Prophet Stephen Henry Ankamah (1909-1962)
Stephen Henry Ankamah was a citizen of Atonsu near Asante Mampong. He was born on October 1, 1909 at Atonsu to John Kwadwo Agyei and Sarah Akua Kwae (a. k. a. Akua Dwirah).
Education and Employment
He had his primary school education at Nsuta, but because there was no middle school at Nsuta, he had to leave for Mampong to continue his education. After completing the middle school, he worked as a tailor and farmer at Atonsu before leaving for Bibiani to work with a mining company.
Conversion and Call into the Full-time Ministry
After working at Bibiani for some time, he returned to his hometown Atonsu where he met his friend Kwadwo Duku, who was a dealer in kente clothes. Duku had gone to Asamankese to sell kente clothes and had been exposed to the ministry of the Faith Tabernacle Church. He informed Ankamah that the Holy Spirit that had been spoken of in the Bible was being manifested at Asamankese. He, therefore, decided to travel on foot to Asamankese with Kwadwo Duku in order to experience the baptism in the Holy Spirit. As they walked through the towns and villages, Duku kept on selling his kente clothes. At Asamankese, he was baptized in the Holy Spirit. When he returned to Atonsu, all his relatives thought he was getting out of his mind and started running away from him. However, with time, his mother who was a member of the Faith Tabernacle Church, but was not strong enough to walk to Asamankese was also baptized in the Holy Spirit during her sleep after a period of prayer. Being startled and envious about the phenomenon, Pastor Ankamah’s father set out the following day from Atonsu to Asamankese to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
He became the leader of the Faith Tabernacle Church at Atonsu. He worked tirelessly to ground this Church in close collaboration with his friend Samuel William Duffour. During the ‘non-medication’ impasse of the Faith Tabernacle Church at Asamankese in June 1938, he and Duffour sided with the Asamankese leadership, which gave rise to the formation of the Christ Apostolic Church with Pastor Peter Newman Anim as their leader. However, in later years, Ankamah and Duffour understood the teachings, principles and attitude of McKeown and, therefore, defected to the Apostolic Church to work under the leadership of Pastor James McKeown.
He served as the leader of the Apostolic Church at Atonsu. Together with his beloved wife, Joana, they embarked on preaching the gospel and planting churches in and around Atonsu. This was in the early 1940s. When his brother, Akwasi David, who was living at Bibiani visited Atonsu and found the new church, he returned to Bibiani to start a branch of the church there.
Stephen Henry Ankamah was called into the full-time ministry at Atonsu in 1945 and posted to Dunkwa-on-Offin. In 1949, he was called into the prophetic office. He worked in close collaboration with Prophet J. C. Quaye. From Dunkwa, he was transferred to Winneba, Akim Tafo and Akuapim Akropong. Whilst at Akropong Akuapim, he took ill and had to be given sick leave for two years. When he recovered, he was stationed at Nsuta-Mampong where he spent six years before being transferred to Sunyani. After serving for six years at Sunyani, he was transferred to Duayaw Nkwanta. After about one and a half years at Duayaw Nkwanta, he took ill again.
He married Joana Kraa (a. k. a. Awo Kraa). Before his conversion, he had had one daughter, Adwoa Comfort, with Akosua Bimpeh. In all, he had twelve (12) children, but as at the time of his death, only five (5) were alive. Mrs. Joana Ankamah died on January 24, 2001 at the ripe age of 104 years. It is on record that Mrs. Joana Kraa Ankamah in her bid to give a testimony at a convention in 1945, which led to the establishment of a branch of the church in Kumasi, burst out with the Akan song:
Onuapa w’adidi amee; Na wo kra nso okom de no; hwehwε wágyenkwa na wo kraa bemee.
Hwehwε wágyenkwa na wo kraa bemee, Hwehwε wágyenkwa na wo kraa bemee
The song literally translates as:
Good brother/sister, You have eaten and are full; Yet your soul is hungry; Seek for your saviour and your soul would be filled.
Chorus: Seek for your saviour and your soul would be filled. Seek for your saviour and your soul would be filled.
Significant Contributions of Prophet Stephen Henry Ankamah to The Church of Pentecost
• He was one of the first two ministers of the Church from the Ashanti Region. Therefore, he and his colleague, S. W. Duffour, worked tirelessly towards the evangelization of the Ashanti Region.
• Through his prophetic ministry, several ministers were called into the full-time ministry to boost up the work.
• The selfless nature of Prophet Ankamah and his wife as well as their zeal for the Lord’s work as recorded in the tribute paid by the Atonsu District at the funeral of Mrs. Ankamah reads inter alia: “We were not ashamed to walk the streets of Atonsu in broad daylight, preaching the word of God. People took them for mad and called them names yet they were not daunted.” Through rain and shine, over hills and valleys, streams and rivers, they carried the message of the Kingdom of God to the unsaved. They were never shaken for lack of essential human needs such as cover cloth. For many years, Mrs. Ankamah paraded the churches they had planted in only one cover cloth, for which, she was taunted by enemies of the word of God.”
While serving at Duayaw Nkwanta, Prophet S. H. Ankamah was called to glory on October 6, 1962 at the age of 52. He died at the Agogo Presbyterian hospital and was buried at his hometown Atonsu. He died of liver-related problems and possibly ‘too much dry fasting’. In all, he served as a full-time minister of the Church for seventeen (17) years.