Ghanaian Adventist 
Church Structure

in Germany Dedicated

Believed to be first owned by an expatriate Ghanaian congregation

BY THOMAS LOBITZ, Advent-Verlag, Lueneburg, Germany

On May 7, 2011, the Hamburg Adventist Ghanaian Church building was dedicated. What was so special about the dedication of another church building? This is the first Ghanaian Adventist church building outside the country of Ghana— financed almost exclusively through donations by German Adventist members. It is common practice in Germany that church structures are financed through a special union building fund. An estimated 190 members and 70 children rejoiced in this “gift from heaven” and expressed their gratitude through a special day of music and speeches.

DEDICATION: Present at the unveiling of a dedicatory plaque were (from left): Elijah Nyamaah, pastor; Klaus van Treeck, president of the North German Union Conference; Matthew Bediako, former secretary of the General Conference;  Heinz-Ewald Gattmann, president of the Hansa Conference; Markus Pfeiffer, architect; and Seho Henemi, church elder. [PHOTOS: Advent-Verlag]
Matthew Bediako, former secretary of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and himself a native of Ghana, preached the dedication sermon. Drawing from 2 Chronicles 2:4 (“Behold, I am building a temple for the name of the Lord my God” [NKJV]),* he emphasized the important presence of the Holy Spirit in the church.

“That’s why we need a worship space,” noted Bediako. He went on to say that our motivation for serving Christ should be God-centered, remembering that “in everything we do we recognize that God first gave everything for us. He offered His Son—without Jesus, there would be no future for us.”

Considering the ethnic diversity of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Bediako expressed the desire “that all church members are seen as God’s children regardless of the origins and culture.”

Many speeches expressing appreciation highlighted the role of the local Hansa Conference under the leadership of Heinz-Ewald Gattmann, who received the honorary title of “Daddy Gattmann” from local church pastor Elijah Nyamaah. Thanks were also expressed to the North German Union and to the legal entity within the union that overlooks church building construction and use. Also present was the chair of the Ghanaian interconfessionial umbrella organization, Bishop Oheneba R. Agyei-Mensah. Written messages from members of parliament from Hamburg as well as from local politicians were also read.

NEW BUILDING: The architecture of the church building was designed around the needs of the Ghanaian church.
 
There are eight Adventist Ghanaian congregations in Germany, each with a membership between 40 and 50 people. The Hamburg Ghanaian Adventist congregation is the oldest and largest and was organized in 1976 as a group, obtaining church status in 1982. Until the inauguration of the new church building the congregation met in dilapidated rented facilities.

“Considering the current growth, our church will immediately have to begin planning for a larger facility,” said church elder Seho Henemi with a smile. This may very well be the case, as during the afternoon dedication celebrations three new members joined the church by baptism.

*Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.





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