Message from the Moderator
Acknowledgements: Moderator Omenyo, our former Principal Officers, Acting Moderator, the GAC, colleagues in ministry, friends of the media, brothers and sisters in Christ:
Let me start of my short address by saying a big thank you to the GA for electing me as the 18th Moderator, to the GAC for guiding the PCG in these turbulent times, thank you to the Ga Presbytery for sparing us their Presbytery Chairperson to Act as Moderator for this challenging period, and to the Osu Congregation for hosting this event, and to all of you for attending this handing-over event.
II. On behalf of my wife Florence and children Lydia, Jennifer, Andrew, YA, Asantewaa, Tasha, Keisha, Mark, Addobea, Angie, Ike, David, Ralph, Clarence, Joy, Samuel, Albright, Jude, etc, and on behalf of my brothers and sisters, and extended families of Larteh in the Eastern Region and Kokofu in the Ashanti Region, I accept to lead this great Presbyterian Church of Ghana as the 18th Moderator of its General Assembly from this 1st Day of December 2018 to 30th November 2023. I humbly accept this position:
Fully aware that I am not the founder of this Church and that 17 Moderators have already been ahead of me; I am thinking of the Revds Peter Hall, N. V. Asare, Quartey, Richter, Martinson, S. S. Odonkor, E. V. Asihene, Max Duodu, E. M. L. Odjidja, Sintim-Misa, I. H. Frempong, D. A. Koranteng, A. A. Beeko, Dr. Sam Prempeh, Dr. Yaw Frimpong Manso, Prof. Emmanuel Martey, and Prof. Cephas Omenyo. These are great and powerful names. If I happen to look taller, it will only be because I stand on their shoulders, and not because I am tall at all.
Fully aware that This great church has been in existence in this country as a witness for Jesus Christ for 190 solid years;
Fully aware that We have the Bible, a Constitution and a Manual of Order that guide the running of the Church;
Fully aware that We have a Strategic Plan to help us achieve our goals and objectives;
Fully aware that We have a membership of 910,732 individuals both in Ghana and abroad within 21 Presbyteries, 294 Districts, and a total of 4,546 Congregations and Preaching Posts;
Fully aware that Only 30% of our total membership are above 40 years, whereas 70% of our membership are 40 years and below;
Fully aware that We have a total of 5,701 agents working for the Church, comprising 1,149 ministers, 2,329 Catechists, 2,143 Caretakers and 80 Evangelists;
Fully aware that We have 55 health institutions spread all over the country in Agogo, Bawku, Dormaa-Ahenkro, Donkorkrom, Bolgatanga, Salaga, Tease, Konongo, Duayaw-Nkwanta, Garu, Sandema, etc;
Fully aware that We have over 2,400 basic schools, about 30 Senior High Schools, 5 Colleges of Education, 3 Vocational Schools, 4 NTCs, A University, Two Research Institutes, and five Training Centers;
Fully aware that We have several development programs such as the Salem Financial Services, Agricultural Intervention Programs, an NGO, Salem Water Project, An Isurance Brokerage Firm, etc;
Fully aware that On the Mission and evangelism front, we have 112 congregations and preaching posts abroad, 35 Prayer Centers, Specialized Ministries including Campus Ministry, Television Ministry, Radio Ministries, Market Ministries, Prison Ministries, NOP, etc;
Fully aware that We have partner churches in Ghana and all over the world, including Canada, Australia, Germany, England, Scotland, USA, etc and belong to the bigger family of WCRC and WCC, AACC and ARCA.
III. Yet I am very conscious of the fact that I have been elected to this position in 2018 and not in 1828 or in 1960; nay, not even in 2017. I am becoming Moderator at a very challenging time when several one-man churches are springing up in every corner of our country some of them abusing church members under the guise of Christian spirituality; I am becoming a Moderator at a time when some churches that were established only a few years ago are growing in leaps and bounds whereas the growth of PCG is at a snail pace of 4% p.a.; I am becoming Moderator at a time when African economies are struggling and church members are struggling to keep their jobs; I am becoming Moderator at a time when people are buying tickets to spend their Christmas vacation in space; at a time when just three days ago a scientist came up with a blowing discovery of genetically modified (edited) human embryo; I am also becoming a Moderator at a time when my predecessor, Very Rev. Prof. Cephas Omenyo, has not been well for about 18 months. My brother Cephas has really fought as a good general in the Lord's army. I pray that none of us will stop praying for him and his family regularly for the Lord, in His own time, to complete His healing process in his life.
IV. I am aware that there are so many people who love me and will pray for me during these five years of leadership in this Church. Since the elections in August this year, several church members, agents and friends, have called and come home to affirm us and pray with us, and assured us of their unflinching support. I have no reason to doubt their sincerity. People have called in hundreds and it has been very assuring. Of course, we are not naive in this work. What we ask for is for your prayer support. I come to this position with a humble and open heart of sincerity, hoping that the Lord will do something new, something special and unique in our church. I do not come to this office to seek wealth; I do not come to this office to seek fame; I do not come to this office to seek power. I have come so that by God's grace, we as a church can work together to fulfill God's purposes in God's world and to bring God's people closer to Him and also to bring more souls into His kingdom. I cannot do this alone. That is why we have the GA and the GAC. I will need your help. Please support us in all ways possible and Please do not forget to pray for us for in our victory lies your victory. I have not walked this path before, so I ask the precious Lord to take my hand and lead me throughout this journey.
V. Allow me at this point to say a big thank you to the Rev. Dr. Victor Okoh Abbey who has done a yeoman's job for combining his work as a Presbytery Chairperson and as the Acting Moderator for 15 months. Since I was elected in August, Victor has accorded me so much respect as the Moderator Elect, and I have come to appreciate him more for that. Victor, your humility is powerful, keep it up. The Church really thanks you for keeping the fort so faithfully.
VI. Allow me to also thank the Clerk of the GA, members of the GAC, and the office staff at the GAO who have started welcoming me even before 1st December. Please let's work together as a team.
VII. Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I am completely aware that it is God who has called me to this position and not any human being -- even if it came through human electioneering processes. And I know that when God calls, God equips abundantly. This high office definitely needs a higher level of anointing equivalent to the office.
I recall an episode in Exodus 33:1-18 where Moses told Yahweh that he was not moving an inch if His presence would not go with him. That he was not going to lead the people of God without the khabod/glory of God. That day the Lord showed His glory to Moses. This is my humble prayer oo: that I will always stay in divine presence and that the divine presence and khabod will always go with me. This is basically Spiritual Leadership and as Hudson Taylor once said, God's work must be done in God's own way by God's own power. Oh how I pray that the khabod of Yawheh will never leave me nor the PCG forever. May this khabod be my guide every day, every hour and every minute.
I also recall an episode in Isaiah 43:1-19, where after prophesying captivity to Israel in the time of Isaiah, Yahweh comes back to give Israel hope and comfort. There the Lord said to Israel, and to me now: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. .... I am the Lord, besides me there is no other. .... Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
We just finished General Assembly Council meeting at Abokobi two days ago. There one of our Presbytery Chairpersons led a devotion which confirmed what the Lord has set as a general vision for me. The text was from Is. 54:2-3, which reads: "Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will fill the desolate cities with people". This is the word of the Lord to PCG: get ready; enlarge the place of your tents, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched. May we have the faith and courage to stretch out and enlarge our tents so that the Lord God Almighty will do something new in our lives and in our Church that will blow off the mind of any one who sees it.
May He who has called me give me the humility of Moses, the victorious strength and might of Joshua, the courage of David, the sincerity of Jehoshaphat, and the determination of St. Paul to lead and lift this church up to an unprecedented higher glory, standing on the shoulders of our forebears and trusting in the cooperation of all of you. May his name be forever glorified.
IX. This hymn by Philip Doddridge is also my prayer. It says:
O God of Bethel, by whose hand, Thy people still are fed;
Who through this weary pilgrimage, hast all our fathers led.
Our vows, our prayers, we now present, before Thy throne of grace;
God of our fathers/mothers, be the God of their succeeding race.
Through each perplexing path of life, our wandering footsteps guide;
Give us each day our daily bread, and raiment fit provide.
O spread Thy covering wings around, till all our wandering cease;
Ad at our Father's loved abode, our souls rest in peace.
Such blessings from Thy gracious hand, our humble prayers implore;
And Thou shalt be our chosen God, and portion evermore.
Also Charles Wesley wrote:
Captain of Israel's host and guide of all who seek the land above;
Beneath Thy shadow we abide, the cloud of thy protecting love;
Our strength Thy grace, our rule Thy word, our end the glory of the Lord.
By Thine unerring spirit led; we shall not in the desert stray;
We shall not full direction need nor miss, our providential way;
As far from danger, as from fear, while love almighty love is near.
Another hymn writer wrote:
Fa who Kwan hye wo yefo, wo Nyame no nsem ... Enti me de me ho hye me Nyame me yefo no nsem. .....
X. On that note, and in the faith of the Almighty Jehovah God, I, the Rev. Prof. Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante, accept to lead this great Presbyterian Church of Ghana for the next 60 months, never trusting in my own strength or righteousness but in the strength which the Lord alone gives me, and counting on the unflinching support and prayers of all of you.
Thank you and Amen.
Rev. Prof. J. O. Y. Mante, PhD
Trinity Theological Seminary