Hello Welcome to “In The Hope Seat”. In our last episode, we had a very interesting discussion with our reverend minister, Reverend William Quaye. In this episode, we have yet another interesting personality that you would surely like to listen to. He was one of the founding members of the Hope Congregation, of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. I entreat you to follow through the discussion when the team visited him at his residence.
PERSONAL Q. Briefly tell us about yourself and your family? A. “I am Isaac Akesseh, I was born a little over 50 years ago, I’m from Ajumako Besease in the Central Region. I started primary school from my home town, Besease Presby primary school, and continued my secondary education at Kaneshie Secondary Technical where I did my O’ levels. I went on to St. Peters Secondary School, Nkwatia Kwahu for my Sixth Form. I entered the University of Ghana to do my 1st degree which was a BSc Administration (Accounting Option) degree, which I completed in 1985. From there I pursued my professional accounting career and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1993. So I’m a professional Chartered Accountant. In 2008, I went back to the University to do my Masters in Business Administration in Finance. At the moment I’m working with the Ghana Grid Company, Tema as the Director of Finance. Previously I worked with the Volta River Authority, and the Ministry of Finance”
Q. How did you become a born again Christian? A.“Well as a Presbyterian I was baptized as a child and at that point you don’t know anything, so as you grow and as you learn and you begin to know some things. So it was in Secondary School where I really accepted Christ, and this was at a Scripture Union prayer meeting. Ever since I have tried to stay as a committed Christian.
Q. Tell us about your love story
A.“I’m married to Joyce with three female children. We met in Dansoman, when we were in the same neighbourhood and also working in the same vicinity. I was working in the Ministry of Finance and she was working with the Customs Excise and Preventive service, so we seem to have met quite a couple of times”.
Q. How many years have you been a member of the Hope Congregation? A.“Right from the inception. We [Mr. Isaac Akesseh, Mr Seth Terkper and Mrs Shormeh Gyamfi-Aidoo] were the pioneers of HOPE. There were three of us who convened a meeting of Presbyterians within the Sakumono Estates when it was commissioned. The Estates was commissioned in 1990 and then people started moving in, so we were among some of the first few residents of the estates. Once we got in we found it important to find a place of worship, so 3 of us decided to begin the formation of a church.
Q. Tell us what you know about the birth of the Hope Congregation of the PCG?
A.What happened was, we first called a meeting of all Presbyterians living within the Estates, this was on 29th December 1990. We prepared flyers and distributed to every home occupied inviting all Presbyterians to come for a meeting. So on that faithful day I was there to receive the people as they came in and we had the meeting. We had 25 members coming. From there we agreed to start the congregation. Among the three people I was the Coordinator, I prepared everything towards the first meeting. At the meeting people were asked to volunteer to form a Planning Committee to prepare the formation of the Church. So I volunteered and became a Secretary of the Planning Committee to help with the formation of the church. I was the Secretary until the Church was formally inaugurated. When the Church started, the Planning Committee became an Interim Management Committee and I continued as its Secretary. When the church finally became a fully-fledged congregation, Presbyters were commissioned and I became the Session Secretary. At the time the title was Church Secretary because I was combining session and administration work”.
Q. How do you see thing then and now?
A. “It’s been 22-23 years now and the church has grown. Right from the beginning, every meeting day, we had numbers increasing; and now we have increased to the point where we are having three services. We can say that by the Grace of God, the Church has stood the test of time and grown over what we imagined in the beginning. We have been lucky enough or by the Grace of God, to get a lot of people coming in with various resources to help the church to come a long way to the position it is now”.
Q. Has the dream(s) that stood as the basis for the setting up of the Church being fulfilled?
A.“The main goal apart from getting the Presbyterians within the Estates together was also to reach out to others who are not Christians and those who may have backslided. We had an evangelism objective as well. To a large extent we have been following it and we have achieved it. The Presbyterian Church itself has evangelism as one of its key pillars, therefore we cannot setup a church without the evangelism aspect”.
Q. You have worshiped under all the ministers that have passed through the congregation, can you share with us your fondest memories with these ministers?
A.“I think all the Ministers who have passed through HOPE, came at a certain stage of its development. We have the one who came right from inception, Rev. Kennedy Obiri. I was very happy with the enthusiasm with which he worked. When you are nurturing a Church, it means you have to bring people together, so you have to be approachable and easily reached. Even though he was a student at Trinity Seminary, he was always available for people to meet him and reach out to him. We sometimes closed session at 10 o’clock and we had to take him to Trinity Seminary. Unfortunately, Rev. Kennedy Obiri passed away a few years ago. After him came Rev. Erasmus Odonkor. He came to the point where I would call the development stage of the church. We were on the ground, so we had to develop the Church infrastructure and other equipment for the Church. He also had the passion for building the work of God and always looked for excellence. Everything we were doing, he was looking for it to be excellent. You can see that our building is quite distinct from all the other church buildings at the time because we were looking to build a church of excellence. In fact at the time, we used to say, we were building a five star Church and to a large extent, I think that we have succeeded because the Ga Presbytery itself calls us a model Church that others, you know, need to look at and emulate”.
Q.Where would you like to see Hope in the next three years?
A.“I think that, what we need to work on first, are the people we have brought into the congregation. We have to make sure that we build on their spiritual life and then we must also work on Evangelism. Evangelism is one of the pillars that we based the Church on and then we want to see it grow. You know, we want to see the church do more evangelism even though we have a lot of people joining the church, the work is not finished. We have to make sure that everybody in Sakumono is a Christian, belongs to some congregation or the other and are on their way to being saved. Then with the congregation members itself, we see that if you take evening programs for instance, it is a big problem, we need to find out how we can bring all of them together to join programs that are held in the evenings. It is at such programs that we teach, study and build on our spiritual life and therefore I think that the church at 25 years, we should build on these short comings that we have”.
Q. Considering your residence, you tend to pass by many Presby Churches, but you still attend HOPE, what is the motivation?
A.“Yes, I think that we started by living in Sakumono and we founded HOPE so for me HOPE is my life. HOPE is my life from beginning to today. It’s not too far from where we are, and every Church here that we pass by is under HOPE, therefore we still continue where we started from”.
Q. What roles have you played and for how long?
A. “Basically, I have been the Church Secretary right from beginning. I was in office for three terms of four years each as a presbyter. At the time, when we started we didn’t have church workers, so I was playing the role of administrator, so on Saturdays you will not find me at home. I would be at the church office working, so that Sunday church service will go on [smoothly]. In the course of time, I was also elected as the District Session Clerk for Community 2 District. Sakumono (HOPE) originally was under Community 2 District, there I served for about 7 years as the District Session Secretary and had to step down to concentrate on the work of HOPE”.
Q. Considering your service and commitment to the church as could be recorded from your YPG, YAF and current Men’s Fellowship days, what will be your advice for the current Crop of Youth?
A.“What I will say is that, the Church has brought up all these Groupings for purpose of learning and prayer, and we can best do that at our respective age groups. Doing it within your age groups, you will feel relaxed, so it’s a very good system. So you must stay in each group to grow till the highest point. For people who have gone through, you can see a difference in them, because they have gone through the systematic process [of learning]. If you work for the Church, you are not wasting your time, no matter what time you spend, in time God makes it up for you, so it is not a waste of time”.
Q. What do you do on your free time?
A.“Before you came in, I was watching football. That is one of the things I do over the weekends. I like football but unfortunately I’m not a good player. I also like reading. I’m someone who reads a lot; and I also like to listen to music”.
Q. Sing us your favourite PH
A.“I do like music but unfortunately I don’t think I have a good voice [now] so I’ll rather talk about my favourite hymns. If I take the hymn book there are so many [favourites] that selecting one is very difficult, but one I would call my favourite will be PH 11, “Den na menfa nyi w’aye”, the next one is PH276 “Asem a yekura mu yi” and the third one I will talk about is PH 549 “Me ye Yesu guamma nti”.
Thank you Mr. Akesseh for such an interactive time. We really enjoyed it and hope to meet once again for other related issues.
Folks, that is it for this episode in the HOPE seat. We hope you enjoyed and please stay tune because we will be coming your way with other interesting and interactive sessions. Until then Byee!!