Hope Presby meets Rev. William Quaye, the Resident Minister, Hope Congregation, Sakumono Estates and the District Minister of Sakumono District of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. Rev. William Quaye was interviewed by Ms. Martha Daitey and Mr. Edmund Kyei Akoto-Danso on the eve of Good Friday, 29th March, 2013.
Read the transcripts from the interview.
Q. “Briefly tell us about yourself and your family”
A. “Rev. Quaye is the first son of ten siblings, I started schooling virtually from the North specifically Bawku, then came down to Bolga or Bolgatanga as it is rightfully known. And then we finally came down to Accra where my basic school ended at the Police Deport Basic School. Then I moved on to Presec-Osu for my secondary schooling, continued at Aquinas Secondary School, did a one year programme at Accra Poly and continued to KNUST formally known as UST. I read Agric Engineering, completed and had my National Service at Ohawu Agric College in the Volta Region. So after completion of the National Service in 1988, I worked with Mechanical Lloyd and I stayed there almost eleven years, after which the call of the Lord came. It was a very tricky issue because I wanted to work as well as do the Lord’s Job. But as the Lord will have me, I had to leave my job as an Agric Engineer and as Assistant Parts Manager at Mechanical Lloyd and go into full time ministry. So I went to Trinity Theological Seminary for three years – from 1999 to the year 2002 when I completed.
I have a wife, Patience Quaye (Mrs.) and two beautiful children, a daughter and a son. The daughter is the elder, Naa Merley Osabu Quaye and the junior one is Nii Osabu Quaye”.
Q. “What was the turning point”
A. “Well, that was a challenge because my heart was into Engineering actually, but I just compare myself to Peter who was a fisher folk and the Lord called him, he had to leave his net and his boat and follow Christ.
Q. “So Peter was like your role model”
A. “Maybe, you could put it that way, so I had to leave the Agric Engineering background for a while and stick to the Lord’s ministry”.
Q. When and how did you become a born again Christian”
A. “My Christian life started seriously, when I met one guy called Neequaye a banker, who became a friend and he took me to a Christian fellowship at Roman Ridge and there the word was preached and I gave my life to Christ , that was somewhere in 1975 while I was in secondary school form 2 or 3, and seriously I stuck to Christ. Interestingly, when I became born again we were so passionate about the word that I could leave my residence at Pig Farm and move to Osu Kaajaano area to go and witness to people. So that was the passion when we came to know Christ and we have continued that way till the Lord called us into ministry.
Q. “Who is your role model and why”
A. “The role model issue is a bit tricky to me because as human beings we are very fallible – so if you are not careful and you pick someone as your role model, and something happens to that person, if you are not careful your faith will be shaken. But I have one minister who challenges me a lot and that is Rev. Dr. B.Y. Quarshie. He is a very calm, unassuming and a very principled man that I believe inspires me a lot. He is not one of those people who sort of rush for positions and I believe I want to look up to him”.
Q. “How do you feel when you’re at the altar”
A. “Well I think it is a fulfilment of a call, it is not as if I just got up one day and decided to go into ministry. People were urging me on because from the University, thus UST, people call it “University of Spiritual Training” and so our lives had been so challenging when we came out of school. It was not as if we will go and tell people that, give us the chance to preach but people saw something in us. So I became a Lay Preacher at my church [Grace Congregation, Mamobi] for so many years. Out of that, people saw something good in me and urged me to go into ministry, but I didn’t want to leave my job. I wanted to combine the two but as the Lord will have me, He said, leave it and come and follow me and I don’t regret leaving my job as an Agricultural Engineer and following the Lord in ministry. I have not regretted one bit. I think it is the Lord’s will”.
Q. “Tell us your love story”
A. “Well it was again in the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Grace Presby at Mamobi. During the Bible Study and Prayer Group, I met a beautiful lady and we realised that we could gel together and along the line we moved on and on and on and it got to a point where we saw that we could become a couple, so I proposed to her and she also agreed and in 1987 we entered into marriage. By then, I had not completed my National Service so I came down from Ohawu to have the wedding before going back to complete the National Service and we have been there since, 25 years and moving on. God has been good to us”.
Q. “Tell us more about Mama Sofo”
A. “Yes, Mama is a Police Officer. God has been good to her. Initially when I met her she was with the BNI [Bureau of National Investigation] and she moved onto the CID [Criminal Investigation Department] at a point in time and she has graduated from rank to rank and she is a Superintendent of Police and also the Head of the Anti Human Trafficking at the CID Headquarters. A very big responsibility and because of that, she travels a lot internationally. One thing about her is that, [even though] I met her when she was not a graduate but through encouragement, she is currently doing her Master’s programme at GIMPA and I believe that’s an encouragement to others. You don’t only have to go in for already made women, you can also take her and groom her”.
Q. “Considering the work schedule of Mama, how do you manage the family”
A. “Fortunately, that was why God gave us a daughter first. She has been a mother to all of us. The little girl has been wonderful, she has been taking care of all of us, food wise, her little brother – it has been good. When Mama comes, she also plays her motherly role and gives us quality time anytime she is around. So we are not hard up in any way. We all understand her job and they also understand mine, they always see Papa going to church- but they are cool with it”.
GENERAL ISSUES OF THE COMMUNITY AND THE COUNTRY
Q. “In your opinion should the church play a role in the governance of the nation”
A. “Seriously the Church is playing roles in the governance of the nation but we may not be directly involved. In our Church for example we have the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning as one of our members in the person of Honourable Seth Tekper. He is of the Church but he is in Governance, so you see the church’s influence. Other Parliamentarians are also within the church so the Church is playing its role but it is more of advocacy than direct politicking. The Church should stay neutral, we only have to speak on national issues when the need arises and we should be like guides to the politicians so that we can guide them to do the right thing and also imbibe in them the moral attribute of justice, integrity and fairness. Once we do that, I think it will help the society grow. That is my view.”
Q. “What role do you think the Church has played with respect to community service”
A. “The Presby Church has been doing a lot of Community work; you can just imagine the schools that the Presbyterian Church has opened all over the country. In fact some people thought the Presbyterian Church is a rural Church. We have not just opened basic schools but we have Senior High Schools. We have currently two Universities and these are all serving the community. Apart from that, we also want practically to help people out of poverty, so the Church also has Agricultural ventures. If you go to Abokobi Agric Project, it is directly helping the farmers in that area with subsidised farm machinery work input and so on and so forth. In the North [Northern Region], we have so many areas where the Church is into agriculture, even we have a project where we help those who can’t see well or unsightly. We help these people to do farming and these are all measures to help society get rid of poverty, so the Church is helping in the community. We also have other income generating ventures like soap making factories and so on and so forth. All these lead to help society get rid of poverty and that is being managed by our Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) at the Head Office”
Q. “Christianity and corruption in Ghana – what are your thoughts on it?”
A. “Well, I think what you just asked is a true fact. It is a concern to the Church. It appears the word of God is not being taken serious because nowadays what is happening is, we realise people are speaking more about prosperity, we don’t want to confront the issues of living with integrity, living above board, so every radio station or TV station you open, people are asking flocks to come for healing. I mean virtually for social issues, whiles we should be confronting people with the reality of the situation. The word of God is asking us to live to be examples and it is my prayer that even as we go through the celebration of Easter and so on we will be confronted with the reality of what Christ wants us to be, the way He wants us to live. If we live like Christ did, indeed we will be called Christians, but people have put on so called Christian robes but they are not living as Christians, which is why corruption is endemic in our nation”.
Q. “What are your expectations of people who claimed claim to have been called by God?”
A. “That is another issue, you see, the call that people receive from God, whether it is a trunk call or international call, there’s no way you can sort of put to a test, once the person says he has been called, he forms a church, there the person goes. But we are supposed to test the spirits, He says ‘by their fruits ye shall know them’. So it is sometimes very annoying that you see someone who calls himself a man of God and is behaving or living a certain style which is not in consonance with the word of God and yet people are following him. So sometimes it’s a little bit problematic when we see people who are comfortable and now excuse me to say somebody jokingly said ‘when you take pure water out, the next commodity that is selling very fast is Christianity. You see, sometimes it appears people are just there for the money they can get but not for the real I mean issues of Christ confronting people with their sins and coming out of it and living as real Christians. We shouldn’t forget that the people who were called Christians first lived like Christ, the very life that they portrayed were like Christ that is why they were called Christians. If we live like that I believe society will be transformed, that is what we are praying for”
Q. “Is the Church losing its transformational value?”
A. “Yes to some extent we can say that but there are others who are living exemplary lives. It is unfortunate like we said we found that Ghana is a Christian nation; 60% of the population are Christians but it is the impact of our Christianity which is questionable. If we allow Christ to impact us and we live the way Christ wants us to live, there will be transformation of the totality of our society. Don’t forget, it was just twelve disciples who transformed the world and currently yourself and myself are examples of what those twelve people did”.
Q. “Choosing to heed to a call of being a minister of God as against your ordinary life –how would you advice someone in such a situation?”
A. “Like I said, the first step is you must necessarily be sure that it is God who is calling you or else you will come to regret because like I said people are coming into Ministry with various ideas and for various purposes. Basically many people are coming in because they think that is the fertile ground to get money but I believe that should not be the case, Christ is calling us to take up His cross and follow Him. So as people who want to come into Ministry we should know that we are going to become under shepherds so one day the great shepherd will question us so if we come with the wrong motive one day we will come and account for the flock which you led and I believe that will be a great thing”
Q. “How many congregations have you worked with?”
A. “When I started ministry, I was sent to Osu Ebenezer Presbyterian Church or Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Osu Ebenezer and I spent three years there. I also somehow had some oversight over one of the Congregations when the Minister goes on leave. There was another Congregation there called Bethlehem. I also did some work there. Then I was moved to Kpone on Sea Bethel Presbyterian Church or Bethel Presby as is usually called and I stayed there, worked for five years, and that was a place where I really enjoyed ministry because the Lord used me to do a lot of things. Through God’s grace I was able to send Compassion International people there, and the Church is currently benefitting, 300 children in the community are being sponsored by Compassion International. I mean they are looking after these children till University level, and this I do not think they will forget me ever in their lives and God being so good I also managed to help one of the preaching post to start its church building and about three weeks ago the church building has been completed and the Presbytery chairperson went and inaugurated or opened up this and I feel so elated and comforted by what has happened.
I started another congregation, Peace Congregation within the community and there is another one at a place called Kpoiete, all these were being managed by me but I was not a District Minister. I was just a Minister in Charge and I was sometimes helping the District Minister to look after his congregation, and maybe that was the potential the church saw in me. Instead of elevating me, they sent me to James Town. But I wasn’t bothered, because I knew the Church and that is how it was. James Town people also benefitted from me, because when I went there I had wanted to initiate the chapel building. Because what they had, though they had a building they worship in it wasn’t properly built. So we set in plans, had the drawings and we were about starting when I was posted out. But I also helped their preaching point acquire musical instruments to start a beautiful worship time, and I was uprooted and brought to Hope Congregation”.
Q. “Any memories from these congregations?”
A. “Oh…. Again at Osu God used myself with the help of the district minister there, Rev. Victor Oko Abbey to start a prayer session on Thursdays and it has stayed on for the 10 years. I mean it moved to a certain level that my heart has been so gladdened that something that we started as though we were joking and playing has yielded a lot. People have gotten a lot of testimonies through that prayer time or tarry times.
Again, at Kpone on Sea, I worked with all my heart and God being so good, we had partners from Colorado Denver who came to sponsor seven persons (four from the church and three teachers). Unfortunately it was myself and only two other teachers who was able to get a visa at the American Embassy. The three of us were sponsored – everything fully paid and we were taken to Denver, Colorado as tourist. In fact this will stay with me for the rest of my life. I enjoyed that place! For three weeks, we were moved around the whole of Colorado – Colorado mountains and everything to be seen in there. I was even given the opportunity to go to the Head Office of Compassion International – I mean it was mind blowing – it was a big organization. It is only that here [Hope Congregation], people are well to do, else I would have brought them here”.
Q. “What was your greatest fear when you were joining Hope Congregation?”
A. “Well, Fear, I would say wasn’t something in my mind. My only concern was, it was my friend, who was being moved out. So I felt very uncomfortable for him to go out and being replaced by me. But for fear, I wasn’t afraid. I knew it is the Lord’s work, so where ever the Lord sends you, you do your bit, then when its time, you move on. So I wasn’t entertaining fear at all, but my only challenge was Rev. Gideon Puplampu was friend”.
Q. “What was your perception about Hope Congregation before and after entry”
A. “I did not have a lot of interaction about Hope Congregation before I came in. One of your ministers (Rev. Erasmus Odonkor) had been a friend for a long time, in fact I did my Master’s programme with him when he was here [Hope Congregation], so he had a lot of chat with me the way the react and it is. But one thing with me is that I don’t go to a place with my mind already formed. I just go in and move on with the people. Their past is their past, the current is what is important and the future ahead”.
Q. “What are the measures put in place by the church to make the church grow spiritually?”
A. “The church has position itself in a way that if members would participate, their spiritual life will be something else. You know of our Fire on the Altar, it is a means by which the church wants to deepen our spirituality and the All Nights that accompany the Fire on the Altars are supposed to enlighten us that we can go in the presence of God and God will do something in our lives, to practically see that God is with us. Also the Teaching Services that we have on Wednesdays are meant to equip us as Christian with the word of God. Lastly we started the Hope Prayer Clinic, to bring another dimension that prayer is the key for a Christian and if you want to go into the presence of God, it’s only through prayer and I believe that will help us”.
Q. “Personal support for the church growth?”
A. “Personally, I believe it is not about an individual but a collective leadership of church (Session). I came to see a Strategic Plan in place and the Strategic Plan want to see the church at a certain pedestal in the near future. Currently we have three services but we want to have two full youth services in addition to the three adult services and we want the Children Service have a place where they can feel comfortable and worship God so well and it’s my prayer that the new office complex will be completed as we have projected by 2015 and we will see what the Lord will do with us”.
Q. “What innovation or addition do you want to add to the spiritual growth?”
A. “Basically my innovation is that, prayer should be the focus”. We want to come again with the School of Ministry but we are having few challenges so we want to sit back and see how best we can repacked it and bring it to the congregation. People have thought that it [School of Ministry] is for certain crop of people but the School of Ministry that we envisage is for the totality of the Church, so that people can be given the word of God (the raw word of God) so that they ca n be grounded so that they are not tossed to and fro but any kind of doctrine”.
Q. “What do you like most about your congregation?”
A. “What I like about Hope Congregation is on Sundays, you see the passion with which people come to church and the issue on fund raising, you would not see the style you see in other places where as if “people have to be deceive to give”. I mean it is straight forward, when you asked and people want to give they just give once and no more and,I think that’s a good thing I am learning from Hope and I believe anywhere God leads me to I will share this vision with them so that we will do things in a way that , if it is for the Lord, it must be done well. I believe that’s what the Hope congregation does.”
Q. “Where would you like to see Hope in the next three years?”
A. “Like I said, the Hope Family we grow together. Currently we have the Micro Finance. We are hoping to grow it into a Community Bank. Currently we have passed a Community Bank, so we are looking at the next three years coming up with a Saving and Loans Company Limited which we have purchase a property just across the Church premises and we will grow it for the community and the Church to benefit from it.
Spiritually, it is my desire that maybe on Sundays, we have about seven service. People will come at their own time and in their numbers to receive spiritual nourishment. That is my desire for the Church, so come the Silver Jubilee, I hope these will be a reality and it will come to fruition”.
Q. “This year will be your Second Youth X’plo, what are your expectations?”
A. “I know the Youth in the congregation are very innovative and creative. I expect them to come up with something creative which we will support (not me in person but Session as the leadership of the Church). I pledge my support to them (the Youth) with the backing of the whole leadership of the Church. I have told them that, they should be creative enough – sometimes the perception is that the Youth is made up of only educative guys, but my prayers is that they will come out with programmes that will ensure that those who are less educated will also feel part of the Youth movement in the Church. So these are only a few things that will come on board and we will all move together and be lifted up to bring honour and glory to God. I believe this year’s Xplo will be a big bang”.
Q. “Any special message for the youth?”
A. “My special message for the Youth is that, they should at all times be mindful of Christ in their lifes and Christ should be their example. Let’s not forget that, Jesus at the age of 12 was encountering people who have beard. He was challenging them with the word of God, so right from Youth, Christ was passionate about His father’s business. So that is what I expect that the Youth should be passionate about their programmes and also the churches programs. Sometimes our focus tends to go onto Group activities than that of the Church activities but the two complements each other. So I believe as the Youth becomes interested in their programmes, they should also be interested in the Churches programmes too. If the Youth are interested in the Churches programme, the Church will float and we will be in Heaven’s flight”.
Q. “Special message for the Church?”
A. “My special message for the Hope congregation is that let us stay united, love each other and calm each other and let us respond positively to evening programs.”
Q. “What are your hobbies?”
A. “Well, for hobbies, I believe one thing I like is watching football – that’s my passion. I played some time back and I got injured so I moved out. And sometimes too, volleyball and reading generally”.
Q. “Which team do you support?”
A. “Some of the teams when you support them they give you heart ache – Accra Hearts of Oak. But am the distant sort of … I am not the type who put their head and everything …when they win am ok.
Internationally, when Essien was with Chelsea, I was there with him. But now that he has left I don’t know where I am supposed to go”.
Q. “How do you feel when two teams are praying to God to win a march?”
A. “It is just the spiritual dimension to football, I mean people think that everything is not physical, I mean there is that aspect that God has to come in. But you realise that with football, it is physical training and the psyche of the players that sometimes win them the match. Well, God’s help comes in, but God help all the teams. And finally the skills ultimately win the day for the team that is good”.
Q. “What is the linkage between you, your family and Police Service?”
A. “We were born into it. As you rightly know, my father was also a Police Officer and my wife and her senior brother is also a Police Officer, then my Cousin was the immediate past IGP [Inspector General of Police] and it’s on and on and on.
I am also a Police Officer because we bring discipline to the lives of people for the Lord”.
Q. “Sing us your favourite Presby Hymn”
A. “One of the Presbyterian hymns that has always been my strength in times of crises, thus PH 644.
Mijielô ji milâlâtsâ
Eda ni ehe wa.
Shikpôå lâ nô lâ mô ko bâ
Ni tamô Yesu kwraa.
Lâ nôåå ekpâ milâlâ lâ,
Naa bô ni ehi pâ!
Åshô kâ kôôyôô fââ ele,
Ekpaaa yâ mô ko sââ!
Thanks for reading this edition. This is just the beginning as we will be bringing you more exciting interviews from Hope Presby. God bless you and may you continue to have a purposeful encounter with God and the church.