•Reveals What To Expect At The 85th Edition
There are some churches in Nigeria and Africa, with ties to Western Orthodox Churches. Then, there are some that are authentically African. Long before ‘Americanised’ styled churches that are all over Nigeria now – the white Garment Churches like ALADURA, Cherubim & Seraphim and Celestial reigned supreme. It will be a thing of marvel that a few are almost a century in existence. Indeed, The Church Of The Lord Worldwide is one of them, as it is set to mark 85 years of its annual prayer convention, popularly known as the Tabieorar Festival.
Interestingly, the Church, with a global reach, long before any Nigerian indigenous church had branches abroad, hardly courts publicity. For instance, The Church of the Lord is the first African Church to be established in Europe.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER – Some of the African Prophets responsible for African Initiatives in Christianity:
1) Prophet Harris, The “Black Elijah” of West Africa offers the only comprehensive study of the thought of WILLIAM WADE HARRIS, the Glebo (Liberian) loyalist whose prophetic mission from 1910 – 1929 moved tens of thousand. William Wadé Harris (1860 – 1929) was a Liberian Grebo evangelist who started his ministry in Ivory Coast died in 1929.
2) In 1918, an Anglican lay leader JOSEPH SHADARE (d. 1962) in the southwest of Nigeria formed a prayer group with Sophia Odunlami, a schoolteacher, both of whom had experienced dreams visions calling them to respond to an influenza epidemic in the region. The Precious Stone Society was established. HE started his mission in 1918 and died in 1962.
3) Kimbanguism is a Christian new religious movement professed by the Church of Jesus Christ on Earth by His special envoy SIMON KIMBANGU, founded by Simon Kimbangu in the Belgian Congo (today: the Democratic Republic of the Congo). He started his mission in 1921 and died in 1951.
4) JOSIAH OLUNOWO OSITELU a Nigerian from the South-West started his ministry on the 17th May, 1925 – The Church of the Lord (Aladura) and died on the 12th of July, 1966.
5) MOSES TUNUOLASE ORIMOLADE a Nigerian from the South-West started his ministry – Cherubim & Seraphim Church with Christiana Abiodun on the 11th of September, 1925 and died in 1933.
6) SAMUEL BILEWU JOSEPH OSHOFFA was the founder of the Celestial Church of Christ. He founded the church in 1947 near Porto-Novo in Benin Republic. The church now has its main offices in Bénin Republic and Nigeria. He died in 1985.
Last week, some groups of journalist spoke to Primate of the Church, His Holiness, The Most Revd. Dr. Rufus Okikiola Ositelu in a very rare interview.
He was so gracious to grant us an audience just hours before he ascended the Holy Mount Tabieorar, which will see him having limited contact with the outside world to observe 13 days of white fast, which will culminate in the TABIEORAR Grand Finale on the 22nd of August 2021. It’s going to be a big gathering, in its 85th year, with hundreds of thousands attending, at the headquarters of the Church at Km 60, Ogere Remo, along the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway, Ogun State. Below are excerpts of the interview.
Kindly tell us about Primate Ositelu?
By the grace of God, I am His Holiness, The Most Rev. Dr. Rufus Okikiola Olubiyi Ositelu (Phd Computer Science & Phd Religious Studies) The ALADURA Patriarch and primate of THE CHURCH OF THE LORD Worldwide.
The church of Lord has had 3 elders or founders. Your late father, OSITELU, Adejobi and Oduwole. Many worshippers knew Adejobi, but the younger ones don’t know the others. Kindly tell us about them.
First and foremost, there were no founding fathers, but only the only one Founder and 1st Primate Primate – Prophet & General Superintendent Most Rev. Dr. Josiah Olunowo Ositelu.
The truth about the history of the 3 elders is this, Apostle Oduwole was not born, when Ositelu founded the church. The church was founded in 1925 and Late Primate Adejobi joined the mission in 1940. The truth is that the 2 men were very great people and they performed wonderfully well during their time and their names cannot be forgotten in the history of the church.
The 2 men of God were sent abroad by my late father, Primate Josiah Olunowo Ositelu on missionary assignments to Sierra Leone and Liberia respectfully. Both of them did very well home and abroad. Late Adejobi pioneered the church in Sierra Leone and late Apostle Oduwole pioneered the church in Liberia. Both of them went together on the same ship as directed by their mentor – Ositelu.
They both journeyed together to Freetown, Sierra Leone and Oduwole, after 2 weeks, continued his journey to Monrovia, Liberia.
Virtually all extended members of your family were involved in the church years after it was founded, do you think it helped in keeping the legacy of the founder and the expansion of the church?
By the Grace of God, it has helped the Church to grow spiritually, physically and materially.
The pilgrims to this year’s Tabieorar Festival will as usual receive Victory, Breakthrough, Overflowing Blessings.