An Appreciation by Kofi Otutu Adu Labi
He impacted generations for Good.
I first met TB, as we used to call him then, at the University of Ghana when he took over from Rev. Gottfried Osei-Mensah as Travelling Secretary of the Ghana Inter University Christian Fellowship.
Of course, we promoted him to Uncle TB long ago, an appellation we attached a lot of endearment to and which I suspected he enjoyed hearing.
I remember Uncle TB’s regular visits to us at Legon and the way he shared life-impacting lessons with us about various aspects of the Christian life. He had a way of breaking down Christian principles into basic building blocks which made them easy to imbibe and put into practice.
The one word I would use to describe Uncle TB is that he was an Encourager. I remember a telephone call I received from him after I started contributing to Scripture Union’s Daily Guide Devotional. This was early in the morning and he told me that he and Sister Virginia had been blessed by my contribution for the day. He encouraged me to keep up the good work. I must say that I felt happy to receive this commendation from such a great man of God.
Uncle TB was one person you were always sure to walk away from with deep insights, clarity and understanding about the things of God and how they relate to our contemporary world and its challenges.
He had some uncommon, but very practical, advice too. On one occasion, while in conversation with him, he offered me a piece of advice that has proved very helpful to me as a Lay Preacher. He told me that the late John Stott had advised him to remember to empty his bladder before he went into the pulpit. I took the advice and have applied it religiously since then. Imagine feeling the urge to empty your bladder while in the process of preaching! I wonder if this type of wisdom is taught in a formal setting. Yet it is one piece of advice that has surely saved lots of preachers from embarrassment and on the other hand made them bring their sermons to many an abrupt end.
As we celebrate the transition of Uncle TB from this side of eternity to the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ in the sure hope of the resurrection, I want to share two more recollections of him, formally documented by me, to give us all an opportunity to learn more from the godly wisdom he was so richly endowed with.
THE MINI GATHERING – DAWU AKUAPEM
THE DEVOTION LED BY REV. DR T. B. DANKWA (TB)
Culled from my book All Things Bright and Beautiful.
The second remembrance is from the second TB Dankwa Missions Fund and Public lecture held at the British Council Hall in July 2019.
The following is what I shared on my Facebook timeline after the event. “Rev. Dr. T. B. Dankwa has been involved in student ministry since 1963 when he entered the University of Ghana to study Chemistry. He served as President of the University Christian Fellowship and was the first staff worker of GHAFES from 1971-77. Indeed, he used to pay regular visits to us at Legon after he took over (in 1971) from Rev. Gottfried Osei-Mensah, who went on to join the Lausanne Committee in Switzerland.
TB, as he is affectionately called by contemporaries, was for a long period the Senior Pastor at Accra Chapel, now Korle Bu Community Chapel.
The theme for the lecture was “Awakening the Spirit of Patriotism and Volunteerism: the way forward towards Ghana beyond Aid – the GHAFES Model.”
The Speaker was Rev. Emmanuel Mawuli Ahlijah, a former General Secretary of GHAFES.
The Rabbis used to sit to speak.
When it was time for Rev. T. B. Dankwa (TB) to speak, he asked to be permitted to remain sitting while making his remarks. In what was clearly meant to be only an opener and an aside, he said that after all, the Rabbis used to sit and speak. That caught my attention and sent my mind back to the year 2008, to the island of Maui in Hawaii when I was at the Haggai Institute for Advanced Leadership. I worshipped with a congregation one Sunday and I was astonished to see the pastor sitting on a stool and preaching. Like most of the congregants, he was dressed simply but decently. He went on to deliver one of the best sermons I have ever heard. It was about Jesus and the Samaritan woman by the well.
We should allow our speakers to sit if that would be suitable for their circumstances.
That was my first takeaway from TB that evening. I know at least one very good teacher and counsellor who has not been preaching for years now ostensibly because his physical condition would not allow him to stand in the pulpit for long.
The second takeaway was: Be yourself. Don’t copy others. Everyone has his or her style.
Finally, God will show you what to do when you pray.”
I shall always remember what TB used to tell us whenever he paid a working visit to us at the University Christian Fellowship (UCF).
“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”
― St. Augustine
Uncle TB has left a huge legacy and impacted many lives for the Kingdom of God in Ghana and beyond. May the God of all grace comfort his wife Sister Virginia and the entire family.
May his soul rest in peace as we look forward to a joyful Gathering on the resurrection morn.