Presbyterian Church, SlidellOn the 16th of September, 2001, the Rev. Steve Kim and Mr. Jim Thomas of First Presbyterian Church, Slidell visited. The Rev. Steve Kim preached and administered communion. He and Jim were in the country for Prison Ministry retreat when the September 11 destruction of the World Trade Center twin towers in Manhattan, New York. The Rev. Steve Kim and Mr. Jim Thomas were actually ministering at Ussher Fort Prison at the time of the tragic event.
Inauguration of the Women's FellowshipOn 20th February 2000, a week after the formal establishment of Faith Congregation, the Women's Fellowship was inaugurated at a service officiated by the District Minister the Rev. E.N. Ollennu, assisted by the Rev. Prof. Ayettey. The inauguration was performed by Mrs. Grace Lamptey, representing the "Akwashong" of the Ga Presbytery Women's Fellowship.
Inauguration of the Men's FellowshipOn the 17th of August, 2003, the Men's Fellowship was inaugurated by the Men's Fellowship Executive of the Ga Presbytery, with the Rev. Ayettey and the Rev. Adom Adjah as witnesses.
Licensing of the Church as a premise for WeddingsOn the 19th of July, 2003, the Church was licensed by the Registrar General as a place for performing marriage under the ordinance and on the behalf of the Registrar. On the 27th of July, 2003, the first wedding, between Mr. & Mrs Adukwei Hammond was celebrated at faith.
Faith as a venue for Training of Ministerial StudentsThe Trinity Theological Seminary and the Ga Presbytery recognized the suitability of Faith Congregation as a Church located in both low and high-income communities for ministerial training. Consequently, Mr. (now Rev) Raymond Baah Abekah was posted on practical attachment on 14th September 2002, followed by Mr. (now Rev) Lawson Stephen Nii Lankwei Lawson on 19th September 2004.
Inauguration of the Singing BandAt the dedication service of the Church on 13th February 2000, the Rev. Peter Kodjo pledged himself as patron of the singing band at Faith. He followed this group with interest. On 22nd August 2004, he personally officiated the inauguration of this group. Mr. Manasseh Kotey was a key leader of the group. The following were early and active members of the group: Mr. Emmanuel Barnor; Mrs. Gladys Barnor; Akwele Adjah; Akuorkor Adjah; Adom Adjah; Daniel Agoe Amarkwei Adjah and, later, Rose Hwananaope.
The Church ChoirThe Church Choir was formed from June 1995. The first members were Patrick Tetteh, Mercy Adams, Joseph Okpoti; Martha Okpoti; Hannah Ayettey, Mary Ayettey, Emmanuel Barnor; Daniel Agoe; Oscar Otoo, Josephine Adams and Sarah Ayettey. Mr. Samuel Adom Adjah later joined. The Church Choir was formally inaugurated on the 16th of May, 2004. The organists for the choir from the beginning was Mr. Andrews Oyinka, assisted by Hannah Ayettey, Mary Ayettey and Daniel Agoe. From 2002 till 2006, Dr. Mary Ayettey was the organist, assisted by Daniel Agoe. From 2006, Dr. Hannah Ayettey took over as organist. Mr. Patrick Tetteh was the President of the Choir and Mrs. Emma Otoo, who joined after marrying Mr. Jacob Otoo, became the Choir Mother. Mr. Solomon Sackey was Choirmaster from 1995 to 2003. Mr. Elijah Akonai took over the same year and had since raised very high the standard of the choir. Mr. Parkins of Mr. Franklin Annor of Osu Eben-Ezer assisted the Choir from time to time.
Growth in Size and Ministry of the Church and Need for ExpansionThe old Church building, the Church on the Road, could accommodate only 65 adults for worship on Sundays. For lack of space, the children's service was conducted under a shed with palm branch roofing. Annual Harvest and Thanksgiving services were also held under a large Neem (Nim) tree close to the church. Church group meetings could not be accommodated conveniently in the building. This hindered fellowship and growth. In 1998, Session, as an interim measure, therefore decided to extend the old building westward to accommodate 25 more people. This project was undertaken by Mr. Manasseh Kotey and Mr. Andrews Oyinka. The extension proved helpful, accommodating the children service and group meetings and at the same time allowing for storage of property of the Church. Through leadership training, the Church produced lay preachers to help with services for the children, the youth and adults.
Development of Sporting FacilitiesSession again noted the need for recreation for members of the congregation to improve the quality of their life. For several years, the main playfield at Shiashie served as grounds for soccer matches between groups within the Church and between Faith and other groups in Shiashie for evangelism. Other sporting activities developed included volley ball, basket ball, athletics and table tennis. Jim and Mary Beth Thomas contributed soccer balls and jerseys; Joey and Susan Wilson helped to establish the Table Tennis sport; Damian Moe of Canada provided funds for basket ball game. Lately, in 2014, Dr. Jocelyne Lapointe of Canada built a swing for the Faith Presbyterian School. In the year 2008, the football park was sold out for property development. The Church and other groups within Shiashie therefore used the OIC football park for games.
Skills Training for Church MembersAs noted, the building project was planned to benefit the youth of the Congregation in other ways. The project offered members the opportunity for trade-training to acquire skills in building craftsmanship. Quite a number of youth benefitted from this. Today, many in the Church and at Shiashie that benefitted from the project have become experts in carpentry, masonry, painting and metal and are in gainful employment, earning a good living. Through the Women's Ministry, house-keeping, catering, sewing and other crafts had been introduced to equip members. Madam Gladys Laryea and Mrs. Margaret Mamphey have provided training n dress-making for some members of the Church. As noted earlier, the Brigade Band has benefitted some members to gain employment at the Ghana Immigration Service. The Junior Youth and the Young People's Guild introduced Tie-and-Die project that benefitted some. This project is being revived by Mr. Edward Lamptey. Session on several occasions had sponsored the training of the youth in music and especially in the paying of the keyboard.
Faith Congregation: An Asset for the Presbyterian Church of GhanaWhen Madam Dapaah moved to Shiashie in 1971, she had no idea what God would do out fo the small seed she planted. Within 44 years, that "mustard seed" had become large enough to accommodate major events of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. On 1st September 2012, Faith hosted the Divine service for the 50th Anniversary of the National Women's Fellowship. The auditorium sat over 1,500 delegates and other members. On June 8th 2014, Faith was the venue for the commissioning of Probationers in the Presbyterian Church. There were over 2000 worshipers. On 12th July 2014 and 11th July 2015, Faith hosted the Ga Presbytery Junior Youth Fellowship.
Growth in Congregational SizeFrom a congregational population of 65 adults and about 50 children as at 2000, Faith had a total of 520 members as at end of 2014 made up of 150 children, 62 Junior Youth, 96 youth, 40 young adults and 172 adults. 292 members are communicants and 26 non-communicants. Again, the "mustard seed" has grown much bigger than at the beginning. To God be the glory!. "Eben-Ezer, hitherto the Lord has helped us" - 1 Samuel 7:12.
PLANNING FOR THE NEW CHURCH BUILDING
Further Work in the Construction of the Church building
In 1996, the youth at First Presbyterian Church, Slidell, Louisiana, USA, adopted the family of Mr. and Mrs. John Ametsitsi, supporting the education and professional training of their children. This offer was made especially because the wife, Aunty Ami was so faithful in attending Bible Studies and Prayer meetings despite of the economic challenges of her family. Today, the children have all made good progress in life.
In 1996, the Youth at the Presbyterian Church in Florida, USA where the Rev. Mrs. Michelle Thomas-Bush (daughter of Jim & Mary Beth Thomas) ministered, committed themselves to supporting the education of the children of Mr. & Mrs. Samuel Adom Adjah. Mr. Adom Adjah who later became a Reverend Minister.
In 2003, Faith Congregation started a rabbit farm to teach the youth to raise meat to feed themselves and others. This project under the care of the Rev. Samuel Adom Adjah. It could not be sustained on account of undying.
In the year 2002, Jim and Mary Beth Thomas introduced a special fund managed by Mrs. Cecilia Ayettey to support the education of other needy members of the Congregation. In 2009 when funding ceased, the Rev. & Mrs. Ayettey took over the project. Over 40 children, some outside Faith Congregation, benefitted from this.
Out of this project came the Scholarship Fund through which members of the congregation support needy children and especially orphans.
In 2004, Mr. Jim Thomas (USA) provided a DVD player and Ms Marjorie Ratel (Vancouver, Canada) provided DVD movies to improve children and youth ministries.
On the 18th of June, 2008, the need for adequate water supply to the Shiashie community was realized. Mr. Jim Thomas and the Rev. Ayettey wrote a proposal and sent it to President Dotse of Rotary Club, Ghana with support from Rotary International Director Sam Okudzeto and Past District President Adotei Brown. Mrs. Diane Moe of Canada, sister in law of Marjorie Ratel raised $12,000 for the project. Two bore holes were sunk in 2009 with a very high yield of water sufficient to meet the needs of the 2,500 population.
However, the quality of water was found to be poor. Desalination was considered and suggested by water experts introduced by Jim Thomas. The project was suspended pending adequate funding for the reverse osmosis equipment for desalination and removal of other toxic metals including arsenic.
In 2012, the Kaajaano District expressed interest in the project. Focus was shifted from the borehole to harvesting water from the underground streams which is potable. This project is still pending.
In the year 2009, Session began to promote the need for the establishment of a Credit Union on the advice of Mr. Ebenezer Adrah to promote economic development of members of the congregation. The Congregation welcomed this proposal that would help members to contribute to a fund from which they could access loans for business, to pay school fees of their wards and to fulfill other financial obligations. On January 23, 2010, the Credit Union was established with Mr. Eric Ambasaki as Manager.
This unique project was initiated by Prof. Mrs. Ellen Bortei-Doku and embraced by Session and the Congregation in 2012. It followed the early Apostolic tradition in which members of the Church supported each other, meeting the needs of all. Once a year, members brought out valuable items for sale at a token amount of One Ghana Cedi. That way, everyone could afford descent clothes and other household items. In 2013, a car was sold for one Cedi. Ms. Gladys Laryea, Mrs. Hannah Quist and Mrs. Margaret Mamphey, seamstresses by profession, always brought brand new clothes for sale.
Outreach Mission of Faith Congregation
A major characteristic of Faith had been its involvement in mission inside and outside the Church. Key in this mission has been the propagation of the Gospel through preaching, teaching and Bible Studies and support of the physical and emotional needs of others.
The Lord has blessed this ministry tremendously as demonstrated in the Christ-like character of most members of the congregation. The Evangelism Committee under the leadership of Madam Rose Hwananope, Mr Eric Ambasaki and Mrs Dorothy Osae. The focus of the outreach mission had been at the Shiashie township and at Abotsiman.
Another area of mission thrust had been on the children’s ministry. Mrs Emma Otoo, Mrs., Gritty Gboloo and Madam Vida Doku had been the main resource team for the group. Marj Ratel of Canada had always ministered to the children any time she visited Ghana.
Mission Support to Martey Tsuru Congregation
From 1995 when the Rev. Ayettey became the Minister in Charge, the interim Session decided to support Martey Tsuru Presbyterian Church, a church that was established in July 1995 under the Kaajaano District as Victory Congregation. Faith featured prominently in the preaching plan of the District. The support from Faith was such that the LIC considered it no longer necessary to support Martey Tsuru from the year 2000. From 1st June 1999, the Rev. Dr Chris Hesse, then Executive Director of the Prison Ministry of Ghana was assigned pastoral duties at Martey Tsuru till December 2003. He received support from Faith till the 20th January 2002, when Victory Congregation was placed under Teshie District by the Ga Presbytery.
Mission support for Fumbisi Presbyterian Church
In the year 2011, the Rev. Timothy Bawa explored assistance for completion of a Church-building project for the Congregation at Fumbisi through Regina Appiah-Carr at the Prison Ministry office. Regina informed Session about this and Session immediately agreed to provide yearly support of GHC3000. With increased support for missions from Joey and Susan Wilson, this amount was later increased to GHC 6,000. In the year 2014, the project was almost completed and Fumbisi was elevated to a District. Support to Fumbisi continues.
Mission support for Oyibi Praise Congregation
In 2008, Faith Congregation decided to support Oyibi Praise Congregation of the Presbyterian Church that was then under the Rev. Lassey. Assistance provided included preaching, the building of a nursery and payment of the salary of a catechist. In the year 2013, Oyibi was elevated to the level of a District.
Mission support to Doryumu Presbyterian Church
In the year 2012, Faith Congregation approved mission support to the Doryumu Presbyterian Church under the Gangme Tongue Presbytery through the funeral of the mother of Mr Andrews Oyinka who also was a member of Faith Congregation. When it was noted that the Presbyterian congregation there had no permanent place of worship, Prof. Mrs Ellen Bortei-Doku, the Senior Clerk recommended to Session that the Doryumu congregation be supported in their effort to build a Church. This was approved. Session also decided that evangelistic work there should be supported
Mission support to Katamanso
When the East Mission Field of the Ga Presbytery was elevated to a District with Oyibi praise as the main station, the mission support for Oyibi was transferred to Katamanso Presbyterian Church to assist the Rev. Winfred Tetteh in the mission there. Rev. Tetteh had married Aku Padi of Faith Congregation.
Mission support to needy groups
From 2002, Faith Congregation had supported the following missions: Prison ministry – through the Ghana Prison Ministry; Ministry to healed lepers at the Weija Leprosarium – from fruits vegetables, clothes etc donated at annual harvest service; the Dzorwulu Special School children (mentally challenged children) from annual harvest and children’s harvest proceeds; orphans at the Fafraha Orphanage – from harvest proceeds; orphans and needy children in the Shiashie community in the form of scholarships. Ministry to psychiatric patients at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital began much earlier and had been through the women’s ministry at the District level. In 2015, a special ministry to the aged began.
The Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Martey, as Ga Presbytery Chairman, had considered the need to introduce French Service into the Presbytery. He planned for a pilot project at Faith Congregation. On the 4th of October 2009, the service started with 10 members. Mr. Linus Hanson was appointed administrator and the Rev. Florence Simpson Minster for the French Service. By November 2011, the French Service was ended on account of mismanagement and low patronage.
The Faith School Project
A major mission of Faith Congregation had been the school project. As noted in the early beginnings of the Church, Sunday school classes where the Scriptures and Presbyterian Hymns were taught by Madam Helena Dapaah formed the foundation for growth. The Shiashie Royal School emerged from that in 1973 after Mr Tsonotsatsu Quartey had built the block for a school. Mr Agoe Otoo (popularly known as “Teacher Agoe” was one of the teachers at the Royal School.
The Nursery School building
In March 2001, the European Union offered to provide funds for a school building for the Shiashie community. Mr Desmond Addo Biney, the Assemblyman at the time and who was the contact for the European Union team had recommended that the project should be through the Faith Presbyterian Church. The Union agreed and made money available for the building of the school. A four-room building was constructed by Mr Manesseh Kotey, assisted by Mr Andrews Oyinka. In November 2006, Mr Biney informed Session that permission had been granted by the Union to give the building to Faith Congregation to run as a creche. About this same time, Mrs. Beatrice Adjepon-Yamaha had joined the Church, having an excellent background as a teacher in the Ghana Education Service.
With this facility available, the Session and the Congregation took a bold step to start a nursery school with 7 children. in September 2006. Mrs Ayettey and Rose Hwananaopeh were in charge and reported to Session that the number on roll had increased to 23 by 27th September and to 29 by October 4th.
Further Growth of the School
By February 2009, the student population had reached 76, including children at the Basic School level. The current enrollment is 161, with classes up to first-year Junior High School. Fro m September 2015, the second year of JSS class shall commence. To date, all classes had been accommodated in rooms within the main church building.
Preparations for permanent buildings and Challenges
Preparations for permanent buildings began soon after the nursery school started in 2006. Every effort was made to secure the remainder of the land donated by the Chiefs for the project. In the year 2009, the Chief changed his mind about the rest of the land and decided to allocate it to the owners of the French School supposedly in exchange for a bigger land somewhere else. Session and the Congregation firmly resisted this move. In the year 2013, the matter ended up in court. As the Lord would have it, the lawyer that stood for Mr Bentil in his attempt to claim the land from for the Church building was the same lawyer who now defended faith Congregation as a lawyer also for the Presbyterian Church. The case was dismissed as the litigants failed to make an appearance.
An Unexpected Event
On 2nd December 2010, the Congregation went through a harrowing experience. The lawyer of Apantse We Family of La, Mr James Ahenkorah, wrote to inform us that the Apantse We Family was taking back the remainder of the land donated. This was followed by a legal suit. We appeared in Court represented by the lawyer of the Presbyterian Church who happened to be the same lawyer who had represented Mr Bentil against us. God, indeed, moves in mysterious ways. The Judge dismissed the case as the plaintiffs did not appear in court.
From 2006, Faith Congregation engaged Mrs Antonia Ofori of La Femme Arc Consult and her partner Mrs Aba Minkah to prepare drawings for the school. After several consultations and briefings, the drawings were ready by 2013.
Several attempts were made to secure the title on the land. Although much progress had been made and there had not been evidence of dispute of ownership, the title had still not been issued.
Beginning of Construction of Permanent School building
On the 29th of July 2014 at 5 PM, the Rev. Dr Godwin Odonkor, Ga Presbytery Chairman, assisted by the Rev. Samuel Nii Klu Nortey, District Minister at Kaajaano, cut the sod for the commencement of the construction of permanent buildings for the school.
Mr Johnson Teye of Lemet Construction is the contractor. To save the value of money available for the project, Session asked for the foundation to be done, while waiting for the title and the building permit. The issue of building permit had been a major challenge for us and for all who are planning to construct buildings and are actually building in the area. The area was zoned as Wuogon and has been rezoned as Ayawaso East. It had been a major challenge transferring legal title from the Wougon to the Ayawaso district. It is hoped that this would be resolved soon and the title issued.