Sunday, November 13, 2016

2016 NYAC VIM Ghana Dance Mission: Proclaiming God with Words. Dance, and Hospitality

O, give praise to God; praise God in His Sanctuary!

Our journey to Ghana is almost at an end. We have been blessed by the gracious hospitality of the Methodist Church--most recently in Kumasi Diocese, Freeman Society, as well as by the Ghanaian family of Rev. Dr. Leslie Duroseau. We were given an inside view to the community and culture from a local perspective.

As we prepare to minister Liturgical Dance along with the local youth groups, we are mindful of our Omnipresent God, adored here and everywhere the same, His presence felt so strongly in the litany of worship.

This Sunday morning began with a wonderful worship experience at the historic Wesley College at about 6.30am. it was attended by more than 1,000 students. Rev. Ewoodzie was invited to preach. The title of his sermon was "We are the witnesses of the Goodness of God."

Before the establishment of seminaries in Ghana, Wesley College was where all Methodist ministers, including Joseph's father received their training and experience.

At the Freeman  Chapel, Pastor Ekow Essel MacForson prrached a Word that God will always take what you have to bring you what you need. The law of the harvest is to reap more than you sow. Anytime God demands a seed from you,  it means He has a harvest in mind.

One of the pieces that we ministered today,  "More of you, Jesus," was choreographed and taught to us by Eva, a liturgical dance leader from GMHSU in Accra. We pray that our ministry of sacred, liturgical dance will reap a harvest that cannot be numbered in every region of Ghana and in the world. God will transform our small efforts into something that will astound the masses.

Be faithful! The blessing is always in the breaking. Amen.

Friday, November 11, 2016

2016 NYAC VIM Ghana Dance Mission: Becoming a Different Person in God

This is the day that the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it!

We are hopeful and feel more revived after our reflection of the events of the past week.

We are focused on the movement of the Holy Spirit, what that Spirit calls us to do and we are encouraged by the collaboration with the Kumasi Diocesan Methodist Church in Ghana.

We discussed the various techniques used in dancing  - whether they are derived from the culture or from some formal training.

Bishop Andam's vision for the dance is to make it an integral part of the liturgy so that it becomes a seamless part of worship will involve education and creating room in worship service. Just as music and the spoken Word inform the worship, so should liturgical dance. It is communion with God by and of itself. It involves a posture of humility and sacrifice before the throne of God.

One of the youth leaders, Samson Kwaku Boafo, said that whenever he puts on a liturgical dance costume, he becomes a different person and God becomes more real to him. Then the Spirit of God takes over and he receives more than he gives.

Another, Akua Frema, expresses that for her it is a joy and a privelege to stand before the Lord in praise. It is her prayer before each time she dances that God empties her out and fill her with his Spirit and power.

Lord, we feel your presence, your Glory, your Power all over us--in our hands, in our feet, in our hearts--moving down in our souls!
Thank you Blessed Savior! Amen.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

2016 NYAC VIM Ghana Dance Mission: Dancing Deep in the Kingdom of Gold [VIDEO]

Praise be to God, we have arrived in Kumasi, home of the Ashanti Kingdom, where the Asante people originated!

Most of what is present-day Ghana was known as the Kingdom of gold. Development in Ghana started from the coastal areas inward from the Portuguese to the Dutch to the British.

The Ashanti fought valiantly to maintain their rich culture.

Bishop Christopher Andam met with us at the Freeman Methodist Center to welcome us, provide an orientation to Kumasi and to share our vision for liturgical dance ministry.

Although we were unable to begin our dance sessions the first night, that actually was a blessing as it provided us an opportunity to refresh our bodies and minds. Most of us woke up in the wee hours to follow the progress of the 2016 Presidential Election. With this on our hearts, our morning reflection and prayers were focused on our country and world. Click here, here, here, and here for dance videos on Facebook.

We visited the Manhyia Palace Museum and the Kumasi Cultural Center. This was very informative. One of our members, Leslie Duroseau, met family members for the first time whileft in Kumasi .  Her young cousin, Mohammed Abdul Samad is an entrepreneur and world traveler. He shared so many interesting experiences about working in New York, Los Angeles, Morocco and other places. He was so highly motivated and determined to make smart decisions about his life and how he conducts his personal affairs.

After an eventful travel experience from Accra to Kumasi, Rev. Joseph Ewoodzie, with the team, joined the Bishop and Rev. Alex Yawith Boateng at the Kumasi Diocesan office.

As we entered, we heard  the Kumasi Singing Band in practice .  It was as if the gates of Heaven were open and the angels were singing high praise to God! I wanted to dance in the Spirit for the rest of the evening.

We were introduced to the Kumasi dance teams--Vessels of Honor, Temple of Praise, Zoe Theatre, Pearls of Honor and Swich and their leaders.

They danced praise to God and thanks to God for his saving grace.

Tomorrow, God willing,  we will collaborate to blend our cultural styles into one for our one God. Amen.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

2016 NYAC VIM Ghana Dance Mission: How Great is Our God - How Great is Our Joy!

 "How great is our God ;  sing with me ,  how great is our God; and all will see how great, how great is our God!"

What a glorious day this has been. We were blessed in a most magnificent way by the youth of the Methodist Church, Wesley Cathedral , Cape Coast, Ghana and Theare groups! They are evangelizing in amazing ways through Liturgical Dance. They are praising God with every fiber of their being and yes, they are winning souls for Christ!

Not knowing what to expect, it was refreshing to see how progressive the youth were. Our hope is this collaboration will move the concept of dance from 'performance ' to ministry and to educate the Church as a whole.

Attached is the picture from the Elmina Castle in memory. The visit to the castle pressed heavy on our hearts.  The stench of blood and death is still entrenched in the stone on which our ancestors laid.

There is video of the youth ministering in dance, which we will post later.

Job said with assurance, "For I know my Redeemer lives." Can you say, "I know that my Redeemer lives!"

And, oh, by the way, He will turn our mourning into dancing!

And dance we did! All day into the late evening, the dance team from New York led warm up exercises ,  demonstrated basic ballet steps and movement, then taught praise dance to the gospel song, "I Feel the Spirit," by Hezekiah Walker, first to the young children, then to tweens and teens then to the older University youth.

After dinner, we returned to dialogue about praise and worship and what it means to live as unto God. The youth each shared about why theyou danced, how they fulfill their calling by ministering in this way as outreach as well as to honor their Spiritual being.

We then continued the dance. This time, the youth led choreography and taught us to dance to "More of You, Jesus," by the group, Pocketfull of Rocks. The Pastor, Very Reverend Richardson Ababa Wilson, joined us in this dance.  What glorious praise!

And better yet, Sunday morning...aah, Sunday morning !  Three services are celebrated at the Wesley Cathedral Methodist Church, at 5:30am, 7:00am and 9:00am. Believe it or not, the first service draws the highest attendance--more than 500!

We joined in the second and third services and we brought on the dance--in partnership with the GHMSU - Wesleyan Theatre. The parishioners received the dance offering with enthusiasm and joy.

The Very Rev. Richardson explained Choreography and the Azonto was seen as secular, now we minister together offering Sacred, liturgical dance in praise to our God.

Alleluia , I know that my Redeemer lives! Say it with me, "I know that my Redeemer lives!

Friday, November 4, 2016

2016 NYAC VIM Ghana Dance Mission: The Journey of Dreams Begins

For me, the journey of my dreams begin...Lord, for traveling mercies we pray...Delta non-stop to Accra.. Here we come! Traveling with Rev. Joseph Ewoodzie, Rev. Sheila Beckford, Rev. Leslie Deroseau, Troy and Rev. Tisha Branch and me, Rosemarie Walker.
Landed at 7:33 AM Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Daniel and Emanuel met us at the airport. They will be our drivers.
Ghana feels like home! Tropical, fruit trees, very warm temperatures.
Stopped and freshened up at the Ghana Methodist Church Ghana Headquarters where we met some clergy and staff , the immediate past resident Bishop and current resident Bishop Titus Awotwe-Pratt.
Lunch by the seaside including fresh snapper, Joloff rice, yam chips...yummy!
We were humbled by the story of one great leader, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana, who envisioned a unified Africa with a fierce determination that all would be accepted fully as equal beings with dignity and pride of African origin.
Some challenges on our first night due to power outages. However, this was soon sorted out and we had a restful night.
Thursday morning dawned bright and fair. After a light breakfast, we paid tribute to our past as we. traveled to Assin Manso where captive Africans were made to bathe in readiness for auction in thdance ketplace.
After lunch, we prepared for our meeting and time for collaboration with the leadership of the Wesleyan Methodist Church and the youth and children dancers. We are encouraged by the movement of the Spirit in building up the Kingdom of God through Liturgical dance. The youth welcomed us with dance and drew us into the circle of their ministry. Their mission - to bring disciples to Christ , using dance as a means to new, wholesome, revived communion with God.
This place has rekindled our souls, begging us to be open to the divine movement of God. Our Spirit for social justice was rekindled, Our passion for joyful worship given new vibrancy. Touching the water in the river of the last bath, helped solidify our deep connection to these hallowed grounds. me of our past with the current syate. The youth at Wesley Methodist Church rekindled our souls with the joy they expressed in communicating Christ.
We are blessed indeed and pray to be a blessing to all we will encounter on this mission.

Liturgical Dancers on a Mission Journey to Ghana

The Spirit Builders Praise Dance Team of the The United Methodist Church New York Annual Conference is on a mission journey to Ghana.  Their mission is to strengthen the partnership relationship between the New York Conference and the Methodist Church of Ghana.  The relationship between the Methodist Church Ghana and the New York Conference continues to grow in various ways.  Since the past decade many mission teams including Youth Ambassadors in Mission teams, medical teams, construction teams, and other leadership teams have collaborated with brothers and sisters of the Methodist Church Ghana in mission work.  This Liturgical Dance Team’s visit to Ghana is a game changer.  It is breaking away from the traditional work project oriented mission trip, with a very different approach.

Unlike the traditional mission teams such as medical teams, construction teams, For the first time a liturgical dance team will engage in a dance ministry with their African partners to  introduce liturgical dance as a ministry to Methodist Ghanans. The skills and deep faith leadership available in the liturgical dance team raises the relationship between American and Ghanan Methodists to a new partnership level.  The Spirit Builders Praise Dance Team will be in the building business like most mission teams, however they will build something far different from any other - they will be building new ways to communicate our faith!

Mission involves the encounter of different cultures, different national histories, different political systems and practices, different levels of wealth and power, different mission histories, and different spiritual and faith understandings. Please support our efforts with your prayers and best wishes - and by sharing the joy of this mission with others through raising awareness of our mission. Gye Nyame!