The Rt. Rev. Thomas Amponsah-Donkor
Prof. Fred T. Sai at the launch of his memoirs entitled “With Heart and Voice” on 20th September, 2010 had this to say:
“I hope when people read my book in the future and read of me, barefooted, trying to catch crabs and what I later became, they will take heart and be encouraged to carry on even when there is no strength left but grace of God and the sheer will to carry on…..”
The above quote largely sums up the life story of the Right Reverend Thomas Amponsah-Donkor, as it succinctly captures a life that has literally and stubbornly defied some back-breaking odds by brazenly pushing aside cynicism whilst embracing a life that inspires hope especially in younger generations never to give up, no matter what.
Thomas was born on Friday, 18th February, 1966 and brought up in the church house, the manse. His father, the late Very Rev Edward Amponsah-Donkor, a native of Nchiraa in the Wenchi Municipality, was a Methodist Clergyman and the itinerant nature of his work affected the initial schooling of little Thomas and his siblings, such that before he entered Primary Six he had already changed three schools. His beloved mother, also of blessed memory, was Florence Amponsah. He was named Kofi Amponsah after a grandfather, but at school, his full name, Thomas Amponsah-Donkor was perhaps too clumsy and mouthful for teachers who succeeded in truncating it. He entered Primary One at the Local Authority Methodist Primary School at Vieri near Wa in the Upper West Region. Later, he was transferred to Limanyiri Primary School in the Wa Municipality fom where he continued at the Methodist Primary School at Kumawu-Bodomasi in the Ashanti Region.
His father was posted to the north the second time, and whilst a pupil at the United Middle School, Bole, Thomas passed the Common Entrance and entered Bole Bole Secondary School where he sat for his GCE ‘O’ Level Examinations. He did his Sixth From at the Wenchi Methodist Secondary School. Twice on the trot, he was elected Head Prefect, first at BOSEC and later at WESS (when he entered Sixth Form). At both schools, he actively participated in the activities of the Scripture Union and was also an active member of the Drama and Debating Clubs. Not only is he a soccer enthusiast, he featured regularly for the BOSEC Soccer Team and was integral in the team’s exploits at the Northern Regional Inter Schools and Colleges Soccer fiestas in the eighties, feats he relishes with nostalgia.
He did his National Service at the St. Theresa’s Catholic Hospital, nkoranza in the Brong Ahafo Region. This was at the time the Hospital was known to be the only one in the country with a Health Insurance Scheme. 1990, whilst still working at the Hospital’s Business Office as a service person, he was awarded the Dr. Ineke Bosman Prize for “An Emerging Iconic Leader” at the District’s Excellence Awards ceremony.
His favourite genre of music is choral music and he relishes the compositions of Prof Sekyi-Baidoo and Newlove Anna. The Rt. Rev. Amponsah-Donkor sings tenor and he he joined the church choir at a very tender age. He sang in the choir at both WESS and at the Seminary and he rose to become the Circuit Chairman for the Ghana Association of Methodist Church Choirs (GHAMECCO), Dormaa Ahenkro, where his father was also very instrumental in the Sunyani Diocese and whilst a sixth former, he became a founding member of the Men’s Fellowship at Nkoranza and was subsequently elected its first Secretary.
In the 1992/93 church year, he responded to the call of God to enter full time ministry, a decision buoyed by the encouragement of, his late uncle the Rt. Rev. Richard Asuah-Sekyere, Very Rev. Stephen K. Owusu and a host of others. He candidate that same year and in August, 1993, the Methodist Church Ghana accepted him for training at the prestigious Trinity Theological Seminary, Legon. In the final yeart at Trinity, he was elected the SRC Secretary. He graduated in June, 1996 with Distinction in The External Diploma in Theology Examinations, and was subsequently decorated with the coveted William Ofori-Atta Award for Emerging the best graduating student. He also received a Certificate in Ministry (CIM).
He was commissioned on 7th july 1996 by the late Most Rev. Profe. Emeritus Kwesi A. Dickson at the Good Shepherd Methodist Church, Bubuashie, Accra and was ordained on 22nd August, 1999 at the Wesley Chapel, Koforidua by the Most Rev. Dr. Samuel Asante Antwi. In 1998, still a Probationer, he was permitted by the church to do further studies at the University of Ghana, Legon. He graduated with First Class Honours in Sociology and the Study of Religions in May 2001.
The Rt. Rev. Amponsah-Donkor also holds a Legum Baccalaureus (Bachelor of Laws – LL.B) degree awarded by the KNUST and a professional law degree from the Ghana School of Law, Accra. He was called to the Bar as Barrister-at-Law and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Ghana on Friday, 2nd October 2009 at which ceremony he was honoured with the Sam Okudjeto Award. He did his pupilage at the famous Hayfron-Benjamin and Company, a Kumasi based law firm under the kind tutelage of Yaw Omanhene Gyimah, Esq., John Brefo, Esq. and the late J. B. Pobee, Esq. It is however instructive to add that other seniors and colleagues of the Ashanti Bar in the likes of Lawyer Kwame Agyapong Boafo (Lay President of Conference and Mrs Elizabeth Agyare, (now the Minister of Tourism) also contributed in no small measure in helping him learn the ropes of legal practice. He is a member of the Ghana Bar Association.
Since 1996 he has ministered at the following stations:
YEAR STATION CIRCUIT DIOCESE REMARKS
1996-1998 Ateiku Aboso Tarkwa –
1998-2001 Kotobabi Accra Newtown Accra Student of the
2001-2002 Atebubu Yeji Kumasi –
2002-2004 Bantama Bantama Kumasi 2nd Minister
2004-2007 Oforikrom Asawasi Kumasi Student at KNUST
2007-2009 Mt. Olivet Dansoman Accra Student Ghana
School of Law,
2009-2011 Mamponteng Pankrono Kumasi –
2011-2012 Wesley C’dral Kumasi Kumasi Dio. Admin.
2012-2014 Bohyen Bohyen Kumasi Supt. Minister
2014-2016 Tarkwa Tarkwa Tarkwa Supt. Minister
Between 2002 and 2004 he was the Kumasi Diocesan Cordinator for Local Preachers, Stewards and Caretakers. He also served as the Secretary to the Diocesan Steering Committee that hosted the Connexional Methofest in 2003 in Kumasi.
In 2011 he was stationed as the Diocesan Administrator and later in October 2012 he was appointed the Assistant Synod Secretary for the Kumasi Diocese. He has been a member of the Connexional Legal Advisory Team of the Methodist Church Ghana since its inception in 2012. He is also the Legal Adviser to Nickseth Construction Company, Kumasi. He was appointed the Secretary of Synod for Tarkwa in 2014 and coordinated the activities of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the 2016 Conference Arrangements Committee, having served in a similar capacity in Kumasi during the 8th Biennial Conference in 2014.
By the grace of God, Thomas has had the privilege of speaking at a number of Diocesan and Connexional Conferences. He was a regular Panelist on several Radio stations in Kumasi and at Tarkwa he appears as the regular Guest on a Legal Talk Show, “MBRADAN” on Space FM. He is one of the acclaimed advocates of the School of Marriage concept and he is on record to have engaged over hundred singles who signed onto the programme continuously for eight months between May and December 2015 on issues in Pre-Choice Counselling. He was a facilitator in Legal Issue at last year’s School of Continuing Education (SOCED) for Supt. Ministers at the Freeman Centre for Leadership Development.
He is self-motivated and inspired by the fact that God has a curious habit of recruiting from the pit. He is a compassionate communicator with expertise in negotiation and ability to lead and reach consensus. Thomas is married to the elegant but unassuming Ohemaa Esther and the marriage is blessed with three lovely children: Paa Kwasi, Jewel and Awura Adwoa, Ohemaa is a graduate teacher stationed at the Achempim M/A Primary School, Tarkwa. She has been a pillar of support, a personal counsellor and confidante. He also has three adoptedyoungsters, Godson Te-Deum Boakye, Josephine Badu and Belinda Appiah.
Thomas identifies the under listed giants of our faith, inter alia, as persons deserving tons of gratitude: The Most Rev. Titus K. Awotwi Pratt, The Most Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante, Rt. Rev. Prof. Osei Safo-Kantanka, Rt. Rev. Thomas C. Barffo, Very Rev. Prof. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu, Rt. Rev. Dr. E. H. Brew Riverson, Rt. Rev. Dr. Nuh Ben Abubekr, Rt. Rev. K. Omane Achamfuor, Mr. George Kumi-Kyeremeh (one time Director of Nursing Services, G.H.S.), Rt. Rev. J.B. Impraim, Very Rev. Prof. J.D.K Ekem, Very Rev. Prof. J.M.Y. Edusa-Eyison, Very Rev. Stephen K. Owusu and Very Rev. Janet Osei Kuffour. He is also very grateful to the following Ministers under whom he worked: Rt. Rev. O.S.K. Boakye, Very Rev. Jane Ellen Odoom, Very Rev. Charles Ekuban and the Rt. Rev. Christopher Nyarko Andam. The Rt. Rev. Thomas C. Barffo was his first Supt Minister. Mention must also be made here of his seniors in chambers, Lawyers Omanhene Gyimah, John Brefo and Elizabeth Agyare (Mrs) and his friends Lucy Diawuo, Regina Djokoto and Bright Baiden, Esq.
To all intents and purposes, this is not by any means an exhaustive list of his benefactors – of course, space and time will not permit such a catalogue. Therefore, putting out such a list in only an admission that he has stood on the broad shoulders and walked in the shadows of several great men and women of our time, great men and women who have enriched his personal life and inspired his love for Christ….people whose towering presence and godly influence have left indelible marks on his life and ministry.
For instance, how can he forget that it was Bishop Adubekr who personally footed the bill for his legal training on many occasions…or the cadre of excellent teachers, and even course mates (in Theology, Sociology and in the Law) who have radically molded his thinking….the magnanimity of his friend and brother Very Rev. Richardson A. Andam and his wife Mercy who took him home for the whole two year period that he studied at “Makola” …..or the thoughtfulness of the likes of Lawyer Lucy Diawuo who, as a sister, always bought law textbooks in pairs so that he (Thomas) would have ready access to relevant reading materials….and what about Prof. Asamoah0Gyadu and Dr. Kofi Adinkra, (a former Director of the Ghana School of Law), who would stop at nothing to urge him to develop and add more value to himself …and how can he forget that even before it became clear that there was no arrangement for him to be attached to any Circuit at the time he studied at the School of Law, it was The Most Rev titus Awotwi Pratt, then a Supt minister, who generously invited him to join the staff at Dansoman… Indeed, he is enchanted by the several scores of church members in the Societies he has pastored, whose prayers, words of encouragement, financial support and other thoughtful acts of generosity have kept him going… and the friends, class mates and colleagues who have stood with him through thick and thin….the likes of his brother isaac Pratt on his mind! The list is endless.