Tension is mounting between the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) and its partner in the United States (US), the Presbyterian Church United States of America (PCUSA), as a result of the legalisation of homosexuality in the US. The PCG has written to withdraw the resident pastor of New York-based Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, a major branch of the PCUSA, Rt Rev Dr Yaw Frimpong-Manso, a former Moderator, without officially informing the PCUSA. The letter signed by the current Moderator of the PCG, Rt Rev Prof Emmanuel Martey, recalling Rev Frimpong-Manso urged him to wind up all his assignments and leave finally for home latest by December 31, 2015.
Rt Rev Martey’s description of the Ghanaian Presbyterian Churches affiliated with the PCUSA as “non Bible-believing” and “homosexual” churches has reportedly angered the entire membership of the churches. This was contained in a telephone interview between DAILY GUIDE and Rev Yaw Nkansah, the Moderator of the Conference of Ghanaian Presbyterian Churches in North America (CGPCNA), backed by a nine-page document mailed to DAILY GUIDE last Monday. According to him, Rt Rev Martey made damaging comments to the effect that the PCG did not have anything to do with the PCUSA because the latter is a “homosexual” church on a community radio station in the US in April, 2015.
Rev Nkansah stated that the PCUSA and PCG had been mission partners for several decades and as part of that partnernship, the PCUSA had generously provided educational opprtunities for PCG clergy at several US seminaries, including Columbia, Princeton, McCormick, Dubuque and Union. He said two senior PCG clergy—Rev Azumah and Rev Herbert AnimOpong, the immediate past Clerk of the General Assembly of the PCG—are currently on scholarship studying for doctorate degrees at Columbia and Princeton respectively. According to Rev Nkansah, in its capacity as a charitable organisation, the PCUSA is also a financial sponsor of the AkrofiChristaller Institute at AkrpongAkuapem and the Ghana Prison Mission.
He stated that Rev Martey capitalised on a decision taken by the General Assembly of the PCUSA to permit the ordination of persons of all sexual orientations and same-sex marriages to denigrate the PCUSA affiliated churches as “non Bible-believing” and “homosexual” churches. “The PCUSA decision specifically stipulates that the decision to ordain gay clergy or perform same-sex marriages is entirely the choice of individual congregations,” he explained. In his contribution, Elder Nana Yaw Agyiri of the New York-based Emmanuel Presbyterian Church accused Rt Rev Martey of double standards, since he and his son, Emmanuel Martey Jnr., who is currently pursuing further studies in the US, were beneficiaries of the PCUSA. He emphasised that the Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, of which Rt Rev Dr Frimpong-Manso is the resident pastor, is a wholly Ghanaian congregation which has nothing to do with homosexuality because of the Ghanaian culture and tradition.
Rev Agyiri claimed that currently about 20 PCG ministers and several congregations are working in the US and that they have not been withdrawn even though Rev Martey claims that the PCG has broken ties with the PCUSA for endorsing homosexuality. When DAILY GUIDE contacted Rev Martey for his reaction, he denied all the allegations levelled against him. He said the General Assembly of the PCG decided to break affiliation with PCUSA because it had accepted homosexuality. According to Rev Martey, the PCG was recalling Rev Frimpong-Manso because he had completed his five-year ministerial assignment with the US-based Emmanuel Presbyterian Church. When Rev Frimpong-Manso was contacted by DAILY GUIDE on phone, he disputed the claim by Rt Rev Martey, saying that he had just spent only a little over two years out of his five-year contract.