Source: Otabil , Kofi
The International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) was birthed on February 26, 1984 at the Kanda Cluster Schools around 6pm with a congregation of about 15 to 20 people. Rev. William Obeng-Darko preached at the inaugural service. He preached from Psalm 18 verse 29….“For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall”. Indeed the Lord has been good and indeed ICGC have run through various challenges and leapt over many obstacles through the power of God.
From humble beginnings, ICGC have become an established organisation encompassing various attributes of the Ghanaian excellent spirit to succeed against all odds. On May 4, 1986, ICGC moved to the Baden Powell Hall where the churched experienced stability and growth till December 1996 when the church moved to Christ Temple, its own permanent premises. Much of ICGC’s growth was realised from 1986 when it moved to the Baden Powell Hall.
I wish to recount some of the early activities of the church. I remember that prior to moving to Baden Powell, Pastors Mensa Otabil, Edwin Donkor, Rick Donkor, Bro. Peter Dzandza and yours truly Kofi Otabil had to undertake the initial painting of the hall before we had our maiden church service on May 4, 1986. We were all transported in Peter Dzandza’s light blue 404 Peugeot. I remember Rev. Edwin Donkor doing the Fosbury Flop near the stage area. We had fun painting the hall.
Bro Peter Dzandza and Ms Mabel Pieterson played very pivotal role in those early days. In fact Pastor Mensa Otabil’s first car was a donation from Ms Pieterson. It was a little RED FIAT with a character of frequent stopping on the road due to frequent overheating. At one point, the week day services were being held at Mrs Rosebud Hammond’s residence at Kanda. These people believed the vision afar off when there was nothing to be believed.
Mrs Wisha Annor and husband Pastor Yaw Annor deserved special mention for standing with the vision of Pastor Otabil in all these years. Pastor Charles Appah, Rev Gracious Awoye, Rev Edwin Donkor, and Rev Rick Donkor were all from the Kanda Christian Fellowship when Pastor Mensa Otabil was its President before starting ICGC. I’ll also mention Pastors Morris Appiah, Kofi Okyere, and Samuel Gyekye for their fortitude in standing with the vision. Words will fail me to mention all but they know themselves.
May I state that the church used to meet only in the late afternoons from 4:30pm on Sundays for about a year before morning church services was introduced. From the Kanda Cluster of Schools, ICGC moved to various locations such as the Accra High School, Mrs. Christians’ Preparatory School at Kanda then to Osu Regal Cinema, in June 1985 where it enjoyed temporal stability with the inclusion of generals in the kingdom such as Rev Obeng-Darko and Rev Eric Kwapong.
At this stage, the Tuesday evening services were being held at YMCA near the Holy Spirit Cathedral. At this time the church had grown to about 60-80 people. ICGC stayed at Regal Cinema for about 10 months then made its major move to the Baden Powell Memorial Hall where it stabilised for 10 years. That’s where most of the structures were laid. One of the significant early church growths occurred around late 1984 at the Kanda Cluster Schools when a bulk of students from the Institute of Professional Studies (IPS) joined ICGC.
Among those who joined were Okasa Lamptey, Mathilda Lamptey, Esther Christian, Wanda, Eugene Amengor and Veronica Dzandza among others. Their inclusion grew the church and added a new dimension to the church’s structure. Indeed all those periods, ICGC run through a troop and leapt over walls as the Lord favoured them.
Over the years ICGC have not limited its focus on preaching Christ alone but contributed in shaping visions and supporting the needy in society through its various activities such as donating boreholes to deprived rural communities, providing scholarships to needy students, and other community based charitable activities.
The Central Scholarship Trust has become one of the largest private scholarship trusts. The church initiated the establishment of Central University College in 1998 from the Central Bible College which was established in 1988. ICGC continues to serve our Lord Jesus Christ by providing practical leadership to the society and the world at large.
This is to wish Pastor Mensa Otabil, his wife Joy Otabil and all ICGC members a happy anniversary on the occasion of chalking 30 years of establishing ICGC in Ghana and in other parts of the globe. It is also time to remember the pivotal roles of Rev. Obeng-Darko and Rev. Eric Kwapong for their pioneering roles in providing crucial nourishment for the early Centralites or church members.
Rev. Obeng-Darko provided discipleship classes to lay sound biblical foundation while Rev. Eric Kwapong focused on the biblical principles of worship. I am paying tribute to the heroes of the pre-Baden Powell days during the period of February 26, 1984 to April, 1986 because they believed when there was nothing to believe but they still had faith in the vision and in God. It is indeed a time to thank God for His favour in these 30 years and relying on His faithfulness and favour in the next decades to come to His Glory forevermore! Amen.
Written by: Kofi Otabil