The Riverside Ghanaian company was duly formed as a new church of Southeastern California Conference (SECC) on January 8 in the La Sierra Academy gym. The new Riverside Ghanaian church is the first Ghanaian Seventh- day Adventist church on the Pacific Coast.
The words Mo gye tum (a Ghanaian phrase meaning “Do you agree?”) and Ye gye tum (meaning “We agree”) resounded from the congregation, responding to the call and challenge of becoming a new church body. This celebratory milestone can be attributed to a lay-driven effort of dedicated members who started with a mindset of ministry.
The beginning of this journey started in 2002, when nine Ghanaian students were admitted into La Sierra University. By June 2003, the number increased to 16. Fortunately, they were shown hospitality from four Ghanaian families and the All Nations African church in a nearby community.
Fellowship dinners were always provided. These fellowship dinners often led to deliberations on life in America. Because of language and cultural differences, some Ghanaians attended non-Adventist church services or did not attend at all. From those deliberations, the idea of coming together to form an association that would cater to the needs of Ghanaian students and their families was born. A committee was set up, and a constitution was developed for the Ghanaian Adventist Association of Southern California.
The new association decided to start a Ghanaian branch Sabbath School at La Sierra University church, initially meeting once a month. Eventually, a decision was made for the association to meet once a week instead of monthly. In addition, they did not want to meet just for Sabbath School but to also add a church worship service. Many Ghanaian Adventists in the local area started joining the students in weekly Sabbath School study and began actively participating in the church programs.
In 2007, the association requested to become an official organized group of SECC. Through the support of La Sierra University church, the group moved to its current location in 2005 and the branch Sabbath School was organized as an official company.
Over the years, the group has baptized 13 individuals. At the church organization celebration, three young people from the original branch Sabbath School were baptized. The faithful members of this newly formed church have also contributed a total of $1,201,365 in tithe and offerings during this period.
On January 8, 2022, the officers of SECC were proud to say, “Ye gye tum,” meaning “We too agree!”
By Robert Edwards