The Moderator of the New York City Presbytery(PCUSA), Dr. David Ofori Jr. has brought some fresh intuition to his office. In a landmark gesture, the Ghanaian-born Moderator invited all living past Moderators in the New York City Presbytery (from 1965 to 2013 ) , from the 96 congregations , to a luncheon to deliberate and explore the best way to approach and engage in a Christian leadership dialogue . This conversation involved the Presbytery’s ecclesiastical and business concerns, and the most discerning methodology to manage the affairs of the organization’s problems.
Addressing the November 3rd, 2013 gathering which saw about 28 of the past Moderators attending, Ruling Elder Dr. Ofori,Jr. disclosed his vision for calling his predecessors to fellowship over a meal to tap into their wealth of experiences and wisdom, as well as to show appreciation for their dedication, sacrifice and leadership as past officers of the ecclesiastical presbytery.
“I find the gathering relevant and very helpful as a first step into showing appreciation for the leaders who have worked diligently in steering the Presbytery towards its true foundational course” he said. He added that, problems facing the Presbytery will not be solved by themselves but they need the “corporate strategic innovative planning, creative thinking, delegating and the spiritual flexibility in exploring new intelligence and leadership imagination. This, he said, will involve training, empowering new leaders and supporting struggling churches spiritually and economically from the ground up, with everyone rolling up their sleeves and getting dirty while serving God together”.
The Moderator further proposed the creation of a shepherding council consisting of the at- large clergy and experienced ruling elders to form a special implementation unit of the General Council with a composition of diverse personalities, (Past and present Moderators) to meet on a quarterly basis to review, assess and provide outcome measurements of the Presbytery’s committees and Board recommendations, future growth, implementation of mission plans and the training of future moderators.
This suggestion however was met by some degree of opposition from some of the past moderators who argued that that responsibility would overburden the past moderators who have faithfully completed their services to the organization during their term of office. Some of the past moderators felt that the responsibility should not be carried out by the moderator but rather, by the deliberative body of the Presbytery within the hierarchy of the Church’s already existing structures. Other members of the gathering however hailed Dr. Ofori’s innovativeness and insight into resolving the organization’s problems and called on their colleagues to buy into the Moderator’s noble idea of mobilizing reliable and viable leadership resources to effectively resolve problems of the Presbytery.
Answering questions on whether or not he had the approval from the Ecclesiastical body to propose the formation of such intellectual resource however, Dr. Ofori said he had duly taken note of the concerns of those indicating that he had no power to do so and had thus planned to draft a proposal to the relevant authorities to seek their approval on the matter. “I wish to prepare a proposal to the General Cabinet and the Presbytery to get the permission as suggested by a former Moderator, Rev. Alistair Drummond, to form this council, in accordance with the Standing Rules and the Book of Order”, he told reporters. He further stated that he has received very positive feedback from some of the past Moderators who have indicated their support for the formation of the shepherding counsel and the preparation of a leadership training manual for moderators. He envisioned that such a manual would be a great resource for future Moderator-Elects and the ecclesiastical officers.
During this sponsored luncheon, the Moderator introduced the Presbytery’s new Executive Presbyter, Rev. Dr. Robert Foltz-Morrison and the new Stated Clerk Rev. C. Andy James . Dr. Ofori expressed his gratitude to the new leadership, his predecessors and mentors for their time and participation in the explorative conversation. He honored the members by presenting certificates and medals to the past Moderators, as a sign of profound appreciation for their services to the 17,000 members of the New York City Presbytery.
Dr. David Ofori jr. is largely credited with being instrumental and one of the architects in the formation and sustenance of the Emmanuel Presbyterian Reformed Church (EPRC), a vibrant multi-ethnic Ghanaian community church with two sanctuaries in the Bronx (North Bronx-Woodlawn and South Bronx- Ogden). He is the first person of African descent (Ghanaian) who God has elevated to such an honorable ecclesiastical authority as the Moderator of the New York City Presbytery.
The New York City Presbytery (P.C USA), is one of America’s religious organizations that has opened its corridors and coffers in welcoming and supporting new immigrants from Europe, Africa, Asia and South America to its congregations .The organization has embarked on worldwide outreach to provide comfort and salvation to many countries through the world counsel of churches; encouraging and proclaiming the Gospel through its global missions, as well as promoting multi-cultural, racial, ethnic, scriptural growth and development of its members in America.