If I were to eulogize the late Rev Aaron Korley Antonio, I could do that all day long. This is because he stands tall amongst Pastors I have known who really walked the talk.
I came into contact with this rare Man of God at a very early age in life. We used to go to church with our Mom for a while. At around age 9, we joined the newly formed Christian Action Faith Ministries. We attended their Sunday school for about a year at the Teachers Hall in Accra until the church relocated to a new facility around Airport. This was around the time that Charismatism had started. Later, our neighbor and playmate took us to her Mum’s church at the cinema hall at Adabraka (Globe cinema). My two younger sisters and I joined.
We started in Sunday school briefly and within a short time, I joined the ushering department. I was just around nine to ten years and I was taken through a lot of teachings about the Christian faith. My sisters and I loved it because although we were very young we were allowed to join the adult church and given the opportunity to serve in their main departments. I was the youngest in the choir and I was made to lead songs. Later, my bigger siblings also joined the church to experience our new-found faith.
In all of these experiences, what I found amazing was the leader of the church – Rev Aaron Korley Antonio. He was a very handsome, humble man who looked somewhat shy when talking to you. He was, however, something else when he mounts the pulpit to preach. He was full of power and zeal and passion for the work of God. We travelled to places on missions and received visiting pastors from the UK. Anytime we had visiting Pastors he would bring them to our home because he saw us as one of the committed members of his Church. We were still children at the time but he showed a lot of respect to us.
Rev Aaron Antonio became our spiritual father for decades to come and I must say that he raised many great leaders and Pastors and Christian leaders during his time.
Later, the church went through many phases, some good, and some bad but in all those periods he still stood firm proclaiming the word of God. His passion for evangelism, outreach and his humility has become a rare trait in the Christian world today. He never chased money or the pleasures of the world. He was very open and transparent and looked very soft but he never compromised on his faith.
As Dr. Mensah Otabil, Founder and General Overseer of International Central Gospel Church said during a memorial held as part of his funeral celebrations, “he was completely sold out to God. He was our main man, right from the beginning he showed he had the call of God upon him. He loved Jesus with a passion. His Christian life was very deep, he gave everything he had to the Lord. In those early days, we would walk for mile and miles to go and do crusades. It was very evident that he had the hand of God upon him and when he preached souls would be saved”.
Like Dr. Otabil, all of the Pastors and several other people (great and small) who knew him paid glowing tributes and some of his unique attributes that stood out in their tributes were: “humility, respect for all, selflessness, the passion to save souls-not money and love for all”. His Christian mantra/philosophy or guiding principle were three phrases; “to know Him (Christ), to be like Him and to make Him known”. In all my Christian life, I have seen and encountered Pastors; the good, the bad and the ugly, but he stands tall amongst the good. It is amazing that this man was a frontrunner among the great men of God who are credited as pioneers of charismatism in Ghana and yet not much was known about him.
Rev Antonio established youth evangelistic groups known as the Calvary Youth Crusaders and Calvary Evangelistic Association which mobilized and harnessed the strength of the youth for evangelism and missions especially in the rural areas of Ghana. This brought many to the saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Later, he joined the Kanda Fellowship whose membership comprised Rev. Dr Mensah Otabil, Rev. Edwin Otabil, Prophet Annor, Rev. Dr Robert Ampiah Coffie, Rev Charles Appah, Bishop Tackie Yarboi among others. He became the prayer leader of the group and later became an Evangelist. Through these fellowships, he had the opportunity of organizing crusades and village evangelism and acquired the necessary experience to start his church (Calvary Christian Centre) which he intended to be a base for his evangelistic missions. He later establishd six (6) branch at Kwakyekrom, Akropong, Amanokrom, Kwamedodoo, Nketepa and Amaatey, all in the Republic of Ghana which he gave up to his brethren before his demise.
He travelled extensively both locally and internationally, preaching the word of God. He helped in establishing the Lion of Judah Ministerial Fellowship which has a registered membership of over hundred (100) Pastors and ministry workers. He also established the Kingdom Vision Fellowship International (a network of Pastors) and served as the President of both ministries until his final day of rest.
My siblings and I all got married and moved on to other community churches with some outside the country but we still appreciate the great foundation he laid in our lives and the love he showed to us. He and his wife were so special to us to the extent that we had our wedding on their wedding anniversary day and so we shared that day with them until he was called to eternity. He will be fondly and deeply loved and my family and I will forever remember him.
As we remember his home call five (5) years on, I pay tribute to him for his selfless service and his rare Christian qualities which are hard to find in some Pastors in this day and age. I join members of his church, Calvary Christian Center (CCC), his wife Rev Doris Dedaa Antonio and Son, Joshua Korletey Antonio and his entire family and the hundreds of spiritual children he raised to celebrate a man who led a humble and selfless life. A man who, from lowly beginnings and under difficult conditions, succeeded to become a great man of God. We celebrate the man who trained people to follow the path of morality and spiritual excellence. Rev Antonio, evoked faith and inspired others who were in despair. He brought unity in the midst of discord and always eschewed strife. When he was mistreated, he never retaliated, but offered ready pardon. He was kind and affable. Pastor Aaron was a man of deep thinking and action, ready to help anyone in need and many sought to be associated with him because of these attributes. Indeed, he loved the Lord and practiced the tenets of his faith. He didn’t focus on material gains. His main interest was God’s work. Having a large number of church members wasn’t his priority, for him quality and commitment of members to the Christian faith was more important. No wonder he was called home whilst preaching the Word of God at a workshop.
Today, when we look around us, we see both inspirational Pastors and the not so inspiring ones. One of the inspiring ones I can eulogize is Rev Aaron Korley Antonio. I wish Calvary Christian Center the very best as they continue his good works through the newly launched Aaron Antonio Foundation and we look forward to the continuation of his passion and work.