In October, 1979, Rev. Ebenezer Odai Tettey, the District Minister at the La Bethel Church informed Session about reports he had received concerning the difficulties the aged and the infirm staying at long distances from the church encountered when they came to worship at the Bethel Congregation especially in the evenings. The reports had it that, some members got temporarily blinded by the light from on-coming vehicles and stumbled into gutters whiles others missed their steps and fell as they came out of the east wing door after evening services.
In a bid to solve these difficulties that came to its attention, Session decided to develop a parallel Church on the outskirts of the town where members could attend within a short time and without much inconveniences.
SITE FOR THE SECOND CHURCH
Having taken the decision to put up a second Congregation, Session was again confronted with the problem of where to actually site it to give optimum advantage with minimum inconveniences to its targeted beneficiaries. Two areas were considered; Oko Dan/Adjemang and Abormi. Upon much deliberation, Abormi was chosen because it was easier to get to the Bethel Congregation from there, besides, Bethel already had a undeveloped land at Abormi, De gaulle Park. What was more, the Accra City Council had trespassed the said Church land at Abormi by building four Classrooms at one end of it as a City Council School. Session therefore acted quickly and sited the new church at Abormi to save the land from further encroachment.
Session eventually decided to build two more classrooms in addition to have a full complement of six classrooms to accommodate a full fledged primary school. Out of the six, two classrooms were partitioned in such a way that it could be converted into a single hall for worship.
HISTORY OF THE LAND
De Gaulle Park was the most popular name by which the site for the new church had been known. The purchase of the said land was made indirectly possible through the benevolence of one David Nartey, a prominent citizen of La and a Patron of the Children’s Service who bequeathed an amount of 30 Pounds in his will to the La Presbyterian Boys’ Boarding School. His desire was that, the amount be used on an educational project in his memory. When the Headmaster of the school, at the time, Mr. E.A. Adjei (now Rev. E.A. Adjei) could not decide on something, he passed the amount on to the Session, headed at the time by Rev. W. Tete, and the money was eventually used to purchase the said land. Other members of Session at the time included Mr. Ludwig Odoi Pobee, Winfred Ako Sowah, Benhardt Yemo Quarshie and M.O. Botwe. The name: DE GAULLE Park originated from one Moses Okwei who had requested for permission to use the football field for his football team called “De Gaulle Stars”. Consequently, the new church assumed the name ‘De Gaulle Park’ Church.
BUILDING OF THE CHURCH
The De Gaulle Park Church was mostly financed from Special contributions at the church and through special donations in cash and in kind and proceeds from annual harvest. The youth and older folks of the church provided free labour during the construction. Mr. Moses Lartey gave permission for a storage of the building materials in his house and also supplied free of charge all the water used for the entire Project. The late Mr. Joseph Adjei played the role of Works Superintendent. The late William Kotei Dsane was the Session representative and Administrative Manager. Rev. Ebenezer Odai-Tettey helped with all the carpentry works whiles Rev. Isaac Tettey Sackey carried out the electrical installations. When the infant church got going, it was suddenly confronted with the problem of having to share the premises with an Apostolic Church that disturbed it a lot with its music.
The Apostolic Church had previously sought permission from the City Council authorities for the use of one of the classrooms. In view of the inconvenience caused by the Apostolic Church, the new congregation embarked on a period of intense prayer to seek God’s face concerning the situation, after which the Apostolic Church will be approached and requested by the Nativity Congregation to leave the premises. In an answer to our prayer, and by divine intervention, the Apostolic Church members gladly accepted to leave the premises when approached.
COMMENCEMENT OF WORSHIP
The commencement of worship at Degaulle Park was a very historic one. On Sunday, 25th September 1981, a short service was conducted at Bethel at 9:00am. The whole congregation led by the church choir bearing a white cross, followed by a long procession of Ministers, Presbyters and all the groups of the church wearing their respective uniforms and the rest of the congregation marched solemnly along the streets to De Gaulle Park.
A service of dedication based on 1Kings 8:23-53 was conducted by Rev. E.O. Tettey at 10:00 am. At noon, the doors were formally opened for entry and worship. Rev. Daniel Armah Ayerson conducted the Thanksgiving service and also preached the sermon. In attendance was Rev. A.L.A. Hammond.
CHRISTENING THE CHURCH
With time, Session, under the leadership of Rev. E.O. Tettey decided that the new Church be named La North after the example of Osu North. When E.A. Adjei took over in March 1983 after the transfer of Rev. E.O. Tettey, he raised the question of remaining La North, as he did not consider that a suitable name. Discarding the proposed name of Asafoatse Bu Presbyterian Church because that was the indigenous name of the area, Rev. E.A. Adjei argued that Christ’s life on earth was marked among others by three events; His Nativity, His Epiphany and His Resurrection. Since Accra Central was called the Church of Resurrection and ‘Kaajaano’ was christened Epiphany, he proposed that the second church at La be named Church of the Nativity to project the three events. Against such wisdom, his suggestion was accepted and the Presbyterian Church of the Nativity came into being.
A PERMANENT HOUSE OF GOD
As the Church of the Nativity began to grow, both spiritually and physically, Session started laying the grounds for the building of a new Church Complex comprising a Chapel, a Manse, and a school block at Nativity. Drawings for the complex were executed free of charge by Plan Architects led by Mr. E.O. Adjetey, a Presbyter of the Tema Manhean Presbyterian church. On Sunday 20th December 1987, the sod was cut by Rev. I.A. Sowah for work to commence on the new church building. The seedling that was planted during the sod cutting was donated by Mrs. Dinah Amarteifio. In attendance at the sod cutting were Rev. S.S. Odonkor, the then District Minister, and Rev. E.N. Ollenu.
The spiritual and physical growth of the church soon caught the attention of the top hierarchy of the church who decided to inaugurate the church. On 17th March 1991 at an impressive ceremony held on the grounds of the Nativity Church, it was inaugurated to the glory of God by Rev. Ayitey Atiapa (Ga Presbytery Chairman) assisted by Rev. C.K. Sackey ( Ag. Presbytery Clerk).
In attendance at the ceremony were Rev. J.N. Dzeagu (District Minister) a host of other retired and serving Ministers like Rev. I.A. Sowah, Rev. E.N. Ollenu, Rev. V.E. Ashie, Rev. S.S. Odonkor, Rev. A.L.A. Hammond, Rev. Daniel Ayerson, Rev. Jonathan Mensah, Rev. Elizabeth Fosu, Rev. N.T. Clerk, Rev. I.T. Sackey and a few others. Also present was Mr. J.A. Quartey (Presbytery Treasurer).
The administration of the church after the inauguration was placed in the hands of Rev. Ludwig Neils Hesse, Catechist A.D.C. Johnson and the newly elected Presbyters. Meetings of the Nativity Session were jointly held with Bethel Session at the time. On 15th April 1991, the Nativity Session started holding its own independent meetings, which was presided over by Rev. Neils Hesse. The meetings were held in the classroom/church building.
On 7th July 1991, work started on the construction of a church office. The church office, which has since been completed to the glory of God, was financed through funds provided by the church and also through the good will of some members. For instance, Mr. Alphonso Laryea (now Rev. Alphonso Laryea) donated thirteen asbestos roofing sheets, Eld. Dora Kuma, two asbestos sheets, Mrs. Edith Kluffio – two bags of cements, Mr. Richard Yemoh, locks and paints whiles Messrs J.D. Clottey and A.T. Odonkor and their families undertook free of charge the roofing of the building.
The first meeting of Session was held in the Session Hall on 4th May, 1992 and was presided over by Rev. Victor Abbey.
The basement hall which came into being by God’s design than by the design of the architect was completed and dedicated to the glory of God on Sunday 4th April, 1993. The dedication ceremony was conducted by Rev. J.N. Dzeagu whiles Rev. Victor Abbey cut the tape to declare it open. Rev. I.A. Sowah said the thanksgiving prayer. The church basement was licensed on 7th May 1993 by the Greater Accra Regional Administration to enable marriage ceremonies to be conducted in it.
With the founding of the church, a lot of groups have since sprung up to advance the cause of God and the church. The Church now boasts of groups like the Young People’s Guild, Men’s Fellowship, Women’s Fellowship, Children’s Service, Singing Band, Church Choir, Junior Youth, Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade, Bible Study and Prayer Group, Metallic Echoes, the Nativity Praise Dynamics and the Northern Outreach Ministry (NOM).
THE DONATION OF AN ELECTRIC ORGAN
With time the need for the use of an organ during service was greatly felt. A group of young men who wished to remain anonymous donated a small tabletop Yamaha electronic organ to the church.
Later, with the increasing need for a bigger electronic organ to meet the desires of, God touched the hearts of Mr. J.S. Abbey (Presbyter), and his family to step in and donate five hundred thousand cedis (500,000) Vermona Electronic Organ for the church in 1991. The introduction of the organ helped to transform worship music as it brought along with it a lot of harmony and melody in our hymns.
The Nativity Congregation has by the grace of God established a branch church at “Kpeshi nine nx” called the PCG; Vredes Preaching Post – La. It was christened after one of the Dutch churches that Nativity has a partnership relationship with.
The Vredes Preaching Post came into being as a result of a joint evangelism programme organized by the Bible Study and Prayer Group and the leadership of the church during the former’s 6th anniversary celebration organized at the “Kpeshi nine nx”. Speakers for the ocassion were Mr. Ben Larsey (Now Rev. Ben Larsey), Eld. Emmanuel Anyetei Sowah (Sowee) (Now Rev. Sowah). The six-day crusade was held from 29th September to 4th October, 1997. At the end of the crusade, five committed souls were won for the Lord. Prior to the crusade, however, two other souls had been won in the area during a house to house evangelism as part of their preparations for the crusade.
The two souls met regularly in one Mr. Okpoti Nai’s residence to receive bible teachings. It became necessary to look for a bigger place of worship where the seven souls that had been won could receive bible teachings so they could grow properly in the fear of the Lord. By God’s grace, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin A. Mensah who lived in the area when approached on the issue gladly offered their place of residence for the setting up of the Vredes Presbyterian Congregation.
With the increase in membership coupled with the inconveniences suffered by members in worshipping in someone’s house, the need for a new place of worship was greatly felt. Consequently, with financial support from the mother church, the sod was cut for the commencement of a new church and a school block on 27th March 2002.
Haven operated for so many years as a preaching post under the Nativity Congregation, the Vredes Post was elevated to the status of a Congregation on Sunday, 11th June, 2017. Present were, the La District Church Mass Choir, the Nativity Boys and Girls Brigade among distinguished leaders of Presbyterian churches.
Catechist Nii Dzartei Abbey was the liturgist in charge. Presbyter Abraham Odamtten walked the congregants through the history of the church and the District Minister, Rev. Emmanuel Binadeo Dieagu gave the sermon on the theme “Grace, Love and Fellowship” with passages from Genesis 1:1-14, 2Corinthians 13:11-14 and Mathew 28:16-20.
The church has converted one of its old offices into a clinic. The clinic was formally commissioned on 3rd September, 2001 by Rev. J.O. Obodai, the then District Minister, assisted by Rev. Neils Hesse. The clinic serves church members and the entire community.
The church has put in place a ministry for the aged by establishing four centres for invalids in the church who because of their physical condition are unable to travel longer distances from their homes to the main church premise. These centers are councilor Lartey Centre, Quartey’s Villa, Millicent Dsane’s centre and Mary Quarshie’s centre.
The church has a fraternal relationship with the SOW Utrecht in the Netherlands. This was initiated by Rev. Dr. DNA Kpobi after his successful tour of duty in the Netherlands in 1992. The fraternity came into being in 1994 and since then, has seen a number of reciprocal visits from either churches at the adult and youth levels, thus giving more meaning to the relationship.
DEDICATION OF CHURCH BUILDING
All being well by the grace of God, the beautiful stone-cladded building was dedicated to the glory of God by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rt. Rev. Dr. Sam Prempeh on 1st September, 2002 assisted by Rev. Maugbi Kodjo, chairperson of the Ga Presbytery, Rev. Jonathan Mensah, La District and Rev. Neils Hesse, Minister in charge.
The plaque was unveiled by the then President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency John Agyekum Kufour. Also in attendance were Rev. J.A. Obodai, Rev. Dr. D.N.A. Kpobi, Rev. Dr. J.Y. Quarshie (past Ga Presbytery Chairperson). The occasion was also graced by prominent Ministers of other sister churches as well as high ranking public dignitaries.
(Credit: Presbyter Ellis Clottey)