Headstrong, disciplined, organized and punctual. Add, perfectionist! You cannot observe District Rector Ebenezer Felix Adjei (DR Adjei) at work and not describe him with any of these words or their synonyms.
On 22nd August, 2021, I observed how his colleague District Rectors quickly run to him, to explain some changes in how the procession for Holy Communion, following an earlier dress rehearsal led by the Bishop for the Accra Apostle Area. Such was the respect he commanded among his peers; he was their District Rector. Only this time, our dear District Rector would be left out of the memo; it was his last divine service as a minister and would be retired in the next few hours.
Bishop Eric Ampadu (rtd.) has known him since the 1980s and openly admits that DR Adjei is a deeply learned man in the NAC doctrine. Now retired, Bishop Ampadu took the opportunity to interview him when he visited the Osu congregation recently.
Bishop Ampadu: Tell us about this journey as a New Apostolic?
DR Adjei: I became a New Apostolic through a friend in the year 1973, sealed a year after and became a chorister in 1975. I was ordained a Deacon in 1977 for the Osu congregation. It was not easy at that time since the church was now gaining grounds in Ghana, in the midst of all the military regimes. Those days Saturdays were usually set aside for vineyard work in the Greater Accra, Central and Eastern Regions respectively, which also included visitations and bible classes.
Bishop Ampadu: What convinced you about the NAC doctrine?
DR Adjei: The first thing that struck me about the Church was their conviction of living Apostles who have been given commission and authority to forgive sins, teach and carry out sacraments. And then also the teaching about the promise of the return of Christ. It was something I had not known before. Beyond that I felt very much at home anytime I joined divine services.
Bishop Ampadu: Forty-four (44) years as a minister, how were you able to combine your career, family duties and soul care, especially in the rural areas.
DR Adjei: I am a man of many parts, and so over the years I developed my time management skill very well. It became one of my strengths. Scheduling myself and attending to all these different aspects of my life efficiently and satisfactorily were very important to my heart.
Bishop Ampadu: People called you a difficult man to work with. How did you feel about it?
DR Adjei: (DR Adjei laughs). In a context, I never perceived myself as being difficult. I am rather a principled man. I was the shepherd of a family, congregations and ministers and so I needed to be firm and assertive to maintain the standards. And in many respects, it was this discipline that helped learn so much of our doctrine and also succeed in my work.
Bishop Ampadu: On a number of occasions, the Accra East district was commended as the most organized. How did you achieve that?
DR Adjei: Well, first of all, I would like to thank my fellow ministers, active and retired, as well as all members for that. It was a teamwork of consistent planning and implementation, regular meetings, updates and follow-ups. I believe my principled style also helped in keeping things in order.
Having worked at Koforidua, Dangme, Ningo and finally Accra East Districts, the retired District Rector admits he enjoyed working in Accra East the most. In a bitter-sweet admission, the retired minister mentioned he wished he could have done much more for the Ningo district. Why? The District Rector is a son of the Ningo people and still has strong connections in that district. He even converted some of his kinsmen to be New Apostolics, despite their family entrenched African traditional religion. Somehow, DR Adjei has been able to carry out his family eldership duties in the Godly Christian manner without much resistance.
But interestingly, since he retired, DR Adjei has been visiting different congregations regularly. Something Bishop Ampadu has also noticed.
Bishop Ampadu: Any special reason for that?
DR Adjei: Yes I do have a special reason. Sometimes in the thick of events, you are not able to notice certain qualities or traits until you take a backseat and observe. And so to help my immediate successor, I have wholeheartedly offered to observe and evaluate the quality of ministers in the district. I must confess I couldn’t do this as effectively during my active years because I was also being monitored as a minister.
Bishop Ampadu: After 49 years of being a New Apostolic, if there is any advice you will give a member, any New Apostolic, what would you say?
DR Adjei: As a New Apostolic, that brother or sister has been sent as a messenger of Christ Jesus. So he/she must help in the continuation of the Apostles’ work by professing their faith to all and strive both spiritually and biblically to be part of the bridal group meeting the return of Jesus Christ.
Bishop Ampadu: Looking back, what would you point to as your legacy and greatest achievement?
DR Adjei: Wow, so many but I would talk about two. One is punctuality. I didn’t own a vehicle and so I had to board commercial vehicles to all divine service locations, no matter where it was hosted. And you know how difficult our transportation system here is. But I often arrived at my destinations much earlier than most. It became a personal habit for me.
The second is the youth. I believe the youth is the bedrock of every congregation. And to empower them, I cultivated an active youth through many joint programs. Some innovations were the zonal youth services we introduced and the District Youth games. Other notable events that helped to create an active and attractive view of the youth were events such as the Two Sides of Strawberry, that brought in Christian relationship counselors to educate the youth. Another is the Talk on Temperaments by a well renowned psychologist and counselor.
Affectionately known as Adjei Pele during his youthful days as a very good supporting striker, DR Adjei was trained a mechanical engineer. He is married with two sons. The elder of the two was ordained into the Priestly ministry in 2020.
Some of his retired colleagues refer to him as the NAC encyclopedia. The unforgettable words of his Eucharistic prayer will be missed: “Heavenly Father we thank you for the Word you have given us. We have received the forgiveness of sins and now are preparing ourselves to receive the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Renew our strength so that we can mount our wings like an eagle; and also to walk and run without getting weary. Help us through are Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.” Who knows! Priest Ebenezer Adjei Jnr may just borrow his father’s words into the next generation.
Thank you District Rector Ebenezer Felix Adjei for your selfless service. We wish you a very long-lived and successful retirement.