"I am tired of waiting," is the last thing you expect to hear at a gathering where the main theme is, Growing in Christ. Yet in a heartfelt and emotional appeal to ignite a passion for spreading the gospel, in these tough times, Newbold College's Chief Financial Officer, Abigail Wright, uttered these bold words during her welcoming speech at this year's 'Ghanaian Adventist Congregations in the UK' (GAC-UK) event which took place on Sabbath 5 October, 2019 at the Gymnasium of Newbold College of Higher Education.
Speaking to an audience of over a 1000 people mostly made up of Ghanaian Adventist congregations from across sixteen churches within the British Union Conference, Mrs Wright said, "Are you not tired of waiting? Isn't it about time that Jesus came to take us home?" Mrs Wright spoke enthusiastically and urged GAC-UK to set up a foundation that will support student pastors of Ghanaian origin who needed extra financial support during their studies at Newbold. She challenged members of the audience, "Just think about what we can do, to expedite the coming of Christ, if we all donated at least £10 a month, to help those students who fall on hard times, when they come to this establishment to train to spread the gospel. Let me be the first, to launch this foundation, right here, on this day, to make the first donation."
The current Chairperson of GAC-UK, Pastor Kwadwo Kwarteng-Ampofo, of the Lea Valley and Luganda churches based in London, is an alumnus of the College, having studied an MA in Theology there. Speaking on behalf of the GAC-UK executives, he stated, "Maintaining the youth in the Church is of utmost importance to us. We are always trying to find new and innovative ways of keeping the young people engaged and integrated. The brilliant work being done by passionate young people such as George Osei Bonsu, elder at Lee Valley church, Amos Mitchell, pastor at Slough Ghana and motivational speaker Michael Agyei, popularly known as Lyrical Soldier to inspire the youth, gives us hope for the future."
Daniel Yeboah, who travelled from Milton Keynes to witness the occasion said, "Dr Chidi and Dr Raymond Arhin's presentations in the afternoon about longevity was a real eye-opener. I am definitely going to try to cut down the amount of meat I eat and also try to change some bad habits like eating at nighttime."
14-year-old Gloria Razak, a Pathfinder at the South West Community church, beamed with excitement at the end of the programme. She stated, "I just loved how we learnt about why it's important to come to church to grow, and not to show off!"
Mrs Suzanne Ziko, a resident of Newbold, of Albanian decent, said she came to England to live with her husband who is a second-year theology student at the college. She happily ushered the visiting crowd around the campus and couldn't hide her amazement about the event. "I have never seen this many people stay in one place on Sabbath and still have so much energy after vespers! Even the little ones were not tired! I felt very special to have been a part of this day of fellowship."
The occasion saw several persons receiving awards for their outstanding contributions to GAC-UK since its inception in 2005. The most poignant moment, nonetheless, happened when Derick Addai Snr of the London Ghana church, popularly known as Chancellor, received the posthumous award for his selfless dedication to the treasury department of GAC-UK. His only son, Derick Addai-Asiedu Jnr, spoke on behalf of his sisters Sabina and Christiana as well as the entire Addai family. "We feel very honoured that GAC-UK has recognised our dad's hard work over the years. Our father was a man of few words. But we know that he would have given glory to God for giving him the strength to carry on right to the very end."
The South England Conference President, Dr Emmanuel Osei, had the following parting words for the audience, "Life may seem unfair at times when we learn to grow in Christ. But we must feast on God's word…and let us continue growing no matter how long the waiting is."