THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH OF PENTECOST – GERMANY
Many people travel near and far to find pasture for their families and to have a better future, but in the mystical hidden wisdom of God, there was a great purpose to turn all this around to His own glory. The Lord took over the hearts of Apostle Dr. Francis Kofi Bonsu who was in Germany to study at the University of Kiel, Elder Moses Osei Safo (Ghana), Bro. Nana Poku, Deaconess Grace Bosompem Sander and others in 1983 to start a fellowship. This zeal to serve their God in the foreign land is the kindle light which has become a great star in the land of Germany, The Church of Pentecost.
Unlike most of the Church of Pentecost branches in the diaspora, which mostly started as a unit group and later expanded, the Church of Pentecost, Germany could be traced from about four different sources. These different groups later converged to form the Church of Pentecost, Germany. The groups that sprang up independently were:
- The Hamburg Group started and led by Rev. Dr. Francis Bonsu.
- The Westfahlen Group started and led by Rev. Osahene Amankwatia Boateng and Rev. Bismark Boakye.
- The Saarbrücken Group started and led by Elder Mensah Bekoe.
- The Stuttgart Group started and led by Elder Osei Kankam.
These groups later merged to be one entity – the Church of Pentecost, Germany under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Francis Bonsu. The merger took place at different times around 1992 – 1995.
The Hamburg Church
The fellowship started meetings at Treschow Strasse in Hamburg, Schlump. The founding members were; Bros Acquah Gyan, Kwabena Gyamfi, Seth Adu Owusu(Canada) with their leader, Bro. Francis Bonsu. These constituted the first wave of the Fellowship. Bro Acquah Gyan (Ghana) was the secretary of the fellowship. At that time there were other African churches already in existence. However, the COP Germany did not come out of any of those churches. Apostle Dr. Bonsu asked for a place of worship from a Baptist Pastor named Rockell, who directed him to Pastor Ludin (Hamburg Schlump). Pastor Ludin offered a small hall to start the fellowship. The Fellowship became popular as “Schlump Church” because of its teachings, ardent prayer and the presence of the Holy Spirit in the meetings. It consisted of Ghanaians, other Nationals and later Germans, because Bro. Bonsu started with English and German (with little Akan at the beginning). It met criticism, but that caused the Church in Germany to thrive well.
The Hamburg group, which became the main church, comprising mainly Ghanaians in Hamburg in 1984. The name of the group was African Christian Fellowship. Among some of the leaders were Brother Philip, Bro. Osei Mensah who later resigned to start his own church in Hamburg, Deaconess Grace Bosompem Sander, Dc. Solomon Adom Kwakye (now minister of the Church), Brother Dan Bierman, Brother Nana Poku, Brother Akowuah, Bro. Appiah Bonna and others, these also constituted the second wave. Bro. Appiah Bonna (now Apostle) joined the group in 1988, the same year the group adopted the name, “Christian Church”, but remained an inter-denominational group. In 1986 Rev Bonsu went to Ghana and informed the Head office about the new group which had begun in Hamburg, Germany (Rev L. A. Nyarko went with Bro. Bonsu that time to the COP Headquarters in Accra). Bro. Bonsu was given the mandate to minister the Lord’s supper and consult Ghana for all other matters. In 1988, the group adopted the name, “Christian Church Hamburg”, but remained an inter-denominational group.
A dramatic change occurred in the group in 1991, which gave birth to the the third wave. The group became a Pentecostal Church under the name “The Church of Pentecost, Germany. This change may be attributed to the godly counsel of Prophet M.K.Yeboah and Apostle Patrick Asiamah who visited the group. By that time, many Pentecostals (mostly the Church of Pentecost members) had joined the group. Notable among the Pentecostals who joined the group are Bro. Jabis Elvis Osei, Bro. Albert Yeboah, Bro. Thomas Boateng, Elder Appiah-Dottoh, Elder Amartey, Mrs. Eunice Edua and others.
The Church began to receive additional ministerial support from the Headquarters of the Church of Pentecost, Ghana. This helped shape and nurture the Church. Among the frequent visiting ministers were: Prophet M.K.Yeboah (deceased), Apostle Dr. Opoku Onyinah (the first IMD of the Church), Apostle (Rtd) Asomaning Sarpong, Apostle Archer (deceased), Apostle (Rtd) Arthur and Evangelist Owusu Tabiri (who later left the church and now deceased).
FIRST CONVERTS WATER BAPTISM
In 1992 the first water baptism was held at Eimsbüttler Strasse in Hamburg. Pastor Bonsu and Pastor Ewald Merz conducted the baptism. Those who were baptised were: Sister Rita Mensah, Sister Grace Bosompem, Sister Georgina Boateng, Bro. Boateng jnr, Bro Osei Mensah Joseph, Sister Josephine Mensah, Bro. Yaw Berkoo, Sister Gladys Fosu, Sister Gladys Sefah, Bro Kwaakye. Bro Osei Mensah Joseph became the Church Secretary during that time.
The Church grew to other cities under the leadership of Pastor Francis Bonsu. The first assembly was opened in Bremen in 1992. After, Hannover and Berlin. Then came Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, Darmstadt, München, Mannheim, Ludwigshafen, Karlsruhe and Freiburg. Wiesbaden and Nürnberg were all planted by the Church in Hamburg under the leadership of Pastor Francis Bonsu and his able Executive members and through the evangelistic activities with Evangelist Owusu Tabiri.
As the church began to expand, Rev. Bonsu in consultation with the Headquaters of the Church of Pentecost in Ghana, upon the advice of the then Chairman M. K. Yeboah, the first officers were ordained. These include: Kwame Bonna, Godfred Kwaakye Bonna Darko, Elvis Jabis Osei, Thomas Boateng, Albert Yeboah, Daniel Biermann, Gladys Sefah, Grace Bosompem, Patricia Manu. They were ordained by the Regional Superintendent of the Bund Freikirchlicher Pfingstgemeinden (BFP) in Germany in 1995, since Pastor Bonsu was a pastor in Training (an Overseer in the COP). From 1996 all officers were ordained by an apostle of the Church of Pentecost. Apostle B.K. Arthur was the first to ordained officers in Germany from the COP, Ghana in 1996.
The National Executive Members were then constituted as follows:
Pastor Francis Bonsu as President; Elders Kwame Bonna, Elvis Jabis Osei, Godfred Kwaakye Darko, Thomas Boateng, Albert Yeboah (Nat. Secretary), Deacon Biermann (Nat. Cashier). Mrs Gladys Bonsu led the womens’ ministry throughout the years until 1998.
THE OTHER BRANCHES
- Westfalen (Düsseldorf and Dortmund)
Rev. Osahene Amankwatiah Boateng started the Westfahlen group in 1993 in Düsseldorf. Among the pioneers were Rev. Bismark Boakye (a minister of the Church). Other pioneers in Westfalen are Brother Asante, Bro. Emmanuel Anim, Bro. Nyarke, Bro. Sarpong, Sister Selina and Sister Baetrice Kantz. As the group began to grow, unaware of the Hamburg group, they approached the Church of Pentecost Head Office in Accra about their dream of starting a Church of Pentecost assembly in Düsseldorf. In January 1994, Apostle Dr. Opoku Onyinah – the current Chairman of the COP (the then IMD) gave them approval to start the Church. He detailed Rev. Kwame Blankson (Rtd), the then missionary to Britain to assist them. Rev. Blankson as a result, made frequent visits to perform the required pastoral duties. The Westfahlen group also planted the Dortmund and Essen assemblies.
- The Saabrücken Group
Bro. Mensah Bekoe (Now an Elder of the COP) and some people started the Saarbrücken group in 1993 in Saarbrücken. The group through the Westfahlen group also contacted Rev. Kwame Blankson in London who
again made similar supervision and pastoral visits.
- The Stuttgart Group
The Stuttgart group was started in 1991 by Elder Osei Kankam (now a minister but not with the Church). Among the pioneers of this group are Bro. Akwasi Appiah, Bro. Isaac Damptey and Bro. Mensah Boamah (now all ministers of the COP), Elders Marfo Boahene, Collins Nsafoa, Obeng, Bro. Opoku Apreh and Deaconess Rebecca Marfo. Again, Rev Blankson became their visiting minister who visited Stuttgart to minister to the group. In 1996, Elder Alexander Kumi Larbi (Now Apostle and General Secretary) a graduate student of the University of Stuttgart became a helping hand to the Church in Stuttgart. Prior to his joining the church, the Church experienced tremendous growth. Later in 1996, Elder Kumi Larbi was appointed a Field Assistant to oversee the assemblies in Stuttgart, Mannheim, Karsruhe and Lüdwigshafen, which he carried out with due diligence.
CHANGE OF LEADERSHIP
By 2002, the Church under the leadership of Apostle Dr. Bonsu had grown to an adult membership of 1581. Four administrative districts were created namely; North District, Westfahlen District, Hessen District, Bayern District and Baden Wütemberg. Four people called into the full-time ministry were, Rev. Ransford Obeng (minister of the church in Canada), Rev. Frimpong Boateng, Rev. Ebenezer Nii Odai Quaye and Rev. Osahene Amankwatia Boateng. In the same year, the Church hosted the first ever Europe North America Holy Ghost convention.
Rev. Bonsu was transferred to Austria as the National Head whilst Apostle Dr Emmanuel Owusu Bediako (deceased) also came from USA to take over as the National Head in Germany. The then IMD, Apostle S.K.Baidoo, chaired his welcome service. Apostle Dr. Emmanuel Owusu Bediako, founded PIWCs which were among the dynamic International Churches in the COP, Germany. In these centers, both English, Deutsch and French languages were used for services. This had even prompted some ministers of different denominations to encourage their young adults to join these PIWCs. He set forth the National Youth Camp which attracted great attention and growth. During his time the church had a rapid growth. He created new Districts ; Hamburg North and South, Bremen/Hannover, PIWC District, Dortmund and Düsseldorf. He also called the following Elders into the ministry; Kwame Bonna, Elvis Jabis Osei, Solomon Adom Kwakye, Daniel Ato Eduah, Benjamin Mensah, Kwasi Appiah. Apostle Dr E.O. Bediako was transferred to the US in 2008.
Apostle Dr. E.O. Bediako was replaced by Apostle Dr. Michael Kwabena Ntumy as the National Head of Germany. Apostle Dr. M.K. Ntumy had just served for ten years as the Chairman of the COP. Their welcome service was held in October 2008. Apostle Francis Bonsu and family also, were transferred from Austria to Germany as Area Head for German South. Due to health reasons, Evangelist Dr. Bonsu took over as Acting National Head until 2011.
Following the directives of God through the International Executives and the General Council, Apostle Sampson Ofori Yiadom and his family were transferred to Germany from America to head the Church in 2011. At that time the Church in Germany was facing financial crisis. With the grace of God and the pragmatic leadership approach of Apostle S.O. Yiadom, the financial challenges got the rightful panacea so much that, within a short period of three months, the Church became financially sound. He was able to streamline the administrative structures of the Church. Under his leadership in 2013, Germany again hosted the Euro / Mid East Conference in Hamburg. He called two Elders into the ministry, now Overseers Anthony Boachie and Micheal Acquaah. Two (2) Districts and five Zones were created. The COP Germany radio station was established to complement the Church’s evangelistic efforts. After three years of meritorious service in Germany, he and the family proceeded on transfer to Canada.
Apostle Nicholas Siaw and family were transferred from Spain to take the leadership position of the Nation in 2014. Under his leadership, the Church continues to grow by leaps and bounds.
Germany now has two (2) Apostles, twelve (12) Pastors, two (2) Overseers, two hundred and four (204) Elders, one hundred and twenty-seven (127) Deacons and two hundred and sixty- seven (267) Deaconesses. There are two (2) Areas; German North and German South, which are manned by Pastors Jabis Osei and Osahene Amankwatia Boateng respectively, fifteen (15) districts, seventy-five (75) Local Assemblies. The overall membership stands at seven thousand three hundred and sixty-one (7,361). Total Adults membership is four thousand and forty-nine (4,049), Children membership is two thousand one hundred and thirty- six (2,136), Youth membership is one thousand one hundred and seventy-six (1,176). As we continue to set ablaze the Pentecostal Fire to impact the nation, we shall as well strive hard to be good stewards of God in our generation.