PRELIMINARY SURVEY: In mid-1994, the Rev. Kobina Ofosu-Donkoh, a student of Temple University in Philadelphia, together with his wife, Baaba, decided to plant a Ghanaian church for the Ghanaian community in the metropolitan Philadelphia area, having discovered the presence of a large number of Ghanaian residents in the city and its suburbs and the absence of an authentic Ghanaian place of worship in the area. Between January and August 1995, the Ofosu-Donkohs conducted a survey on a proposed Ghanaian community church, the response of which was enormously in support of the proposal. Upon consultation with Rev. Dr. Edward Casey Jones, Pastor of Holy Trinity-Bethlehem in Logan-Philadelphia, a temporary place was offered in their Sunday School premises for worship on Sundays from 2pm to 5pm and for meetings and Bible studies on Friday evenings. This was in early October 1995.
THE FIRST FELLOWSHIP MEETING: In consultation with Ambrose and Joana, the Ofosu-Donkoh family invited a group from among the survey respondents to meet in their Temple University apartment #103 in Cooney Hall at 1300 Cecil B. Moore Avenue on October 14, 1995 to discuss the formation of the new church. In attendance were Kobina Ofosu-Donkoh, Baaba Ofosu-Donkoh, Ambrose Darko, Joana Darko, Rebecca Okyere, Nicholas Mensah, Emmanuel Nkansah, Joseph Addai Frimpong, Larissa Frimpong, Janet Mensah, William Opare, Peter Debra, and Akosua Debra. These constituted the founding members of the proposed Ghanaian congregation, and became its steering committee. They also served as its core members, as they held their very first service on this day before the deliberations began.
Rev. Kobina Ofosu-Donkoh suggested the name, “United Ghanaian Community Church” (UGCC) for the proposed congregation, which was unanimously approved, with the objective of opening its doors to Ghanaian Christians of all denominations. It was in light of this objective that the motto “Serving Christians of All Denominations the Ghanaian Way” was adopted. December 25, 1995 was further approved as the inaugural day of the new church.
The core members of the fellowship regularly met in the apartment of the Ofosu-Donkoh’s on Friday evenings for Bible study and prayer, and for inaugural deliberations, while also spreading the word about the new church.
INAUGURAL SERVICE: The UGCC was outdoored and inaugurated by the Rev. Edward Casey Jones on Christmas Day, December 25, 1995. Kobina preached the maiden sermon. In attendance were about 120 worshippers, most of whom were invited guests. The first sacrament of baptism was administered on that day to infants Michael Mensah and Jessica Opare. Nicholas Mensah provided music through musical equipment borrowed from Nicholas Okyere – a tape player, an amplifier and 2 loud speakers.
CHARTERED: The United Ghanaian Community Church was admitted into the Presbytery of Philadelphia as a New Church Development (NCD) in 1996, through the hard work of the Rev. Dr. Robert Rigstad, then Associate Executive Presbyter in charge of the Presbytery’s NCD. After 5 years as NCD, the UGCC was chartered by the Presbytery on January 21, 2001 as the first African immigrant congregation of the Presbyterian Church, USA (PCUSA). Rev. Kobina Ofosu-Donkoh was officially installed as pastor, while 8 newly elected elders and 6 deacons were ordained and installed as well.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!