ByÂ Â Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRIâ€”Â Â Â Pentecostalism took a weird dimension in Umunakanu Owerre, Ehime Mbao Local Government Area of Imo State, when a pastor introduced a human-size casket into the crusade ground.
Vanguard investigations revealed that the pastor, Rev. G.O. Enwere of the Assemblies of God Church, moved the casket through the communityâ€™s Afor Mgba market, which was in full session, to the Central School field, Umunakanu OwerreÂ about 2pm.
It was also gathered that people at the market were shocked by the development, while those having a prayer meeting at the nearby Saint Theresaâ€™s Catholic Church,Â sought to know whose body was being conveyed home without prior information.
Words quickly went round the entire community and the elders besieged the crusade venue, made enquiries as to the content of the casket but were shocked when they were told that it was an empty casket.
Our Correspondent equally gathered that the Pastor was labeled â€œa ritualistâ€ and was nearly lynched but for the timely intervention of the elders of the community.
Explaining the introduction of the casket to the crusade, the pastor who claimed to be a native of Umunneochi, in Abia State, said it was to explain the full import of death to the people.
â€œI hired the coffin to drive home the full import of death to the people. I mean no harm. The people are overreacting, may be due to their superstitious belief,â€ the Pastor said.
His explanation did not impress people at the scene and a visibly angry woman said the manâ€™s action was unchristian and portends serious danger to the community.
â€œThis manâ€™s act portends danger to this community. He does not look like a true man of God. He is even wearing a red hat,â€ the woman fumed.
Another villager noted that â€œparading a coffin in market filled with people in broad daylight has nothing to do with Christianity,â€ stressing that it was a disaster.
Similarly, an angry youth, who was wielding a big stick said, â€œthis man is a ritualist, hiding under the cloak of religion. They have come to hijack our luck in this village.â€
A member of the crusade team, who spoke on strict grounds of anonymity, explained that they were not privy to the introduction of the casket, adding that they would have resisted it if they knew about it.