Starting this month, we are celebrating the Ghanaian Community in Chicago by highlighting the history of the various organizations, businesses and churches in the community. We start with the official history of the church of the Ghanaian community of Chicago ( CGCC), the first church formed by immigrant Ghanaian’s in the Chicago area in the late eighties.
The Church of the Ghanaian Community of Chicago.
By Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Granston & Elder Kwasi Amponosa-Yeboah
On the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Church of the Ghanaian Community in Chicago (CGCC), we give thanks to the God of our ancestors, revealed in Jesus Christ, for the tremendous and abundant grace that continue to undergird the ministry and mission provided by this Church for Ghanaians and all people, whoever they are and wherever they come from.
In the Spring of 1988, the Rev. Dr. Emmanuel F. Y. Grantson, then a graduate student at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago but taking some courses at the University of Chicago, was invited by the Rev. Dr. Brown, Dean of the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel of the University in Hyde Park to speak to his congregation about African Christianity and Cultural Traditions. This was the beginning of our relationship with the Rockefeller Chapel and how it became our haven and a great place to worship for the first three years of CGCC’s life.
The Rev. Grantson had been inspired by what he perceived to be a call from God to help improve the spiritual and social lives of the Ghanaians he was encountering in Chicago, who would ask for his prayers or request that he conduct memorial services, weddings and naming ceremonies on their behalf.
After consulting with the Chicago Fante Mboakuw, of which he was a member, and with his pastoral colleagues, the Rev. Dr. Abraham Akrong Of blessed memory, former Lecturer, Institute of African Studies, the University of Ghana, Legon and the Rev. Dr. Kwaku Lartey also of blessed memory (Grantson and Lartey were classmates, while Akrong was senior to both by a year at Legon). Rev.Grantson sought permission from Dean Brown to begin worship services after the University’s morning worship. The inaugural service was launched on August 08, 1988 at 12:30 pm. There were about 25-30 people in attendance. The service was moving and inspiring. Most in the congregation were initially members of the Fante Mboakuw but there were Ghanaians from other ethnic groups and backgrounds who were also present.
In the weeks and months that followed, the CGCC established its routine, program and ministry. There were a series of firsts:
The first officers were:
Willie Grant- Acquah– President ;Kukua Eshun– Vice President ;Kwasi Amponsa-Yeboah– Secretary; Rose Poku Ansah– Treasurer;Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Grantson– Resident Pastor The Rev. Dr. Abraham Akrong– Associate Pastor The Rev. Dr. Kwaku Lartey– Associate Pastor;Ellie Grantson– Sunday School Superintendent and Dr. Kwasi Aduonum– Musical Director
The vision of CGCC was and remains one which embraces the best aspects of the African Christian personality and character such as love, unity, mutual assistance, support, accountability, and transparency. The Gospel of Jesus calls us to serve God and our neighbor. The CGCC has sought to do this in a non- denominational, non-tribal and non sectarian manner. This Church belongs to all Ghanaians and all people of African descent. It continues to be served by pastors of various ethnic and denominational backgrounds such as Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, Anglican and Pentecostal.
In 1991 due to scheduling conflict, the CGCC moved from Rockefeller Chapel to Augustana Lutheran Church on 5500.
South Woodlawn Ave. its present location through the help of Rev. Abraham Akrong and the late Rev. Kwaku Lartey became its Resident Pastor and the late Rev. Anthony Class-Peters as the Associate Pastor. When Rev. Lartey left for Ghana the late Rev. Julius Allen took over as the Resident Pastor. When Rev. Abraham Akrong came back after his graduation, Rev. Allen left. Before Rev. Akrong left for good to Ghana he brought Rev. Kwadwo Ntim to take over as resident pastor. After serving for a while, Rev. Ntim initiated a move to merge the church under the United Methodist Church. Congregational vote rejected the idea and Rev. Ntim moved on to form the Gye Nyame United Methodist Church.
Rev. Benjamin Quamson who was then the Associate Pastor became the Resident Pastor. After Rev. Quamson, Rev.
Margaret Asabea became the Resident Pastor. When Rev. Asabea left to pursue her doctorate degree Rev. George, Pastor George, Rev. Prince Appiah Kubi and lay preachers in the church helped to move along.
Through this transitional period the church was blessed with two pastors, Rev. Emmanuel Betson and Rev. William Acquah. In 2006 Rev. Betson and Rev. Acquah resigned and the lay preachers in the church were able to sustain the ministry until the late Rev. Class-Peters introduced Rev. Cannon Robert Koomson to Elder Kwasi Amponsa-Yeboah. Rev. Cannon presided until he left in 2011 when he assisted to ordained three pastors to continue the spiritual leadership and the growth of the Church of Ghanaian Community of Chicago. The pastors were Rev Emmanuel Amonoo as resident pastor, Rev Nana Owusu Bempah, associate pastor, Evangelist Kwamina Sam, and Rev Kwasi Amponsa-Yeboah, associate pastor.
In January of 2015, our associate pastor Rev Kwasi Amponsa- Yeboah retired and moved to Ghana. While in Ghana Pastor
Yeboah continued his services to the church by coordinating the church’s goodwill donations of dual desks to various needy schools in Ghana. A total of over 300 desks at the cost of eight thousand dollars were distributed to six schools in the Greater Accra, Central and Ashanti Regions. Today Ghanaian Community Church continues it legacy with Rev Emmanuel Amonoo, Rev Nana Owusu Bempah, and Evangelist Kwamina Sam.
We give thanks to God. Amen.
Presidents In Order
The Late, Mr. Grant Accuah
Mr. Enrine Oware
Mr. Kwasi Ampnosa-Yeboah
Ms. Akusua Sewwa Bonso
Mr. Joe Danso
*Mr. Kwamina Sam
Ms. Rosemary Amegashie
Mr. Bennett Agyeman
*Mr. Kwamina Sam (Current)