A SUMMARY OF OUR HISTORY
FELLOWSHIP BEGINS AT 160 CHALKFARM DRIVE
The Ghanaian Presbyterian Church of Toronto has a very interesting and compelling history.
A few Ghanaian churches had been established in Toronto by the turn of the 1990s. Therefore the idea of a Ghanaian Presbyterian Church in Toronto became a subject of discussion amongst some Ghanaians who used to attend a Presbyterian Church in their native Ghana and now reside in Toronto. The call for a Prebyterian Church grew louder and louder especially during the early part of 1994.
Sometime in May of 1994, George Baiden, Billy Ankomah, Wofa Yaw Nyarko, Agyei-Amoamah, Ofori Asiamah, Theophilus Awuku, Edward Danchie (deceased) and Grace Danchie met at the Thistletown Community Center to plan a strategy to start a Ghanaian Presbyterian Church. Theophilus Awuku offered his living room at 160 Chalkfarm Drive for Fellowship meetings. From that day, the eight founding fathers invited friends and relatives to Fellowship together on Sundays in the afternoon. The fellowship was made up of Theophilus Awuku, Theodora Awuku, George Baiden, Rose Baiden, Mary Kwakyewa, Ofori Asiamah, Thomas Afram, Comfort Afram, Ernest Asiffo, Gregory Larbi, Comfort Larbi (deceased), Agyei Amoamah, George Pimpong (deceased), Billy Ankomah, Emmanuel Obuobi, Comfort Obuobi, Edward Danchie, Grace Danchie, Sam Awuku, Evelyn Awuku and Wofa Yaw Nyarko.
FORMAL WORSHIP AT 66 MILWICK DRIVE
On Sunday June 10, 1994, interim leaders were appointed for the Fellowship as follows, George Asiedu Pimpong was made caretaker, Gregory Larbi – Choirmaster, Theophilus Awuku – organist, Grace Danchie – Treasurer, Sam Awuku – Financial Secretary, Wofa Yaw Nyarko – Secretary and Billy Ankomah – Assistant Secretary. Thomas Afram offered a space at his warehouse located at 66 Milwick Drive in North York to be used for our meetings, Sunday service and other activities free of charge.
On Sunday July 17, 1994, an inaugural service was held at 66 Milwick Drive to announce the birth of a Ghanaian Presbyterian Church in Toronto. The service was attended by 45 adults and youth, out of which 40 remain members of the church to date. The inaugural service sent waves across the Ghanaian community of Toronto, and by the end of September, our number had increased to about 70 including adults and youth. Mary Kwakyewa provided refreshment every Sunday for members to cool down the heat during that summer period. The search began again for a bigger place for the Fellowship. Lawyer Emmanuel Asare, drafted a constitution for the Fellowship, and together with Sam Awuku registered the church with the government of Canada in 1995.
CHURCH MOVES TO CHRISTIAN CENTER
On Sunday October 2, 1994, the congregation moved to Christian Center, 4545 Jane Street to worship in a rented sanctuary. Due to limited space and time at this premises, Mrs. Augustina Djan arranged a room in her apartment building at 2750 Jane Street for Choir Practices and Prayer Meetings. During the latter part of the year, the Fellowship was blessed with the visit to Toronto by three Presbyters from Ghana. The three were Eugene Ernest Amoah of the Dansoman Presbyterian Church, Accra, Eric Anim Sackey, Episcopal Presbyterian church, Koforidua and Nana Osei Tutu, also of the Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, Dansoman, Accra. The three provided us with the much needed inspiration and guidance at the time.
CONGREGATION SPLITS INTO TWO
The administration of the sacraments – baptism, communion and marriages among a few others were major issues that warranted a Presbyterian ordained minister to lead the fast growing Fellowship. The other objective for requesting a pastor from Ghana was to help establish a permanent link with our mother church, and to enhance the experience of Pastors from Ghana through such bilateral arrangement. However, a misunderstanding arose among the congregation over the issue of requesting an ordained Minister from Ghana. The congregation therefore split into two on Sunday July 2, 1995, and about two-thirds of the congregation moved to worship in a rented sanctuary at 39 Knox Avenue (Pine Ridge Presbyterian Church). The Presbyterian Church of Ghana Head Office in Accra, which had been informed about the birth of our church, was soon told about a split in the congregation. A formal request was then made for an ordained PCG Pastor to lead the congregation.
Thereafter, Wofa Yaw Nyarko, Alex Barning, Faustina Asare and Emmanuel Asare met with Rev. Rick Fee at the Presbyterian Church in Canada head office in Toronto to discuss the possibility of affiliating with the Presbyterian Church in Canada. However, upon advice by Rev. Fee, a formal request was sent to first affiliate with the Presbytery of West Toronto through Rev. Andrew Duncan of the Pine Ridge Church. The Presbytery responded that an ordained Pastor was a pre-condition for formal membership of the Presbytery. A formal affiliation was necessary in order to enhance the ties between PCG and PCC, and to forestall any tendency to divert our young church from its original Presbyterian tradition.
CONGREGATION IS REUNITED
The Synod Committee of PCG assigned Rev. Andrew Aboagye, who was then studying at Drew University in New Jersey, to take care of our congregation in the interim. However, just before Rev. Aboagye could assume his new responsibilities, information came about a PCG Minister, Rev. Stephen Alando, who was coming to study at Knox College in Toronto. The latter was therefore assigned to Pastor the congregation during the period of his studies in Canada. Rev. Alando quickly set up a mediation committee appointed from both sides of the original church, which facilitated the unification of the original congregation. A reunification of the congregation was marked with a special service held on 1st January 1996. An interim working committee made up of Ohemeng Ampeh, Emmanuel Obuobi, Akwasi Boateng, Gladys Kumi (Clerk) and Kwame Anane Agyei was appointed to assist Rev. Alando in managing the church. Then in collaboration with the Presbyterian Church in Canada, the Ghanaian Presbyterian Church of Toronto was officially inaugurated on Sunday July 7, 1996 at a service, which was held at the Victoria Royce Presbyterian Church in Toronto. The sermon preached by the Rt. Rev. Anthony Beeko, then Moderator of Synod, PCG, who had been accompanied by Rev. Dr. David Nii Anum Kpobi, inter-Church and Ecumenical Secretary of PCG.
CHURCH MOVES TO 850 HUMBERWOOD BOULEVARD
In mid-1998 Rev. Tetteh Suomi Akunor took over from Rev. Stephen Alando for a five-year term. Two years later, the congregation transferred to 850 Humberwood Boulevard to worship, this time in a gymnasium. Then in early 2001, the congregation voted overwhelmingly to build a permanent chapel. George Koranteng Asante negotiated for a plot of land, which was promptly purchased by the church. He then headed a Building Committee, which pursued the required architectural drawings and other documents in Toronto that were mandatory towards building a chapel. In the summer of 2003, Rev. Tetteh Akunor gave way to Rev. Enoch Adjei Pobee who pursued the chapel building project vigorously. Later in 2003, the land that had been purchased was dedicated to the Lord with a sod-cutting ceremony, which was administered by visiting Rev. Dr. Charles Djan Duah, then Clerk of the General Assembly of PCG and Rev. Herbert Opong, who had led a team of PCG Reverend Ministers on a working visit to Canada. Samuel Sarpong then led a reconstituted Building Committee, which hired ABCO Construction Company to build our chapel.
CONGREGATION FINALLY MOVES INTO ITS OWN CHAPEL
In December of 2005, the congregation moved to its own chapel located at 51 Highmeadow Place in the city of Toronto. It was, indeed, gratifying that the Ghanaian Presbyterian Church of Toronto marked its 12th milestone with a magnificent chapel that was dedicated to God on May 21, 2006 by the Presbytery of West Toronto in collaboration with Rt. Rev. Dr. Yaw Frimpong Manso, then Moderator of the General Assembly, PCG. Our chapel thus became the first Presbyterian Church chapel to be built by an immigrant community in Canada in over 30 years.
To God be the ultimate glory; to Rev. Stephen Alando goes the credit of uniting this congregation to give it a strong foundation. Rev. Tetteh Akunor deserves praise for nurturing the congregation to grow from about 160 members to 500 within a five-year period. Finally, to Rev. Enoch Pobee goes the credit of ensuring the building of a permanent house of prayer and worship. On October 28, 2008, Rev. Frank Oguase Adu took over from Rev. Enoch Pobee for a five-year term. Rev. Adu worked extremely hard to sustain the growth and development of the church. The upstairs of our chapel was constructed to have four large rooms for our Children’s Service. GPC now has a fully furnished modern kitchen, a well-equipped Presbyterian Academy of Music, and a fully furnished crèche for our tiny tots.
Over the past 19 years, Ghanaian Presbyterian church, Toronto has established all the traditional and generational groups as it pertains in the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, namely, Church Choir, Men’s Fellowship, Women’s Fellowship, Junior Youth, Young People’s Guild, Young Adults Fellowship, Singing Band, Church Band, and a very busy Children’s Service. Thanks to the Most High God for our dual heritage. Presbyterian Church of Ghana, and Presbyterian Church in Canada. Hallelujah!