Sod-cutting ceremony for the construction of Moderator’s Residence
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rt Rev Prof. Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante on Wednesday 29th July 2020 cut sod for the commencement of work on a new Moderator’s residence at a ceremony at Osu Kukuhill in Accra.
The short but impressive ceremony was attended by representatives of the various groups including the Children Service and the Junior Youth, some General Assembly Council members, Ministers and other invited guests.
The Moderator was assisted by the Clerk of General Assembly, Rev Dr Godwin Nii Noi Odonkor.
The Moderator in an address described the occasion as unique and very important in the history of the Church.
Below is the full version of Moderator’s address at the ceremony.
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF GHANA
SOD-CUTTING CEREMONY FOR A NEW RESIDENCE OF THE MODERATOR OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AT KUKU HILL
STATEMENT BY THE
- REV. PROF. JOSEPH OBIRI YEBOAH MANTE, PhD
(MODERATOR OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY)
Date: 29th July 2020
- You are all aware that we are at the moment standing on the grounds of the Coastal Region of Ghana called Osu, Accra. You will further recall that when the Basel missionaries came to the Gold Coast in 1828, it was here in Osu that they first settled. They initially occupied a piece of land which was very close to where the Christiansborg Castle (the then seat of government) is.
For security purposes, the colonial government did an Exchange of Deed with the Basel Missionary Society (BMS) /Scottish Mission by giving the BMS/Scottish Mission this part of Osu in exchange for the area earlier occupied by the BMS. This exchange took place on 11th July 1922.
In that same year the Scottish Mission started the construction of the current yellow Executive Building (over there) which in present history has been occupied by Clerks of General Assembly, although it was the residence of earlier Moderators until 1973 when another structure was built here for the MD of the Presbyterian Book Depot, which itself was later refurbished to become the residence of the Moderator. The current yellow house then became the residence of the Clerk. History tells us that when the yellow house was built it was one of the most beautiful edifices in the whole of Accra. Later that building, together with that of the MD of the Book Depot, made Kuku Hill one of the most beautiful places to behold in Accra. At least when I was growing up, I saw a bit of the elegance of these two buildings on Kuku Hill.
- Now the current yellow building has actually come to a point where, according to expert report in 2019, it has become dangerous for human occupancy. Refurbishing it now may cost us as much money as we will need to build a new one. That is why, given the present circumstances, the current Clerk has been moved to what used to be the Moderator’s Residence, as the current Moderator now is able to work from his private residence for a while.
- We are in July 2020 now, almost 100 years since the Deed of Exchange was executed in July 1922, and we are witnessing today the first attempt by we ourselves, as Ghanaians, a full blown Ghanaian Church, at building our own Moderatorial Residence, as Ghanaians, with our own initiative and our own God-given resources. We are very grateful to the Lord for this grace and for this opportunity.
- Let me use the opportunity to thank the National Projects Committee (especially the Properties Manager, the Rev. Aboagye Danquah, the Committee Chairman and his team of technical people, Tony the Architect and Eva the Quantity Surveyor) for working hard to make this great day a possibility.
- Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we are gathered here today to undertake the sod-cutting ceremony for this historical edifice in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. What this means is that we may not have the inflows the way that we had anticipated but we have to do it because we have a command from the 19th General Assembly to do it; and we have to do it because the oldest continuously existing Church in this country must house its Moderator.
- What this further means is that we are, by faith, going to trust our God, who has brought us this far, to provide us with the needed resources to complete this project.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb. 11:1). It was by faith that the people of old received Divine approval, and it is by faith that we will complete it.
- With this faith, we have come to Kuku Hill today to cut sod for the construction of a new Moderator’s House for the third century of the History of our Church, and for the second century of the history of our occupancy of Kuku Hill. May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who guided the early missionaries to come here, and who has guided our Church these almost 200 years, continue to guide us and continue to make Kuku Hill a light and a star to the nations. May the light that was lit here at Kuku Hill never grow dim.
Thank you and may God bless us all. Amen.