As I ponder over life and look back into time, I can’t help but feel nostalgic. Thinking about the little I have witnessed, by way of our country’s politics and church history, I’m sure if you were my age (although I’m not too old), you would probably share in my thoughts and feelings.
OF POLITICS AND CHURCH
1983. There is no way I can forget this year. This was the year we had to queue for basic needs. If you wanted to eat kenkey, you needed to go to the kenkey house to place your order before the kenkey was ready or, better still, buy it uncooked, go home and finish it off. During that time, there was no way a kenkey seller would have the time to even put kenkey in an ice chest (food warmer) for customers. For the where? If you make the mistake of waiting till the kenkey got cooked before going to the kenkey house, Jack, you would go and meet an empty cooking pot – everything gone! Interesting times, they were.
Does anyone remember the era of Papa J. desilting gutters and meeting dignitaries at the Osu Castle in his military uniform? He would read a written speech as if what had been written was not what he had in mind to say (ha ha!). I always got myself glued to my seat any time I saw JJ on TV. He so fascinated me. Later, the military uniform he used to wear turned into smock over white shirt. Yes, military-leader-turned-democratically-elected president, he was. Ei! we have come a long way o. And there’s some more. Remember the 1995 Kumepreko demonstration? Those were the days when Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo now President and Dr. Nyaho Nyaho Tamakloe were great allies. I saw them with my own eyes in front of Kingsway on that fateful day, hand-in-hand, matching to Makola. What really happened with their friendship or is it just a media thing?
I think about Radio Eye and Tarzan, Dr Charles Wireko Brobbey, and the coming of Joy FM. Now, Joy FM is celebrating 25 years. Congratulations to them. These presenters were splendid: Gabby Adjetey, Kofi Kum Bilson, Doreen Andoh, the Boss Player, Zig Zag- Azigiza Jnr, the Senior Player Tommy Annan Forson. You people thought Doreen just arrived, we have been enjoying her ever since…ha ha!. Azigiza, you thought he has always been a man of God, eh? You should have been there to listen to his mixes, too much! Then at GBC was KKD, the Finest. He was really the finest. Tommy Annan Forson and Fritz Baffour, yes, the Honourable Fritz and Tommy Annan Forson were “play mates”; when we talk of standup comedy these two were something else, not what we are being fed with now. I beg, I haven’t mentioned names o.
These were great times growing up in Accra, Chorkor, Mamprobi, Kaneshie, Laterbiokoshie, Dansoman, Odorkor, Korle Bu, Osu, Labadi. As we evolved as a country, both politically and, maybe, economically, new churches were also springing up and the older ones continued to grow. I am sure some of you have the impression that the “older” churches were against the “younger” ones that were coming up at the time. No, not at all. By and large, had it not been the support of the “older” churches, the younger (Pentecostal/charismatic) churches would have been extinct by now. They came through for them in various ways. After all, we are one body and the church is for God not man.
I remember the days when International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) used to be at the Baiden Powell Hall, Accra Central. Those were the days some of us would give up anything to listen to Rev. Otabil on Radio Gold. I had a small ghetto blaster I used to listen to him on…meerhn. Did I just mention Rev. Otabil and Radio Gold? Yes, you heard me right. I would tune in to listen to this man of God preach the mind of God. It really helped many of us growing up around that time. He brought light into our lives and kept us focused in life, otherwise I don’t know where some of us would have been by now.
Does anyone remember Light House Chapel (now Mega Church) and their Korle Gonno neighbors? Herh! How the community fought that church! You have no idea. This is my opinion, though: one of the best things to have happened to Korle Gonno was the coming of Light House Chapel to that neighborhood – a lot of lives were transformed. I’m sure some of those who were positively impacted by the church have even become bishops now.
And when Action chapel relocated from Airport to Spintex, I remember some saying “Ah Spintex! are they not getting close to Tema?” and “That bush! who will build a church there? But look at what that place has become. You need thousands of Ghana cedis to even get a quarter of a quarter plot there. Just look at the prayer cathedral – AWESOME.
Eiish, I cannot forget IBWC, I’m sure you are wondering what name that is. That was the name of now Royal House Chapel. They used to hold church services at the Blackmore and Sons building at Kokomlemle, opposite Unibank (Blackmore, any relation with D-Black?). I used to attend their Friday evening services. The Blackmore building was a warehouse that had been converted into a chapel – that was their place of worship for quite a long period before moving to their current location.
TIMES HAVE CHANGED BUT GOD HASN’T
As you can see, times have changed. Some will call it the good old days. Churches that used to be small have become mega churches and very soon their General Overseers who have or are turning 60 years will be handing over to the next generation. I pray they will allow God to direct them and follow the example of the church of Pentecost and not treat church as monarchy. Even though churches are changing their names, building more branches and mega places of worship, one thing remains – GOD has not changed, neither has His WORD.
MISSING MY CHURCH
Tell me, how has it been for you during this period of lockdown and social distancing? Have you not missed church? The physical contacts? I bet you have. Please forgive o, I am not downplaying the on-line church services. Not at all. As they say, that’s the new normal. But I must admit that I miss going to church – my church – the environment, the Akwaaba Team at the entrance with their lovely smiles, the welcoming hand of the ushers directing us to our seats. I have this corner I love to sit paaa, but trust me, the ushers would not allow me to go and hide there o. They always have their own seating plan, so if I don’t go early enough, I can’t get my preferred corner. There were times I wanted to pull a fast one on them, but it never worked. The song ministrations – The Timothy Class – awesome. Their music is so sweet. Then comes the time when you needed to fasten your seat belt – THE WORD MINISTRATION. Believe me, you could feel the word hitting you – literally. Sundays were like going for a three-course buffet in a five-star hotel – the package no be small koraaaa.
The Saturday morning prayers – Morning flavor, we call it – the flavor alone would mesmerize you. Charlie, no pray for me matter there o; each one for himself … hehehe. The monthly night vigils. Sometimes, I virtually carried my legs to go because, charley, the heart would be willing but the body… But it always became different a matter when I got there. Totally worth the time. You think that is all; at The Keeper’s House Chapel International (TKHCI) you lie bad; soul winning would be hammered into your head saaa … hehehe. We are trying to heed that call. It hasn’t been easy ooo but we are believing God for the grace to do it … ha ha!
The warmth from leadership is remarkable. In church you find a home. Church services don’t end without our Pastor availing himself to extend a hand of fellowship in various forms, including hugs, hellos and saying, “BLESSINGS” to you. IS THIS OUR CHURCH? IT’S OUR CHURCH KORAAA. You too tell me about your church (hahaha).
CHURCH HAS KEPT US SANE
I guess you agree with me that you could have easily gone back to your old bad ways these few months, but for the grace of God. You see, many a time we have had to grapple with some challenges, the first point of call has been the church. I hope you have not forgotten the help the church gave you the last time you called on them. Do you remember the groceries you were given during the lockdown? I hope you also remember the support they gave when you were in dire need of money to pay your ward’s school fees, not to talk about how you found a wife in the church. I also hope you won’t forget the kind gesture of your pastor calling to find out how you were doing under the lockdown? Oh, I just remembered – what about the naming and dedication of your newly born child in church, the good schools and hospitals which were all built by the church?
One early morning, I passed through ICGC, Christ Temple. I was amazed as to the number of people at the church premises who had been employed and were working. Lately, some of us have made ourselves social activists for the poor in the church. Yet, deep down, you know you don’t care about their welfare, but you go on social media and condemn the church. Be careful o. Let’s watch it. Charlie, the church is the keeper of souls of men ooo. If we will be honest with ourselves, we won’t deny the fact that we have received diverse support from the church, spiritual and material, sometimes from churches we don’t even belong. I heard about a couple who gave tremendously to their local church at a time of their lives. Later in life, all their children became prominent people in society – one became a president, another a medical doctor and a minister of state. I believe this did not happen by chance. It happened because of the seeds the couple sowed into the church earlier in their lives. A covenant was working for them.
This is my honest opinion; you may have yours. But, as for me and my house we are committed to giving to the house of God without apologies. The fact that the church has been around long enough should tell us that there is a mighty hand holding it. We will all go, others will come; the church will still be here. My reflections about some interesting changes that have occurred in our society should tell us that no matter the changes that occur in society, the church would still be around. So, like a beautiful drama, when it’s your turn, play your part, and play it well – WORK IT AND KEEP IT. And as my pastor will say, please “make sure you are following the right buttocks”; Simply put, follow the right man of God. Apostle Paul puts it this way: “follow me as I follow Christ”.
Now, to the Section B Compulsory Question: “YOU AND THE CHURCH WHO NEEDS WHO”? I have declared my stance, what about you?