13th January 2022
As I said in my last blog posting, over the next few weeks I want to profile a number of key leaders from within our black community and celebrate the skills, talent, faith and hard work they bring to King’s. I hope you all enjoyed last week's blog post introducing Janett Reid, our Head of Operations. Today I'd like to introduce you to Kwaku Osafo, who serves as an elder and trustee at King’s.
1. Can you tell us a bit about your background, education and work experience?
I was born and grew up in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. It is a place I still associate my ethnicity with, despite leaving when I was nine years old and spending most of my adult life in the UK and Western countries. My parents, brother and relatives still live there, and as a family we try and go back every few years.
I am married to Lucy who is Welsh. We have two boys aged 11 and 13 and a dog, Apollo – the family favourite. Looking back, my upbringing consisted of four main threads – faith, education, helping others, and playing and watching football. I try and echo those principles in my life today as a husband, father and leader, although I have mixed success playing football and resistance from Lucy in watching it too!
My parents were devout Christians and played active roles in their university and local church. My mother was an environmental scientist, and my father is an environmental lawyer involved with climate change. They were brought up to embrace the importance of hard work and education as an enabler in life and made sure that my brother, sister and I adopted those values. My father’s job as a United Nations diplomat took us to many different countries including Kenya, Switzerland, Germany and Kosovo. My exposure to different cultures is where I began to understand that people are different, yet in many ways we share common inbuilt interests and desires.
At the age of 13, I came to the UK and went to boarding school in Bedford. Unknown to me at the time, my school was less than a mile away from where Steve and Deb Tibbert used to go to church before they moved to London! After leaving school, I studied Economics and Management at university and along the way have qualified as a Chartered Banker, obtained a Diploma in Financial Crime Prevention and completed my Executive MBA.
During my time at university, I felt God clearly call me to a career in the world of banking and Finance. I have 18 years’ experience in financial services and currently work for one of the UK’s largest banks, heading up fraud and financial crime prevention within the investment bank and international businesses. In practice, this means I am responsible for protecting the bank and its customers from becoming victims of fraud or facilitating money laundering, terrorism financing, human slavery or bribery and corruption. Outside of work but in a related sphere, I am an independent board member of the UK’s leading anti-corruption non-governmental organisation.
2. How long have you been at King’s and in what capacity do you serve?
Lucy and I moved from Wales in November 2009 with our eldest son at the time and started coming to King’s from January 2010. We’ve enjoyed serving in various capacities during our time and presently serve on the Family Welcome Team at Lee. I also serve as an Elder and Trustee.
3. What do you like about King's?
What I like about King's is that we care for our own as much as we care for the person out there searching for Jesus. We make church, and therefore Jesus, open and accessible to all. I would like to think that people from all walks of life come to King’s and find their place, just as people, especially those who society shun, were drawn to Jesus because of the truth He spoke and His love for them.
4. What are your hopes for our latest series around the issue of diversity?
My hope and prayer for the upcoming series is John 13:34-35 – as we learn to handle the complex issues surrounding race and ethnicity in a Christian way, I hope that we will grow to love one another. And as we do, we will be a witness of Jesus to the world.
”A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”’ – John 13:34-35
Many thanks to Kwaku for taking the time to talk to us and help us get to know him a bit more.
Many of you will be aware that we are planning a new series around the issue of diversity, called UNDIVIDED. If you were at King’s on Sunday, you will have heard that rather than starting it this term as originally proposed, we have decided to postpone it until after Easter, by which time we hope the current rise in Covid cases will have subsided. The issue of diversity is key for us a church, and we believe it would be preferable to run the series when more of us are able to meet in person again.
In the meantime, we have just begun an excellent new series out of 1 Peter called Living Hope, a highly relevant teaching series looking at how God’s promises can sustain through difficult times. Please join us for the second part on Sunday, either in person or online, and if you missed Andrew’s opening message last week, I encourage you to catch up here.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
Steve Tibbert leads King’s Church London, with sites in Catford, Downham, Lee and Beckenham. The church has seen continued growth since the mid-1990s, both in terms of size and diversity.
As well as leading King’s, Steve hosts and leads Newfrontiers, a fellowship of apostolic leaders with hundreds of churches around the world.
Steve is married to Deb. They have three grown up sons and one grandson.