The Celestial Church of Christ Constitution
The following is a list of all officers (Board of Trustee) of the Church that signed the Constitution:
The drafting of this New Constitution, which was commenced on the 29th day of February, 1976, was, by the Grace of God, completed on the 29th day of February, 1980. The New Constitution was promulgated on the 29th day of March, 1980.
N I G E R I A
The Land (Perpetual Succession) Ordinance, Cop. I07
CERTIFICATE OF INCORPORATION of the Registered Trustees of CELESTIAL CHURCH OF CHRIST, MAKOKO VILLAGE YABA
I HEREBY CERTIFY THAT:
SAMUEL OLATUNJI AJANLEKOKO,ALEXANDER ABIODUN BADA, ALFRED FOLABI BABATUNDE OWOAJE the duly appointed Trustees of CELESTIAL CHURCH OF CHRIST MAKOKO VILLAGE YABA have this day been registered as a corporate body, subject to the below mentioned conditions and directions.
Given under my hand at Lagos this.. .... .......... day of November 19..58.
CONDITIONS AND DIRECTION
THIS CERTIFICATE is liable to cancellation should the objects or the rules of the body as set out in the annexures hereto be changed without the previous consent in writing of the Governor General or should the body at any time permit or condone any divergence from or breach of such objects and rules.
THE DEED OF CONSTITUTION OF "CELESTIAL CHURCH OF CHRIST, NIGERIA DIOCESE" formerly registered as "CELESTIAL CHURCH OF CHRIST MAKOKO VILLAGE YABA" under The Land (Perpetual Succession) Ordinance, Cap. 107, made
the 29th day of March, 1980 and duly executed for and on behalf of CELESTIAL CHURCH OF CHRIST, NIGERIA DIOCESE (hereinafter referred to as "THE CHURCH") by persons whose names are set out in the first Schedule to this Deed having been authorised to do so by the Reverend Pastor Prophet Founder in whom resides the authority of the Church.
WHEREAS the Church has its National (Diocesan) Headquarters at 12/15 Church Street, Makoko, Yaba, Lagos State and the world-wide International Headquarters of Celestial Church of Christ is at Mission House, Ketu, Lagos State.
AND WHEREAS the Church was duly incorporated in Nigeria on the twenty-fourth day of November 1958 under the Land (Perpetual Succession) Ordinance CAP. 107,as a Spiritual Community of Christian believers and worshippers.
AND WHEREAS the Constitution under which it was incorporated was by a notice dated the 28th day of March, 1980 amended and replaced by this New Constitution which is of a more comprehensive nature based on the set of rules, regulations and Christian tenets forming the body of worship of the Church and of its evangelical mission of redemption.
BE IT ENACTED and it is hereby enacted that the New Constitution of the Church to be known as "CONSTITUTION OF CELESTIAL CHURCH OF CHRIST (NIGERIA DIOCESE)" as set out in the Second Schedule to this Deed is hereby inaugurated.
IN WITNESS whereof each and every one of us duly accredited so to do in the capacity aforesaid hereunto set our respective hand and seal.
Samson Olatunde Banjo
SAMSON OLATUNDE BANJO.
Oluremi olusoga ogunlesi
OLUREMI OLUSOGA OGUNLESI
Josiah Kayode Owodunni
JOSIAH KAYODE OWODUNNI
Olayinka Afolabi Adefeso
OLAYINKA AFOLABI ADEFESO
Samuel Olatunji Ajanlekoko
SAMUEL OLATUNJI AJANLEKOKO
Alexander abiodun bada
ALEXANDER ABIODUN BADA
SAMUEL BILEHOU JOSEPH OSHOFFA
SAMUEL BILEHOU JESEPH OSHOFA
Names of persons accredited to execute the Deed of Constitution on behalf of Celestial Church of Christ (Nigeria Diocese):
1. SAMSON OLATUNDE BANJO
2. OLUREMI OLUSOGA OGUNLESI
3. OLAYINKA AFOLABI ADEFESO
4. JOSIAH KAYODE OWODUNNI
5. SAMUEL OLATUNJI AJANLEKOKO
6. ALEXANDER ABIODUN BADA
7. SAMUEL BILEHOU JOSEPH OSHOFFA
1. The Name of' the Church is "Celestial Church of Christ (Nigeria Diocese)". Celestial Church of Christ (Nigeria Diocese) is part of the one spiritual, world-wide, united, indivisible Holy Church which came into the world from heaven by DIVINE ORDER on the 29th of September 1947 in PORTO NOVO, REPUBLIC OF BENIN (formerly REPUBLIC OF DAHOMEY) through a single individual, a man who is the founder of the Church, the Reverend Pastor Prophet Founder SAMUEL BILEHOU JOSEPH OSHOFFA. The Church is a Diocese of the world-wide Celestial Church of Christ with National (Diocesan) Headquarter-, at 12/15 Church Street, Makoko, YABA, LAGOS STATE, the Supreme Headquarters in Porto Novo, Republic of Benin and with International Headquarters at Mission House, KETU, I.AGOS STATE, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA.
2. On the 29th of September, 1947, in the deep mystery of the divine appearance, during prayer, of the winged angel bathed in intense light, word came from God to the Founder:
"It is the wish of God to send you on an errand of preaching to the world. Many nominal Christians there are who, when confronted by difficulties and problems of this world, they run after fetish priests and other powers of darkness for all kinds of assistance. Consequently, on their death, they cannot see Christ because, by their action, Satan has left his spiritual mark on them. To assist you in your work so that men may listen to and follow you, miraculous works of Holy divine healing will be carried out by you in the name of Jesus Christ. These works of divine healing and God's spiritual mark on you will testify to the fact that God sent you". Thus was born the world-wide CELESTIAL CHURCH OF CHRIST.
3. The name of the Church came down from Heaven by divine revelation through MR. ALEXANDER YANGA, who was at that time undergoing spiritual healing at the residence of the Pastor Founder and who was held in trance for seven days. At the end of the seventh day, he asked for a piece of chalk and wrote the name of the Church on the wall thus.. "EGLISE DU CHRISTLANISME CELESTE", meaning "Celestial Church of Christ".
4. Apart from also being a prophet, the Founder was allowed by DIVINE ORDER to use the name "EPASTORAL" in angelic language, which was also translated for him' as "PASTOR". This was after he had spent the first five years since the birth of the Church as "EVANGELIST".
He is thus Reverend Pastor Prophet Founder (hereinafter referred to as "Pastor"), whose unquestionable authority on earth on all matters of the Church symbolises the oneness, unity and indivisibility of the Church. "Pastor" shall refer not only to the present Pastor but also to his successors in eternity.
5. The final sole authority in the Celestial Church of Christ Nigeria Diocese is vested in the Pastor or the person who succeeds him on his death.
6. Whoever is chosen to succeed as Pastor should have his Headquarters in the land set aside for the Pastor in Porto Novo, Republic of Benin.
7. The Prophet Pastor Founder Reverend S. B. J. OSHOFFA asserts that if he should die in the Republic of Benin, he should be buried in the land he had pointed out in Porto Novo, Republic of Benin.
8. If he should die in Nigeria, he should be buried in the town of IMEKO in Egbado Division of Ogun State near his mother on the family land given to him.
9.The Pastor asserts that his burial ground wherever it is should be set aside as Holy ground and a place of pilgrimage.
10. Herewith the English Translation of the history of Celestial Church of Christ as told by the Reverend Pastor Prophet Founder S. B. J. OSHOFFA during evening service on Wednesday, 18th January 1969 at MAKOKO, the headquarters Church of Celestial Church of Christ, Nigeria Diocese. The History was related in place of the regular sermon for the Church service.
11. "It is a thing of pleasure that I am still alive today twenty one years and some months after the birth of Our Church. "Right here today at MAKOKO, the Headquarters Church of Celestial Church of Christ in Nigeria, I have been asked to give a short history of the Church for posterity. But before doing so, I shall start by giving a short history of myself to clarify matters.
12. "My father was a Methodist born and bred in Dahomey (now Republic of Benin). His Father, OJO, and his mother, KOSHINA, came from Abeokuta in Nigeria to Dasatre where they settled. The artificial boundary between Nigeria and Dahomey set up by Europeans meant that my father was - a Dahomean. His name was OSHOFFA (this is obtained from 'OJU KI ISE OFA TI OTA LE TA BANI KA SUBU, or, for short, 'OJU KO SO FA", which was shortened further to OSOFA' in Yoruba' language; and it means, in English, 'the human eye is not a missile that an enemy can fire at one to make one fall'). He had many wives each of whom bore him up to five to six children. All the children were, however, female and only one survived. This made him entreat God according to Methodist doctrine: '0 Lord if, thou would give me a boy, I shall give him up to thy service just as Hannah and Elkana did". As a result, I was born in 1909 in Porto Novo of a Nigerian mother named ALAKE IYAFO from IMEKO Egbado Division,' Abeokuta Province. I was named SAMUEL and also BILEWU (BILEAIYEBAWU KOGBE, SUGBON MO MO WIPE MO TI TORO RE LODO OLORUN) which means 'if you prefer to live in this world, then you are welcome but if you prefer to live above in heaven, then you are equally welcome to go, but I know I specially requested for you from God'.
13. "In fulfilment of my father's vow to God, I was sent at the age of seven for God's service to a Methodist Catechist MOSES YANSUNU, father of Evangelist NATHANIEL YANSUNU of our Church. Because my father was not happy with the way I was treated he brought me back home and later sent me at the age of thirteen to stay with Revd. Bishop David Hodonu Loco, the Methodist Bishop of Porto Novo, formerly of Methodist Church, Olowogbowo, Lagos, Nigeria. I was there with some other children. After a number of years, Rev. D. H. Loco was replaced by Bishop Garner from London. The new Bishop ordered that we pupils should participate in making blocks for a new College building. We all refused and so he sent us all back to our parents. When I got back home, my father admonished me that I was different from the others because he had specially requested for me from God and so I had to do the work. Whereupon he took me back to the Bishop, but the Bishop would not reverse his decision. Whereupon, my father said there was no alternative but that I should learn to be a carpenter like himself.
14. "I became proficient as a carpenter. I was good at roofing buildings, wood planing and working with ebony which I bought regularly from a friend. I kept on working happily as a carpenter until my father died on June 15th, 1939.
15. "After my father's death, I continued to bear the burden until December 1946 when I decided that I would henceforth trade in ebony. I would myself go into the forest to purchase ebony and bring this into the town to sell to carpenters. I began this trade, going into the forest areas in search of ebony. I bought it cheaply and brought it to town to sell at a premium. I continued this lucrative trade until one such trip in May 1947 during the floods. As usual I had my Bible with me. I also loved much to pray.
16. "On the 23rd May 1947, the day of the eclipse of the sun, as I was praying in the forest on this trip, I heard a voice and could not open my eyes. The voice I beard was 'LULI', and the same voice told me 'This means The Grace of Jesus Christ'. When I opened my eyes, I saw a white monkey with two teeth each top and bottom with winged hands and feet like those of a bat. When it wants to fly, it flaps its wings forward. But it was stationary. I saw a bird with yellow feet, yellow beak and long tail. It would sometimes fan out its tail like a peacock does, and it was rnulti-coloured. It was also stationary. I also saw a short snake about one foot long. As it stood stationary, it was coiled and its mouth was puffed like a cobra. When I heard this voice, I noticed I felt quite different from my normal self. I now found myself toying with the snake. The bird stood for a time and then went into the bush. The monkey also flew away and I then noticed that there was a complete change in me.
17. "I had been rowed to the forest by a canoe paddler I hired from TOFFIN in GANVIE. I always gave him money for his own food. But he stole some of my soup. Soon after, he began to have stomach pains and groaned to my hearing. I ran to him enquiring what was the matter. He said all he did was taste some of my soup. I then admonished him that he should not have eaten any of my soup since I gave him money for his own food. I lay my hand on his stomach and the pains left him. He ran away leaving me alone and saying that he did not wish to stay with this odd man who lives in the forest and whose soup he tastes only to find he has stomach pains which this odd man removes simply by placing his (odd man's) hand on his stomach. I was thus left with a canoe without paddler, and I myself did not know how to paddle. This was precisely why I wandered about in the forest for three months.
18. "During these three months, I did not cook and I could not paddle the canoe. But I soon discovered a hole in a tree into which bees flew. I soon made fire by lighting two pieces of dry wood together. I would take a dry leaf, light it and stick it in the hole at night. Once the bees have run away, the bees' honey was my food. My drinking water was the flowing stream nearby.
19. "But there I saw many visions and experienced many changes in me. The forest was so thick that one looked up and saw no skies but trees, snakes, boar, monkeys and birds singing. In the midst of all this, I prayed a lot. I did not hunger, I felt no fear and I had no illness but basked in the glory of Jesus Christ.
20. "As I wandered about in the forest, I came to a hillock called FAGBE (after the township of ZINVIE) where I met a man who became Senior Leader MICHEL when he subsequently joined Celestial Church of Christ. It was he who told me the name of the village. I saw a lot of children and prayed there. I returned into the forest wandering round looking for the canoe and soon came by a lake called GODRO near which there is a village named HUNGON. I continued my wandering past WHEDO and on to AGLANGOUN until I found the canoe tied up along an isthmus (narrow stream) from AGLANGOUN well into the forest.
21. "Not knowing how to paddle, I got into the canoe and just allowed myself to be carried down stream by the current of the stream which was then in full flood. While the canoe was thus carried from side to side by the current, snakes fell from trees into the canoe, but I carried them from the canoe with my hand back into the stream unhurt. I continued my trip down the river and soon got to AGANGE. There I found a Methodist young man called KUDIHO at the point of death who was reported to have been very ill for a long time. I touched him and Jesus raised him up. He is alive today and so are his children, all in AGANGE.
22. "I now went to collect more ebony wood from the forest. On my return after five days from the forest, the whole of AGANGE was in ferment. 'What kind of a man is this?' They said, 'We will certainly follow him in his Church'. I told them I did not have a Church. They would not listen and I prayed for them. I stayed with YESUFU in AGANGE who was a neighbour of mine back in Porto Novo. After the miracle of raising KUDIHO on the first day of my arrival in Agange and before my return from the forest, YESUFU had gone back to Porto Novo to tell my relations that he had seen me at Agange, that I looked very odd and like a mad man, that my hair was long, unkempt and matted, that even my dress was rough and untidy and that I touched the dead and they rose up, he did not know what was the matter. with me. My relations replied him that the reason for my untidy appearance could not be anything but laziness.
23. "I began to prepare to return home to Porto Novo on the fifth day. I engaged ZINSOU as my new paddler. On my return there, all those who had known me before were curious. I began to have crowds of visitors. "About three days after my return to Porto Novo, my elder sister, ELIZA.BETH EKUNDAYO, came to me to say that her son, EMMANUEL MAWUYON (i.e. O'LORUNDARA) GUTON, had died. I went to him and found native doctors there who had tried unsuccessfully to bring him back to life. When they saw me, they quickly packed out of the room. What the native doctors failed to do, Christ did: for I touched the deceased, and he came back to life all in the name of Jesus Christ. It was this miracle that made my sister leave U.A.M. (Eleja) Church and follow me. Her son, Emmanuel, immediately received the holy gift of prophecy and thus became the first prophet of the Church. It was through him that a lot of our worship was revealed such as PAJASPA, the specially designed receptacle for taking collection at services (with a candle lit at one end).
24. "On the 29th of September 1947, while, I was praying in my house with some visiting friends, I saw a strong ray of light rather like that from the headlamp of a car. I then saw a winged being whose body was like fire and whose eyes were tiny flying towards me behind the beam of light. As it approached me, the beam of light shortened until the being stood about a yard from me. This being then proceeded to say to me: 'God wishes to send you on an errand of preaching to the world. Many Christians there are who, during their lifetime, when confronted by problems and difficulties of this world they seek after fetish priests and other powers of darkness for all kinds of assistance. On their death, they think they are Christians, but they are no longer Christians because Satan has left his mark on them. For this reason, such people, after death, cannot see Christ. God wants to send you to the world on a mission of preaching and exhortation, but the world will not believe you. To assist you in your work so that men may listen to and follow you, miraculous works of holy divine healing will be wrought by you in the name of Jesus Christ. These works of divine healing and God's spiritual mark on you will testify to the fact that God sent you.
25. "Immediately after I got this message, MARRIE, the wife of FREDERIC ZEVENU, one of those present, exclaimed that she saw Jesus. I asked her how? She said she saw a cross made of wood, tall, big and wide. She said He came down from the cross, stretched His hand, and she could see blood oozing out of both left and right hands where nails had been driven in, she could see the same on the feet and from other parts of the body. She said Jesus then displayed His sides and she could see where He had been speared and that Jesus came down from the cross, stood before him (Pastor) and took him (Pastor) into a room. When they both re-emerged, the woman continued, he (Pastor) was dressed in a white tunic full of stars, and the Pastor's eyes were so full of blinding light that she could not look at them. But now, she continued, she was surprised to find him (the Pastor) without the tunic or the blinding light. I also related to her what I had seen and heard. She, her husband and others all departed.
26. "I could not sleep all night; various heavenly visitors came and spoke with me. At ten o'clock the following morning, FREDERIC ZEVENU, husband of MARRIE, a Roman Catholic, in Porto Novo, met a group of young people playing 'ayo' (a game) in a quarter in Porto Novo called JOGREY. He related to them what had happened in my house the previous day, what I had seen and what his wife had seen as we knelt down to pray. He told them that his wife was at home and had not slept all night, but had been talking all the time, and the things she said were rather mysterious and far above her. About twelve of those young people ran to my house in disbelief that such things could still happen. Seven of them were possessed by the holy spirit delivering different messages about the tenets of the Church and could not move, the remaining five retraced their steps and went back to ZEVU in Porto Novo to spread the news. Those who heard them again ran to my place in disbelief that in this day and age such things could happen. But they also experienced some of the things the first lot experienced.
27. "This led to gossips throughout Porto Novo that I had commissioned and bought magic. All the Churches were bewildered, the Methodist Church was shaken to its foundations and alive with gossips that I was dealing with the powers of darkness and so on. When I found that thirteen days passed by without my being able to sleep because my house was full of Moslems, Catholics, Methodists, idol worshippers (some two hundred of them) I sent word through DOMINIC ADANDE on the Friday to the expatriate police officer in charge of the town at the time that I, whom he must remember as a music player in the town, implore him to dispatch police officers to my house to drive away all these people in my house because I have not been able to sleep for the past thirteen days. Dominic confirmed to him that I was a citizen of the town and he asked to see me. I went to see him and related to him the entire episode. He replied that he had no right to send police officers to drive people out.
Rather, since he suspected that God wished to use me for a certain purpose, he would suggest that I arrange an open air meeting the following Saturday to which I should invite people all round by means of notices to offices and other forms of publicity. He said that he himself would be there. As his own father was a Christian, he did not have the power to drive away anybody. This reply made me thoroughly fed up with the whole situation. But those who were with me agreed readily to the officer's suggestion and those among them who were literate went and prepared notices and distributed them throughout Porto Novo.
Open - Air Meeting
28. "On reading these notices, many people who had earlier only
just heard rumours, now congregated on my premises anxious to see
what would happen. We erected a wooden dais on which I sat, with a
prophet seated either side of me. I was spiritually guided to open a Bible before me but not to read it, and to light three candles before me which I did. Whenever a question was asked, the reply I should give usually came to me from Him that sent me. I sat down.
29. "The first question was from one man whom we called Alex Aganyimi, a member of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church. He was a Togolese. Whenever a question was asked, one of my ears gave a high pitched noise while the other was silent, the noisy ear did not hear what was being asked, while the quiet one did. Alex said he understood that Moses Orimolade was sent by God and he performed all kinds of spiritual works, now I came along again and claimed that God sent me, which should they accept? The noisy ear became quiet and I heard as follows: 'With regard to your question, John the Baptist came before Jesus; you must surely know that Cherubim and Seraphims are angels all of whom wait upon and worship our Lord Jesus. The Celestial Church of Christ is Christs Church , while the Cherubim and seraphims belong to the angels and is no more than a fore runner to prepare the way for Celestial Church of Christ. Whether the world likes it or not, its glory will soon become known to all mankind". As I heard this, I relayed it to Alex.
30. "Catholic and other Churches were there because the publicity had kindled interest in the answers I would give to the various questions they would put to me. And I myself had no idea how to answer except to transmit the answers given to me. A Catholic said that it was common knowledge that St. Peter and St. Paul took the Catholic Church to Rome, and he knew that it was by the authority of Jesus. Would the same Jesus again send me as I claimed there then? Which should they follow? As he spoke my ears went into action, the noisy one gave out its high pitched noise, while the quiet one listened. I then heard as follows: 'Young man, we gave you one Kobo to hold to, and you held on to it; now we are telling you to reject the one kobo and accept two kobo, because the glory of two kobo is more than that of one kobo. But if you refuse to relinquish one kobo in time, when in future you come to see the glory of two kobo, you will want to retrace your steps and embrace it, but it will be too late as others will have taken your place'. I answered as I was instructed, and so on for subsequent questions left and right. We left the gathering that day glorifying God. Also as a result of the success of the meeting, many more people began to join me. That marked the beginning of the Church and its growth.
31. "Now, I was born a Methodist. I now wish to speak about the visit of REV. PARRINDER, A Methodist Pastor, who had been transferred from Porto Novo (where I was under him) to an Institute in Ibadan. He was a tall man. He heard about me and came to see me. The Church was about three months old then. He asked me why it was that, since I was a Methodist, I did not deploy this spiritual power that had just been bestowed on me for use within the Methodist fold. I replied that his point was well taken, but the Methodist Pastor in Porto Novo at the time named GBEYANGBE was the one who went on the pulpit and preached that no Methodist should come to my house because I had acquired magical powers by purchase and was deceiving people about. This turned many Methodists against me and they did not come near me. Moreover, my dear Reverend, I continued, if the Methodist Pastor at the time had sent word to me to inquire truthfully and diligently about me don't you think that I would quite gladly have joined forces with the Methodist Church because I myself had no understanding of the whole episode as shown in the fact that I sent to the police to help to send multitudes away from my. house.
32. "However, before you came, I continued, He who sent me told me that a European will be coming to see me and that I should speak with him patiently and calmly. I was then asked to tell you that you should stay awhile until next Sunday and worship with them at the Methodist Church in Porto Novo. After service, position yourself at the exit with one half of the door closed so that they can also shake your hand as they file out. Note their fingers for any rings which are not engagement or wedding rings and which are made of metal or such like, you should know for sure that in such peoples homes are to be found idols, witches and other powers of darkness and that they are idol worshippers. It is they who use the powers of magic. And those who would truly worship and serve him must serve no other god. The message given to me is that many Christians there are who on their death do not see Christ because they had become idol worshippers before their death. This is the task entrusted to me. After giving him this message, he stood speechless for some half-hour in thought beating his forehead with a pen and with one leg crossed over the other. He then went out to the doorway of my father's house (which is where it all started, not my present house), stood by his car for another half-hour with ADIHU another Pastor from Republic of Benin (formerly Dahomey) who had accompanied him on the visit. After consulting for some time he promised to come back but I did not see him before he returned.
33. "But, according to God's promise (and God never fails to fulfil His promise), at the same time that these things were happening, a woman in Porto Novo called TINAVIE from ZEVU district died in hospital after a short illness. The Church was barely two months old. Tinavie's younger sister, MAWULOWOE (God will oblige), it was who prophesied that Tinavie's dead body should be brought to me and that Jesus would raise her from the dead. Church members in. the area came to tell me of her death and I asked them to bring her dead body to my house. When it was brought on a stretcher, I told them to put it on the bare floor.
34. "Now all my relations in our compound were all Moslems.. Only my father was a Christian. But we were all Yoruba. We have eight marks on our cheeks according to Yoruba tradition. When the dead body was brought in, my relations, who were all Moslems, exclaimed in Muslim fashion 'I-LAHILA, HILALAWU, what has this boy done again? Brought in a corpse!' But I asked them to leave the dead body on the floor. In short, Jesus Christ my Saviour raised TINAVIE from the dead. She became alive and I asked that she be taken to the hospital to greet the doctor who had treated and certified her dead. The doctors name was Alexandre. When the doctor saw her alive, he ran slamming the door thinking that a dead person was about to speak to him. He did not realise that it is God the King who brings the dead to life again. It was also MAWULAWOE who at the first seaside Christmas festival gave the song (in Yoruba):
Jesu emi yio sin o (2ce)
Nibi mimo yi
Larin jo nla re
Emi yio sin o titi dopin
Emi yio mu bukun rele .
Meaning in English:
'Jesus, I shall worship thee (2ce)
In this holy place,
Amidst thine large Church,
I shall worship thee until the end,
I shall go with blessings from Thee' .
35. "Another miracle related to a friend of mine MOISE SURU AFOYAN from ZEVU district of PORTO NOVO who died. His relations came to tell me that my friend had died and that they had come to buy the coffin with which to bury him but had merely called to let me know. I went to the house of MOISE and I saw his dead body lying on the floor. He was my friend. I was wearing three sets of clothes. I took one off, covered the dead body with it and told everybody to leave the room. When it was the wish of Jesus, MOISE SURU was brought back to life at twelve midnight.
36. "I went back the following day. MOISE SURU said he very much wished to tell me what happened. He said he saw an old man with hair and beard all white standing on the balcony of a storey building. The old man brought me to show him (MOISE) and asked him whether he knew me. He said he replied that he did. The old man then told him that he (MOISE) was already dead but because of and to honour me (PASTOR), he would be returned to life; and moreover, he (MOISE) would not die again until the person (PASTOR) who raised him from the dead shall have built a storey building.
37. "It was thus MOISE SURU who foretold the event of my building a storey house. And yet, at this time, I did not even have the financial strength to buy a single brick. I went along with it because I knew that my God's word never fails. I am thankful to God that MOISE SURU and his children are still alive today, and the storey building has been built in his lifetime as he foretold.
38. "The next notable event was at the town of GRANPOPO where the sea had overflows its banks thus constituting a serious problem. Because of the news reaching him of various miracles wrought by Christ through me, the chief of the town sent word to me in PORTO NOVO that the sea had penetrated the town and had destroyed all their houses. He sent word that they believed that God had sent me and that there was nothing that God could not do. He implored me to come and stop the sea washing away their entire township. I prepared to go, taking six people with me including Wolida AFOSE YANGA, his wife Elder SILVESTIN, YAMAN and Leader MATHIAS from DANNU.
.39. "When we got to the sea front at GRANPOPO, I saw a European Catholic Reverend Father carrying a curved shepherd's staff standing by the sea, and the sea pushed him back as he prayed with the staff. But when I got there, I was told by HIM that sent me that to HIM the entire world was like an egg and that similarly the sea was like a needle. I was further instructed that I should, therefore, insert a needle in an egg in full view of all the inhabitants of GRANPOPO and throw the egg with the needle into the sea which would carry it away. I did as I was instructed as it was not my wish but that of HIM that sent me. A miracle happened, the sea receded completely.
40. "It was noteworthy to record a further development of this event. There was a Lagoon in the town (Granpopo) which normally emptied into the sea. The Point of entry was dangerous as many boats had been carried away there. The sea had now receded so much that the whole area at the Point of entry of the lagoon to the sea was dry. When the idol worshippers in the town who did not accept Jesus Christ saw what happened, they became annoyed and protested that the recession of the sea had gone too far. They brought cows to offer as sacrifice and dragged them along until they-threw them in the sea. Because of this faithless act, the sea returned with doubled fury after three months and did more havoc than before.
41. "The fame of these deeds spread far and wide. Consequently, people in TOFFIN rushed to join the church. From AGANGE, the Church spread to GBEKO, from GBEKO to GOGBO. As the Church spread far and wide, the Catholics in Porto Novo, the Moslems and Methodists began to plot and mobilise against me. They all had informants in my house - the Catholics had theirs, the Methodists had theirs and the Moslems also had theirs. Any Catholics who worshipped in my house were immediately informed upon by the Catholic agents. Any Methodist who worshipped in my house were immediately informed upon by Methodist agents. Similarly, any Moslem who worshipped in my house were immediately informed upon by the Moslem agents. Consequently, I moved to WEME, a district of TOFFIN.
ENTRY INTO NIGERIA
42. "When my detractors did not see me in Porto Novo, they imagined that the Church was reducing in strength. But the opposite was happening among the few I left behind. Meanwhile, some of the members in TOFFIN established another branch in GBAJI from where it spread to Lagos in Nigeria. Those who introduced the Church into Lagos were fishermen, about seven in number - people like the present LEADER SAMUEL FRANCOIS, the present Senior Leader Leyon who is right here among us, people like JOHANA from GBAJI and the late SEPO.
43. " Their unique church and spiritual works which people in Lagos noticed about them led to persistent demand to see me. I was then already back in Porto Novo where the Church had then grown and become big and firmly established. When word came that LAGOS wished to see me, I feared to go either to LAGOS or indeed anywhere in Nigeria. Being the only surviving male of my father, I feared for Nigeria which I understood was a fast and difficult country. The emissary from LAGOS was always MOSES AJOVI from IJOFIN, Nigeria, now a Senior Leader. After refusing twice to go to Lagos, I relented the third time on the understanding that MOSES AJOVI would be with me always. And so we both travelled to LAGOS together during the Passion Week 1951.
44. "Soon after my arrival here in LAGOS I learnt of a young woman who was mad and laid up in a room. I went to see her and Jesus cured her instantaneously. This caused a stir, and by Maundy Thursday word had gone round of this famous miracle.
45. "A number of clergymen from various Churches sent for me to meet them on the Good Friday in a hall in YABA which had a piano in one corner. They told me they had heard stories of miracles of the dead rising and so on. Although they were all Christians, they wished to make it clear that I should consider them to be thorough-going doubting Thornases. They very much wished to believe that God sent me, but they would not unless they saw miracles performed there right before their eyes. I agreed. I asked them which of them would like to see the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ and to know that God sent me. They all replied that they would.
46." I then selected two women from among them, one married, the other unmarried and asked them to lie down. I removed two of the clothes I was wearing, placed one each, on the two women. After about one hour, nothing happened. I asked them both to get up. The elder one said she seemed to notice something brush past her, but she looked up and saw nothing. The other said she felt something about to happen to her but she saw nothing. At this stage, they began to think they would not see any miracles.
47."I then remembered and sang the song which the eleven month old child of MARIE ZEVUNNU gave, the world through the HOLY SPIRIT some time before which runs thus (in Yoruba):
'Emi Mimo sokale sarin wa, S:s:d:m:-:-d:r:d:t:l:s:-:-:-:-
Awa nse ireti re s:s:d:m:-:-d:r:-t:-d.-:-:-:-
Wa wonuwa ko wa fun wa I'agbara s: s: 1: s: m: s: f : m: r: m: -m:
Agbara t'awa yio fi segun, 0 ki ise 'Ieri re lai mu u se, Ranti ileri re to se'.
meaning in English:
'0! Holy Ghost descend thou upon us,
We wait upon thy coming down,
Come enter us and give us thy holy strength,
The strength with which we shall overcome,
Thou never makes a promise without fulfilling it.
Do thou remember thine promise!'
They all began to sing this song with me.
s: s: d: m: -d: r: -t.: -d:
s: s: 1: s: -: -m: s: f : m: r: m: -m:
48. "Suddenly, as they sang, the Holy Spirit descended upon them. Among them, somebody said: 'He is my beloved. I sent him, hear ye him'. Another said: 'you married woman, you are in your menstrual period, you want to see the glory of Jesus, do ask her whether or not she is in her period'. Still another said: 'you young woman, you know very well you have just had sexual relations and you have not bathed to cleanse yourself. I am a selective God'. They were all bewildered at all they saw and heard coming from among them. The whole hall shook and they saw the power and glory of God.
49. "Now, these people at Yaba that day knew many Christian songs of their own denominations; they were so impressed with what they saw that they declared that they would do nothing but sing when they saw Jesus. So they began to have a feast of songs. After sometime, I told them it was time to go home. They said I should not go home and they would not stop singing until day break. And moreover, they continued, it was raining and once it started raining in those parts, they said, it was a long time stopping. I replied that what they took for raining was indeed part of God's work; it was a special down pour which would stop as soon as I wished to go home. When I saw that they had contributed a lot of money, I told them I wanted no money. One woman among them gave me two shillings loaves of bread which I accepted, saying 'Jesus said a worker deserves to have his food'. I then said I was going and they said I could not go yet. I peeped out, stretching my hand in the rain. It stopped and I left. This fresh miracle really startled them and started a rush of people to the Church here. That was how the Church really started in Nigeria.
50. "Next occurred here the miracle of the rising from the dead of HUNSU, a seven-year old boy. He was found in a room clasped to the bosom of an old. woman. The body of the boy was forcibly removed from the woman and brought to me in front of the Church. As directed by the Holy Spirit, I sprinkled holy water on him and he rose lip immediately. This caused a sensation. The Chief Imam of Lagos who was on his way to dedicate a new mosque (Owodunii Mosque at lwaya) stopped by together with his followers determined to see whether or not the name of "ANOBI YISA" (Jesus Christ) would work miracles as had often been claimed. After seeing the miracle happen, he and his followers exclaimed: 'LAIIAILA HILALAWU' (God is mighty).
51. "Shortly after this, word came of the death of another young woman named THERESA HUMPE. She had died early that morning in the fishermen's quarters. Because they could not find a doctor to certify her dead and issue a death certificate, they intended, as was often the case in Makoko at the time, to wait until dark and secretly have her buried. Makoko at the time was largely bush and this was not difficult. But the Holy Spirit was with me and I asked for the dead body to be brought to me. The body was carried to me in broad daylight in full view of everybody. But He who sent me was fully behind me. I placed my hand on THERESA and she instantly rose up. This THERESA is alive today and is a mother of children.
52. "This was why the owner of Makoko, the late RAMOTU EMMANUEL, a Moslem woman, approached me to say that she had a dream that a holy man had just entered Makoko, and that if she wished the landed property of Makoko to be hers, she should go and see the man. She told me that I was the man and requested me to pray for her so that Makoko could remain hers and she wanted to know my terms. She came with her son RAIMI, her clerk and BALOGUN, her caretaker. I replied that I took nothing. I asked her to bring a single white candle which I used to pray for her. Her prayers were heard. The town of Makoko became her undisputed property during the third month from then. Even though she was a Moslem she remembered that God had helped her through this Church and so she gave the Church the land on which the present Church is situated. Because of future possible litigation after her death, she conveyed the property to the Church (although it was in my name) and obtained one KOBO in payment. It was thus a gift because of the miracles observed. May God bless the family. RAMOTU EMMANUEL died on 23rd March 1952, Easter Sunday.
53. "The miracles performed by our Lord Jesus Christ through me were numerous. I shall now make particular reference to that of the young woman named OLUSOLA who died and whom Jesus raised from the dead after the third day.
54. "A young member of the Church who was fond of saying 'Please say Halleluyah with me' and who, for short, was nicknamed 'Halleluyah' came one Sunday morning and reported the death of a woman at 3.00 p.m. the previous day (a Saturday) in a house which belonged to him. He said that in view of the many miracles performed by Jesus through me right there in Makoko, particularly those of IIUNSU and THERESA, he felt sure that OLUSOLA could be raised from the dead. He first spoke to me at ten o clock on the Sunday morning as service was about to start. Service finished at three o'clock in the afternoon and he kept on worrying me but I still did not answer him. Owing to his persistence, however, at 4 o'clock that afternoon, I sent Evangelist BADA (then a LEADER) with one of my robes to follow the man called 'Halleluyah' to the house and put the robe on the dead body and tell the relatives that if and when the body moved, it should be brought to the Church. On the way there, 'Halleluyah' was to go in front and Evangelist to follow behind.
55. "Evangelist returned and reported that he had carried out my instructions. At about five thirty that afternoon, they brought the dead body in a car because they were amazed to see the body actually turn over although it was still lifeless. I asked that the body be placed in the Church vestry for women.
56. "Now there was a young man from Ondo who came with them. He belonged to one of the other spiritual Churches, but I do not know which. When he saw that we left OLUSOLA's dead body in the vestry for hours without bothering to pray or go near it but that we went on talking generally, he came to me and counselled that instead of doing nothing we should pray for the dead body as it was already stinking. I replied that I was not the one going to bring OLUSOLA back to life and that he should be very careful and not go near the dead body. I told him that if he did, he would have to accept responsibility for whatever happened to him. But he would not listen. He continued to pace up and down. Finally at about twelve midnight, he suddenly went to have a look at the dead body. He ran back to me startled, and reported that he had seen a man clad in white with his hair parted into two standing at the head of the corpse. I retorted to him that I had warned him not to go near the dead body. He ran away and I went to bed. OLUSOLA's mother also went to bed. I did not bother about the dead body. These miracles are not done with my own power I am no more than a servant for HIM that sent me. There was therefore no need for me to go into a bout of prayer or staying up all night or fasting or such flagellation.
57. "In the morning of the third day of OLUSOLA's death, her mother, watching the hours go by, became restless. At nine o'clock in the morning she came to me and said in despair that as the body of OLUSOLA was still as dead, stinking and lifeless as ever, and already covered with ants, she should be allowed to take the body home for burial. As she said this her loin cloth fell off her. This aroused my sympathy and I got up and followed her to where the dead body lay. I asked her the name of her daughter and she replied that her name was OLUSOLA. I struck the body and called 'OLUSOLA' and the dead girl replied 'SIR'. I struck her again and said: 'In the name of Jesus Christ rise up and walk'. She immediately got up and walked. She is still here with you, you all know her. Her younger sister is Sister IPADEOLA-
APPEARANCE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
58. "With regard to our LORD JESUS CHRIST, LORD of heaven and earth, who sent me, it was time for HIM to reveal HIMSELF in all HIS power and glory right here in Makoko. This happened in 1954 on the Friday following the Harvest Thanksgiving Service for that year which was the third Harvest Thanksgiving service in Nigeria. For three months previous to HIS coming, spiritual messages had been pouring out of our prophets to the effect that the Lord Himself would soon pay us a visit, suddenly walking into our midst, and that we should always be prepared to be able to identify Him on arrival.
"At about 3.00 a.m. on the day of his arrival, I was possessed by the Holy Spirit and, as reported to me later, I continually uttered the following words, until about 5.30 a.m. during which time the whole house reportedly shook to its foundations: Jesu, Jesu eniti iri re dabi iri oju omo kiniun, eniti nti ori ekanna re tan imole', that is, in English Jesus, Jesus, thou whose eyes are like those of a lions cub, and from whose finger tips light beams out.
"This was reported to me later in the morning by Evangelist Bada (then Leader) who was sleeping very close to me in the Church together with some of :the 'other Members.
59. The Lord came, as a blindman. He appeared walking towards the Church at about 9.00 a.m. He spoke first to my wife CHRISTINE and asked her for tobacco. She replied that she had none. Then He asked her for cigarettes, and again. she replied that she had none. Then He asked her for kolanuts,to which she replied angrily that she should be left alone, particularly as the three things He asked are forbidden to Celestians. At this point YAMAN, who was nearby, intervened and offered Him some money to buy the things He wanted will never be empty. He, then, told YAMAN to caution her daughter CHRISTINE to beware because the world is delicate. He left them.
60. I was not there, I was in the other house some fifty yards away. I saw a man coming towards me. He was tall and graceful and covered Himself with a single piece of white cloth wrapped round His whole body from Head to toe. As He approached. I saw spiritually a sudden beam of light before Him and recognised at once that He was the Lord whose coming had been foretold.
61. "I went to meet Him. He was blind, the usual black spot being totally absent from the eyeball which were totally white. I then asked:' 'My Lord, whence cornest thou and whither goest thou?' He replied: 'the son of Man comes from nowhere in particular nor does He have any destination but goes wherever the wind guides HIM" I replied: 'I thank you my Lord'. I then said: 'Very well, my Lord, would you not like to come with, thy son into the house?' He replied as He walked with me: 'Art thou not the prophet? You had been given to know me because of your loving kindness. I will come with you to your house'. As we walked, I put my hand in my pocket and offered HIM money as aims. He declined and said: 'Mine is, not money but Love. May it be so for you as well'.
62. "We walked together, I on the left, He on my right. Now, them was a trench at the time near the entrance to the Church to drain away underground water oozing from under the Church into the lagoon. As we got to the trench, I said: 'My Lord, take care here, there is a trench, let me take your hand so that you can cross safely'. He replied: 'Not at all, the Son of Man may not have visible eyes, but He has spiritual eyes which see better than yours'. Before He had finished, He had smartly crossed the trench ahead of me. We walked along and entered my house together.
63. "When we entered, He asked me for water, and I gave Him water in a bowl. He asked for sugar. Makoko was not as developed as it is now. I saw this as an opportunity to please Him. He did not accept alms from me, but perhaps I could please Him with a whole packet of sugar. I searched through Makoko for sugar to buy, but there was none came back to tell Him I could find no sugar. He then said the lumps in my room would do. I went into my room and searched and indeed found seven lumps there and brought them to Him. He asked me to put them in the water and said; 'As from today, let there always be sugar in your house'. He stirred the water with his hand, sipped seven times and gave to me saying. "Men will, rush to you with various problems. and went on to tell the various uses to which water could be put. I also sipped seven times and kept the remaining water which I retain till this very rnoment.
64. "He then asked for a cloth large enough to wrap, around a dead body. I looked round and could only get a yard of white material from my wife CHRISTINE. I wrapped it with paper, and as l was approaching him from behind, He asked: 'Could this be enough to cover my whole body from head to toe?' I became baffled, and was going to return it. But He said :Since you intended it as a gift ,for me, do not take it away. Leave it and go look for something bigger'. Then Evangelist BADA who was nearby drew my attention to a new- soft white cotton material which was wrapped round the altar for the Harvest the previous Sunday. Then our Lord cut in and said: 'Yes, that will be big enough to wrap' round me from head to toe'. Whereupon I went into the, Church, removed it from the altar, folded it, wrapped it in paper and brought it to HIM. He said: 'Yes, this is my own portion (share) of this year's Harvest'. He did not touch it, but asked me to pack it together with the earlier material. Also present at this time was EMMANUEL YANSUNU who was a Methodist and had only escorted his brother Evangelist Nathaniel Yansunu.
65. "He spoke many things with me. Among other things, He confirmed: 'All your services of worship in the Church are acceptable unto the Father. Tell all members of the Celestial Church that they should be steadfast in their services of worship because worship will be the ultimate salvation of mankind. The love of money will constitute the downfall of many in their bid to enter the kingdom of God". He said I should fix my eyes on Him as much as I could because I would not have the opportunity again of seeing Him as I saw Him then and talking to. Him in this fashion. He said I would surely see Him again, but how He could not tell me at that point in time. This referred to the time when I myself would leave this world.
He then sought to take leave of us and urged us not to announce his departure. Evangelist BADA, who remained present throughout, then rejoined: 'Who can fail to see the glory of this sunshine?' To which our Lord replied in surprise: 'What?' Then, BADA repeated: 'FATHER, who can fail to set the glory of this blissful sunshine?' Then our Lord chanted: "Halleluyah seven times. Evangelist NATHANIEL
YANSUNU from Porto -Novo (he was not even Leader then) was sleeping in the other room. He was paralysed on one leg. But as soon as he heard us talking in the other room he woke up and sprang up his leg straightening at the same time. It will be recalled that this NATHANIEL YANSUNU was the son of MOSES YANSUNU with whom I stayed when I was at the age of 7.
66. "Continuing, He said He came to talk to me because there was a lot to talk about but I would have to walk with Him a little, just the two of us. We left the house, leaving the others behind. He asked me to bring both cloth parcels 1 had brought for Him. I brought them along. We walked along Church Street in broad daylight and yet we met not a soul all the way to Makoko bridge. He talked to me a lot giving explanations and specific injunctions on a number of matters relating to the Church. One of these injunctions was that we should hence forth celebrate Holy Communion at our annual Christmas gathering at Porto Novo beach and that He Himself would be present and partake. Previous to this we had not celebrated Holy Communion at our Christmas gatherings which was the seventh in the history of the Church.
67. "At that time, logs of palm tree were positioned either side of the bridge to retain the road and stop it being washed away by the stream. We stood on the palm tree log to the right and we both faced
the West. He then requested me to bring out the clothes and drop them in the mud. I did so and He put His left foot on the cloths while His right foot remained on the log. I remained standing on the log. Then with His left foot still remaining on the cloths which were bubbling under His foot, He said: 'SON OF MAN, HERE AT THIS SPOT WE PART. GO AND DON'T LOOK BACK'. I turned round and started to go. After taking three steps, I felt curious to know how He would go. I turned round and could no longer see Him. He had disappeared.
68. "On the third day, there was an incident concerning a particular woman who professed to be a member of our Church, but had secretly been visiting and seeking for help from the powers of darkness fetish priests and so on. Apparently, as she was passing by APENA CEMETERY ' the white robed man who had appeared to me here earlier also appeared to her and she was frozen stiff and could not move. She was taken into a house nearby. As this was happening there, it was being prophesied to me here in the Church at Makoko that there were those who came to me claiming to be Christians but who were worse than idol worshippers; that one of them had just been caught and would be brought to me. On her arrival, I should inquire from her why any member of the Celestial Church of Christ should still seek help from herbalists and other Satanic agents. I should inform her that it was He, CHRIST, who appeared unto her.
69. "True enough, some time later, they carried in the woman unconscious. When I put my hand on her, she became conscious and got up. What I was asked to tell her I did exactly and she confessed.
70. "Another appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ was at the Lagos Bar Beach in 1954 on the occasion of the anointment of some members of the Church in Nigeria amongst whom were LEYON, SAMUEL and a few others. (It is pertinent to mention that LEYON and SAMUEL were the first to be elevated to the rank of LEADER in the Church in Nigeria). Our Lord appeared from the sea. "As had happened prior to His first visit to us in Makoko, I was possessed by the Holy Spirit at about 3.00 a.m. on the day and reportedly prophesied His coming in my sleep. At about mid-day while we were on the beach performing the anointment, a boat suddenly appeared lying far out to sea. In the twinkling of an eye, it came within about two hundred yards from the beach. The next moment we saw a man on the beach in a reclining position wearing a piece of blue loin cloth round His waist reminding one of the one on Him in the usual picture of Him on the cross. His body showed signs of having come out of the sea. He had by His side a well worn old Bible wrapped round with a piece of string, a copy of the Koran and some sun-dried crayfish. I knew it was our Lord and I went immediately towards Him. He spoke to me giving me further injunctions and explanations on a number of things. In particular, He directed me not to engage in any form of eye service to any one.
-While this was happening, a woman wearing a simple apparel moved around Him, coming not too close, to look at Him with some concern, then moving away again. She did this repeatedly. I knew it was MARIA, the gracious mother of our LORD JESUS CHRIST. It was midday and the sun was high and we had sought to assemble under the shade of the trees which were still on the beach at the time. As I walked towards Him, the sand burned under my feet, but immediately I got near to Him, everything became cool as if under a shade. After He spoke to me, I returned to the congregation of our members and disclosed to them that He of whom I had prophesied had arrived and was reclining up there. Members present rushed towards Him and He spoke to many of them. Notable among them was a particular lady, Mrs. Adedoyin Adekoya, who was gorgeously dressed in Yoruba attire. When she related her own experience, she told us that our lord queried why she came naked. This puzzled her. At this juncture, YAMAN cut in and pointed out that it was because she was not dressed in her sutana like the others. Some members of other spiritual Churches worshipping on the beach that day also saw Him and many of them rolled on the sand in spiritual turmoil, digging the sand with their hands and testifying to His identity and presence. Various fishes, whales and other animals of the sea dipped in and out of the water in salute.
71. "We went on with our prayers and all the time , l kept an eye on Him and continued to see Him. We closed our eyes to say the grace. After the grace, we opened our eyes and discovered that He had disappeared. So also had the woman MARIA and the boat. Members searched up and down for Him but He was nowhere to be found.
72. "The miracles that take place daily are too numerous to mention. Before God and man, prior to 1958, several persons had been raised from the dead. And in 1958 alone three were raised from the dead two in ABEOKUTA and one in IBADAN. They are all with us here. Glory be to God in HEAVEN. HALLELUYAH.
73. "The blind see by the GRACE OF JESUS CHRIST, sometimes as many as eighteen, a day, the dumb speak, the lame walk, the sick (too numerous to count) are healed, the barren become mothers, those who are pregnant but are prevented from giving birth to their children by the powers of this world are released from these powers -one of such, you all remember, is. NIMBE's mother who is with us here. When she was brought to the Church, medical opinion said she was not pregnant and so did everybody, you all remember what I am talking about. But by the power and .glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, it was disclosed that the woman was pregnant. She eventually gave birth to the child whom we all call OLUWAMBE (that is, God is indeed present). He has now become a young man. Similarly Mrs. SOMORIN whose pregnancy was denied by medical opinion, also gave birth to a female child named MOJISOLA.
74. "Miracles are indeed an everyday occurrence with us. These testify to the fact that He who sent me and who promised that these miracles will happen through me so that the world may believe that He sent me - that He is still with me. Glory be to His name in Heaven. Halleluyah. May the Celestial Church of Christ continue to wax strong. Amen".
SUPPLEMENT BY THE PASTOR FOUNDER TO THE HISTORY AS TOLD ABOVE AT HEADQUARTERS, MAKOKO.
75. The Pastor Founder was asked at a meeting of the Board of Trustees held on Tuesday 22nd May 1979 at the International Headquarters, Celestial Church of Christ, Mission House, Ketu, Lagos State, Federal Republic of Nigeria, to give in greater detail how actually the various aspects of the Church's worship were handed down together with the surrounding events. The Pastor Founder replied in the following paragraphs.
76. "A few days after my return to Porto Novo from my sojourn in the bush through AGANGE where, you will recall, KUDIHO was raised from the dead by our Lord Jesus Christ through me, word came from my elder sister (ELIZABETH OSHOFFA married to GUTON) that her only child and son, EMMANUEL MAWUNYON GUTON (who later became our Evangelist in Ivory Coast) had died. I was in my praying attire and I sent word that he was not dead. On my arrival, I found the dead body and I sent everybody out of the room. The idol worshippers, who had earlier been trying to revive him, hurriedly left the room and, as I touched him, Jesus raised him and he immediately received the gift of the Holy Spirit and became the first prophet in Celestial Church of Christ.
Injunction to Found a New Church
77. "During the first week in October,1947 and on the fifth day after I received the DIVINE ORDER on September 29, 1947, we were gathered together early in the morning when word came to me (I regularly heard voices and still do) that the DIVINE COMMISSION I was given was to found a new Church and that I should start it right there in my house. The first song given to us was (in Yoruba).
Enyin ara 'nu Kristi d:s:s:m:l:s:-
E gbe orin soke d:m:s:-f:m:r.-..
Ke e si gbo ohun ti d:s:-ml:s:-d:
Jehovah n'so m:s:-f:m:r:-:-
Ere di re te fi wa s: d: d: t: 1: s: s:
Ninu Ijo Mimo yi? m:m:f:m:r:f:m:-:-
Ere di re t'e fl wa s: d: d: t: 1: s: s:
Ninu egbe nla yi? m:m:f:m:r:f:m:-:-
Ki Maria lya wa s:d:d:t:l:s:-
Le e wa a sin wa lo m:s:f:m:r:f:m:-:-
K'Eni mimo rere yi s:d:-t:l:s:-m:s:
Wa ma sin wa lo f:m:r:r:d:-:-
We all sang this song together early that morning.
Covenant with Christ
78. 'Later the same day, in the evening, while I was alone in an inner room of my father's house, I heard a voice (I still regularly hear the same voice until now) telling me to go and bring a short strip of wood.
I went out and cut a short length of wood from the first tree I saw. Being a carpenter, I planed it neatly and brought it inside. I was then instructed by the voice to put it down somewhere as He Christ wished to make a covenant with me and I was going to be betrothed as a bride of Christ. I then saw a hand which indicated the sign of the cross. I was instructed to use the cut stem of a leaf (fetched from outside) and purple ink to make the sign of the cross in remembrance of Christ. I was told: "THIS IS THE SYMBOL OF THE COVENANT BETWEEN YOU AND ME". I dipped my finger thrice into the ink we used and was then asked to pray for the most wonderful and unfathomable power of the Holy Spirit. I slept late that night because of visits from heavenly visitors talking to me.
Heavenly Song of Praise
79. "Mawunyon, my elder sister's only child, was directed by the Holy Spirit from his father's house about a mile away to my house. He arrived singing a song (in an unknown language) which we seem to have forgotten lately:
'Yah rih gorimah s:l:d:d:d:-
Yah rih goriyeh S'I:m:m:m:-
Ngo yeh d:r:s:-:-:-
Yah rih yah', r:m:d:-:-:-
at the same time translating it into Egun (a major language of the Republic of Benin).
'Mi pa oku na
Won di pa emi
0 ji re lo
in Yoruba, 'E yin OluWa
Enyin omo ogun
Translated into English, it reads:
O Praise ye the Lord
All ye heavenly hosts
The great hour
Is at hand'.
He sang this song kneeling down.
Injunction About Holy Communion in New Church
80. "It was also Mawunyon who that same night gave us an injunction that we should not use wine for Holy Communion but rather a mixture of
(b) oranges and
(c) coconut milk.
He did a lot of work by way of spiritual messages that night.
Injunctions About Candleholder
81. "Mawunyon it was who gave the injunction that we should worship with seven candles and also took a piece of wood and drew out the shape of the candle holder. In this connection, he also gave us a Powerful song which we seem to have also forgotten lately.
Awon agba tan fitila meje
Wa gbadura wa, etc.
Injunctions About Pajaspa - Collection Pouch
'Mawunyon it was who also gave us a description of what we should use for collection at services and named it PAJASPA - a metal ringed Pouch with a handle and a socket for a candle which should be lit during collection.
Injunctions About Call to Worship
83. "Mawunyon it was who indicated how in heaven a pot of incense was being swung accompanied by the following song:
'Yah Rah Sah Rah) 2ce
Yah Rah sah, Mattah) and translated into Yoruba
E tan fitila mimo latorun wa' 2ce
He also that same night gave us that this song should be followed by:
'Yah Rah Mah
FE Yah Rah Mah
Yah Rah Mah
Yah Man Yah Rah Mah!.
translated into Yoruba:
'Wa ka. lo
Wa ka 1(?
But he said that, before singing this last one, we should build a box which we should call MATTAH. At the bottom should be kept the cross and stick which is the symbol of Christ's covenant with me topped by candles for use at the altar. Having thus removed our shoes, worn our white sutana or tunic, taken the candles one by one from Mattah (thus becoming candles used in heaven above) and having lit them in Position, we should wholeheartedly sing above song and ring the bell to worship (this came much later) and draw near to God forgetting all about this world, kneeling on our knees and our forehead touching the floor in obeisance to Almighty God and in readiness to commune with Him. Mawunyon did not leave that night until about 2.00 am.
Christ Himself Administers Holy Communion to Me.
84. "Soon after that night, I was in a trance (1 was wide awake) with my eyes closed. I saw. myself climbing steps in-space towards the sky until I got to the top where I saw a table top suspended. I knelt on one side of it while on the other side standing was my Lord and Master, my Creator. He gave me Holy Communion - I ate and drank from His hand. Then, all of a sudden, the table top dipped and I realised for the first time that below me was bottomless space. As I exclaimed in fear, I grew wings which I used to navigate my descent.
The following morning, before I had a chance to relate this incident, a woman told me that on her way from the toilet the previous night, she suddenly saw me with wings while my eyes and body were fiery. She ran shutting the door only to see me again in similar fashion and she then ran to bed and covered herself in fear wondering that I was surely not yet dead. I replied by telling her the story of the incident of the previous night. She died within three months of seeing me like that.
Injunctions. About Ringing the Bell to Worship
85. "This came through me seven years after the birth of the Church. You will remember., Supreme Evangelist Bada, that when 1 related this incident to the congregation at Makoko, I held a Bible in my hand as witness. I was in a trance and saw in space a house without solid walls or roof, but a house nonetheless. Some were on the upper floor and we were on the lower floor, both floors not being solid but suspended in space and real nonetheless. As a bell ring three times, both those on the upper floor and we on the lower floor knelt down touching our forehead to the floor and said in Yoruba
Mimo, mimo, mimo si Oluwa awon omo ogun
meaning (in English)
'Holy, Holy, Holy to the Lord God of Hosts.
The bell ringing three times and our response was done three times. It was after this that we started the service in my trance. This is how it formed part of our service of worship in Celestial Church of Christ.
Injunctions About Praises Facing the Four Corners of the Earth
86. "This came through JOSEPH AWANGONU, Baba Martha. He said that he saw a Church without walls or roof but apparently with four entrances in the four cardinal directions, and as a bell rang, he saw people of all races running into the Church from the four corners of the earth. As they ran, they were singing (in Yoruba):
'E yin Jesu, E yin Jesu s:-:-s:l:s:m:d:d:-:-:-1:-:-:-
Fun 'jo kehin to sokale
Enyin Jesu, E yin Jesu'
Fun 'jo kehin to sokale
Enyin Jesu, E yin Jesu
Fun 'jo kehin to sokale
Enyin Jesu,eyin Jesu s:-:-s:I:s:m:
Fun 'jo kehin to sokale s'.-d:m:r:d:t:d.-.-.-.-
The more the multitudes, the more room the Church seemed to have.
Songs of Entreaty for God's Power and Glory
87. "The following song came as I was travelling on a boat in mid-sea from IGBESU to the spot where I prayed onto God and the tree I had specifically come to destroy burnt for seven days and seven nights. As my boat was about to land, I heard a song which it appeared I was singing with others (unknown and unseen) as follows (Yoruba):
'Baba a a
Ni wakati yi
Gbe ise owo o re e ga a a
Ki gbogbo a'iy'e le' mo
Ni 're lo I ran mi nise
Lasan a a I'aiye ngbe ogun
Wakati na de t'aiye o wa riri
L'abe agbara Mimo Jesu'.
It is a powerful song which should not be sung lightly.
Injunctions for Monthly Watchnight Service
88. During a service in remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ's prayer at Gethsemane shortly before his death, we were told that the following song, which came again through MAWUNYION, was the song which our Lord actually sang Kneeling and with forehead touching the ground at Gethsemane when he besought his disciples to watch while he prayed (in the song, he seeks to draw them into his prayer of worship of the Lord God unaware that they has fallen asleep):
'Yah Gol Lah Mari Yah Nga Rih Yeh
Ya Gol Lah Mari Yeh'
Translated immediately (Yoruba)
'e foribale fun Oba Oluwa Mo foribale fun'
meaning in English: Bow ye before the Lord God
I bow myself before him'.'
That was Jesus speaking. This was the only song Jesus-sang in the Garden of Gethsemane that night. As he sang and prayed intently, he sweated so much that the drops of sweat began to fall from his body like blood and a voice answered our Lord Jesus on that occasion thus 'I have, glorified you on earth and in Heaven'. We sing this song in Celestial Church of Christ during the monthly watch night services (on the first Thursday night/Friday morning of each month) in remembrance of the occasion and also during Easter at the watch night service of Holy Communion on Holy Thursday/Good Friday
" Another song used on the same occasion and which came at another time was:
Hi Ram Jah Mah
Hi Ram Jah Mah
Translated immediately (Yoruba) so that we can understand the song we are being taught:
, Emi Mimo
E sokale wa'.
89. "It is interesting to note that, although my father firmly believed that my birth was in answer to his prayers referred to above, none of us (including my father) had any inkling whatever that the nature of service to God to which I would be called would be such a very important one. In hindsight, the nearest my father came to predicting this important future was on his death bed when he called me and prayed thus (in Yoruba):
' Wa joko ninu owo,
Wa joko ninu omo,
Enia ni yio ma sin o'.
Meaning in English,
You will be established in money,
You will be established in children,
Men will serve you'.
It later proved not merely a prayer but a prophecy because at that particular time, I had not had an issue'.
REGISTRATION OF THE CHURCH
90. Particulars of Registration: The Church was duly registered under the Land (Perpetual Succession) Ordinance, Cap. 107 on November 24, 1958. The Certificate of Registration, whose number is 489, was signed by the then Governor-General of the Federation, Sir James Robertson.
Miracle behind Registration: It is noteworthy to relate the circumstances of the registration of the Church. The application for the registration under the relevant ordinance was forwarded to the Government in 1958 (during the colonial era). Initially, the Government was not disposed to grant the application presumably because no spiritual Church of African origin had up to then been registered.
Churches in Nigeria accorded official recognition at that time were those which had their origins in Europe or America.
On being told of the reluctance of the authorities, the Pastor remarked that there was no cause for anxiety because He who owned the Church (i.e. our Lord Jesus Christ) would reveal Himself to the official concerned. A few days later, the Pastor asked the late LEADER OWOAJE to check on the application. When he got there, he had a pleasant surprise in that the Certificate of Registration, signed and sealed, had been waiting for him for a few days. He was also informed that the then Governor-General Sir James Robertson, had related that, in his dream, a tall white man with long hair parted in the middle and robed in white, appeared to him and instructed him to sign the certificate of registration of Celestial Church of Christ because the Church was His. The following morning he signed the certificate. This was the miracle of the registration.
THE CHURCH UNDER THE ABSOLUTE DICTATE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
91. It is hereby emphasised for note that:
(a) the name of the Church,
a.the tenets and mode of worship of the Church, and
b.the service hymns of the Church are all revealed through the Holy Spirit as promised by our Lord Jesus Christ (see John 14:25,26) thus: "These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you".
NAME OF THE CHURCH
92. The name of the Church, 'Eglise du Christianisme Celeste',
'Celestial Church of Christ' in English, and 'Ijo Mimo ti Kristi lati orun wa in Yoruba was revealed by the Holy Spirit as stated earlier in clause 3, page 3.
TENETS AND MODE OF WORSHIP
93. It is ordained by the Holy Spirit that:
(1) members of Celestial Church of Christ are forbidden to engage or participate in any form of idolatory, fetish ceremony or cults, black magic and charms;
(2) cigarette or tobacco smoking or snuffing or any type of weed smoking or snuffing is forbidden to members of the Celestial Church of Christ;
(3) consumption of any form of alcohol, wine or any strong drink that can intoxicate is forbidden to members of Celestial Church of Christ as the odour of all these - cigarettes, tobacco, alcohol, etc. - are repugnant to the presence of the Holy Spirit;
(4) consumption of pork or any food offered as sacrifice to idols or other powers of darkness is forbidden to members of Celestial Church of Christ;
(5) members are forbidden to wear apparels made of black or red materials except for professional reasons;
(6) members should not wear shoes when wearing their sutana or within the premises of the Church;
(7) male and female members are forbidden to sit together side by side within the Church and its premises;
(8) female members during menstruation are not allowed to come within the precincts of the Church until after their sanctification after seven clear days; and where the menstruation extends beyond seven days, two clear days should be allowed for after stoppage before sanctification;
(9) female members are forbidden from entering the altar area or leading the congregation in worship;
(1 0) in Celestial Church of Christ, only white candles are to be used. Coloured candles are strictly forbidden;
(1 1) fornication and adultery are forbidden in the Celestial Church of Christ;
(12) Holy is the Celestial Church of Christ and all who worship in her should endeavour to be clean in body and in soul..
MODE OF WORSHIP
94. All forms of worship in the Celestial Church of Christ are entirely as revealed by the Holy Spirit. This includes the setting of the altar, and the seats therein, the number of candles used for the various types of services and the seating arrangement. In particular, it should be noted that the seating arrangement was revealed through a prophetess who under the influence of the Holy Spirit in the wilderness on Friday 5th October 1947, sketched the seating arrangement using oranges.
ORDER OF SERVICE
95. There is an Order of Service laid down in the Celestial Church of Christ for different occasions such as Marriage, Funeral, Mass in remembrance of the Dead, etc. The order for the respective occasion is strictly as revealed by the Holy Spirit and is set out in the booklet titled "Order of Service" obtained from the Supreme Headquarters in Porto Novo, the Nigeria Diocesan Headquarters, Makoko, Lagos and indeed from many parishes all over the country.
96. The Order of Service, as revealed, contains certain Holy Names which usually precede reading from the books of Psalms. The meaning of some of these Holy Names are given as follows:-
Eh-Yibah Oluwa Alanu
Eli-Yah Oluwa Olorun
Eli - Bamah - Yabah Oluwa -Omo Emi - Michael
Agashadual Qba Olusegun
Jehovah Jecho - Hirami Oba Olubukun
ANNOUNCEMENT AND SERMON
97. Announcement during Devotional Services shall be made by the Parish Secretary and shall be designed to bring to the notice of the congregation items of interest to the Church, forthcoming Church programmes, guidelines for the adherence to the Tenets of the Church and such items of announcement as may from time to time be ordered by the Pastor or from the Diocesan Headquarters.
98. Sermon during Worship shall be delivered by any Church elder so appointed by the Pastor's Representative at the Parish for the occasion. The elder so appointed shall strictly observe the following guidelines.-
(a) The sermon shall be taken from the Bible texts appointed to be read for the day. Strict adherence to the text shall always be an overriding principle.
(b) Reference to Newspaper Publications, to items of political nature or items that have connection with Government Policy or items that may be construed as antagonising or derogatory to other religious organisations is forbidden.
HOLY RITES OR SACRAMENTS
99. There are a number of Holy Rites or Sacraments within the form of worship in Celestial Church of Christ which are of utmost importance. Members shall avail themselves of the opportunity to partake in these Rites or Sacraments:-
This is by immersion. Before being accepted as a member of the Church one must be baptised or re-baptised into the faith of Celestial Church of Christ. Reference is made to Acts 19:1-6.
(b) HOLY COMMUNION
The important rite of the Holy Communion is generally held Quarterly as well as on Holy Thursday (Pre-Easter), and on Christmas Day at the Porto Novo Beach. It may also be held on other special occasions such as Marriage, Funeral, Mass in remembrance of Departed Souls etc.
(c) ANNUAL WASHING OF FEET
This is held on the Thursday of the Holy Week (Passion Week). It is in commemoration of the event when Jesus Christ washed the feet of His disciples during the last supper. For this purpose, it has been laid down that representatives of each parish shall congregate at the Diocesan Headquarters, Makoko on Saturday preceding the Palm Sunday. After a short service the representatives would return to their
respective parishes on Sunday (i.e. the Palm Sunday) and would perform the washing of feet to members of their respective parishes on the following Thursday-John 13:5-9
(d) ANNUAL CONVOCATION AT PORTO NOVO CHRISTMAS EVE
It is ordained by the Holy Spirit that all members of the Celestial Church of Christ, wherever they may be, shall convocate for Christmas at the sea side in Porto-Novo, Republic of Benin. This is in remembrance of the birth of Christ during the census decreed by Caesar Augustus - Luke 2: 1.
(e) ANNUAL EASTER CONGREGATION AT MAKOKO This is a Congregation of all members of Celestial Church of Christ Nigeria Diocese at Makoko from the morning/ afternoon of Good Friday_ until Easter Sunday. Three services are held in Celestial Church of Christ on Good Friday to celebrate the anniversary of the arrest, trial, conviction, crucifixion and burial of our Lord Jesus Christ. These are at 9.00 a.m., 12.00 noon and 3.00 P.m. local time. Representatives of each parish in the Diocese are enjoined to attend the 3.00 p.m. service at Makoko and thereafter partake of the feast of fruits and water at about 5.30 p.m. The day's celebrations will be considered over thereafter as from about 6.00 p.m.
The following day, Saturday, in the evening, there will be a procession to the Cemetery for a devotional service there at twelve midnight.
Then on Easter Sunday morning, there will be a full devotional service of joy and victory in the Church.
f.ANNUAL HARVEST THANKSGIVING SERVICE
It is also laid down that each Parish of the Celestial Church of Christ shall annually observe the Harvest by holding Harvest Thanksgiving. Service followed by Harvest Sales. This will be celebrated in two parts - Juvenile and Adult. The Juvenile Harvest will be celebrated by all parishes on the first Sunday in June each year, while for the Adult Harvest, parishes shall inform and agree their respective dates with the Diocesan Headquarters in Lagos, always provided that no parish shall hold its Harvest Thanksgiving Service on the Ist Sunday in October, which is the date fixed for the Supreme Headquarters in Porto-Novo or Ist Sunday in August, which is the day set aside for the Diocesan Headquarters, Makoko in Lagos.
(g) HOLY MARY'S DAY
This is in commemoration of the appearance of Holy Mary to the Pastor on the 15th day of July 1977.
The significance of Holy Mary to the Celestial faith can be traced to the earliest days of the Celestial Church of Christ; for the very first spiritual hymn that was given to the Church through one of the early prophetesses of the Church (WOLISATA) was the hymn which reads thus
(Hymn No. 762 CCC Hymn Book):
"Enyin ara 'nu Krist (1: s: s: m: 1: s: -
E gbe orin soke d:m-s:-f:m:r:-:-
K' e si gbo ohun ti d:s:-m:l:s:-d:
Jehovah nso m:s:-f:m:r:-.-
Ere di re te fi wa s:d:d:t:l:s:s
Ninu Ijo Mimo yi? iii:m:f:m:r:f:m:-:-
Ere di re t'e fi wa s:d:d:t:l:s:s:
Ninu egbe nla yi? m:m:f:m:r:f:m:-:-
Ki Maria iya wa s:d:d:t:l:s:-
Le e wa sin wa lo M:s:f:m:r:f:m:-:-
K'Eni Mimo rere yi s:d:-t:l:s:-m:s:
Wa ma sin wa lo'.' f:til:r:r:d:-:-
Significantly, thirty years later, on 15th day of July 1977, the Pastor, in a trance, saw himself climbing a number of steps until he got to a plane full of fallen leaves and sighted a fair white lady clad from top to toe in blue apparel and standing in a posture as if shielding something away from him.
Then the Pastor found himself descending steps until he sighted a Church from which a Reverend Father emerged and bowed in homage to him repeatedly. Then the Pastor found himself ascending again back to the spot where he earlier saw tile fair lady. This time, the fair lady opened up to show that what she was shielding away earlier was a baby having a crown on His head and she said, pointing to the baby:
Emi Mimo ni,
Okan mimo ni,
Oba iye ni,
Eni ba fe sin gbodo tona to mo rekete"
meaning in English
"This is Jesus Christ,
He is Holy in Spirit,
He is Holy in Mind,
He is Life everlasting.
Tell people that those who would worship Him must
tread the path of spiritual cleanliness".
At this juncture, the Pastor realised that the fair lady was Holy Mary. She repeated the injunction in song thus:
"Jesu, Emi , mimo ni, d:-s:-:-:-d: iii:rn:m:r:-:-:-
Okan Mimo ni, r:d:m:M:r:-:-:-
Oba iye ni, r:r:d:d:r:-;-:-
Eni ba fe sin Jesu a m:s:s:s:r:ni:d:d:s:
tona to mo rekete". s:r:r:d:d:d:-:-:
Continuing, she told the Pastor that he should remain undaunted by the colour of his skin because race is of no significance in things of the Spirit. She added:
"Okan mimo re la nwo ti a fi ngbe inu re."
meaning: "It is because of your clean mind that we dwell in you".
Almost exactly a year after the incident described above, the Pastor fell ill during which it was spiritually revealed (also in trance) that due recognition shall be accorded to Holy Mary in the Celestial Church of Christ by commemorating the above incident annually. In consequence, the Pastor declared first Friday of July every year as Holy Mary's Day to be observed by full congregational Service throughout the Celestial Church of Christ all over the world. The first observance of Holy Mary's Day took place on Friday 7th July, 1978.
I 00. The Pastor-in-Council shall have sole responsibility for the publication of all Church Literature of the Celestial Church of Christ. Included in this Literature are Gospel Diary, Almanacs, Hymn Books, Calendars, Church Periodicals and such other Literature as shall be purported to be authorised by or to emanate from Celestial Church of Christ.
101. All persons who earnestly and sincerely desire to be saved and therefore accept Jesus Christ as the son of God and only Lord and Saviour of mankind and who wish to worship and serve Him in the Church; demonstrating their sense of conversion by taking up such duties and privileges as are entailed in the fellowship, are welcome into the fold.
102. Nobody shall be considered a member of the Church until he has
been baptised in the Celestial Church of Christ, irrespective of any previous baptism(s) in any other Christian denomination(s).
103. A worshipper desiring to become a member shall
(i) renounce membership of all secret cults, societies, fraternities, etc.
(ii) renounce the worship of all idols and fetish,
(iii) desist from the worship of Satan and all his works, from following any fetish priests and from engaging in magic or any powers of darkness,
(iv) renounce all titles, positions or associations which directly or indirectly conflict with the above injunctions (e.g. any type of Chieftaincy title),
(v) declare that living or dead, he is a full member of the Celestial Church of Christ and that on his death, he should be buried in accordance with the tenets and rites of the Celestial Church of Christ,
(vi) sign a declaration of adherence to the above.
All the above are based on the teachings of the Holy Bible: Exodus 20:3 "Thou shalt have no other gods before me"
and 2Corinthians 6:14-15 "Be ye not unequally yoked together
with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that
believeth with an infidel?"
104. Members shall use within and outside the Church only those appellations and/or prefixes relating to their rank within the Church. In addition, members may use outside the Church those appellations and/or prefixes that relate to their professional titles (e.g. Engr., Arch., Dr., Brig., Flight Officer, Navy Commander, or B.A. M.Sc. etc) or their gender (e.g. Mr. Mrs., Miss., Esq.)
105. New members shall normally, prior to admission undergo sanctification with a pail of water and candle to avoid uncleanness in the Church. The prayer of sanctification shall be conducted by the Pastor's Representative in charge of the Parish or by his appointee.
SOLEMNITY OF THE CHURCH SERVICES
106.During Church Services, the utmost solemnity and attention shall be observed. All mannerisms that may militate against this, such as gossip, side talk or pasting of currency notes on members of the Choir in appreciation of their music shall be totally avoided.
107. Celestial Church of Christ is one and indivisible. For organisational purposes and within the framework of this organisation, the following terms, wherever they are used and wherever they occur in this Constitution, shall be deemed to have the meaning hereunder respectively assigned to them.
(a) INTERNATIONAL HEADQUARTERS: Celestial Church of Christ is world-wide. While its Supreme Headquarters is at Porto Novo, Republic of Benin (formerly Dahomey) which is also its birth-place, the INTERNATIONAL HEADQUARTERS of the Church world-wide is at the Mission House, Ketu, Lagos State, Nigeria.
(b) DIOCESE: refers to the entire Church within Nigeria with its National or Diocesan Headquarters at 12/15 Church Street, Makoko, Yaba, Lagos State. It also includes for the time being those Parishes outside Nigeria (e.g. in United States of America, United Kingdom, Western Europe) which are administered from Nigeria.
(c) DISTRICTS: denote groups of Parishes within the Diocese ministered unto by Pastor's Representatives of the rank of Assistant Evangelist and above. Such Assistant Evangelists (and above) shall normally be based in a Parish from where they would administer to the parishes within the group to which they are assigned such Holy Rites as can only be administered by those with the rank of Assistant Evangelist and above.
(d) PARISH: denotes individual Church Congregation within the Diocese. As examples, we have
(i) Badagry Parish
(ii) Yemetu Parish
(iii) Oke-Ado Parish
i.Harton Street Parish, etc. etc. etc.
108. The Pastor as the ultimate Spiritual Head of the Celestial Church of Christ world wide shall be vested with the sole ultimate and unchallengeable authority on all matters affecting Church life, be it planning, organisation, doctrinal standards and the spread of Doctrines, Education, Legislation or Discipline, the provisions of this Constitution notwithstanding.
109. The Celestial Church of Christ world-wide shall have one Head who shall be known and called "The Pastor". (John 10.14-16).
1 10. In the History of the Celestial Church of Christ, there can be only one Founder. The use of the title "Pastor and Founder" or "Pastor/Founder" is exclusive to the very first Head of the Church, the one and only one Founder of the Church, Rev. Pastor Samuel Bilehou Joseph Oshoffa. Any future head of the Church shall be called simply "The Pastor".
SUCCESSION INTO THE OFFICE OF THE PASTOR
111. Whereas the Pastor and Founder of Celestial Church of Christ has proclaimed publicly that, by divine inspiration, it has been revealed unto him concerning the mode for the appointment or selection of a Successor to the post of Pastor and Spiritual Head of the Church, it is here firmly established that:-
(i) The successor to the office of Pastor can be from any rank in the hierarchy of the Church and shall, at a time chosen by God to reveal this unto the erstwhile incumbent of the post of Pastor, be named and proclaimed the successor;
(ii) On succeeding after the transition of his predecessor in off-ice, the new Pastor shall occupy the Pastor's Chair in the inner altar.
112. There shall be a Representative of the Pastor in each Parish, i.e. an Elder or Leader or other rank in charge, who would perform all the duties of the Spiritual Leader in the Parish subject to the provisions of this Constitution.
113.Pastor's Representatives shall have all privileges to report direct to the Pastor on all matters.
114. In the absence of the Pastor, a Pastor's Representative may however, report to the Head of the Diocese who will, in turn, report back to the Pastor.
Appointment of Pastor's Representatives
115. The appointment of Pastor's Representative to a Parish shall be made by the Pastor in consultation with the Head of the Diocese. The Pastor may, however, make a direct appointment of his Representative to any Parish and inform the Head of the Diocese accordingly.
116. The Pastor's Representative when appointed in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution, shall, in the presence of the Pastor and the Congregation of selected Anointees of the Church, take an
Oath of Allegiance:
(a) to the service of Christ and Christ alone,
(b) to the total commitment to impart the teachings of Christ based on the Holy Bible;
(c) to the strict observance of the Rules and Tenets of the Church;
a.to perform his duties free of any charge whatsoever (Matthew 10:8).
117. He shall obtain from the Pastor a letter of credence as a testimony to his appointment.
I 18. Whenever a Pastor's Representative changes his Parish, he shall surrender his previous letter of credence for a new one, which shall be valid for the Parish into which he moves.
I 1 9. Any person who holds himself out as a Pastor's Representative , and who serves in any Parish without obtaining the letter of credence valid for that particular Parish has no authority over the Parish in which he is officiating and will in consequence render himself liable for appropriate disciplinary action.
120. Procedures for the appointment of Pastor's Representative and amendments to such procedures as may from time to time become necessary shall be the subject of a Church Proclamation which may be referred to as Pastoral Order.
121. The Parochial Committee constitutes the local government of the Parish Church and is empowered to deliberate for the progress of the Parish Church. It comes under the General Committee. This in turn is subordinate to the Supreme Committee with Headquarters in Porto Novo, Republic of Benin.
122. The Parochial Committee of each Parish shall have the power to apply disciplinary measures in minor cases affecting its Parish Church. Parochial Committees shall have no power to suspend or expel and must not, under any circumstances whatever suspend or expel any of its members from the Church. Parochial Committees may, in circumstances requiring such stem disciplinary action, make recommendation to the General Committee whose function it is to investigate, arbitrate, conciliate and take appropriate action.
123. Notwithstanding the provisions in Clause 122 above, the Pastor may, on his own or, in consultation with the Board of Trustees, take such action as he considers appropriate.
124. The full provisions of this Constitution in relation to DISCIPLINE are dealt with in Clauses 169 and 170 below.
125. Every Parish Church must have a Parochial Committee drawn from within its members and which will be responsible for the day-to-day affairs of the Parish. The composition of the Parochial Committee shall be thirty-three made up as follows:
(i) Chairman and two deputies
(ii) Honorary Secretary and two deputies
(iii) Honorary Treasurer and two deputies
(iv) Six ex-officio male spiritual elders
(v) Six ex-officio female spiritual elders
(vi) Six other male co-opted members
(vii) Six other female co-opted members
However, the Pastor, at his sole discretion, may approve a smaller number and composition of the Committee.
126. Where the Pastor is of the opinion that a Parochial Committee is not functioning for the best interests of the Church, he shall dissolve such Committee and order a re-election.
127. The General Committee shall be the first governing body to which all Parochial Committees shall report. It shall perform its functions under the superior authority of the Supreme Committee to which it reports and the ultimate authority of the Pastor.
128. The General Committee shall deliberate on all matters referred to it from the Parochial Committees and generally on all matters affecting progress of the Church within the Diocese including the maintenance and interpretation of the doctrinal standard of the Church, the making and custodianship of the Church's Law, the ordering of the total life of the Church and the maintenance of discipline.
Constitution of General Committee:
129. The General Committee in Representative Session shall consist
The Pastor (who shall be permanent Chairman)
The Head of the Diocese and his Deputy
Members of the Board of Trustees
All Evangelists of all grades within the Diocese Members of the Parochial Committee of the National or Diocesan Headquarters Church.
Parish Representatives consisting of':
(i) Pastor's Representative in the Branch;
(ii) Chairman of the Parochial Committee;
(iii) Secretary of the Parochial Committee;
(iv) Treasurer of the Parochial Committee;
(v) Two other members appointed by the Parish, one
male, one female;
(vi) Such other members as the Pastor may nominate from time to time.
OFFICERS OF GENERAL COMMITTEE
130. Officers of the General Committee shall consist of:
Chairman (Pastor or his appointee)
Hon. Secretary to the Committee
Hon. Assistant Secretaries to the Committee (2)
Hon. Treasurer to the Committee
Hon. Assistant Treasurers to the Committee (2)
and such other officers as the Committee may from time to time designate.
Secretary to General Committee:
131. The Secretary of General Committee shall normally be elected from among members by popular vote.
132. He shall be elected at the first session of the General Committee at which he is to take off-ice.
133. He shall hold office for a period of two years and shall be eligible for re-election thereafter for further period of two years.
134. He shall be responsible for the proper recording of the notes of the meetings and also monitoring the implementation of all decisions of the General Committee.
135. Subject to the provision of clause 131 the General Committee may appoint a member to act as Secretary for any of its meetings where the Secretary and his assistants are absent.
136. Treasurer of General Committee
(i) The Honorary Treasurer of the General Committee shall be elected by the General Committee by popular vote.
(ii) The Honorary Treasurer shall hold office for a period of two years and shall be eligible for re-election and shall:
(a) collect and administer such funds of the General Committee as directed by the General Committee;
(b) carry out such other functions concerning finance as may be directed by the General Committee from time to time.
137. Other Officers of General Committee
(i) The General Committee may designate and co-opt such other officers as may be required for proper and due execution of its business from time to time.
MEETINGS OF GENERAL COMMITTEE
138. The General Committee shall meet at such time and place as fixed at the preceding meeting or as may be provided for by the Regulative Procedures, provided that:-
(i) If the last General Committee meeting has omitted to fix such time and place or for any other reason it becomes impracticable to meet at the time or place so fixed, the Pastor shall fix a time and place for the meeting of the General Committee. But, in the absence of the Pastor, the Head of the Diocese shall fix a time and place for the meeting of tile General Committee.
(ii) Furthermore, if on account of emergency the Pastor considers it necessary, he may summon an extraordinary meeting of the General Committee at such time and place and at such reasonable notice as he shall think fit.
139.The Pastor shall preside at all meetings of the General Committee provided that:
(a) If the Pastor is absent from a meeting of the Representative Session, the Head of the Diocese shall preside or, in his absence, any member nominated by the Pastor or Pastor-in-Council.
b.In all such meetings of the General Committee, where the Pastor is not present, the decisions taken shall always be subject to ratification by the Pastor.
Defect in Qualification or other Irregularity
140. Any defect subsequently discovered in the qualification or appointment of a person who purports to act as a member of the General Committee or the absence from the meeting of the Committee of any person or class of persons or any vacancy among the membership or the omission to give due notice to any person or any other similar irregularity shall not affect the validity of any vote or proceeding taken at a meeting of the General Committee and the same shall be valid as if the meeting had been duly constituted and all persons purporting to act as members had been fully qualified, subject always to the ratification of such proceeding or decision by the Pastor.
141. Notices, Agenda and Minutes:
(i) Notice of the matters to be considered at a meeting of the General Committee shall be given to such persons and in such manner as Regulative Procedures shall provide.
(ii) The Agenda for the meetings of' the General Committee shall be prepared in such form as Regulative Procedures may provide.
(iii) Minutes Book shall be kept, into which shall be recorded all minutes of all business transacted at General Committee meetings and copies of such documents as the Committee may by resolution or by Regulative Procedures require to be recorded therein.
(iv) Entries in the Minutes Book shall be read or laid before the General Committee during its session and shall be verified in such manner as Regulative Procedures shall provide and such verified entry shall be conclusive proof for the proceedings of the meeting of the General Committee to which it relates.
(v) The proceedings of the General Committee shall be published to such an extent and in such manner as the General Committee shall by Regulative Procedures or resolution provide.
(vi) Any defect in the procedures stated in 141 (i) to 141 (iv) above shall not by itself invalidate the proceedings and decisions reached at such meetings provided that such decisions receive the ratification of the Pastor.
142. Subject to the provisions of this constitution, the Pastor or the Pastor-in-Council may provide by Regulative Procedures for any matter relating to the Church and its functions. Such Procedures shall take immediate effect and be obeyed by all members and all Parishes in the entire Diocese.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
143. There shall be a Body of Trustees for the Celestial Church of Christ Nigeria Diocese to be known as "Celestial Church of Christ Nigeria Diocese Board of Trustees", hereinafter referred to as "The Board".
144. Members of the Board shall be appointed in writing at the sole discretion of the Pastor and shall continue in office until their appointment is revoked in writing by the Pastor.
145. The first Trustees of the Church under the Constitution are:
1. Reverend Pastor Prophet Founder SAMUEL BILEHOU JOSEPH OSHOFFA (Chairman)
2. Supreme Evangelist ALEXANDER ABIODUN BADA
3. Superior Senior Evangelist SAMUEL OLATUNJI
4. Superior Senior Leader OLAYINKA AFOLABI ADEFESO
5. Superior Senior Leader ISIAH KAYOD'E OWODUNNI
6. Superior Senior Leader OLUREMI OLUSOGA OGUNLESI
7.Superior Senior Leader SAMSON OLATUNDE BANJO.
The Pastor Founder, Rev. S. B. J. Oshoffa, hereby emphasises that the last four members have attained the rank of full Evangelist but have not been so anointed because of the nature of their day to day work.
FUNCTIONS OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
146. The Board shall so far as the law allows be vested with the
(i) Custodian of all Landed Property and Buildings of whatever tenure or description, of any School, College or Institution, which is designated as Celestial Church of Christ Institution and is within the Diocese.
(ii) Custodian of all other forms of Property, moveable or immovable, that is not herein afore-mentioned, as may belong to Celestial Church of Christ or to any of her Organisations or Schools or Colleges or other Institutions, provided such properties lie within the Diocese.
(iii) The sole authority to represent the Church in all matters of relationships between the Church and the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at all levels.
(iv) The sole authority to represent Celestial Church of Christ (Nigeria Diocese) in all matters of relationships between the Church on the one hand and other organisations and religious bodies on the other.
(v) Such other functions of a consultative, advisory, investigative, legislative and executive nature as the Pastor shall request of it from time to time in all matters relating to the Church.
147. The Board shall from time to time have the power to demand from the General Committee, or from any other ad-hoc Committee, from any officer or officers concerned with the Management or administration of property of Celestial Church of Christ, ad and every information or report that they may require relating to or concerning such Property deemed to have been vested in the Board by virtue of this Constitution or under any Act, Law or other enabling Authority.
148. The Board shall be empowered to demand from the General Committee, from the Honorary Treasurer to the General Committee, from any other Committees, or Sub-Committees, and from any other Officers concerned with the administration of Funds of Celestial Church of Christ, such information as the Board may from time to time require on the administration of Funds of a particular Committee, Sub-Committee, or other Organisation of Celestial Church of Christ. The Board may, if it so desires, order an investigation into the Finances of any Committee, Sub-Committee, or other Organisation of Celestial Church of Christ.
149. The Board may from time to time issue directives for the investment in any manner as the Board may consider necessary and adequate of the funds of any committee, Sub-Committee or other Organisation of Celestial Church of Christ. Such Financial directives from the Board shall always be binding.
150. The Board shall have authority to make such arrangements and give such directions as it thinks fit for the management and disposition of Church Property referred to it in Clause 146.
MEETINGS OF THE B0ARD OF TRUSTEES
151.The Board shall meet at such time and at such place as shall be determined by the Pastor, who has the sole authority to summon a meeting of the Board.
152l. In the absence of the Pastor. or where the Pastor is not available, and where it becomes necessary to convene a meeting of the Board, the Head of the Diocese (wherever possible with the consent of the
Pastor) may cause a meeting to be convened through the Secretary to the Board and in accordance with Clause 154 (iii) and (iv) hereunder.
153. Under the circumstances as set out in Clause 152 such a meeting is deemed to be "Emergency". Decisions taken at all such Emergency meetings of the Board shall only be valid after ratification by the Pastor in writing.
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
154. The Board shall appoint a Secretary from among its members. The Secretary to the Board shall by virtue of this Constitution be vested with the following:
(i) he shall hold Office until the Board otherwise directs;
(ii) lie shall act as Secretary at all times when the Board is holding a meeting in any capacity of its various functions as conferred upon it by this Constitution.
(iii) he shall send out circulars to convene a meeting of the Board and shall ensure the validity of such circulars by taking due care that they are signed by the Pastor;
( iv) agenda for discussion at a Board meeting shall be prepared by the Secretary after due consultation with the Pastor;
(v) in the absence of the Secretary, the Board may appoint a member from amongst its membership to act as Secretary for any particular meeting and for any specific period;
(vi) under such circumstances where the Secretary to the Board is absent or is unavailable, the Pastor may instruct another member to act in the capacity of Secretary and so send out circulars to convene a meeting subject to the provision of Clause (154(iii) and (iv) as enumerated above;
(vii) he shall perform such other functions as directed by the Board.
OFFICE OF TREASURER TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
155. The Board shall appoint a Treasurer from among its members. The Treasurer shall, by virtue of this Constitution, be vested with the following:
(i) he shall hold Office until the Board otherwise directs;
(ii) he shall collect and administer such funds of the Board as directed by the Board;
(iii) under the authority of the Board he shall carry out on behalf of the Board such duties relating to all aspects of the property and finances of the Celestial Church of Christ Nigeria Diocese of an advisory, consultative, investigative, legislative and executive nature as the Board shall direct;
(iv) he shall keep up-to-date and proper books of account of the finances of the Board and of such finances and property of Celestial Church of Christ Nigeria Diocese as the Board may direct;
(v) he shall perform such other duties as the Board shall direct from time to time;
(vi) whenever the Board so directs, he shall have an Assistant who shall act for him in his absence.
156. The overall machinery for the Government of Celestial Church of Christ, Nigeria Diocese, and for the direction of its affairs shall be vested in the Pastor-in-Council (hereafter referred to as "Council") which is under the ultimate authority of the Pastor.
COMPOSITION OF THE PASTOR-IN-COUNCIL
157.The members of the Pastor-in-Council shall consist of:
The Pastor (Chairman)
Head of the Diocese and his Deputy
Other members of the Board of Trustees
Such non-permanent members as the Pastor may from time to time ask to be co-opted.
FUNCTIONS OF THE PASTOR-IN-COUNCIL
158. The Pastor-in-Council, under the Pastor's authority and constituted in accordance with this Constitution, shall have the final directive on all Church matters relating to the Diocese, including:
(i) Custodianship of the Constitution of Celestial Church of Christ, Nigeria Diocese;
(ii) Amendment and Interpretation of the Constitution of the Church and ensuring its implementation and observation;
(iii) Custodianship of Church Laws and Rules;
(iv) Maintenance and Interpretation of Church Doctrine;
(v) Maintenance of Discipline;
vi.Publication of Gospel Diary, Almanacs, Hymn Books Calendars, Church Periodicals and all other Church Literature.
MEETINGS OF TRE PASTOR-IN-COUNCIL
159. The Council shall meet at such time and at such place as shall be determined by the Pastor, who has the sole authority to summon a meeting of the Council.
160. In the absence of the Pastor, or where the Pastor is not available, and, where it becomes necessary to convene a meeting of the Council, the Head of the Diocese (wherever possible with the consent of the Pastor) may cause a meeting to be convened through the Secretary to the Council and in accordance with Clause 162(iii) and (iv) hereunder.
16 I. Under the circumstances as set out in Clause 160 such a meeting is deemed to be "Emergency". Decisions taken at all such Emergency meetings of the Council shall only be valid after ratification by the Pastor in writing.
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY TO THE PASTOR-IN-COUNCIL
162. The Council shall appoint a Secretary from among its members. The Secretary to the Council shall by virtue of this Constitution be vested with the following:-
(i) he shall hold Office until the Council otherwise directs;
(ii) he shall act as Secretary at all times when the Council is holding a meeting in any capacity of its various functions as conferred upon it by this Constitution;
(iii) he shall send out Circulars to convene a meeting of the Council, and shall ensure the validity of such Circulars by taking due care that they are signed by the Pastor;
(iv) agenda for discussion at a Council meeting shall be prepared by the Secretary after due consultation with the Pastor;
(v) in the absence of the Secretary, the Council may appoint a member from amongst its membership to act as Secretary for any particular meeting and f6r any specific period;
(vi) under such circumstances where the Secretary to the Council is absent or is unavailable, the Pastor may instruct another member to act in the capacity of Secretary and so send out circulars to convene a meeting subject to the provision of Clause 162(iii) and (iv) as enumerated above;
(vii) he shall perform such other functions as directed by the Council.
OFFICE OF TREASURER TO THE PASTOR-IN-COUNCIL
163. The Council shall appoint a Treasurer from among its members. The Treasurer to the Council shall, by virtue of this Constitution, be vested with the following:-
(i) he shall hold Office until the Council otherwise directs;
(ii) he shall collect and administer such funds of the Council as the Council shall direct:
(iii) under the authority of the Council, he shall carry out on behalf of the Council such duties relating to the finances of Celestial Church of Christ Nigeria Diocese as the Council shall direct from time to time;
(iv) he shall keep up-to-date and proper books of accounts
of the finances of the Church;
(v) he shall perform such other duties as the Council shall direct from time to time;
(vi) whenever the Council so directs, he shall have an Assistant who shall act for him in his absence.
ESTABLISHMENT OF NEW PARISHES
164. Members intending for whatever reason to set up new parishes shall, AS THE VERY FIRST STEP, obtain IN WRITING, the approval of the Pastor who is vested with the sole and ultimate authority for the approval of the establishment of new parishes.
165. In the absence of the Pastor, however, the Head of the Diocese may give approval for the establishment of new parishes subject to ratification by the Pastor.
166. Production of evidence of purchase of land (that is, at least, a purchase receipt bearing the name of Celestial Church of Christ Nigeria Diocese or just Celestial Church of Christ) shall be a condition precedent to the granting of permission to establish a new parish.
167. Original purchase receipt in the case of land purchased for the Church or a deed of transfer to the Church in the case of land surrendered as a gift to the Church shall be submitted to the Board of Trustees who will make appropriate arrangement for its custody and safe keeping.
168. It shall be the duty of the Board of Trustees to make appropriate and exhaustive enquiries as to the genuineness of the title before accepting the same for its custody.
Prospective parishes shall ensure, however, that due care is taken in ascertaining the validity of vendors rights to the property on which it is proposed to build the new parish Church buildings.
D I S C I P L I N E
169. The Parochial Committee of each parish shall have the power to apply disciplinary measures in minor cases affecting their parishes.
170.Whenever it becomes necessary to apply sterner disciplinary action, the Parochial Committee concerned shall report the matter to:
(a) The Pastor
or (b) The
Head of the Diocese or, in his absence, his Deputy, or
(c) The Pastor-in-Council
The disciplinary action to be taken, while depending on the severity of the offence committed and on proven guilt, shall in these circumstances, always bear the ratification of the Pastor.
TAKE OVER OF CHURCHES OF OTHER DENOMINATIONS
171. The take-over of existing Churches of other Christian denominations by Celestial Church of Christ shall be accomplished only on the sole responsibility and authority of the Pastor.
172. Churches of other denominations wishing to change to Celestial Church of Christ shall intimate their wishes in writing to the Pastor through the Board of Trustees renouncing their former tenets and the regulations of their former Church and shall declare their resolve to embrace fully the tenets and regulations of Celestial Church of Christ as set out in its Constitution.
173. The Pastor may, if he so desires, order a full investigation of such a Church wishing to merge with Celestial Church of Christ. After conducting full investigation as desired by the Pastor, report will be forwarded to the Pastor through the Board of Trustees.
174. A Church which was already fully registered shall before merging into Celestial Church of Christ surrender its Certificate of Registration to the Board of Trustees. Such a Church shall also intimate its decision to merge into Celestial Church of Christ to the proper Government Agency responsible for this purpose.
175. In all cases, whether registered or unregistered, Churches wishing to merge into Celestial Church of Christ shall surrender to the Board of Trustees all landed property and building of whatever tenure or description belonging to it. These shall be vested in the Board of Trustees.
176. The Pastor may, after due consideration of all facts before him, decree on his sole responsibility and authority as follows:
(a) Reject the merger outright;
(b) Approve the merger with or without modifications to any or all the provisions above stated;
(c) where the Pastor's decision is as contained in Clause 176(b) above, the Pastor may
(i) order the closure of such an existing Church seeking merger into Celestial Church of Christ while directing all its members to nearby established parishes of Celestial Church of Christ
or (ii) allow the Church taken over to remain and function
as a parish within the provisions of this Constitution. In instances as contained in Clause 176(b) above, procedures to be adopted shall include any or all of the following.--
(1) Baptism as necessary (Acts 19:1-6);
(2) Modification to existing Church building structure , if necessary-,
(3) Rededication and sanctification of existing Church building that is being taken over;
(4) Appointment of a Pastor's Representative to the new parish.
177. To conform with the Revelation made by the Holy Spirit, the Altar area within all Church building of' Celestial Church of Christ shall be rectangular in shape and shall face EAST. The alter shall be cut off from the rest of the Church by a handrailing extending along the full width of the Church.
178. The inner altar shall be demarcated by low handrailing with a single central entrance; the seating arrangement within the inner altar apart from the Table and High Altar shall comprise the chairs of the Pastor Founder on the right (facing the altar) close to the wall and that of the Supreme Evangelist A. A. BADA on the left further away from the wall, both chairs being unequal in size. The arrangement is modelled on what obtains at the Supreme Headquarters Church in Porto Novo.
179. Subject to full compliance with the above specific requirements, variety in the architectural/structural designs of Church Buildings is allowed.
180. All Church property at a parish such as land, money, and musical instruments and other materials and things used for glorifying God, belong not to any individual or group of persons, nor are they things which a group of people can share among themselves or their family. In this connection, it is hereby emphasised that all properties of the Church should be registered and retained in the name of the Celestial Church of Christ.
181. Property acquired for specific Church use must be reserved only for that purpose. Any parish which for one reason or the other is closed down must send all its property to Headquarters to further the work of God. Anybody or parish which flouts this regulations and proceeds to share Church property as forbidden is liable to prosecution by the Law.
182. Pastor's share is that from which the Pastor, Supreme Evangelist, Superior Senior Evangelist, Senior Evangelist, Evangelist, Assistant Evangelists and all other full time Church workers receive their stipends. These stipends, not being fixed amounts, are not salaries but shares of the monthly takings (Malachi 3:8-12; Numbers 18:8-26; 1 Corinthians 9:13 & 14, 16:1-3).
FINAL AUTHORITY IN INTERPRETATION OF THE CONSTITUTION
183. The Pastor-in-Council under the ultimate authority of the Pastor, shall be responsible for the interpretation of the Doctrinal Standards of the Church, and all matters relating to any question of interpretation, construction, intendment, or validity or any of the provision of this Constitution, and of its Regulative Procedures, including any regulations, directives, resolutions or orders made by it relating thereto, subject always however to the provisions of Clause 161.
PROCEDURE FOR ALTERING THE CONSTITUTION
184. The Pastor, by himself or on the recommendation of the Pastor-in-Council, may revoke, alter or add to any of the provisions of this Constitution.
RANKS AND ROBES
185. Celestial Church of Christ has a hierarchy in which the different ranks are distinguished by the robes worn. Members shall adhere strictly to the provision relating to seniority, robes and ranks as contained in the Church publication "ORDER OF SENIORITY AND PROMOTION AND DRESSING RANK BY RANK" together with the accompanying chart and drawings of robe.
186. Normally, the highest rank in the hierarchy of the Church to which members may be elevated by promotion is that of the corresponding ranks of Superior Senior Leader, Superior Senior Wolida and Superior Senior Elder. Consequently, those who have attained these ranks should not expect automatic promotion to the higher ranks of Assistant Evangelist and above whether or not they are full time Church Workers.
187. Where vacancies occur in the higher ranks of Assistant Evangelist and above, selection from the corresponding ranks of Superior Senior Leader, Superior Senior Wolida and Superior Senior Elder shall be made after serious consideration as to the suitability of the respective candidates by the Pastor assisted, if necessary, by a special committee of the Pastor-in-Council.
188. The Pastor, in whom resides all authority in the Church, may at his sole discretion 'make direct appointments to any rank including that of Assistant Evangelist, Evangelist and above.
ROLE OF FEMALE MEMBERS
189. For emphasis, it is repeated here that female members during menstruation are not allowed to come within the precincts of the Church until after their sanctification after seven clear days; and where the' menstruation extends beyond seven days, two
clear days should be allowed for after stoppage before sanctification. (Lev. 15:19; Matt 5:17-19).19).
190. In Celestial Church of Christ, women are not permitted to preach the sermon or read the lesson or make announcements during Church devotional services. Indeed, they are not allowed to perform any spiritual functions connected with conducting of services in the Church other than saying the prayers when asked and reading portions of the Bible quoted by' the preacher.
191. In Celestial Church of Christ, under no circumstances shall women say the grace during devotional services or lead men in prayers. This is in accordance with St. Paul's injunction (1 Cor. 14:34-35; Gen. 3:16).
192. But outside the Church amongst a congregation of women and in outdoor preaching, female members may perform spiritual functions of preaching.
193. Female members are not permitted within the precincts of the Church until forty-one days after child birth when they are obliged to go to Church for thanksgiving.
194.Female members in their period after eight days shall go to the Church for sanctification in the prescribed manner before entering the Church. The process of sanctification in this regard shall be as follows:
the female member concerned shall come to the Church premises with a pail of water, candle, sponge and soap. She shall kneel at the Western entrance outside the Church building facing the altar before the Pastor's Representative or his appointees and shall hold her candle with the pail of water, sponge and soap in front of her. The Pastor's Representative or his appointee shall light the candle and, after singing appropriate spiritual songs, he shall say a prayer of forgiveness and sanctification. After this, he shall put the candle in the pail of water and the female member shall go and have a bath with the water, sponge and soap. She is now free to enter the Church.
This process of sanctification shall not be confused with the normal one obligatory to all members, male and female, on entering the Church by any of the entrances when they should dip their hands in the Holy water by the side of the door and make the sign of the cross before entering the Church.
195. Celestial Church of Christ respects marriages solemnised in holy wedlock in accordance with covenants entered into between husband and wife before God at His Holy Altar.
196. All marriages in holy wedlock solemnised in other Christian churches are recognised by Celestial Church of Christ. All vows made at such Christian are recognised by, Celestial Church of Christ as inviolate because anyone who covenants with God but fails to honour it sins before God (Ecc. 5:4-6).
197.All marriages solemnised in Celestial Church of Christ shall be in accordance with the Marriage Act under which our Church is licensed.
198. Anointment is a spiritual act whose raison dętre dates back to the fall of ADAM. Following that fall and the subsequent destruction of the world by water during the time of NOAH , God sought to give through MOSES the ten Commandments regulating human conduct to the people of Israel and the world. While MOSES was away communing with God to receive the commandments, AARON sinned by erecting graven images for the people to worship. When MOSES saw this on his return, he was so annoyed that he broke the tablet; but he subsequently entreated God on Aarons behalf. God then said that if Aarons' sin 'was to be wiped out, he, MOSES, would have to anoint him with oil. This MOSES did and so AARON became the first man to be anointed. After his anointment, he was renamed LEVI. He thus started the anointment which all "sons of LEVI" followed.
Again, when the people of Israel asked for a King like other tribes, GOD was pleased with their
request. He chose SAUL for them and SAUL's anointment marked his coronation. But when SAUL
disobeyed God's word just as ADAM had done, he lost the support of God and, therefore, the crown
(1 Samuel 15: I - end).
God chose DAVID and he was anointed King to replace SAUL (1 Samuel 16: 11 - 13). Similarly the anointment of SOLOMON settled the rivalry between him and ADONIJAH as to who should succeed DAVID as King. All subsequent Kings of Israel were similarly anointed.
With regard to our Lord JESUS CHRIST, His uniqueness had been foretold in the Old Testament (Isaiah 7: 14 - 15) where He was referred to as "EMMANUEL", meaning "God is with us". His two names, JESUS CHRIST, define two different aspects of HIM. JESUS means "SAVIOUR" while CHRIST means "the ONE who is anointed KING from his mother's womb". (Luke 1: 30 - 33; 2:11). It was the name CHRIST that most worried Herod. He, Herod, had been anointed King like those before him, but it seemed to him that, by the very definition of the word CHRIST, this new born baby had been anointed King even before He was born. (Matt. 2: 1 - 5 and : 6).
It is this spiritual act of anointment that Celestial Church inherited gloriously by grace. Anointment after baptism in Church of Christ is very important. The ceremony of anointment is performed only by the Pastor usually once a Year during the Christmas/New Year period.
199. Significance of anointment in Celestial Church of Christ.
Early in the life of Celestial Church of Christ on earth, the Pastor made a supplication (which was granted) that God should allow that those anointed by him should be endowed with a portion of the power (Holy Spirit) given to him so as to foster in his absence the power and glory of God (Numbers 11: 16 & 17). This is manifested by the fact that whenever an anointed person prays unto God for any specific purpose, the Holy Spirit, in recognition of the mark of anointment on the supplicant, will descend to fulfil that request and then leave (Numbers I 1: 24 & 25). This is different in character from that which permanently resides in God-sent messengers like Moses, Elijah, Elisha, the Pastor Founder S. B. J. Oshoffa etc.
PRECEDENCE OF MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
200. Members of the Board of Trustees are SEVEN in number, four of whom (listed last in clause 145 above) are not full time Church workers. These four, however, have already long attained the rank of full EVANGELIST and will have the insignia of their special position as members of the Board of Trustees displayed on them. These four will take precedence at all times over all Church members who were appointed Assistant Evangelist and Evangelist during the anointing period 1979/1980; that means that, in filing into or out of the Church or any assembly for services, these four members of the Board of Trustees shall file behind all Assistant Evangelists and Evangelists. Only those just appointed Senior Evangelists in 1979/1980 shall file behind these four members of the Board of Trustees.
LIST OF PERSONS RAISED FROM THE DEAD BY CHRIST THROUGH REV. S. B. J. OSHOFFA
In Republic of Benin
1. KUDIHO in Agange, via Porto Novo
2. AWUYON GUTON in Porto Novo
3. ABRAHAM ZANUTE in Agange .
4. TINAVIE, daughter-in-law of HUASU KUWAKAMU
5. Daughter of JOSEPH ZEVUNNU in Gavie
6. MOSES AFOYAN
7. Daughter of ANDRE YE in Shamwe, Toffin.
8. JOSEPH AWHANGBE, a son of Senior Leader MATTE GUGBE.
1. HUNSU (7 year old boy) at Makoko, Lagos
2. THERESA at Makoko, Lagos
3. OLUSOLA at Makoko, Lagos
4. Son of OYEDEJI in Abeokuta
5. Leader (Now late Evangelist) R. A. COLE in Abeokuta
6.Elder (later Senior Leader) LADIPO at Yemetu, Ibadan.
The above List is by no means exhaustive. Many more persons have been and continue to be raised from the dead by Christ through Rev. S. B. J. Oshoffa since the last of the above List occurred. Glory be to God on High. Halleluyah.
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