£300,000 paid as ex gratia to one Light House Chapel pastor,Bishop Richard Aryee in 2016.
An excerpt of a report by fourthestategh.com reads;
BISHOP Richard Aryee has not hidden his disdain for the actions taken by the two bishops and four other pastors who have resigned from the Lighthouse Chapel International (now known as the United Denominations Originating from the Lighthouse Group of Churches (UD-OLGC).
The six former full-time ministers of the gospel have sued the church for “abuse and exploitation” they suffered when they laid down their promising career paths and took up a calling in full-time christian ministry.
Among their grievances is their claim that the church failed to pay their Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions while they worked around the world to build churches, preach the gospel and raise funds for the church.
The sextet did not even mention their tier-two pension contributions, which is also mandatory per Section 63 of the National Pensions Act.
The pastors say the failure of the church to pay their pension contribution is not due to the lack of funds. Bishop Oko Mensah was in charge of a popular Saturday dawn prayer clinic for seven years.
It is not the main church service but under his stewardship, he says the dawn prayer meeting generated between GH₵18,000 to GH₵25,000 every Saturday. On a monthly basis, it fetched GH₵100,000. On one particular Saturday, the prayer clinic held a thanksgiving service and raised more than GH₵50,000.
Bishop Oko Mensah says these fund-raising prowess of the prayer clinic meetings put a smile on the face of a top administrator, Bishop EAT Sackey, who once commented, “we can build the Qadesh (a cathedral at Bortianor) with the prayer clinic offering.”
But despite this, the pastors say their pension contributions were neglected, and they have also petitioned SSNIT to investigate.
Since The Fourth Estate published the story in the three-part series—“Darkness in a lighthouse”—social media platforms of pastors and worshipers of the Lighthouse Chapel have reacted with disapproval.
They rebuked the former employees for “biting the hand that once fed them.” Their social media platforms have been buzzing with loyalty to the presiding bishop, Dag Heward-Mills, who has explained the loyalty doctrine in nine books.
Bishop Richard Aryee, who heads the United Kingdom branch of Lighthouse Chapel International, has posted videos of the resigned bishops, when they praised the Presiding Bishop, Dag Heward-Mills, years ago. He asked his followers to share.
He also posted messages hash-tagged #IStandAgainstDisloyalty and #IStandWithBishopDag.
Some members of the church have described the six as “greedy people” who made money their motivation, instead of embracing the sacrifices that come with full-time ministry.
But it appears the condition of service of “loyal” pastors such as Bishop Richard Aryee is not the same as those pastors who are being asked to focus on heavenly rewards instead of worldly possessions.
The Fourth Estate has sighted documents of the Lighthouse Chapel International that show that, in 2016, the church paid Bishop Richard Aryee an ex-gratia of £300,000 (GH¢2,430,000 as of March 2021.)
The entire social security contribution of Rev. Seth Duncan, a former pastor, who worked for 10 years is an estimated GHS135.
The Lighthouse Chapel International branch in the UK is registered with the Charities Commission for England and Wales. The commission is an independent department that seeks to regulate “charities in England and Wales, to ensure that the public can support charities with confidence.”
Churches in the UK are required to register with the Charities Commission for England and Wales and also submit audited accounts to the commission, which are then published on its website, register-of-charities.charitycommission.gov.uk.
The main disbursements made, apart from the ex-gratia, were in support of the construction of churches in Dadieso and Hohoe and the construction of the Anagkazo Bible School project in Ghana.
Monies were also sent for church construction in Swaziland and Kingston, Jamaica.
The £300,000 ex-gratia paid to Bishop Richard Aryee is the highest expenditure item for 2016, more than twice the next biggest item—the contribution to Anagkazo Bible school project of £125,001.
It is also the biggest donation item from the Lighthouse church in the UK from 2016 to the last audited report submitted in 2019. The sum is also more than the entire annual staff cost in any given year, according to the reports published on the website.