By Sam Eyoboka & Olayinka Latona
THE 64th Annual Convention of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, which began on Monday, August 1, came to a spectacular end last Sunday with the ordination of 867 pastors to swell the number of ministers ordained during the convention to 10,852. Theme of the convention was AMEN!
After the ordination service came the farewell service which featured the General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, his wife, Pastor (Mrs.) Foluke Adeboye, their biological children and grand children as well as other relations thanking God for the success of the programme.
Adeboye and his family went on their knees while one of the earliest leaders of the RCCG and retired member of the Governing Council of the church, 92-year-old Pastor J.H. Abiona, Adeboye’s deputy since 1981 when the latter took over the mantle of leadership of the church, prayed for them.
Abiona also prayed for three sets of ministers – pastors ordained in 1986, 1996, 2006—which included Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as they filed out for their special thanksgiving for the Lord’s provision since their commission.
Thereafter, Adeboye, dressed in white suit, came back to pronounce his end-of-convention blessings, declaring that many people had earlier expressed concern before the convention, especially because of the security situation in the country”. But God took control. We thank You Lord because You took control. Many people asked me how will you be able to do this? And I simply told them that my people are praying to a God that answers prayers”, the General Overseer said.
He then prayed for different categories of persons not forgetting those he described as “those who do not like me,” maintaining that their dislike “has compelled me to stay closer to God.”
“I want to thank God for all He had done during this convention,” he said, adding that inspite of the multitude of saved souls, the miracles that happened and the unending stream of testimonies during the convention, God has promised him that next year’s version will be greater than this one. According to him, the theme of next convention will be “Halleluyah!”
The Annual Convention may have began on Monday, August 1 but to the thousands of church ministers, it actually started four days earlier on Thursday, July 28, when they gathered for the pre-convention Ministers Conference.
The occasion afforded the ministers the opportunity to be prepared and have a foretaste of the teachings on convention theme, make reports on activities from the various fields and receive blessings for the RCCG year. New RCCG year begins in September every year.
One of the highlights of the annual Ministers Conference, which also serves as the annual general meeting of the church, is that policy decisions are revealed while corporate goals and directions are charted. During the 2016 event, the General Overseer appreciated all the ministers and commended them for the successes achieved in the outgoing year and charged them to brace up to do more, especially in view of the mandate given to all the provinces and parishes to double their membership.
One of the major highlights of the meeting was that pastor should stay away from match-making members of the church.
Adeboye warned pastors who are fond of ‘match-making’ brothers and sisters to get married to desist from such practice, declaring: “Don’t be entangled with marriage among members because you will bear the consequences. It is not your duty to arrange a brother and a sister for marriage because you cannot arrange their fruitfulness. Don’t get involved in marriage by proxy. He advised pastors to teach their spiritual children to seek the face of the Lord in marriage because every marriage has its ups and downs.
Seven new AGOs
Seven new Assistant General Overseers (AGOs) were announced to take over from the six Assistant General Overseers who retired.
The new AGOs include: Pastors Ezekiel A. Odeyemi, Elijah O. Daramola, Johnson F. Odesola and Joseph Obayemi who are presently members of the Governing Council of the RCCG and Special Assistants to the G.O.
Others are Pastor Olu Obanure, Pastor Ayo Adeloye and Pastor Peter Amekhienan who are presently Special Assistants to the General Overseer in West Coast 1, East Africa and Southern Africa Region 1 respectively.
Kalejaiye, Oyitso, others become Special Assistants
Pastors Johnson Tomisin Kalejaiye, Brown Oyitso, Okey Mofunnaya, Peter Olawale and Belemina Obunge were appointed Special Assistants to the General Overseer. Kalejaiye, a Regional Evangelist is now the Special Assistant to the G.O. on Evangelism. Oyitso, Chairman of Central Missions Board, is now the Special Assistant to the G.O. on Missions while Mofunnaya, Head of Security, is now the Special Assistant to the G.O. on Security.
Olawale, National Prayer Coordinator, is the new Special Assistant to the G.O. on Prayers while Obunge, in charge of Youth Affairs, becomes the Special Assistant to the G.O. on Special Duties.
Adetola takes a bow
Having attained the retirement age of 70 years, Pastor (Mrs.) Oretayo Adetola, Special Assistant to the G.O. on Women Affairs, Pastor Gbadebo Lawal, Special Assistant on Prayers and some others were retired.
Others who retired include Pastors Peter Egho, Olonode Babatunde, John Adewunmi, David Taiwo Ajose, Oludele Olatunji, Pastor (Mrs) Funmilola Ishola, Pastor (Mrs) Deborah Folarin and Pastor (Mrs) Bolatito Bamishaye.
Ekiti becomes Region
The five provinces of the church in Ekiti State, hitherto under Region 3, have now been set aside as a Region, the General Overseer announced.
Eight new provinces were also created in the new Redeemed year to join the 209 provinces currently in existence bringing the number of RCCG provinces in Nigeria to 217.
Another highpoint of the convention was the revelation that missionaries from the RCCG had discovered a primitive community where residents, until recently, were going about their daily activities naked. Ankoko community belonging to the Kembiri tribe, according to the missionaries, can be found between Niger and Kebbi states in North-West Nigeria.
“Civilization is far from this community as its women and girls still move around barely naked. Their children have neither sighted a school nor the women visited any maternity clinic for child birth or received my medical attention. They have never seen electricity let alone good roads to access the location. Wearing of clothes is strange to the inhabitants of the community; only the men are known to wear some form of clothing because they go out to neighbouring communities to sell their farm produce—millet and maize,” a report by the missionaries said.
According to the report read by Pastor Ahanaonu Vincent, Co-ordinator, RCCG Kebbi Province Missions, the church’s Central Missions Board discovered the community and has begun the process of rehabilitating the people who were neither Muslims nor Christians by building the first ever school complex and a teachers’ lodge to flag off the first phase of the multi-faceted programme.
Speaking on behalf of the newly appointed Special Assistant to the General Overseer on Missions and Chairman, RCCG Central Mission Board, Oyitso, the co-ordinator assured that, subject to availability of funds, the second phase of the rehabilitation of the community, which will include the construction of a maternity centre/clinic, market stalls and an agricultural support scheme, will soon commence.