“God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform.”
This quote aptly describes how Ghana Calvary Methodist Church came into being. The church was born on Sunday, October 1st 2006. But the idea for a new church was conceived back in July that same year, when a group of members from Ghana Emmanuel Methodist Church in Newark, New Jersey became dissatisfied and disillusioned about the state of affairs in that church. When efforts at resolving conflicts between a section of the leaders and some members on one side and another section on the other side proved futile, resulting in an increasing atmosphere of discord and anarchy, the idea of “let’s move out and start something new” became an ideal option.
Therefore, with pain and sorrow mingled with deep-seated regrets and disappointments the pastor, Rev. Nathan Addo-Nartey resigned from Ghana Emmanuel Methodist Church on Sunday September 24th, 2006 and decided to start a new church. At the same instant a group in favor of the pastor’s position approached him and asked him to lead them to start a new congregation. Two ideas merged and the result was the birth of Ghana Calvary Methodist Church. These original members who held strategic offices and positions in the Ghana Emmanuel Methodist Church, all resigned following the pastor’s resignation and joined resources with him to begin this new church.
At first, we didn’t know where to begin therefore we agreed to meet in individual homes on Saturday mornings to pray, study scriptures and plan for the way forward. It was not an easy process as we still were not certain how this idea could become a reality. But through faith, we all resolved to trust the Lord to lead us wherever He deems appropriate for us.
These house meetings formed the nucleus of our being. Modeled after the Wesleyan concept of class/cell groups it generated an atmosphere of freedom of expression, great joy in the Spirit, strong bond of fellowship and togetherness, and a genuine sense of belonging among us.
Our maiden meeting was held on Saturday, July 15th, 2006 at the Yeboah family household. Brother Daniel, his wife Christie and the family were generous enough to host our first meeting. Not only did we have a successful meeting, but they provided food and drinks as well. Everyone was on fire and looked forward to the first Sunday worship service. We decided on the first day that this church is going to be part of the United Methodist Church, therefore everything we do will be focused on achieving that goal. Therefore, we began contacting United Methodist and other churches in the area for the possibility of sharing a facility with them. We were so ready to begin that, we wanted our first Service on the first Sunday of October, when we didn’t even have a place of worship. With God on our side, we will prevail.
The second meeting was on Saturday July 29th, 2006 at Sister Mary Adjei’s house. She and her family did wonderfully well hosting us, and continuing the process begun at Brother Yeboah’s household. From this time going, numbers kept increasing each time we met and every house we went served us not snacks but real meal with some leftovers to take away. It was here that our motto, “Oneness and Peace in Christ” was agreed upon.
We met again for the second time, at the Yeboahs on Saturday, August 5th, 2006 for our third meeting. Again, it was a meeting of great joy and spirit-filled discussion. The anticipation of a new beginning continued to fill us with exceedingly great joy and enthusiasm.
Sister Mary Adjei and family agreed to host us for the second time. So our fourth meeting took place in her house. As usual, we were filled spiritually, physically and emotionally, as everyone freely contributed to the discussions and the planning.
We met at Sister Kate Owusu’s house for our fifth meeting on Saturday, September 2nd, 2006. Though her husband Brother Grant had not identified himself as part of us, he was extremely supportive of us and actively participated in the meeting and the hosting of the guests. On this day, we had good news. The 1st Presbyterian Church at Irvington was in-charge of renovating a church facility 844 Sanford Avenue, Irvington with the hope of renting it out for ethnic ministries. We quickly contacted them and an application was sent. At the meeting it was announced that we were invited to participate in the communal cleaning exercise at the site, which heartily responded after our meeting. This continued for a few more weeks till we finally got the place for worship.
Next, we met at Yeboah-Kordie family house for the sixth meeting. It was another exciting time as Brother Bismarck, his wife Freda and family combined resources to host an ever-increasing number of members. The excitement and enthusiasm kept pumping up as people took the initiative to pledge financial support for the work of the Lord to take off. With our place of worship now secure, we began to plan for our first service and what form it would take. We decided to have a simple worship service full of praises and joy.
Sister Felicia Edusei Sarpong volunteered to host our seventh meeting in her house. Her husband, Nana Asensu, a Catholic has been a staunch supporter of our course every step along the way. Therefore, it was to our dismay that work schedule did not permit him to be present at the meeting. Yet he made provision for our stay to be as comfortable and pleasant as possible. Again, new faces joined us at this meeting, thanks to God.
Our eighth and final meeting coincided with Pastor Nathan’s birthday on Saturday, September 23rd, 2006. We met at the Brefos in Parlin, New Jersey. Led by Sister Mary Adjei, the group organized a beautiful surprise birthday gift for the Pastor. Again, Brother Kwaku Brefo and Sister Rose Brefo did not lower the standard of reception set before; they kept the level of cordiality as high as possible, making our last meeting a memorable one. Final preparation was made for the first Sunday service to be held on October 1, 2006. With great expectation, we all prayed and thanked the Lord for the way He had led us.
Words are not enough to describe the atmosphere of joy and enthusiasm that filled the sanctuary of Sanford Heights Presbyterian Church. We were made to understand that we would be meeting in the evenings from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm because the facility was being used by two other churches (later became three). The Pastor, Rev. Nathan Addo-Nartey Preached on the theme, “Delayed Gratification” from Mark 9:38-50.
The attendance on the first day was 87. On this day, all those who had filled membership application forms and had attended some of the House Meetings were received into full membership. We continued to meet in the evenings till December 7th, when our designated place was ready for use.
We are now at the well-furnished and fully decorated basement of Sanford Heights, where we meet at 10:30 for Sunday services; 7:00 pm to 9:00pm for Friday Prayer & Healing Services and 10:30 am on Saturdays for Bible Studies, choir rehearsals and general cleaning.