By Sam Eyoboka
TWO years after it ordained the first set of female ministers following the leading of the Holy Spirit, the wife of the Spiritual Leader of Saint Joseph’s Chosen Church of God, SJCCG, Apostle Hayford Alile became the first female apostle of the spiritual church which began in a farm settlement, Cowan Estate, Ajagbodudu in today’s Delta State 69 years ago.
The consecration of Patience Nohuoma Alile and six others as apostles and 31 others as pastors, headlined this year’s 57th annual conference of the church which held for the first time, at its new SJ Christian Conference Centre, Sapele, on the Sapele-Warri Expressway, a few kilometers from its original home of Ajagbodudu.
The other candidates whom ‘God had graciously’ elevated to the posts of apostles in a very colorful ceremony, last Sunday afternoon, included the church’s General Secretary, Levi Okwukwe Ogbonna, Ezekiel Ahamefule, Kenneth Osanebi, Geoffrey Owiriwa, George Ogbondamati and Peter Okwute Apugo.
In response to the phenomenal growth of the church, the leadership decided to staff some 36 pastors who were ordained two years ago and ordained another 31 pastors to address manpower challenge currently facing the church at different levels.
After their decoration and completion of the ordination process, the Oath of Allegiance was administered on the new ordainees by the church’s legal adviser, Barrister Anthony Onabaifo as Apostle Wilson Omoregie presented certificates of Ordination and prayed for them. Apostle Godwin Ikponmwosa prayed for the spouses of the ordainees.
Be true ambassadors of Jesus Christ
Addressing the new ministers, the officiating minister and Spiritual Leader of the church, Apostle Hayford Alile who recently marked his 72nd birthday with a public lecture in Lagos, in his sermon entitled: ‘The journey so far, Where do we go from here?’, enlightened the newly ordained ministers on their call, their office and their special duties to the Church of God and the general public.
Praying God Almighty to shower His spiritual and physical blessings upon the ordainees, Alile charged them to be true ambassadors of Jesus Christ on earth, reminding them that the church is a spiritual church where the Holy Spirit speaks and reveals events/issues to ministers and the church through the prophets, prophetesses, and seers and dreamers.
According to him, “the church believes in and accepts Divine health and Divine healing as a way of life,” adding “the garment, rod or staff and the method of ordination in the church were all given to us directly by God. The late Elect of God, Apostle Joseph Ikechiuku was a foreman at Cowan Estate, Ajagbodudu Palm Platation in today’s Delta State of Nigeria when God called him in 1937.”
Continuing, Alile listed the cardinal responsibilities of the ministers, as the official sherphards of the church, to I nclude the following: “You are the representatives of our Lord Jesus Christ and through you, His finished works are made manifest to the church and the entire world. In other words, you are His ambassadors.
“As a perculiar person, you radiate the light of God to the entire world without which the world cannot see. Without you, the world cannot be sweet. You are a soul winner or fisher of men as well as a seeker of the lost,” he maintained, stressing that they must live a blameless life; live always in the spirit, fight in the spirit and clothe in the spirit, soul and body with the whole armour of God for both offensive and defensive attacks.
Alile reminded the ordainees of what he called, the Golden Rule, saying “Jesus Christ in His sermon on the Mount summarized the most powerful human relation strategy in the history of the world, when he said: ‘In everything, do to others as you would have them to do you.’ If you practice this principle, it can produce valuable, golden results. We are to honour others as inherently valuable (spiritual) beings, as miraculous unique creations, no matter how seemingly imperfect and unworthy they may appear to you.”
Earlier, the church’s head of Finance, Ms. Dosike Akporiaye read the church reports for the year, outlining the progress made in several areas to include the emerging new camp ground on Sapele-Warri Expressway near Sapele, educational institutions, stating that the process of establishing the church-owned university has begun with the acquisition of 206.406 hectares of land free of charge from the Obadan Community, 33 kilometers Benin-Auchi Road.
According to her, the name Obadan University, Obadan has already been accepted by the Corporate Affairs Commission, pointing out that with the support of the Spiritual Leader, the Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomohle has consented with a promise to approve the Certificate of Occupancy free of charge. The journey to the Nigerian University Commission, NUC, for an operational lincence, she maintained, has commenced.
Similarly, she reminded the gathering that the church had also acquired two parcels of land measuring 1.5 hectares and 1.4 hectares along the Airport Road in Kuje, Abuja for the construction of a cathedral in the Federal Capital Territory, appealing to members and public spirited groups to assist the church to accomplish some of the ongoing giant strides aimed at developing the nation.
One of the highlights of this year’s conference was the public presentation of the Box of Covenant, said to be the great power, pride and boldness of the church, which was said to have been constructed by the founder in 1946. According to the Charles Nkebakwu, the contents of the Box of Covenant are two small pieces of stones and a piece of thunderbolt as God directed the founder, warning that the colour of the Box must not be changed nor renewed.
Indeed, there were shrill cries as spirit-filled members scrambled to touch the Box.
Despite loud instructions from Apostle Nosa Obasuyi for the people in three different queues to just touch the Box and go, there was near stampede as worshippers wanted to stay on to pray holding the box.
Minister in charge of Children Ministry, Pastor (Mrs.) Star Abache challenged the church leadership to recognize the place of children by building befitting places of worship for them I n every station, stressing that “if we want to grow the church then we must make conducive learning atmospheres available for the young ones in the church. Every faithful adult today is a product of a well nurtured children ministry of yesterday.”
She therefore opposed suggestions that the new 230 feet by 70 feet tent currently in place at the Christian Conference City together with 2,000 plastic chairs, should be thrown open for all manner of people to raise funds for the construction of a befitting edifice, arguing that as a church organisation, “we must not compromise our cherished God-given ordinances at the expense of the spiritial development of the church’s young ones.”
The pastor of the church at Ajagbodudu, Sunny Anyanwu acknowledged that the original church built by the founder in 1937 had collapsed with age but a new one was established in 2008 to replace it. According to him, life is not as pleasant in the place any more because the new owners of the farm settlements had abolished markets in the place and as a result the Itsekiri and Urhobo settlers in the place have to travel long distances before they can make food for their families.