By Sam Eyoboka
…as SJCCG ends 58th biennial conference
THE 58th biennial conference of Saint Joseph’s Chosen Church of God, SJCCG which coincided with the 70th anniversary of the church recently ended with the consecration, sanctification and dedication of ministers for the greater assignment ahead.
The unique event which held at the St. Joseph Conference Centre, Sapele-Warri Expressway, Ikwewu Community near Amukpe Roundabout in Delta State with a theme; “A new cycle of growth,” featured a variety of presentations including lectures on various topics geared towards a healthy or church growth by experts on different friends.
Responding to the needs of a growing institution, seven apostles were upgraded and decorated with red cape garment while a total of six pastors uplifted to the elite rank of apostles, including two females who were not originally scheduled, were consecrated in recognition of their sterling dedication to the service of God and humanity.
The number of female apostles in the fast growing Saint Joseph’s Chosen Church of God, SJCCG, has risen to three as the wife of the Spiritual Leader, Apostle Hayford Alile in 2015 became the first female apostle of the spiritual church founded by an unlettered Apostle Joseph Ikechiuku Anyanwu (1913-1998) in a farm settlement, Cowan Estate, Ajagbodudu in today’s Delta State 70 years ago.
The seven apostles upgraded included the church’s General Secretary, Apostle Levi Ogbonna, wife of the Spiritual Leader, Apostle Pat Alile, James Ogbu, S.N. Emofonmwan, Emmanuel Nmalagu, Gideon Irerhievwie, and Abraham Amadi.
The new apostles included James Abache, Friday Inekhomon, Daniel Iwuoha, Godson Emulo, Mrs. Charity Ogbonna and Mrs. Clara Aibangbee.
Thirty seven pastors were also decorated with staff and 24 new pastors and several hundreds of other ministers were also ordained in preparation for the greater harvest.
Highpoint of the dual celebration was the very colorful consecration/ordination of ministers presided over by the Spiritual Leader and was sealed by the church’s legal adviser and retired judge, Mrs. Caroline Alile who administered the oath of office on the new ordainees. It was witnessed by the publicity secretary of Urhobo Progress Union, UPU, Chief Duncan Ewhere, Special Adviser to the Abia State Governor, Honorable Ogbonna Dike, Deputy Father-General of the church, Elder Clement Alile among other friends and relations.
In his militant charge to the ordainees, the Rector of the church’s bible college, admonished them to be steadfast at all times because when God calls a man, He positions him for specific assignment and only the dedicated can excel.
“I want us all to return to the old time church. We have allowed worldly things to influence our conduct in the church and when the unexpected happens we will begin to blame others,” he warned, stressing that God doesn’t call people because of their qualifications or background.
According to him, when God calls a man, He humbles the man, adding “the Church is made for the meek and the humble. God demands from His ministers faithfulness and truthfulness. God didn’t give man dominion over man, He gave man dominion over all things.”
The rector ended his charge with: “The fear of God comes from the heart and not from the outward display of piety.”
Another highlight of the week long conferene was the entry of the Box of Covenant. It is said to have been the covenant entered into by the founder in 1947 when the church was established in Ajagbodudu. Members were allowed to file past the white box which was carried into the arena by Apostle Nosa Obasuyi.
Asked to evaluate the event, the Spiritual Leader, Apostle Harford Alile who used the occasion to honour hundreds of eminent Nigerians who have, in one way or the other, have contributed to the growth of the church in the last 70 years, said he was honoured by the assembly of distinguished Nigerians, political leaders, royal fathers, anointed servants of God and seasoned professionals who have squeezed out time from their very tight schedules to add panache to the epoch making celebration.
“Having sailed through the different seas of life, with my empirical understanding of the corporate world, to the spiritual enlightenment from ecclesiastical, I have come to discover that, the beauty of life is not in the duration but in the donation.
“It is really not what you get out of life, but rather, the value you add to it. This is the St. Joseph’s story today. We are a selfless ministry and take pride as a people predominantly led by the Holy Spirit, who is the executive head of the church,” he said heartily.
On the state of the nation, he lamented the premium we place on life as a people, “as well as what drives our passion and desires. I will like to use this platform to call for a re-examination of our priorities and value system. At this critical stage of our nationhood, our pre-occupation should be centered on propagating principles and practices that make for peace, and strengthens the very fabric of our nationhood.
“I strongly believe that we have the wherewithal, both human and material, to make our country, Nigeria, a paradise for all to admire.”
The Spiritual Leader also used the occasio to appeal to the Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to assist the church with its building that was demolished by a telecommunication regulatory organisa-tion in the state of origin of the founder of the church, Apostle Joseph Ikechuku.
Also speaking, the Secretary General of the church, Apostle Levi Ogbonna described the 2017 conference as spectacular because “we are celebrating the 70th anniversary and to God be the glory we have seen our pitfalls and are now poised to do much better in the next 70 years.
“Without any doubt, God loves this church. If you see the rains that have been falling in this place before our arrival, nobody expected that we would have such clement weather as we have had in the few days that we have been here,” he testified.
Elder Clement Alile who was appointed deputy Father-General of the church, also commended the sterling leadership of his brother and his team.
“I hearby declare St. Joseph Chosen Church of God real and true of God where all the apostles are guided by God. All the speaklers at this year’s conference did their bit in the language we all could understand, he said, thanking the Spiritual Leader for the choice of picking out two extraordinary women for apostleship.
“They are worthy choices who have served the church in no mean way,” the veterinary surgeon who has served at one time or the other as Head of Service and Secretary to the Edo State government, said.