The Junior Youth (Junior “Y”) of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana even though designated as a generational group, previously operated as a branch of the Young Peoples’ Guild (YPG). To ensure proper coordination between the YPG and the Junior “Y” the Vice Presidents of the YPG were made the liaison officers and automatically became part of the Congregational Junior Youth Executive or Junior Youth Leaders. To further deepen this coordination, the Junior “Y” Presidents at both the District and the Presbytery levels attended all Executive and Council Meetings of the YPG. The YPG therefore reported on the activities of Junior “Y” to the various Courts of the Church.
However, the 10th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana held at Takoradi in 2010 resolved to make the Junior Youth an autonomous generational group in the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. It must be noted that there is currently no factual documentation regarding when, where and how the Junior Youth of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana commenced. Consequently, all Presbyteries have been tasked to compile their respective history of the Junior “Y” to help determine either the pioneering Congregation or District or Presbytery. This will also help in compiling a comprehensive history of the Junior Youth Ministry of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana.
Notwithstanding the above, oral information gathered so far indicated that the Junior “Y” started in the 1970s at Peyer Congregation, Bantama in the Asante Presbytery by two Presbyters. These two Presbyters moved by the Holy Spirit, felt the urgent need to create a service which was youth friendly to enable the youth between the ages of 14 and 25 in the Church to feel belonged to worship God in their own style.
Mr. Fred Darko and the other Presbyter who were the two visionary Presbyters who pioneered the Junior “Y” at Bantama bought a set of drums for the youth to start their own youth service.
No sooner had they started the Youth Service than the Youth Service spread to other congregations and other parts of the country and was eventually accepted by Synod when the Youth Policy was adopted in 1983. The age limit was then changed from the prevailing fourteen to twenty-five years (14-25years) to twelve to eighteen years (12-18years). The first known inaugurated branch of the Junior “Y” took place at the Nativity Congregation in the La District of the Ga Presbytery in 1984. This was followed by Ebenezer Congregation Osu also in the Ga Presbytery in 1985. From here, several other congregations were inaugurated.
The composition of the Junior Youth Executive when it operated under the supervision of the YPG included five Executive members at all courts from Congregation to Presbytery. The Executive positions included: President, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Organizer, and Treasurer/Financial Secretary.
The General Assembly Council Modality that accompanied the implementation of the separation of the Junior “Y” from the YPG gave the structure below:
• Congregational level: Seven (7) member Executive consisting of: four (4) Junior Youth Leaders, three (3) Junior Youth members with at least one female Representative
• District level: One (1) Junior Youth Leader Representative from each of the congregations with Junior Youth within the District, and Two (2) Junior Youth members appointed on rotational basis.
• The Presbytery was made to maintain the old structure.
However, there were several challenges associated with the implementation of the above proposal suggested by the GAC at the Congregational and District levels. These challenges rendered the proposed modality very difficult to implement if not impossible. For example, some districts had twenty-four (24) Junior “Y” Locals and this would automatically translate into 26 District Executives which was a large Executive body. For this reason, districts have maintained the old Junior “Y” Executive structure while applying the GAC modality to District Council.
The GAC decision that sought to separate the Junior Youth (JY) from the direct supervision of the YPG placed the Junior “Y” under the Committee on Youth Ministry. This new arrangement did not still make room for the establishment of a national Junior “Y” body like the other generational groups in the Church.
The then National Director of Church Life and Nurture (DCLAN), Rev. Dr. Kofi Amfo-Akunnor realizing the absence of a National Junior “Y” body after the separation from YPG held quarterly meetings with the Presbytery Presidents of Junior “Y” to deliberate on issues affecting the Junior “Y” Ministry. Deliberations at such meetings revealed the need for the institution of a national Junior “Y” body. Therefore, a unanimous decision was made during one of such quarterly meetings with the then DCLAN to appoint a two-member coordinating team to coordinate the activities of the Junior “Y” nationwide on rotational basis. However, this could not function as planned during the tenure of the then DCLAN.
However, on assumption of office as the New DCLAN, Rev. Kweku Bio Kyeame called a meeting on 5th March, 2015 to consider a roadmap towards institutionalizing the National Junior “Y” body. At the meeting a decision to appoint a seven-member interim National Junior “Y” Coordinating Committee comprising five Presbytery Presidents/Representative and two other people appointed by DCLAN was endorsed.
The seven-member Coordinating Committee had been working since its inception by organizing meetings and programmes at the national level. During one of such meetings on 25th September, 2016, a decision was taken to constitute a substantive national body just like any of the other groups within the Church. Consequently, a five-member committee under the Chairmanship of Rev. Charles Kwesi Yeboah was constituted and tasked to come out with modalities for constituting a functional national Junior “Y” body and also consider the possibility of holding national conferences.
The Committee presented its report on 21st January, 2017 during the maiden joint Children Service Teachers and Junior Youth Leaders retreat held at Basel Guest House, Kumasi. The Committees’ report was discussed and adopted.
The National Coordinating Committee headed by Mr. Sugar E. F. K. Adukonu presented a proposal to General Assembly Council and General Assembly through the National Director of Church Life and Nurture Rev. Kwaku Bio Kyeame for the formation and formalization of the Junior Youth at the national level. During the 17th General Assembly held from Friday 18th to Thursday 24th, August, 2017 at Abetifi, the General Assembly took a decision to permit Junior “Y” Week Celebration and its inclusion on the Almanac as well as the institutionalization of the National Junior “Y” Body to coordinate the activities of Junior “Y”.
It is the above decision of the General Assembly that gave rise to the constituting of the Junior Youth Constitution Drafting Committee chaired by Rev. Charles Kwesi Yeboah (the B/A Presbytery Youth Coordinator).
We look forward to having the constitution promulgated to aid the formal restructuring of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana Junior Youth.