Charles Garjay Goah, a beloved Liberian-American pastor who delivered the gospel to many as the longtime pastor of United Christian Fellowship Church in Minneapolis’ Northside, died on May 10. He was 55.
The cause was cancer, said his wife of 20 years.
For more than two decades, Goah led a ministry credited with winning converts with a style that went beyond the spiritual needs of those to which he ministered. Even as he preached the gospel, he was known to have a keen interest in the civic and entrepreneurial endeavors of those he ministered to, whether they were his parishioners or not.
“He would ask me every time we met, how my business was doing and if there was anything he could do to help”, said Theodore Morgan, a Liberian-American businessman.
Goah was also keen in building bridges beyond the Liberian community. Boyd Morson, a civic leader in Brooklyn Park wrote in a Facebook message, “Pastor Goah was a friend and supporter of mine. And he shared meaningful and uplifting words and conversations with me about my campaign and vision as mayor in Brooklyn Park. Pastor Goah also sincerely thanked me for my presence, involvement and engagement within the Liberian community over the many years.”
Goah was born in Liberia’s capital city of Monrovia on June 11, 1962. He first came to the United States as a youth missionary in 1988 before the civil war broke out in his native Liberia. He had received some limited theological training in Liberia but got his full training as a minister while in the United States. He received his bachelor’s in theology while in Virginia and a master’s degree in theology from ACTS International Bible College in Blaine. He also received masters in global leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary.
Goah met his wife Danuta Goah in 1995. She had come to the United States on a similar youth mission trip through a Polish church.
At the time of his death, Goah was enrolled at Bethel University pursuing his doctorate. He had already completed a year of the program. He is survived by his wife Danuta Goah, son Jakub Goah, daughter Mayetti Goah, his mother Julia Gaarduwar who lived with them, his brother in Liberia, Stanley Goah and a large extended family.
The late Charles Goah was also an author. He authored two books. The first one he wrote was “Adultery: A Contemporary Interpretation.” In March 2017, he authored From “Praise to Petition: Experiencing the Power and Passion of Prayer,” which is still available in bookstores, and Amazon.
He was also an active member of the Liberian Ministerial Alliance in Minnesota as well as the Brooklyn Area Ministerial Association.
He was known to preach love and peace and was prominent during difficult times that the community faced.
In 2015, he was the presiding pastor at the high-profile funeral of Henry T. McCabe, a Minnesota Department of Revenue Corporate Auditor, who had been missing for almost a month and was discovered dead on Rush Lake in New Brighton.