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Civil war, military era blamed for nationís woes

BY THOMAS UYENSE, October 24, 2003

Lagos State Commissioner for Civil Service Commission Adekunle Oyebola has said that the innocent blood shed during the Nigeria civil war and military interruption in politics were responsible for the many woes of the nation today.

Speaking at a media, conference and launch of Liberation 2003 crusade of the Celestial Church of Christ, Orisun Abiye Parish, Ogba, in Lagos, Oyebola noted that what the country witnessed today was designed by God to teach the leaders in this nation a lesson that no individual had the right to take another personís life.

The commissioner, who doubled as the chairman and special guest of honour on the occasion, remarked that the only option left for Nigerians was to repent and seek Godís forgiveness.

While commenting on the theme of the crusade, Double Restoration, billed to start on October 28 the co-ordinator of the crusade, Omololu Oladosu, said God was going to use the event to restore blessing to Nigeria in general and Lagos State in particular, adding that the Lord allowed the second coming of President Olusegun Obasanjo in office, to restore double blessing to the nation, which he said was lost due to bad leadership in the country.

Oladosu called on Nigerians to be patient with the President on his policies and programmes, adding that the policies and programmes, if well executed were capable of turning the depressed economy round.

 

Stafford may halt spread of churches

Mayor says move is economic

By RICHARD STEWART and DANNY PEREZ
Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle, Oct. 25, 2003, 1:24AM
 

STAFFORD -- This city has 55 religious institutions over seven square miles, and local leaders say enough is enough.

"Nobody wants to send a message that we're against religion because we're not," said Leonard Scarcella, who has been mayor for 34 years.

Yet Stafford's City Council is considering a zoning ordinance that would ban construction of new religious buildings or expansion of old ones in about half of the city. Congregations would have to get specific use permits from the council to build or expand in the city's other half.

Scarcella said the problem is that the churches are in danger of taking the place of other establishments. Unlike most cities, Stafford has no property tax. Instead, it relies on sales taxes, franchise taxes and other fees for the city's funds. Churches don't produce sales taxes.

The mayor said 16 of the religious institutions are now in the zone where they would be prohibited from expanding.

At least one minister said all cities, including Stafford, should try to get more churches.

"People need a place to worship," said the Rev. Peter Tuck Soon Leong, pastor of Stafford's Chinese Baptist Church. "They shouldn't restrict us."

The issue of the overabundance of churches, mosques, temples and other institutions came up last summer when some of the city's more than 15,000 residents started saying the city needed to include churches in zoning ordinances. Stafford first started zoning property use in 1997 because residents were concerned that there were too many used car lots in town.

Now, the city averages one religious institution for every eight acres, Scarcella said.

Several that have located in Stafford have done so in just the last few years. And many members of congregations travel from outside of the city to attend services.

"We welcome them here," Scarcella said. "A lot of them visit our restaurants and other businesses while they are here."

The zoning issue has percolated in other cities. For example, a church intent on moving to a South San Jose, Calif., technology park has drawn opposition from city officials who want the area reserved for new businesses.

Stafford's zoning issue has come up in two public hearings already and will probably be considered in at least one more next month. At the earliest, Scarcella said, the ordinance would take effect early next year.

 

The mayor said similar ordinances have been enacted in other cities and are legal.

But others disagree.

"People should have freedom to set up churches. It is their religious freedom," said Daniel Teng, a worshipper at Houston's Evangelical Formosan Church.

There also has been some opposition, the mayor admits, from other quarters.

"Developers opposed it because they wanted to rent storefront facilities to church groups," Scarcella said. "With the economy the way it is, they were eager to rent their property to whoever they could."

A storefront ministry usually either quickly dies out or grows so much that a larger facility is needed, Scarcella said.

The Rev. James Akindude, pastor of Celestial Church of Christ, Stafford Parish, said, "They should not limit churches because we need more churches than nightclubs and strip joints. The establishment of churches really contributes to moral consciousness of society."

At a Stafford restaurant, Delores Morant, 52, said, "I stand up as an ambassador of God. No matter what part of the city, we need a higher being. We need some direction."

Leong said his own church started as a mission of Houston's Westbury Baptist Church. The congregation bought 11 acres of land in Stafford about seven years ago and built a church there because the property was affordable.

"Now we're too crowded," he said. The church plans to begin construction of a $1.3 million family life center around the first of the year and hopes to build an even larger worship center after that, Leong said.

Worshipers come from a widespread area of Fort Bend and Harris counties. "We have services in Chinese and English, and a lot of our members are Hispanic," he said.

Scarcella said several other groups are embarking on even more ambitious projects. Hindus are spending $100 million on a temple. Not only are the craftsmen from India, but the building stone is as well.

Buddhists have begun construction on a 70-acre complex that is in the restricted area, Scarcella said. "These are really wonderful people."

The mayor said the ordinance is not aimed at any particular institution.

Facilities already built or that have permits to build will be grandfathered in under the proposed ordinance, the mayor said.

Oddly enough, when Scarcella's own church, Holy Family Catholic Church, needed to expand almost 30 years ago, it moved from Stafford to Missouri City. Now the mayor crosses the city line to attend church.

 

 

KHOU-Channel 11 contributed information for the origination of this story.

 

Celestial Church: Oschoffa Renews Call for Peace

Yemi Akinsuyi, Lagos

Reverend Emmanuel Oschoffa, the acclaimed leader of the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), worldwide, has renewed his call for peace among all aggrieved factions within the church, for the sake of progress.

He made the call at a media briefing at the international headquarters of the church in Ketu, Lagos, which was attended by leaders of the church, while reacting to the recent proclamation by another faction of the church under the leadership of late Pastor Gilbert Jesse, who died on Tuesday, October 7, 2003.

Jesse's group had earlier held an international conference on Wednesday, October 8, 2003, where they announced the death of their leader and renewed their declaration of Jesse as the world-wide leader of the church, despite his demise.

Before Jesse's death, both factions had differed on their choice of leadership of the church, a matter which went to court in August 2001, and was yet to be resolved before Jesse gave up the ghost after a protracted illness. The matter is still pending in court.

Reverend Oschoffa, who prayed that Jesse's soul may rest in peace, declared that the Celestial Church was one and that the unity of the church is paramount. He further called on all the warring factions to return home and accept his leadership so that they will not be lost and the church can go on to greater things.

"As a man of peace, I believe in dialogue, and I made a last call to this effect on August 3, during the world harvest day celebrations. There all aggrieved factions, including Jesse's were given three months to return to the central church, an ultimatum which expires in early November. So far, no hand of fellowship has been extended from the leaders of the other faction, though some of their parishes are back under the Ketu headquarters", he said.

"Reconciliation is not easy, but we are all children of God and Jesus Christ. We must worship God in perfect peace and love. The international headquarters of the church is here in Ketu, the national headquarters is at Makoko, while the world headquarters is at Imeko, Ogun State", he stated.

Oschoffa, who incidentally is blind, claimed his group has greater reach than Jesse's faction, both nationally and internationally, and called on those belonging to Jesse's faction to come back to the church in this time. He then prayed for peace and progress in the nation, and wisdom for the government in power to be able to rule the people successfully.

Concerning the court case and the need to withdraw it in the interest of peace and reconciliation among all factions, the Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the Church, Evangelist Oluremi Ogunlesi replied that the board would meet and come out with a decision on the matter.

Cele: Maforikan succeeds Jesse

BY BISI ERETAN

DEPUTY Pastor, Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) World-wide, Superior Evangelist Paul Suru Maforikan, has been appointed the new Spiritual Head of the church.

His endorsement on Wednesday after an extra-ordinary general meeting of the Council of Superiors of CCC Worldwide followed the demise on Tuesday of the former Spiritual Head, Reverend Pastor Gilbert Oluwatosin Jesse.

There had been speculations in the past three weeks of the true state of health of Jesse, who was only recently flown abroad for medical check-up and on return was said to be convalescing at the home of another Senior Pastor at the Egbeda area of Lagos where he died.

A terse statement issued after the meeting of the council of superiors said:

∑ whereas the position of Pastor, Celestial Church of Christ, World-wide has been made vacant by the demise of our beloved Reverend Pastor Gilbert Oluwatosin Jesse, who was called to the great beyond.

∑ And, because of the prevailing circumstances in the Celestial fold world-wide, the seat of the Pastor cannot be left vacant for too long.

∑ It is hereby resolved that the incumbent Deputy Pastor, Superior Evangelist, Prophet (Dr.) Paul Suru Maforikan is hereby declared the Pastor, Spiritual Head, Celestial Church of Christ World-wide.

The communique was signed by 10 members of the council which include the Head of Nigeria Diocese, Chairman, Council of Clergy and Secretary General World-wide.

Bilewu Oshoffa Launches 1st CD in Atlanta on April 27th!

Join Bilewu Oshoffa Parish in Atlanta for the launching of their 1st CD.  The title of the CD is "God With Us (Oluwa Wa Pelu Wa).  Shepherd and composer of the CD is Senior Evangelist Sammy "Meje" Bakare.  For further information, you can reach the parish at sammy7799@yahoo.com

Envoy, Oschoffa Predict Peaceful Polls, This Day, Jan 17, 2003
By Eddy Odivwri
 

Buoyed by the peaceful conduct of the just concluded primaries of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Ignatius Ajuru, the Nigerian ambassador to Gabon, and leader of the Celestial Church of Christ, Evangelist Emmanuel Oschoffa have predicted that the general elections in the country will be peaceful contrary to fears being expressed in some quarters including the international community that the general elections next April will be marred with violence and chaos,

Ajuru who spoke with THISDAY noted that "the agents of doom who have been predicting that he general elections will be doomed will be disgraced at the end of the day, if all the parties will follow the standard set by the PDP in the conduct of peaceful and transparent primaries."

He explained that if the way and manner the PDP primaries were conducted are upheld in the general elections, "then we are on our way to joining the civilized democratic countries."

Oschoffa, the blind son of the late founder of the Celestial Church of Christ World- wide, Prophet Samuel Bilewu Oschoffa, who was recently appointed as the spiritual head of the religious organisation under allegedly controversial circumstances, also prayed that peace would reign in the nation.

The leader revealed this in a discussion with newsmen in Lagos yesterday, ahead of the world meeting of all the parish shepherds of the church, which he called to unveil his plans and projects for the church in the new year. According to him, "Only God knows whether the incumbent President will still be there, but surely there would be a peaceful transition".

Congrats, S/E Olubayo Olasokan is our visitor number 18,000!

January 22, 2003

As evidenced in the screen snapshot sent in by Senior Evangelist Olubayo Olasokan of New York Parish, he is our lucky visitor number 18,000.  This milestone was achieved sometimes early December 2002!  We thank you for your support of this website and we pray that God protects, blesses and guides you and your loved ones (Amen).

New York District Celebrates 25th Anniversary

With Revival, Dinner, Awards, Women's Night, Thanksgiving Service, and more...

Event Dates: February 12 - 16, 2003

Dear Brethren,

Calvary greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Shepherds rarely get together to discuss what God is doing for their congregation.  This is not because of unwillingness to develop and cultivate relationships that will strengthen their respective parishes.  More often, it is the heavy demands of the ministry and other pastoral responsibilities that make it difficult.  God is a common denominator among all Celestians regardless of parish affiliation or location.  We believe that it is good for us to know each other much better, and to celebrate together.  So, we would like to seize this opportunity to invite you and your congregation to our 25th Anniversary Celebrations in February 2003.  The events include:

  1. Three Days of Revival Services (February 12 - 14, 2003) featuring notable men of God from across the country.  See attached schedule.
  2. Awards, Women's Night, and Dinner at the Holiday Inn at JFK, Queens, New York on Saturday February 15, 2003.
  3. Thanksgiving Service at Celestial Church of Christ, 1380 Jefferson Avenue, Brooklyn, NY  11237 on Sunday February 16, 2003.

LOCATION OF EVENTS ARE AS FOLLOWS

  • Wednesday, February 12, 2003
    Celestial Church of Christ
    Queens Parish, 310 Elton Street, Cyprus Hill, NY 11208
    (Between Glennmore & Liberty Avenues)
    (718) 647-2356
  • Thursday, February 13, 2003
    Celestial Church of Christ
    Ileri Oluwa Parish
    138 Waverly Avenue, Brooklyn, NY  11205
    (Between Park & Myrtle Avenues)
    (718) 624-8758
  • Friday, February 14, 2003
    Celestial Church of Christ
    New York Parish
    1380 Jefferson Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237
    (Between Knickerbocker & Irving Avenues)
    (718) 366-9016
  • Saturday, February 15, 2003
    Dinner & Award Nights at Holliday Inn (JFK)
  • Sunday, February 16, 2003
    Thanksgiving Service at Celestial Church of Christ, New York Parish
    1380 Jefferson Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237
    (Between Knickerbocker & Irving Avenues)
    (718) 366-9016

We recognize that you have a very busy schedule, but we would make necessary arrangements that will make your attendance in any of the above events as convenient as possible.  We would appreciate a response whether or not you accept our invitation by calling our Secretary at (718) 269-3622 or by email to bolajijames@hotmail.com or the Anniversary Coordinator at (347) 837-6523.

Looking forward to hearing from you.  God bles you.  Amen.

Yours in the Lord

Ldr. Bolaji James                                    Sr. Evang. Edward Emono
Assistant Secretary                                  Chief Coordinator
Anniversary Committee                            Anniversary Committee

 

Rev. Emmanuel Oschoffa Appointed as Pastor, C.C.C. Worldwide!!!

PRESSE STATEMENT OF THE PASTORAL-IN-COUNCIL
AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE HELD ON THURSDAY 2nd JANUARY 2003 AT THE
INTERNATIONAL HEADQUARTERS, KETU, LAGOS STATE, NIGERIA

APPOINTMENT OF REVEREND EMMANUEL OSCHOFFA AS PASTOR OF CELESTIAL CHURCH
OF CHRIST WORLDWIDE
IN SUCCESSION TO REVEREND PHILIP HUNSU AJOSE OF BLESSED MEMORY.

The Constitution of Celestial Church of Christ provide that the Pastor of
Celestial Church of Christ worldwide (i.e. the sole Head of the Church
worldwide) shall be chosen by the Holy Spirit of God and that the
erstwhile incumbent of the post of Pastor shall name his successor as
Pastor.

However, Reverend Philip Hunsu Ajose of blessed memory, the last Pastor
of Celestial church of Christ, died suddenly on 2nd March 2001 without
naming his successor. There was alternative, therefore, but to wait upon
the Lord to reveal unmistakably His choice as Pastor so that the
remaining members of the Pastor-in-Council can then perform their
constitutional duty of legally appointing Godís choice.

In obedience to spiritual injunction; members of Celestial Church of
Christ Worldwide were assembled at the Holy Land at Imeko for prayers and
fasting beginning at 6:00 am on Saturday 28th September and ending on
Saturday 29th 2002 with the Founderís Day Remembrance Service. Almighty
God promise in the spiritual injunction that he would show us the way
forward. Forty-three Spiritual messages from different Prophets and
Prophetesses present were recorded.

The Pastor-in-Council, the highest ruling Body of Celestial Church of
Christ, Worldwide, met on October 1st 2002 and appointed a Committee of
Prophets/Prophetesses to screen the messages and identify any clear
message about the way forward and, in particular, about Godís Choice as
Pastor.

The Committee came out with a clear message that Godís choice as Pastor
was SUPERIOR EVANGELIST EMMANUEL OSCHOFFA, who was then the Head of
Diocese of Celestial Church of Christ, France where he was living.

Whereupon, the Pastor-in-Council met at the Celestial Holy City, Imeko,
Ogun State, Nigeria on Tuesday 24th December 2002 and appointed him
(Superior Evangelist Emmanuel Oschoffa) as Pastor of Celestial Church of
Christ Worldwide. He has therefore been appointed and installed as
REVEREND EMMANUEL OSCHOFFA, PASTOR OF CELESTIAL CHURCH OF CHRIST
WORLDWIDE with effect from 24th December 2002. He therefore automatically
became the permanent Chairman of the Pastor-in-Council, the highest
ruling body of Celestial Church of Christ Worldwide. His proclamation was
made during the Christmas Day Service. A copy of the Proclamation is
attached.

Reverend Emmanuel Oschoffa is the eldest son of the Pastor Prophet
Founder of celestial Church Christ Worldwide Reverend Samuel B. J.
Oschoffa of blessed memory. He was born on Christmas Day (25th December)
1948 at Porto Novo, republic of Benin. He had his elementary and
secondary education in Republic of benin and his post secondary education
in Paris, France where he qualified as a civil engineer. He has lived in
France since 1968.

Celestial Church of Christ came into the world through his father on
September 29th 1947. It is therefore hardly surprising that right from
his birth and childhood, he has under the strong influence of the Church.
Consequently he received anointment as Leader from his father in 1964. It
is not surprising that he soon answered the call to serve the Lord and
minister to His people in the Church on a full time basis. He rose up in
the hierarchy to become the Head of Diocese of France in Celestial Church
of Christ. Reverend Pastor Philip Hunsu Ajose anointed him Superior
Evangelist in December 2002.

He speaks Yoruba, Egun, French, and some Spanish. He is married with
children. Glory be to God on high. HalleluyahÖ.

Board of Trustees / Pastor-in-Council
Celestial Church of Christ Worldwide.

Senior Evangelist Oluremi Olusoga Ogunlesi
Secretary

Celestial Church Gets New Leader, Rejects Founder's Son

This Day (Lagos)

January 1, 2003

Posted to the web January 2, 2003

Mary Ekah

Lagos

The controversy over the appointment of Emmanuel Oschoffa, son of the Pastor and founder of Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) the late Pastor S.B.J Oschoffa, as the spiritual head of the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) worldwide took another dimension as the most senior in the hierarchy of the Church, Reverend Superior Evangelist Gilbert Oluwatosin Jesse, was formally declared the accepted spiritual head of religious body worldwide.

The declaration was made at a press briefing attended by all the superior evangelists, heads of dioceses, state evangelists, shepherds and members of CCC yesterday at the CCC Tejuosho Parish in Lagos.

The Nigerian Diocese Pastor's Representatives Council, represented by the Chairman, Shepherds Council, Senior Evangelist Lagun Adesanya, said after due consultation with members of CCC worldwide and after thorough review of the affairs of the church, it was agreed that Jesse be appointed the spiritual head of CCC worldwide. Adesanya said Jesse was highly respectable and generally accepted to all members worldwide as the Pastor of CCC worldwide.

The development was sequel to the disagreement with the appointment of Oschoffa as spiritual head of the Church by the three ex-trustees at a meeting in Imeko, Ogun State on Christmas Day.

Adesanya said that all the shepherds, church workers and entire members of the CCC in Lagos State were solidly behind Jesse as the pastor and spiritual head of CCC worldwide, while they rejected Oschoffa in totality.

He said those behind the appointment of Oschoffa as the spiritual head worldwide are out to divide the church and the family of Oschoffa as they did it without the knowledge of the late founder's family.

"Beloved shepherds and members, these men and their agents must not be allowed in your various parishes, chase them out, disgrace them anywhere you see them", he said.

It was also said that Oschoffa (Jnr) was rejected on the ground that he was never a member of CCC while his father was alive as he did not believe in the principle of his father and the doctrine of the church.

 

Confusion as Celestial Church's cleric, Jesse, claims leadership, The Guardian, Jan 2, 2003

THE last may not have been heard yet in the lingering crisis rocking the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) as its leader in Nigeria, the Rev. Gilbert Jesse, was on Tuesday appointed pastor and the church's worldwide leader in Lagos.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr. Emmanuel Oschoffa, a senior evangelist and son of CCC's founding pastor, S.B.J. Oschoffa, had also been appointed as the church's worldwide leader on December 25, 2002 by the board of trustees.

Addressing a news conference at the Tejuosho branch of the church in Lagos, the Chairman of the CCC's Shepherds Council, Snr. Evangelist Lagun Adesanya, said Jesse's appointment was made at a meeting of the Lagos Council of Shepherds.

The council comprises superior evangelists, heads of dioceses, state evangelists, shepherds and members of the church.

Adesanya said the meeting, which held on Monday, came after due consultation with members of the church worldwide and a review of the church's affairs.

He said the installation of Oschoffa, as the spiritual head by some members of the church's board of trustees, was not in line with the faith and state of affairs of the church.

In his remark, Jesse said his appointment by the church superseded all other appointments.

"The board of trustees are not our enemy. If they come to us, we would welcome them and add more people to the board and work together for the peace of the church," he said.

He stated that the cases in court concerning the leadership tussle would soon be resolved now that he had been appointed.

"The late Pastor A.A. Bada appointed Pastor Ajose as the next in command and I as the second person, but now that Ajose is dead, it should automatically become my turn," Jesse explained.

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