AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BY REVEREND EMMANUEL OSHOFFA
PASTOR AND HEAD OF CELESTIAL CHURCH OF CHRIST WORLDWIDE
AT THE CHURCH WORKERS MEETING HELD ON 10TH JANUARY, 2003
AT THE INTERNATIONAL HEADQUARTERS, KUTU LAGOS
Children of God here gathered, I welcome you all to this meeting and wish you a very successfully year 2003 in Jesus name. It is no longer new that Celestial Church of Christ worldwide enters the New Year with a new administration. I earnestly pray that a new spirit of selfless service with the fear of God takes full control of our activities.
I want to give glory to God Almighty for his mercies on Celestial Church of Christ and the enabling grace I received in finding myself in this position today to say in the words of Zechariah, “It is not by power, nor might, but by the Spirit of God.” Let God Almighty take all the praise and glory in Jesus name.
With humility, I give honor and respect to the unequalled outstanding Christian ministry of Papa Oshoffa, the Founder of this great Church, who in his time bestowed the Christendom in black Africa like a colossus; his successor, Reverend Alexander Abiodun Bada, Pastor and Supreme Head of Celestial Church of Christ worldwide who left an indelible footprint on the sand of Christian ministry not only in black Africa but also in all the continents of the world where Celestial Church of Christ is established within the first fifty years of its existence; and Reverend Phillip Hunsu Ajose, the immediate past Pastor who during his very brief tenure broke new grounds and charted new course for greater achievement for the Church. I also recall with thanks to God Almighty, the selfless service and devotion of other Celestial Saints – Superior Evangelist Ajanlekoko, Most Senior Evangelist Salako, Most Senior Evangelist Sobowale, and Mama Yamah etc. In all sincererity, I give respect and heart felt thanks to the members of the Board of Trustees and Pastor-in-Council for their relentless effort and ever increasing sacrifice to uphold the tenet and dotrine of Celestial Church of Christ enshrined in the holy Bible and handed down to us by our revered founder, Papa Oshoffa of blessed memory. The journey hitterto had been sonstantly punctuated by seemingly insurmountable obstacles; however, with Christ, we are today more than conquerors.
I have no doubt in my mind that I move my appointment as Pastor and Head of Celestial Church of Christ Worldwide not only to an act of God, but also to the unflinching loyalty and tenacious adherence of all God fearing people to the unadulerated tenets and doctrine of Celestial Church of Christ fully documented in the 1980 Constitution which was recently amended.
I have to thank the entire workforce of this great Church: the Shepherds, the Prophets and Prophetesses, Parish administration and the supporting Church workers who had been steadfast and God-fearing in the performance of their duties without whom Celestial Church of Christ today would have been a mere shadow of its past. God bless you all as you strive and continue earnestly to do the will of God who called you to service in His vineyard.
The staff at the Interantional Headquarters Secretariat deserve sincere thanks for the meritorious service rendered with the changing scenes of life and of condition of service. A big thank you to all.
In this short address, I wish to acknowledge the sincere and concerted effort of the many peace moves made by individuals and groups to broker peace in order to foster both the spiritual and physical growth of the Celestial Church of Christ in the world and ensure the fulfillment of its mission on earth. Without the desired peace, progress whether spiritual or physical will continue to be elusive. It is in the light of this that I call for peace in all spheres of the Church’s operation. I am fully aware of the challenges posed bythe search for peace. I believe all God fearing and peace-loving members of Celestial Church of Christ will not find any sacrifice too great to make to achieve peace.
I consider it a duty to call on true members of Celestial Church of Christ throughtout the world to have respect for the laws of God, the laws and the government of every country where the Church is established and the Celestial Church of Christ Constitution signed and bequathed to us by Papa Oshoffa. Our relationship with God is contractual, so, it is regulated by laws. “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commandment, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth….” Deute 28: 1-14. “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, and walk in his ways” Psalm 128:1. And Paul in his writing to the Romans admonished people as follows: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities for there is no authority except that which God has established” Romans 13: 1-2; just like the divinely constituted authority of Celestial Church of Christ which postulates ONE Church indivisible, worshipping ONE God under ONE LEADERSHIP, PASTOR and HEAD of this Church.
As the new administration settles down, other burning issues relating to the Church will be addressed from time to time. As t now, it becomes necessary to revisit some aspects of Celestial Church of Christ life, which deserve the attention of all well-meaning children of God.
An organization whether religious, political or commercial lives and grows or disintegrates and dies, depending on:
a)-The Act of God, and
b)-The education, discipline, loyalty and the devotion of its work force.
It is gratifying there is a noticeable change effected by one of our past Fathers, Reverend Pastor Alexander A. Bada in staff orientation. There has been a gradual shift from the well-trodden path of ordinary discipleship to formal education and training on-the-job. However, the danger of an uncontrolled mass production of workforce to the neglect of quality needs to be constantly checked. It becomes necessary therefore to revisit the course contents of our training establishment in order to streamline areas of specialty and relevance of each institution. Meanwhile, it will be enough to emphasize that Makoko Seminary (to be expanded and moved soon to its permanent location in Imeko) remains recognized and approved for workers who are called fresh into the vineyard while Celestial Bible Institute at Idumu and its campuses are approved for workers who are already in the field with letters of credence from the Pastor but need on-the-job training to improve themselves and update their knowledge in the Christian ministry. “He who stops learning stops living,” is an appropriate adage. This aspect of Celestial Church of Christ’s life demands an Education and Training Board, which would be given early attention.
ii-STAFF PROMOTION/ELEVATION TO POST
It is desirable now, if not overdue, that staff promotion or elevation to duty post is not based ONLY on number of years of service but also on some other criteria, among which are:
---Productivity – Regular and oral reports
---Education and Training (on-the-job)
---Character of Discipline (both moral and fiscal)
---Loyalty to the authority and the institution (not only in words but also in DEEDS)
The fiscal arrangement in Celestial Church of Christ is such that if people are honest, every staff at the any level will be comfortable and well catered for. As relationships become dominated by self-serving instincts, the well-laid out fiscal arrangement is of no effect any more. With God’s assistance and staff cooperation the situation is bound to improve. There must be a staff welfare committee to look into and effect a Health care scheme, an insurance old age relief scheme, and if need be, retirement benefit arrangement to which a staff would be encouraged to contribute a percentage of his/her monthly stipend and the employer would add a complementary percentage to ensure comfortable old age/retirement life, also make provision for the welfare and comfort of workers’ dependants.
Any organization big or small, any family large or small, community or congregation who lacks discipline is doomed to face conflicts and confusion that may lead to disintegration in the end. Celestial Church of Christ seemed not to have addressed seriously the issue of DISCIPLINE all along expecting stakeholders to engender the fear of God to regulate personal actions. The time has come to make a frantic and definite effort to reset a high moral tone for the Church Workers as well as the other Church functionaries such as Chairmen, Secretaries, and Treasurers of Parochial Committees and Ad HOC Church Committees. As soon as a code of conduct is put in place, a Disciplinary Committee will be inaugurated to administer it with justice and fairness. Celestial Church of Christ is rich in human resources in all spheres of human endeavours, particularly to enhance the integrity of the present crisis in the Church has INDISCIPLINE as its bedrock. “Discipline your soon, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul”. Proverbs 29:7.
Accountability both in morality and financial operations would receive adequate attention from this administration. The Holy Bible is unequivocal on this issue. “A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished” Prov. 28:20. There would be an arrangement to give adequate commendation and reward for the faithful and commensurate sanction for the unfaithful or deviant.
4-RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER CHRISTIAN BODIES
Celestial Church of Christ will keep oath with all Christian brothers and sisters of all denominations and continue to see them as integral parts of the body of Christ. We will continue to see them as integral parts of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC) and World Council of Churches (WCC), following the footsteps of our forebears in participating fully in all ecumenical programmes that would not erode our religious ethical values as an independent Christian body. We will not allow religious fanaticism to blindfold us see the good in our fellow human beings of sister religion, Islam. For peaceful co-existence, it should be our determination to abhor religious intolerance and bigotry both in our utterances and our actions. The Holy Bible enjoins us, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil, cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” Romans 12:9-10.
5-THE POSITION OF IMEKO
Celestial City, Imeko in Ogun State of Nigeria remains and will continue to be referred to as Celestial Church of Christ World Headquarters where the world Annual Christian Convocation will be held every December in keeping with the testament and injunctions of the Founder, Prophet, Pastor S.B.J. Oshoffa, of blessed memory. This does not mean the New International Headquarters Secretariat situated at Km 35 Lagos – Shagamu Expressway will be abandoned or neglected. Rather, its development, to provide an easily accessible and with quiet administrative environment conducive to our future programmes, will be simultaneous with the Celestial City, Imeko, with each location serving a distinct purpose. Celestial City, Imeko, with its strategic position will continue to host the Workers Retreat/Workshop held in February each year culminating in the anointment of full-time Church Workers and remain the permanent seat of the Pastor and Church administration.
Evangelism remains the primary mission of Celestial Church of Christ. This is well explained in paragraph 2 of the Constitution of the Church, page 2 under “DIVINE ORDER”. This new administration will be found very supportive in promoting Evangelism. It is admitted money is the vehicle of evangelism but we wish to caution that love of money is the root of all evils. 1 Timothy 6:6-10. Also, it will be helpful to direct your attention to the flood of innovations in modern evangelism, which can be captivating as well as dangerously enslaving. We urge you to be circumspect and commend the words of Peter to you as follows: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms…. 1 Peter 4:10-11, and ensure adherence to the standard set by our founding father.
Finally, children of God, I have a clear perception of your expectation to hear me comment on the well-planned and glamorously orchestrated conflicting information on the pastorship of Celestial Church of Christ worldwide. The registered Board of Trustees, the Pastor-in-Council of Celestial Church of Christ and I, by the special grace of God, the Pastor and constitutional spiritual Head of Celestial Church of Christ worldwide, are fully aware of the so-called print media and television declaration and proclamation of other self-appointed Pastors. Almighty God and the Celestial Church of Christ, Nigeria Diocese Constitution will take adequate care of that. As far as I am concerned, I take solace in the words of the Bible and I quote, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stand guard in vain”, Psalm 127:1. I hereby invoke the spirit of God, the Almighty, His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and the spirit of our forebears, the Founder, the past and immediate past Pastors to fortify us physically, morally and spiritually in moving Celestial Church of Christ Worldwide forward and to greater heights for the glory of God here on earth and hereafter in heaven above.
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