Meet The Rev. Canon George K. Neequaye (“Father George” or simply “George”). The Venerable Dr. George Kotei Neequaye arrived in Atlanta on January 22nd as an initial step in a broader relationship established by the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta with Ghana. A few months ago, the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta established a sister relationship with the Diocese of Cape Coast, one of Ghana’s Anglican dioceses. This initiative, under the leadership of Bishop Robert C. Wright, is already creating exciting experiences and opportunities for all Episcopalians in the Diocese to interact with Father George and to learn more about Ghana. To this end, the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta has partnered with the Candler School of Theology in hosting Father George as a Visiting Scholar during his sabbatical in Atlanta, which will help jumpstart the Diocese’s global mission with Ghana. Adds Father George: “I will like to make a lifetime connection between [the Diocese] and my Church and the people of Ghana.”
Highpoint Episcopal Community Church (“HECC”) is honored to serve as the host church and home-away-from-home for Father George during his stay in Atlanta. Thanks to the behind-the-scenes efforts of Canon Lang Lowrey, Father George is residing in a newly constructed, residential apartment (which George longingly refers to as his “flat”) located in a former classroom of HECC. George quickly settled into to his flat and life in America. To help him ease into his new situation, George spent his first two nights in the nearby Sandy Springs home of a long-time HECC couple before moving into his flat. During his first week in Atlanta, in addition to his orientation and research at the Candler School of Theology, George has led Adult Formation at HECC, preached at HECC’s Holy Eucharist, joined its popular Monday Supper Group, enjoyed a tour of the Atlanta History Center and an evening of entertainment at the Shakespeare Theatre. The Rev. Ruth Pattison is serving as the liaison for Father George with the Diocese, where she is coordinating his schedule among interested Diocese churches to make certain that everyone knows of his schedule and availability to teach and preach . . . and just hang out. A member of HECC is serving as the tour coordinator for George to ensure that he will visit many of the sights of metro Atlanta and experience its vibrant sports and entertainment scenes, while another member has provided an automobile to meet George’s daily transportation needs. Says George: “I will be in Atlanta as part of my continuing scholarship. But if possible, I will love to explore the tourist attractions in Atlanta and elsewhere. As you know, ‘All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy.’” Many other members of HECC have contributed their time, food and furnishings to his flat to make George’s stay in Atlanta memorable.
Dr. Neequaye has traveled to Atlanta as a Visiting Scholar on sabbatical from his hometown of Accra, Ghana so that he can study and research at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. During his seven-month stay in Atlanta, Dr. Neequaye will continue his research in moral philosophy, with an emphasis in African traditional ethics and Christian ethics, areas in which he is a well-known expert in his field of study. He also intends to complete writing his current two books, which explore these and other subject areas. Father George comments that the quietness of his flat is an excellent place for him to study, read and write.
Father George has pastored numerous churches in Ghana, has been a member of many important religious committees and has served in leadership positions in the Anglican Diocese of Accra. He teaches African Traditional Ethics, Christian ethics, African Traditional Religion, Liturgics and Worship at the Trinity Theological Seminary, Legon, where he has been the Vice President, Dean of Students, Chaplain and currently, the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Father George is also the Archdeacon of Accra Northeast and Chaplain of Christ Church, University of Ghana, Legon. He is on leave from his 350-member church in Accra.
George is married to Esther, who works for Delta Airlines in Accra. He is hopeful that Esther will be able to visit him once or twice in Atlanta. George and Esther are the proud parents of two sons, George S. and Alan, and one daughter. Sharlene. George S. is 26 years old and is working toward his master’s degree in Parsons School of Design and Technology, New York. According to Father George, their oldest son is an IT guy, who might also visit Father George while he is in Atlanta. The second son, Alan, is 24 years old and sings gospel music in churches, which is his passion. Alan completed his degree in Business Administration last year and is now working to complete his National Service in Accra. Alan wants to go into interior design. Daughter Sharlene is 13 years old.
Why is Father George’s research important? Why does his work deserve our support? Simply stated, Dr. Neequaye will establish a lifetime connection between the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, the Candler School of Theology, and the people of Ghana. Community work and education will be his focus. While in Atlanta, Dr. Neequaye will teach others about the true meaning of racial reconciliation. Through his community teachings and discussions, Father George will be part of the Diocese’s larger initiative to connect the United States to Ghana, where slave castles (dreary dungeons for the recently captured Africans) dotting its coastline served as the point of departure for many slaves destined for the British colonies in America. Over 40% of African slaves reaching the British colonies before the American Revolution passed through South Carolina and almost all of these slaves entered the colonies through the Port of Charleston, before being sold in Charleston's active slave markets. Dr. Neequaye teaches modern-day racial reconciliation and responsibility, explaining that the stain of slavery is a collective responsibility, shared by the Ghana kings and slave merchants, who captured and sold Africans to the British and Dutch slave traders, who, in turn, sold these enslaved peoples to the plantation owners living primarily in our Southern states. In addition to his scholarship, research, writing, and teaching, Dr. Neequaye’s trip to Atlanta could be aptly labeled as a journey to explore how a Ghanaian connection might help our own community lead the way to more racial reconciliation, harmony, and healing in the African American community. His teachings will benefit young and old alike in Atlanta and its environs.
Concludes Father George: “I’m sure I am in for a great treat of my life! I promise to do whatever I am asked to do to support [the] ministry [of the Diocese] and in Candler.”