The year 1994 marked the birth of Lighthouse Chapel International, Manhattan, and in fact Lighthouse Chapel International USA. It was the year that the founder of our church, Bishop Dag Heward-Mills, visited the United States of America, and met with key members of the starting church, to search for a church location in Manhattan, New York, to start the church in the United States. The pioneer members were: Dr. and Mrs. Charles Osei (now Reverend Dr. Charles Osei and Lady Pastor Elaine Osei), Mr. Ike Eshun (a senior Shepherd in the Greensboro, NC branch), Mr. and Mrs. Ebenezer Kofi Addo (Mr. Ebenezer Kofi Addo is a senior Shepherd in the Las Vegas, NV branch. His wife, Mrs. Endurance Addo is now Lady Pastor Endurance Akom-Addo, also in the Las Vegas Branch), and Mr. and Mrs. Sampson Yeboah (Mr. Sampson Yeboah is Reverend Sampson Yeboah, who pastors the Hartford, CT branch. His then wife, Lady Pastor Lily Yeboah, also pastored the Hartford, CT branch. Lady Pastor Lily Yeboah passed on, on April 8, 2011, to be with Her Maker).
Mr. Kofi Addo and his wife, Endurance, found a space in mid-town Manhattan on the second floor of the Times Square Arts Center at 300 W 43rd Street, New York. The young Lighthouse Chapel International New York Church shared this space with an American youth group. Lighthouse Chapel International, Manhattan, with its seven members, however, met regularly in Mr. Ike Eshun’s apartment at 1306 Boston Road, apartment 4B in the Bronx, New York, for their all-night and 31 December watch night services.
By the summer of 1994, Bishop Dag Heward-Mills had commissioned the New York church. A few more members had joined the church. Bishop Dag raised funds and encouraged each member to make financial contributions towards the purchase of church equipment. From those funds, church instruments were purchased for the church. Bishop Dag paid an important visit to Miss Akwele Bortei-Doku, now Lady Pastor Akwele Kiruja, with Dr. Charles Osei in New York. Bishop invited Miss Bortei-Doku to join the church, and to assist the church by playing the church keyboard. From that visit, Miss Bortei-Doku joined Lighthouse Chapel International.
After a month’s stay in New York, Bishop Dag returned to Ghana. Bishop Dag sent Reverend Eddy Addy, now Bishop Eddy Addy, to New York from Ghana, to pastor the New York church. Reverend Eddy Addy prayed for his members, visited, counseled and interacted (P.V.C.I.) with his church members. Gradually, other members of note: Mr. Kwesi Baiden (now Reverend Kwesi Baiden of the Houston-South, TX branch), Dr. Gilbert Fleischer (now Reverend Gilbert Fleischer of the Philadelphia, PA branch), Mrs. Ama Nyarko (Shepherd in the Manhattan church), Mr. and Mrs. William Quansah (both Shepherds in the Manhattan church), and Dr. Francis and Caroline Banfro (Dr. Francis Banfro is now Reverend Francis Banfro. He pastors the Las Vegas, NV church. His wife, Dr. Mrs. Caroline Banfro is now Lady Pastor Caroline Banfro. She also pastors the Las Vegas, NV church), joined the church.
Reverend Eddy Addy also conducted various church location searches while he pastored the Manhattan church. In July 1996, Reverend Addy found a space at 303 W 42nd Street, New York. The church moved from their 300 W 43rd Street space to their new location on 42nd Street, which was then popularly referred to as the ‘Upper Room’. By that time, the church membership had grown to about twenty people. Soon after their move, Reverend Addy had to return to Ghana for a three-week stay. In his absence, Bishop Dag sent Reverend Joel Obuobisa (now Apostle Joel Obuobisa), then a pastor in the United Kingdom Lighthouse Chapel International church, to New York to pastor the church. Upon Reverend Addy’s return to New York, Reverend Joel Obuobisa returned to the United Kingdom. However, in October 1996, Reverend Joel Obuobisa returned to New York, and was made the resident pastor of the Manhattan church.
In the year 1997, Bishop Dag Heward-Mills returned to the Manhattan church for a church meeting. After one of their meetings on one Sunday afternoon, Bishop Dag, together with Revered Eddy Addy, Revered Joel Obuobisa, and Dr. Charles Osei met with Father Peter M. Colapietro, the then pastor of Holy Cross Church at 329 W 42nd Street, New York. This was a divine encounter, because Bishop Dag discussed the possibility of renting the gymnasium of the Holy Cross School for the Manhattan church, to hold their church services. Father Peter asked Bishop Dag to contact Sister Mary Theresa Dixon, the principal of the Holy Cross School, who helped Bishop Dag finalize the necessary paper work for Lighthouse Chapel International, Manhattan to have full access and use of the school’s gymnasium for their church services. The church moved from the Upper Room to the gymnasium of the Holy Cross School at 332 W 43rd Street, where they used as their primary location for all their church services for seventeen years, until March 16, 2014 when Lighthouse Chapel International, Manhattan had to move locations again.
The Manhattan church found a space at St. Jude School, 433 W 204th Street, also in Manhattan, and moved there, but could only use the space for three months. On June 30, 2014, Lighthouse Chapel International had to vacate the space to a charter school. But by the grace of God, the Manhattan church found a location at 1940 University Avenue in the Bronx, owned by the Church of the Holy Spirit, and has shared it’s use since July 1, 2014.
Under the leadership of Reverend Joel Obuobisa, the church saw tremendous growth. Like Reverend Eddy Addy, Reverend Joel interacted with his church members. He prayed for his members, visited and counseled them. Reverend Joel officiated many weddings, attended many naming ceremonies, dedicated many babies to the Lord, baptized his members by full emersion during the yearly AGABAPTOFEST (festival of baptism and food), and officiated several funeral ceremonies in the church.
Fulfillment of a mandate…
Gradually, other branches were birthed in the United States. Shepherds and ministry leaders rose up to become pastors and lay ministers. Lighthouse Chapel International, Manhattan became the Aparche (the Greek word for first-fruits) church in North America. The Aparche church hosted many activities including the yearly ‘Daughter, You Can Make It’ women convention, Pastors and Shepherds conventions, Easter and Christmas conventions, International Day celebrations, and yearly North America Pastors and Shepherds camp meetings.
In August 2003, Bishop Dag Heward-Mills sent our beloved pastor, Reverend Joel Obuobisa, along with key pastors and elders of the Manhattan church to start new Lighthouse Chapel International branches in other parts of the United States. Reverend Joel Obuobisa, Lady Pastor Sara Obuobisa (Lady Pastor Sara Obuobisa is the head of Treasury of Lighthouse Chapel International USA), Lady Pastor Ama Ababio (Lady Pastor Ama Ababio now Lady Pastor Serana Ababio, is one of the pastors who assists Bishop Dag Heward-Mills in Accra, Ghana) and Lady Pastor Akwele Kiruja (Lady Pastor Akwele Kiruja is one of the lead administrative personnel in the U.S.A., and assists Apostle Joel Obuobisa in the administrative running of the North America churches), together with Brother Steve Ababio, Brother Munene Kiruja (now Reverend Munene Kiruja), Dr. Naabea Enin, and Brother Akwete Bortei-Doku went out to start the Atlanta branch. The Atlanta branch of Lighthouse Chapel International is the Chayil (the Hebrew word for ‘virtuous’) branch.
Elder Ben Amoateng (now Reverend Ben Amoateng, who pastored the Charlotte-NC, Kumasi, Hanover-MD branches of Lighthouse Chapel International, is currently a missionary in Haiti) and his wife Mrs. Sylvia Amoateng, were sent to start a branch in Charlotte, North Carolina. Elder Robert Scaglione and wife Yasmin, were sent to start a branch in Miami, Florida. Pastor Ezekiel Sakyiama and wife Theresa, were sent to start a branch in Cedar Falls/Waterloo, Iowa. Pastor Ezekiel Sakyiama and Lady Pastor Theresa Sakyiama now pastor the Chicago branch of Lighthouse Chapel International. Lay Minister Abraham Abubakar (currently deceased), was sent to start a branch in Yonkers, New York. He was appointed pastor in the year 2005, and ordained a reverend minister in 2010. On January 4, 2013, Reverend Abraham Abubakar passed on to be with His Maker.
Since Reverend Joel Obuobisa was now in Atlanta Georgia to start a new branch there, Bishop Dag made Pastor Kwesi Baiden (now Reverend Kwesi Baiden) the resident pastor of Lighthouse Chapel International, Manhattan. Under Pastor Baiden’s leadership too, the Manhattan church saw phenomenal growth. There was progressive change in the leadership roles of the elders, shepherds, and members of the church.
In January 2005, Brother Raymond Nkrumah, one of the very dynamic and active leaders of Manhattan church was also sent to Michigan to start a new branch in Detroit. About this same time, the management of the 303 W 43rd Street property started construction and space re-allocation in their building. They assigned a space on the 3rd floor of the Times Square Arts Center at 300 W 43rd Street to Lighthouse Chapel International, Manhattan. About the first week of February 2005, the church moved its Upper Room from 303 W 42nd Street to 300 W 43rd Street, New York, where it had held its services 11 years before.
The church recorded another change in its history books in August 2005. On July 15, 2005, during the annual “Daughter, You Can Make It” convention, Reverend Joel Obuobisa, then the General Overseer for Lighthouse Chapel International, North America, announced the imminent relocation of our beloved pastor, Kwesi Baiden and his family to San Francisco. Pastor Charles Osei (our father and resident pastor of Lighthouse Chapel International Manhattan), then resident minister of the New Jersey branch, was commissioned the new resident pastor of Lighthouse Chapel International, Manhattan.
Reverend Charles Osei has pastored the Manhattan church since August 2005. His unbridled dedication to the church is exceptional. Reverend Osei preaches powerfully. He teaches, counsels, interacts and visits the Manhattan church members with a shepherd’s heart. Through the help of the Holy Spirit, Reverend Osei has heightened the spiritual growth and dedication of the Manhattan church members. Lighthouse Chapel International, Manhattan, is indeed blessed and honored to have Reverend Charles Osei as their spiritual father.
By March 2011, over twelve Lighthouse Chapel branches had been birthed out of Lighthouse Chapel International, Manhattan all across the United States of America. Currently, more than 60 Lighthouse Chapel International branch churches in the United States have been recorded, and birthed out of the Manhattan church. We continue to give praise and thanks to God Almighty for the continual church increase, and for the wisdom and creative drive He instills in individuals of this great ministry to assist in the work of the Lord, and to bring the gospel to people of all nations.
…Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)