Mission Focus ~ Ghana Partnership
2022 marks the twelfth year of the Partnership between the Presbytery of Lake Erie, PCUSA and the Upper Northern Presbytery, Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana (EPCG).
Each Presbytery has hosted delegations from the other five times between 2010 and 2019. Delegation members have visited, spoken, attended meetings, activities, and events in many congregations and communities in one another’s Presbytery. This has helped both sides to learn, get to know one other and their cultures, and share unique expressions and experiences of our common Christian faith. Though key friendships and leaders have changed over these years, a strong foundation remains and continues to grow. This Partnership has always emphasized relationships and mutual support in missions.
Here are some recent highlights of the PLE/UNP Ghana Partnership.
New Moderator of the Upper Northern Presbytery (UNP)
Rev. Vincent Dagadu completed his six-year term as Moderator (Executive Presbyter) of the UNP, and is now serving the E.P. Church Madina, a large congregation located just north of Accra, the capital of Ghana. Rev. Samuel Amafu-Dey began his term as Moderator in January 2022. He lives with his wife Mercy and their three daughters in Yendi, the Headquarters of the UNP. Lake Erie Presbytery provided funds to help renovate and furnish their Manse, and to refurbish a vehicle for his use. The vehicle has made it easier for Samuel to visit the Districts in the Presbytery, to get to know the various ethnic communities, to meet many of the Church leaders and members of the congregations, and to participate in special services and events.
E.P. Church Health Clinic, Wapuli
The Wapuli Clinic provides health care, with a heavy focus on maternity and child care, to several rural communities in Northern Ghana which are not easily accessible to a hospital. Paul Mahama serves as the Clinic’s Director and Physician Assistant. His goal is to bring the Clinic up to Poly-Clinic status, which means the Government Health Services will then provide a doctor and other crucial resources. Paul has been working tirelessly and steadfastly to meet the Poly-Clinic requirements including adequate infrastructure, staff training, and equipment. Lake Erie Presbytery has generously supported the Wapuli Clinic over the years, providing funds for building repairs and expansion, water, computers, refurbished engines and repairs for the Clinic’s ambulance and pickup truck, and a significant amount of medical equipment and supplies through the Labors of Love Initiative. The next step for the Clinic is to build an OutPatient Emergency Ward with a consulting room and offices. An Upper Northern Presbytery Health Committee has been formed to help oversee the steps to upgrading the Wapuli Clinic.
E.P. Church Health Clinic, Bladjai
The Labors of Love Initiative, in which congregations and members of Lake Erie Presbytery raised over $25,000, has also provided funds to purchase medical equipment and supplies for another UNP Health Clinic in Bladjai. Bladjai is a large, rural and isolated community, but is home to two vibrant congregations and an E.P. Church Senior High School.
Church Agent Training
The Upper Northern Presbytery covers an area about half the size of Pennsylvania. It includes 118 Congregations, with 11 Pastors. There are a few major towns, but mostly there are small rural villages quite a distance apart and very challenging road conditions. Each Pastor oversees 5-20 congregations. Lake Erie Presbytery provided funds for motorcycles for Pastors to facilitate visiting their congregations. Other Church Agents, called Catechists (Lay Preachers) and Evangelists, lead the congregations and outreach ministries when the Pastor is not able to be there. It is difficult for current and new Church Agents in the UNP to receive appropriate training because the E.P. Church Seminary is located in Peki, much farther south in Ghana. This makes it a challenge and expense for them to attend. The UNP has requested and received approval for the Peki Seminary to send Professors to the North to lead a training program for two weeks several times a year. This will greatly enable the Presbytery to increase and further educate their Church Leadership. Quite a few years ago, Lake Erie Presbytery provided a scholarship for Seminary to Rev. Salome Mensah Oye, the first and only woman Pastor serving in the UNP. Lake Erie Presbytery has recently provided funds for the first Church Agent Training Program scheduled to be held in the UNP in January 2023. These funds will provide scholarships for the applicants and accommodations for the Seminary Professors.
Yendi Land Redevelopment Initiative
There are two pieces of land belonging to the UNP in Yendi. The first lot is located next to the Yendi Church. A fence has recently been built around this land to protect it from encroachment. Lake Erie Presbytery provided funds for the fencing materials. The second lot is a large piece of land located in the market district. It was previously used to house Catechists, but the buildings are now old and dilapidated, and the land overgrown. The UNP plans to redevelop this land into a multi store-complex. Most of the stores will be rented out to local businesses. The Presbytery will manage an agricultural chemical and supply store. Yendi and the surrounding areas are predominantly farming communities. They will also manage a bookstore for Christian and educational materials. This multi store-complex will support the local economy and generate income for the Yendi Congregation and the Presbytery. The Presbytery of Lake Erie Ghana Partnership is hoping to support the Yendi Land Development Initiative and beginning to plan for a fundraising campaign. The UNP is working on refining and drafting the development plans.
Computers in Education Initiative
At the initiative of the Tamale Church Youth and their Pastor, a Youth ICT Resource Center was established in Tamale. Under the direction of Computer Educator, Desire Ametefe, the Center provides computer education and training for the local school children and the community. The Presbytery of Lake Erie provided 50 computers for the Center. Very few schools in Northern Ghana have access to computers or ICT (Information and Communications Technology) training resources. Desire has evaluated the E.P. Church Senior High Schools and identified three that are capable of housing Computer Labs and serve as ICT Centers. Through the UNP, a proposal has been made to Lake Erie Presbytery requesting funds to purchase computers for the Labs.
PCUSA World Mission Co-worker in Ghana, West Africa Liaison
Lake Erie Presbytery continues to support Rev. Joshua Heikkila and his ministry in Ghana.
Summary of Financial Support provided through Lake Erie Presbytery (2021-2022)
- Covid Relief Assistance and Pastors’ Christmas Gift $8,000
- Moderator’s Manse and Vehicle $10,200
- Wapuli Health Clinic
- Computers $3,500
- Ambulance and Pickup Truck engines and repairs $3,885
- Ultrasound machine and Oxygen concentrator $3,500
- Medical Equipment and Supplies $19,000
- Bladjai Health Clinic – medical equipment and supplies $6,000
- Church Agent Training Program $6,000
- Yendi Land Fencing $2,000
- UNP Administrative Expenses $500
- Konkomba Market Congregation donation $100
- Appreciation Retirement gift for Chereponi District Pastor $400
- PCUSA World Mission Co-worker – Rev. Joshua Heikkila $1,000
PROPOSALS for Yendi Land Development Initiative $25,000 and Computer Initiative $10,000.
Akpe ~ Many Thanks
Thank you to all the many generous individuals, groups, and congregations that have made it possible for the Presbytery of Lake Erie to partner in financially supporting the various mission endeavors with the UNP in the areas of health, education, church growth and Pastor support.
Here is a sample of the outpouring of gratitude expressed by our friends and partners in Ghana:
On behalf of the EPCG, UNP and the beneficiary communities, I render a profound gratitude through you to the family of Lake Erie for these supports. May the Lord continue to bless you physically and spiritually in Jesus’ name. Amen! ~ Rev. Samuel Amafu-Dey
I want to once again thank you and all our partners in Lake Erie Presbytery for such an uncommon gesture towards the smooth running and development of the Wapuli Clinic.
We are a thousand times grateful. ~ Paul Mahama
For more information, ways to be involved, or ways to connect with our Ghanaian friends, please contact Donna Cammarata [email protected] 814-873-4860.
Financial support may be sent to: Presbytery of Lake Erie, 2816 Elmwood Ave, Erie, PA 16508
On the memo line: Lake Erie Ghana Partnership
Online Giving: https://pbylakeerie.org/ (click on Give Now tab; choose Lake Erie Ghana Partnership)