From its simple roots of formation by some members of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, West Africa, EPRC has grown to provide outstanding evangelism and community out-reach in the New York Metropolitan area, especially in the Bronx and Westchester , where most of its members reside. The congregation now worships in a renovated Sanctuary located in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx, thanks to the Presbyterian Church, USA - PC (USA); and another ministry in High bridge, the South Bronx, thanks to the Reformed Church of America (RCA).
INTRODUCTION AND EARLY BEGINNING
"All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age”. (Matthew 28:18-20).
Empowered by this Biblical mandate(Matthew 28:18-20 ), the founders of the EPRC, formerly known as the Presbyterian Church of Ghana Mission (PCGM), swam across the tide and cut against the grain to establish this church in the Bronx, New York. The core founding members,
- Rev. Andrew Akwasi Aboagye,
- Mr. S.K. Atakora,
- Mr. Edward Ansong,
- Ms. Mercy Asieduah,
- Mr Asante Asiama, and others.
They convened at the house of Ms. Mercy Asieduah to pray for her during a period of need. Other families joined this prayer group or fellowship which later on turned into a Church. Thus on May 3rd, 1998, this Church was officially established. Before then, the members worshipped with the Presbyterian Church of Ghana in Harlem, New York. Membership of this new Church began to increase gradually and 3 weeks later, on May 24th, 1998 the group moved to another spacious place of worship to accommodate their growing membership.Twenty-five (25) members were present that day.
The new additional members included;
- Ms. Joyce Boakye,
- Emma Boakye,
- Derek Boakye,
- Alberta Boakye,
- Boafo Boakye,
- Boakyewaa Boakye,
- Otema Boakye,
- David Martey,
- Andrew Martey,
- Ruth Aboagye, and others.
Also, Mr. Alfred Bediako, Ms. Grace Obeng, Ms. Christiana Appiah and others joined later. The sudden increase in membership prompted the group to relocate to a rented Sanctuary at 1272 Ogden Avenue, Bronx, New York, on August 2nd 1998, with the assistance of Rev. Dr. Jon Norton of the Reformed Church in America. On the first Sunday service, about 33 members worshipped in the Ogden Sanctuary with great joy, enthusiasm and a sense of belonging to a branch of the Presbyterian Church in the community.
The first interim session members of this new group were:
- Rev. Andrew A. Aboagye, Pastor (Chairman),
- Seth Atakora (Senior Presbyter),
- Edward Ansong (Clerk of Session),
- Late Mr. Oko Danso (Treasurer).
Other Presbyters were:
- Betty Osei-Mensah,
- Janet Dwamena,
- Mercy Asieduah, and
- Alfred Bediako.
The Church grew rapidly to about 80 members worshipping every Sunday at the Ogden Sanctuary within a few years.
SUDDEN BREAK-UP, DEVASTATION, RECOVERY & GROWTH
The PCGM suffered a break-up in 2003 on the issue of whether to be a fellowship or an affiliate under the PCUSA-Presbytery of New York City and the Classis of New York, of the Reformed Church in America (RCA) or to maintain its original identity with the Mother Church, PCG, in Ghana. The Congregation was sharply divided on this issue and about 80% of the 120 members, separated from PCGM to form what is now known as the Ebenezer Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Bronx, New York. Rev. Andrew Aboagye continued to shepherd the remaining members worshiping at the Ogden Sanctuary, notwithstanding the concomitant disgruntling of aggrieved members, low stewardship, disappointment, and the Church’s serious post –separation financial struggles. The remaining members embarked on aggressive evangelism and out-reach in the community with prayer s and fasting. Within a year, the Church’s membership grew up to 45 active members with good stewardship.
It was during this period that, a new member, Dr. David N. Ofori, Jr., joined the Church at the invitation of Mrs. Adelaide Addo Kortey to support the missionary efforts of the Pastor and members. The newly appointed acting Elders for the Session in 2003, included the following members:
- Rev. Andrew A. Aboagye-Pastor (Chairman),
- Alfred Bediako (Senior Presbyter)
- Elder Dr. David Ofori, Jr. (Treasurer),
- Daniel Ogyiri- (Clerk of Session).
Other Presbyters were:
- Elder Grace Obeng,
- Elder Nana Osei Nyarko,
- Elder Edward Asiedu-Mensah,
- Elder Christiana Serwaah Amoafo,
- Elder Ophelia Obeng, and
- Elder Mary Asantewaa
PCGM CONGREGATION STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE
Trials and tribulations are not uncommon to the followers of Christ. At this time in it’s history, the PCGM congregation was without a Pastor (spiritual leader), had been hard pressed with financial resources needed to thrive , and literally had no place of worship. The Team of Warriors and the whole Congregation sprang up to action and prayed for God’s intervention in the Church’s struggles. It was during this same period of struggle for survival that Elder Dr. David Ofori, Jr., who had just joined the Church, volunteered and devoted his administrative, management and leadership talents, to lead the Church as Chairman of the Session and the Interim Overseer. With the help of the LORD, full support of the interim Session and members of the Congregation, the Church’s Bank Accounts, Official Documents, and Equipment were fully recovered. Dr Ofori assumed so may responsibilities at that time which helped the Church to initiate and pursue the process of affiliation with the Presbytery of New York (PCUSA) and the membership of the Classis of New York (RCA), leading to the development and chartering of the Emmanuel Presbyterian Reformed Church, EPRC. After a tedious Pastoral search and interviewing of Ministers, and in response to the Congregation’s multi-cultural and multi-lingual needs, and with the support of the Acting Session and Congregants and the Task Force of PCUSA/RCA, a PCG and PCUSA/RCA partnership process was secured to pave the way for a Pastoral supply and eventually an ordained full-time Minister for the Church. Prior to the approval by the PCUSA/RCA Task Force and the arrival of Rev. Dr. Amoah-Kuma, as the Organizing Pastor and the Spiritual leader of the Church, Rev. Joseph Kusi-Achampong (an ordained Pentecostal Pastor) and wife Rev. Georgina Achampong, provided an interim sustainable, Pastoral care and leadership to the orphaned and struggling Congregation until the arrival of the Rev. Dr. Kwame Amoah-Kuma. This has been one of the Church’s achievements which eventually led to the chartering of the EPRC.
THE ROLE OF THE PCG AND PCUSA/RCA PARTNERSHIP
EPRC, as the first benefactor of the PCUSA/RCA and PCG partnership, was blessed with all the advantages of being affiliated with the two Presbyterian giant Organizations in the United States. The Church received pulpit assistance, grants, and professional guidance and ecumenical support from the various committees and ministries of both the Presbytery of New York and the Classis of New York. These Organizations provided backbone for the development and growth of the EPRC.
The affiliation and partnership among the PCG, PCUSA and RCA, resulted in the release of Rev. Dr. Kwame Amoah- Kuma, during the time of the Rt Rev Dr Yaw Frimpong-Manso as Moderator of the General Assembly of the PCG. Among those who helped this process were: Rev. Pauline Haynes (Chairwoman of the Task Force), Rev. Peggy Thomas, Rev. Dr. Glen Missick, Rev. Dr. Jon Norton, Rev. Samuel Atiemo, Rev. Agnes Blackmon, Elder Dr. David Ofori, Elder Nana Osei-Nyarko, and under the offices of the Stated Clerks of both Presbytery of New York and the Classis of New York(RCA). The outcome of this partnership is the birth of the name “Emmanuel Presbyterian Reformed Church” as a DBA of Presbyterian Church of Ghana Mission, Inc.
In conclusion, we are thankful to the Almighty God for sustaining this Church throughout its periods of establishment, schisms and challenges for survival. We are equally grateful for the support received from our partner and mother Denominations mentioned above for all the support given us till today, remembering the experienced and supportive team, who worked assiduously under the then able leadership of Rev.Ruth Boling (Moderator, City of New York Presbytery), Rt Rev Dr Yaw Frimpong-Manso (Moderator, PCG), Rev. Kenneth Thomas, Elder Lloyd Johnson, Elder Debra Thomas and Elder Gloria Vidal and the current leadership of the PCG, PC(USA) Presbytery of New York City and the RCA. Above all, we thank all members, old and new, of the EPRC, for their support and tenacity of purpose and will which have made us survive as a growing Church in the Bronx.
On May 22, 2011, EPRC was accepted into full ministry of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Reformed Church of America (RCA).
Departure of the Rev Dr Kwame Amoah-Kuma saw the transitional period being taken care of by the Rev. Samuel Atiemo as the interim Moderator till the final arrival of our approved Pastor, the Very Rev Dr Yaw Frimpong-Manso, who was installed on the 19th of May 2013.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!