The Church of Pentecost, like most great institutions, started in a small way. The Church’s beginnings are linked to the ministry of Pastor James McKeown (1900-1989), an Irish missionary sent by the Apostolic Church, Bradford, UK to the then Gold Coast (now Ghana) in 1937 to help a group of believers of the Apostolic Faith led by one Peter Newman Anim in a town called Asamankese. The precursor to the church of Pentecost in the United Kingdom was the Pentecost Association of UK and Eire (PAUKE). Prior to the formation of PAUKE, many Ghanaian Christians in London were members of Ghana Christian Fellowship. Africa Christians in London were mainly members of the Ghana Christian Fellowship and the Africa Christian Fellowship that were formed in London in the early 1970s. The meetings of these fellowship groups were held initially at No. 5 Daughty Street, Holborn. Later, the venue moved to Tavistock Square in the Kings Cross area. These Christian Associations created a forum for Africans, especially students, who used it as an opportunity to fellowship with, and to support, one another. Many of the Pentecostal members of these groups and churches then worshipped at established London churches such as Kensington Temple (Elim Pentecostal Church), Elim Pentecostal Church (Clements road, Ilford, Essex) and Newcourt Elim Pentecostal Church, (Regina Road, Finsbury Park).
It was through discussions at these Fellowship groups and churches that the idea to form the Church of Pentecost (COP) was born in the early 1980s. The idea arose due to the following reasons: Many brethren who were known to be active in the Church in Ghana were found to be backsliding on arrival in the United Kingdom; the brethren worshipping at Elim church did not enjoy the services because they were in English; there was the natural desire to win souls for Christ; and the need was felt to have a unique Ghanaian/African identity in worship in the United Kingdom. The key Pentecostal figures in these groups and churches in the 1970s and early 1980s were Elder Emmanuel Apea (an official of the Ghana Embassy in London), Elder Kofi Asamoah, Elder John Acheampong, Elder Abraham Doku Lawrence (who later became an Elim Church Pastor), Elder Kabenia (now deceased), and Brothers Samuel Okwei-Nortey (now Elder) and former National Deacon, Kontoh (now Elder), and Newton Nyarko (now Apostle).
In 1986, Elder Sam Tuudah, a former National deacon of the church of Pentecost in Liberia arrived in London and made contact with Elder Daniel Clottey. The latter introduced him to Elder Apea. Following the information relating to the work of the Church of Pentecost in Liberia which Tuudah shared during their discussions, the key brethren mentioned above later decided to take advantage of the presence of Elders Apea and Clottey (recognised government officials as well as church Elders in the country) to move the COP.
Accordingly, they gathered together the Ghanaian Christians with whom they had contact in order to form a group that would later lead to the formation of the Church of Pentecost in the country. The first meetings of the informal group were held at the residence of Elder Abraham Lawrence at 15 Lawrence road, N15 4EN, and at Elder Daniel Clottey’s house at 79 Axholme Avenue, Edgware HA8 5BD, and Elder Apea’s, 76 Roll Gardens, Ilford, Essex.
EARLY YEARS - Founding members
Later, in 1986, a landmark meeting of the group, convened by Elder Apea at his residence, was held to which Apostle Opoku Onyinah and Pastor D.K. Noble-Atsu (now Apostle) were invited. These two reverend ministers who participated in the meeting were then students of the Elim Bible College then based at Nantwich. They told the group that they had been asked by late Apostle F.S. Sarfo, Chairman of the Church of Pentecost, to explore the feasibility of forming a Church of Pentecost in the country. According to them, the time was ripe for the church to be launched in the country, and so they encouraged the group to go ahead with its plans that were in a formative stage. There and then, the informal executive was officially recognised. These comprised Elder Emmanuel Apea (Convenor), Elder Dan Clottey (secretary), Elder Abraham Doku Lawrence (organising secretary). Elder Kofi Asamoah (Treasurer) and Elder Sam Tuudah (Financial Manager).
In early 1989 when it was realised that much progress had been made, Elder Emmanuel Apea took advantage of his presence in Ghana to meet the Executive Council of the Church of Pentecost and to request that a Chaplain be sent to the Ghanaian community in Britain. In July of that year, Elder Sam Okwei-Nortey was appointed General Secretary in place of Elder Dan Clottey who had been recalled to Ghana by the Ghana Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Later that year, PAUKE moved from its place of worship at Finsbury Park to the premises of the Elim Pentecostal Church at Ilford. In October that same year, Pastor Kwame Blankson was sent by the COP Executive as the first Chaplain, to the Pentecost community in London. It is worth noting that the Ilford Elim Church, where Elder Apea served as Elder under Pastor Barry Killick, greatly and generously facilitated Pastor Blankson’s stay in the country, bearing the cost of his accommodation, and as well as living expenses.
The Ilford Assembly served as the central church of PAUKE from 1989. Outward Expansion of PAUKE started in August 1991 with the planting of its second assembly, Vauxhall Assembly (now Camberwell Assembly) south of the Thames. A total of eleven (11) Assemblies were opened during the pioneering ministry of Pastor Blankson as follows:
1. 1989 – Ilford Assembly – (Elder Kwesi Otoo 1st P/Elder in 1991)
2. 1991 – Vauxhall – (1st P/Elder – Elder Asamoah)
3. 1992 – Croydon – (1st P/Elder – Elder Samuel Opoku Boateng)
4. 1992 – Wembley (now Harlesden) – (1st P/Elder – Elder Ampoma Sakyi)
5. 1993 – Tottenham – (1st P/Elder – Elder Kwame Nkrumah)
6. 1994 – Hackney (English) now FGT-PIWC -(1st P/Elder – Elder Anthony Antwi Darkwah)
7. 1995 – East ham – (1st P/Elder – Elder Sam Okwei-Nortey)
8. 1995 – Tooting Bec (now Clapham South) – (1st P/Elder – Elder Ntim Gyakare)
9. 1995 – New Addington – (1st P/Elder – Elder Slyvester Wiafe)
10. 1995 – Deptford – (1st P/Elder – Pastor Osei Owusu Afriyie)
11. 1996 – Highgate (now archway) – (1st P/Elder – Elder Kojo Yeboah)
During this period membership grew from around 30 in 1989 to 1000 by the time of Pastor Blankson’s departure in 1996.
FIRST NATIONAL EXECUTIVES
The following were appointed as the first National Executive under the terms of the PAUKE Constitution which was ratified in 1991.
1. Pastor Kwame Blankson (Resident Missionary)
2. Elder Edward Kofie (National Secretary)
3. Elder Kwesi Otoo (Mission Board Chairman)
4. Elder Sam Obeng Tuudah (Finance Board Chairman)
5. Elder Kwame Nkrumah (Charity Board Chairman)
6. Bro Asare Afriyie (Literature Board Chairman)
7. Elder Kofi Asamoah (elected)
When later Asamoah relocated to Ghana, he was replaced by Elder Samuel Boateng. Elder Nkrumah also later relocated to Ghana and was replaced by Elder Newton Nyarko. Elder Sam Tuudah left PAUKE later on and was replaced by Elder (now Apostle) Mike Etrue (then a student in UK). When he also left he was replaced by Elder Samuel OkweiNortey.
ELIM & COP LEADERSHIP
PAUKE was granted its full status as a church during the leadership of the following:
1. Rev. Wynne Lewis – General Superintendent
2. Rev. Bruce Hunter – Secretary/ Administrator
3. Rev. Brian Edwards – International Missions Director
4. Rev. Gordon Hills – Field Superintendent
1. Prophet M. K. Yeboah – Chairman
2. Apostle Albert Amoah – General Secretary
3. Apostle Opoku Onyinah – International Missions Director
1. Pastor Kwame Blankson (1989-1996)
In the early years, Pastor Blankson served in the dual role of being the Associate Pastor of Elim Ilford, and the Pastor of PAUKE. His key vision was to evangelise London with its large cosmopolitan population and a large concentration of Ghanaian nationals. He took PAUKE from a very small beginning of an Association (membership of around 30) to become an Alliance member of Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance, operating under Elim Charity number 251549. From that time PAUKE ceased pursuing its own charity number. During his time two Districts were created: London North and London South Districts. Two ‘Pastors’ were engaged during his time. During his time the church acquired two properties.
2. Apostle Robert Asomaning Sarpong (1996 – 1999)
Apostle Robert AsomaningSarpong served as the Resident Missionary for three years. His vision was to continue to evangelize London and to consolidate the pioneering work of his predecessor. He extended the Assemblies from 11 to 13 by opening Carter Place English and Edmonton Assemblies. It was during his time that Carter Place building was put into full use.
3. Apostle N. A. O. Amegatcher (1999 – 2006)
Apostle N. A. O. Amegatcher served as the third Resident Missionary. During his time, the number of Districts grew from 2 to 13. The number of properties increased from 2 to 6. Apostle Amegatcher’s vision was to reach out to other cities and towns in UK and to win other nationals for Christ. Thus he oversaw the planting of Churches outside London in cities like Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, Milton Keynes, Harlow, Oxford, Crawley and Reading. He also initiated the planting of PIWC churches in almost all the Districts.
4. Apostle M. S. Appiah (2006 -2011)
Apostle M. S. Appiah served as the fourth Resident Missionary. It was under his leadership that the Church was de-centralised into two administrative Areas i.e. Manchester Area and London Metropolitan Area. The number of Districts increased from 13 to 16 (with 17 ministers). He has also initiated the planting of the first Church of Pentecost Worship Centre in Cardiff in South Wales. The number of properties has increased from 6 – 10. It is during his time the church has acquired its own charity number in 2008 as the Church of Pentecost-UK (COP-UK). The flagship Monday Prayer Clinic at Dagenham was pioneered by him. The first residential National Easter Convention was also held in 2011 at Nottingham under his watch. The UK church was also involved in pioneering missions work in the Indian ocean islands of Seychelles and Mauritius.
5. Apostle Newton O. Nyarko (2011 – 2016)
Apostle Newton Ofosuhene Nyarko is the 5th National Head and the first UK-called minister to assume the headship of the Church. Under his able leadership, the number of Pastoral Districts has increased from 17 to 19; the Administrative Areas have also increased from 2 to 3, with the creation of the London South Area, carved out of the London Metropolitan Area. Since he assumed office 2 years and 10 months ago, the church has acquired 6 properties (i.e.) 4 Church Buildings and 2 Mission Houses, all freehold. On his assumption of office in October 2011, the total membership of the church was 10,532. Adult membership (above 19 years) was 6,622; Teenage membership 1,077 and Children’s membership was 2,833. As at 30th June 2014 the total membership stood at 13,768, comprising 8,237 adult members above 19 years, 1,585 Teenagers and 3,951 children. Since Apostle Nyarko took over the helm of leadership in 2011, 4 new ministers have been called, bringing the total number of UK-based ministers to 21. This is what the Lord has done.
Under the current Elim National Leadership team led by Rev. John Glass (General Superintendent), the friendship between Elim and COP-UK (formerly EliCop) has been particularly strong. At the 2009 Elim Conference, COP-UK’s status changed from being on Alliance member to being an ECI (Elim Church (Incorporated) member. The bond of Friendship however remains even stronger, and this is reflected in the Deed of Accord between The Church of Pentecost (Ghana) and Elim Pentecostal Church (UK). This Deed of Accord was redefined at a historic meeting in Cheltenham on 9th October 2006 between the Elim leadership, (represented by Rev. John Glass, (General Superintendent), Rev. Bruce Hunter (Administrator), Rev. Robert Millar (Finance Director) and Rev. Chris Jones (International Missions Director) on one side, and the Church of Pentecost (represented by Apostle Dr. S. K. Baidoo (International Missions Director), Apostle Albert Amoah (National Head, USA), Apostle N. A. O. Amegatcher (Resident Missionary), Pastor Kwesi Otoo (National Secretary) and Rev. Samuel Boateng (District Pastor). The Deed was ratified on 28th April 2007 under the signatures of Apostle Dr. M. K. Ntumy (then Chairman of COP worldwide) and Rev. John Glass (Elim General Superintendent).