Rev. Prof. Benhardt Yemo Quarshie (arrowed), Rector of the Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission and Culture, with some members of the church
Rev. Prof. Benhardt Yemo Quarshie (arrowed), Rector of the Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission and Culture, with some members of the church

La Bethel Presby marks 170th anniversary

The Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Bethel Congregation, La, in Accra has celebrated its 170th anniversary with a charge on Christians to exhibit Christ-like virtues wherever they find themselves.


The Rector of the Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission and Culture, Rev. Prof. Benhardt Yemo Quarshie, who made the call, said members of the Christian faith should endeavour to demonstrate the Christian values in them in order to impact their society and the country at large.

"The Christian faith is a matter of lifestyle. It is not what you believe and think and so on. But what you claim to believe, you demonstrate it," he said.

The 170th anniversary celebration was on the theme: "Celebrating God's Goodness".

As part of the celebration, a 170th anniversary cake was cut.


Members of the church, clad in their anniversary cloth, sang, danced and thanked God for how far He has brought the church.

Rev. Prof. Quarshie told the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of the anniversary celebration that the Christian had to be “someone who has encountered Christ and Christ lives in him and gives him the hope of glory”.

He said that meant having a personal experience with God and His work in Jesus Christ.

“This means that you as an individual cannot proceed without that personal experience,” he said.

Apart from the individuals, he said communities were involved and that “individuals do not exist on their own as islands.

 A section of the congregation during the anniversary service

 A section of the congregation during the anniversary service

A Christian is part of the body of the church and so beyond the individual testimony that you can give about what God has done in your life, as a member of the church, you should also be in the position to bear testimony to what God is doing through the church in the wider community”.

Rev. Prof. Quarshie said some people had contributed to the establishment and sustenance of the church for the past 170 years and that it was also incumbent on the current generation to do same.


“So it is our responsibility to have Christ live in us and work through us to make a difference in our society.

When we talk about Christ in you the hope of glory, it suggests that we have not attained the glory yet; we are hoping for it and working towards it and it becomes extremely important that we should work towards it so that the wider world can recognise us as followers of Jesus Christ, living out the values that He demands from us,” he said.

He said it was only through that that the current crop of Christians would make the difference that would enable generations after them to also appreciate their contributions and be grateful to God.

“There are many people who are not here for service today even though this church was the first to be established and for a very long time it was the only Christian church here.

It has a lot of influence but at the same time there are many young people who may have been baptised and confirmed here but today have nothing to do with the church.

“Even as we have met in church, they are engaged in all kinds of unethical behaviour and activities.

So as a church moving forward we need to be thinking about that wider community,” he said.


That, he said, was to make a difference in the lives of such people, develop the town and by extension the entire country.

Rev. Prof. Quarshie said it looked like there were too many Christians in the country and so there was the need for them to prove themselves in terms of Christian values.

“It means shining in the corner where you are,” he said, and that a way for Christians to show their values was how they led their lives.

“How can you bear the name when you are not recognised by your lifestyle as a Christian?


This is the problem we have in this country.

There are far too many Christians, they bear the name but not the lifestyle and that’s the challenge and the church must ensure that its members are alive to living according to God’s Kingdom values,” he emphasised.

Journey, evangelism

The Minister in charge of the Bethel Congregation, Rev. George A. Tsakle, said it had not been a smooth journey as far as the 170 years were concerned, but despite some difficult moments, God had been good to the congregation.

Rev. Tsakle, who is also the La District Minister of the PCG, stated that the district was flourishing and that currently it had a membership of 3,500.

Going foward, he said the church wanted to evangelise to win more souls for Christ.


“It is only Christ who can bring change in human lives.

 If education and other things that we know about can effect change, that would have been long ago.

“So we are going to preach to people, especially the youth. In fact, we are going to adopt the system of massive evangelism from January next year,” he said.

First convert

When the Basel Missionaries, stationed at the Christiansborg Castle, started evangelising La (then Labadi), the indigenes saw the Christian religion as the white man’s religion and, therefore, did not readily accept it.

However, one woman by name Salome Korkor from Ofro-Osro We, Lɛɛshi quarter of La, became the first to accept Christ.

Madam Kokor’s conversion could be described as God send, because it happened after she became seriously ill and was healed by Wilhem August Stainhauser, a very close associate of Zimmerman and one of the missionaries then visiting La on evangelistic Mission.

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