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Reverend Ken Tedeku looks more like a football player than a man of the cloth. The massively built, 6’1” pastor of the Generation of Grace Dominion Worship Center in Cambria Heights needs a barrel-chest to contain his big heart.
The 38-year-old Tedeku was born in Tema, Ghana, which in colonial days had been a sleepy fishing village, but thanks to a man-made harbor, became the industrial hub of the country.
“I was a city kid,” Tedeku remembers. “I got to see all kinds of people, and be exposed to different cultures.” He recalls being “a little wild” until after he graduated from a Methodist secondary school. “I always knew I had the calling (to be a minister) but I didn’t want to do it,” he says.
The turning point in his life came in 1991, during his year of national service. He was sent to Afar Plain in eastern Ghana, to teach. “It made me take serious account of my life, when I saw how little the people in the countryside had,” Tedeku recalls. “There was a Methodist Church that didn’t have a pastor, and they asked me to preach. I thought to myself, ‘Why not?’ And that is where my life really changed.”
After taking a year to travel to Europe and spending time in London, Tedeku returned to his family in Tema, and completed his Bible study, becoming a pastor in 1997. He emigrated to the United States three years later.
His first ministry was at a small church in the Bronx where he met his future wife, Marylin. “She’s beautiful- a blessing,” he says, adding, “She wanted to move to Queens where it was nice and quiet.” They began a ministry out of their Jamaica home, and as the congregation grew to over 36 families, secured the location in Cambria Heights.
“Then I heard about the ‘Hearts Afire’ ministry in Florida,” Tedeku says. “They have medical and pastoral missions around the world, and I said, ‘Why not?’” It’s a question that Tedeku seems to ask himself frequently, and fortunately never has had any misgivings.
Tedeku says, “When I called them in early February, they told me they were leaving in March for a mission to Ghana. I asked them where, and they said, ‘Afar Plain.’ I volunteered at that moment.”
After joining the humanitarian troupe, Tedeku met Dr. Jonathan Yunis, a surgeon from Sarasota, Florida who describes Tedeku as, “Not just a wonderful man of God, consistent in his values and behavior, but a cool guy.” “His knowledge of the local dialect and experience as a counselor made our work so much easier. We were able to treat 1800 people and perform several surgeries, in part because of [Tedeku’s] help.
The “gentle giant” is hoping to return to Ghana sometime in the future. In the meantime, he is busy being a father of two (Joshua, 2 and stepson Barry, 14) and spiritual leader of his flock. There are bills to pay, homework to check and sermons to write.
It’s a lot to do, but as Tedeku says, “Why not?”

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