HISTORY OF THE NORTH AMERICA DIOCESE
GHANA METHODISM IN THE DIASPORA
The Methodist Churches in the Diaspora have largely been established through the efforts of Ghanaian Methodists - Lay and Clergy. In the mid-eighties, groups of lay persons and ministers who had travelled to the United States of America and Canada decided to develop local Ghanaian congregations that would give true meaning to their worship life and to encourage and support one another (Kirk Sims). What mostly began initially as African Community Churches or Interdenominational congregations serve as an offshoot for the establishment of Ghanaian Methodist Churches in North America. Until the official proclamation of the North America Mission, many of the congregations had been established not as a part of any systematic mission strategy of the Methodist Church Ghana.
FORMATION OF EARLY GHANA METHODIST CONGREGATIONS IN NORTH AMERICA
Methodism took root in Ghana in a soil already prepared by successive generations of Christians. The expansion of Ghana Methodism in North America is the impact of decades of pioneering role played by Ghanaian Methodists and other Christians in United States and Canada.
The Washington, DC Metropolitan Area: In Washington, DC when Rev. Kow Ghunney arrived in 1982 to attend school, Rev. Kofi Bart Martin had already arrived in November 1980 to pursue a Master of Divinity degree at Wesley Seminary, Washington, DC. Soto Kofi as he is popularly known raised the issue of starting a Ghanaian Orthodox worshipping community to do chaplaincy work among Ghanaians in the area. The only African churches in the area were a Ghanaian spiritual church and a Nigerian one. Rev. Kow Ghunney agreed with Rev. Bart Martin and they started canvassing for people. With a copy of the Ghana Church Union from Rev. Bart-Martin, Professor John Ebiasah developed the articles of incorporation for the registration of the church to be called "Ghana Community United Church." The ministers found a space at the basement of the All Souls Church Unitarian, 1500 Harvard Street, NW, Washington, DC. At the same time, Rev. Bart Martin, serving on a student attachment at Calvary United Methodist Church, 1459 Columbia Road, consulted with the pastor, Rev. Mamie Williams and the Ghana community moved there for worship in the afternoons.
Around the same time, the Peninsula Conference of the United Methodist Church recruited student pastors from Wesley Seminary including Rev. Ghunney and Rev. Bart-Martin. They agreed to let Lay persons steward the church and they will alternate in coming to perform the sacraments if offered positions. Rev. Bart-Martin was offered a position. Rev. Ghunney was left to shepherd the congregation while Rev. Bart-Martin visited occasionally when his schedule permitted. Later, Rev. Ghunney got a student attachment at Chevy Chase United Methodist Church. He subsequently arranged for the Ghana church to move to 7001 Connecticut Ave, Chevy Chase, Maryland.
When Rev. Ghunney finished his master's program and left to teach in Ghana, Ghana United Community Church was left without a minister. Lay persons took care of the congregational life and on first Sundays of each month for the first year, Rev. Bart-Martin administered the communion and performed baptisms. In 1989, Rev. Ghunney came back from Ghana to do his doctoral program and Rev. Bart-Martin took a leave of absence from the United Methodist Church to help the Ghanaian congregation. In the meantime, Rev. Birikorang Ansah, Rev. John Bonful and Rev. Owusu Afriyie, all students in the area had joined the church and were providing pastoral care. When Rev. Bart-Martin and Rev. Ghunney returned to the Church, there were some misunderstandings, and the leadership told the two ministers that they should apply and rejoin as Ministers the church they had started. When they stepped out of the meeting, Rev. Bart Martin, Rev. Kow Ghunney and Bro. Kofi Abruquah agreed to start a Ghana Methodist congregation based on the Constitution and Standing Orders of the Methodist Church Ghana. Subsequently, Ebenezer Methodist Church was born.