Another year is ticking in for Rev. Dr. Kofi Noonoo that merits celebration. But will that event match the recent colorful and enthusiastic banquet for his 75th birthday at Dorchester Hall, Dolton, IL. That was a party for the likes of kings and queens; the decorations, service, music, dance, food, and company were exquisite.
Approximately 650 people from a cross-section of the Ghanaian community dressed in their best attire attended the banquet, a fitting tribute to his tireless and selfless services. Among those present were pastors and ministers of the twenty Ghanaian churches and ministries associated with the Council of Ghanaian Churches that Rev. Noonoo heads. In attendance also were Paa Kwasi Sam, President of Ghana National Council and other officers, a retinue of chiefs led by Alhaji Issa Samori, President of House of Chiefs and leaders of various ethnic Ghanaian groups in the Chicago area. Close relatives and friends of Rev. Noonoo from Ghana and parts of the U.S. also flew in for the birthday party.
Amid a familiar tune played by The Bɛsabi Band, Rev. Noonoo and by his beautiful wife, Nettie, were ushered into the banquet hall in a procession of his family, CGC pastors and choirs, as well as leaders and members of the Fante Benevolent Society led by the former Chief Nana Kobina Korantsen I. He was heartily cheered as he entered the room, as he danced with his wife. Many others could not resist the temptation to join them in the dancing. Seated later on a beautifully decorated dais, he received congratulations from various leaders of the community and posed for photographs with them.
In an opening prayer, Apostle Joseph Kyei Baffour of the Christian Faith International at Romeoville expressed gratitude to God for the life of Rev. Noonoo and for giving him youthful features for a man his age. A Gospel Hour preceded this featuring the choirs of Christian Faith Church, the African Community United Methodist Church, Christ Pentecostal Church, Ghanaian Catholic Community, Keyway to Heaven Ministries, Presbyterian Church Redemption Congregation, SDA, ACME and Living Comfort Ministries.
A delicious dinner was served by the staff of Royal Catering followed by the cutting of the cake and prayer for the family by Rev. Dr. Isaac Paintsil. Awards were later presented to Rev. Noonoo by many including Paa Kwasi Sam on behalf of the GNC, Dr. Gabriel Amoateng-Boahen for the CGC and the Ebenezer United Church by Elder Emmanuel Apea-Kubi.
Rev. Noonoo was overwhelmed by the expressions of affection.Touched by the honor accorded him, he thanked all those present, and all who were responsible for planning and executing the event. The floor was later opened to all to enjoy the delightful evening for a worthy servant of God. The birthday celebration culminated with a thanksgiving service the following day at the Ebenezer United Church
Many people said Rev. Noonoo deserved the honor for endearing himself to the community by diligently officiating at funeral services, baby dedications, weddings, and other special activities.
A native of Anomabu, Ghana, he served for seven years as a Pentecostal minister after attending Cape Coast University and Adisadel College. He was ordained by the Presbytery of Liberia in 1978 and transferred his membership to the Presbytery of Chicago of the Presbyterian Church of the USA in 1992. Dr. Noonoo worked as a child welfare specialist and therapist at the Catholic Charities Foster Care Program for 25 years. Also, he worked for the Development Delayed clients of the Department of Human Services. Currently, Rev. Noonoo is the senior pastor of the Ebenezer United Church, President of the Council of Ghanaian Churches and President of the Board of Advisors for the Jemimah Noonoo Foundation.
Affectionately called Osofo Noonoo, he holds a Ph.D. in Pastoral Care and Counseling from Northwestern University, Evanston. He is also a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the State of Illinois. He obtained his Master of Divinity, Magna Cum Laude, and Master of Religious Education, Cum Laude, from Memphis Theological Seminary. He has earned many top awards and recognition for exceptional and selfless service to the community.
Rev. Noonoo is married to Nettie, a native of Liberia. They have four children, two daughters prior to the marriage and their oldest; Jemimah went to be with the Lord September 2014.
Nevertheless, entering his 76 years, Rev. Noonoo is unstoppable. So, let’s still honor and appreciate him while he lives for his devoted and dedicated services to our community.
(Minister Nicholas Thompson is General Secretary of the Council of Ghanaian Churches and executive director of the Africa Resurrection and Restoration Ministries (ARRM))