|The Nigerian experience of 1916 was similar to the United Kingdom situation of the same year. It was an experience of the surge of the Holy Spirit, as recorded by one of the patriarchs of the church, Pastor S. G. Adegboyega. He narrated his experience of the month of March in the year 1916; when he attended revival meeting, conducted at the St. Paul ‘s Anglican Church, Breadfruit Street , Lagos , under the distinguished chairmanship of late Bishop James Johnson; and a similar one was simultaneously held at Anglican Church Aroloya Street, Lagos in Nigeria conducted by Late Bishop Oluwole. These two revival services had same subject focused on The Baptism of the Holy Spirit for believers and efficacy of Prayer by believers through faith in the name of Jesus Christ.
He was privileged to have attended that revival conducted by Bishop Johnson where these subjects were so stressed by him. He continued to lay emphasis on the necessity of receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and subsequently many good things derivable from the Spirit. At the end of the revival meeting many ministers present at the revival service had received the power of the Holy Spirit. These revival services, no doubt made a mark in the life of Pastor Adegboyega. And that rekindled his interest for fellowship with other children of God.
|The Diamond Society – 1918|
|About two years after, there was a group of people who gathered themselves together as a Praying Band called “Precious Stone” or Diamond Stone” in the year 1918. This group had its centre at Ijebu-Ode under the late Pastor J. B. Shadare and Eshinshinade. The society became more prominent in the year 1918 when there was influenza epidemic. A lady by name Miss Sophia A Odunlami (Mrs. Ajayi) who was raised up then was mightily used by the Lord at that time to perform many wonderful works of healing of those affected by the epidemic without the use of medicine whatsoever. The Lord through her also performed many other miracles.
It was shocking to many to hear that they could only live under the efficacy of prayer without the use of any other means. Many of the people that were opposed to this confession of faith referred to it as fanaticism. There was much persecution in the church then. Notwithstanding, the truth began to spread here and there. There was no correspondence used, yet the Truth was expanding through medium of personal information and dissemination of news.
|The Faith Tabernacle 1920|
|In the years 1920 and 1921, through the indefatigable effort of Late Pastor D. 0. Odubanjo, the then able missionary correspondent, members of the Diamond Society referred to above who were then worshipping at Upper King Street, Lagos Nigeria came into contact through correspondence with Pastor A. Clarke, leader of Faith Tabernacle Congregation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA at that time.
Since that time a magazine titled “Sword of the Spirit”, the official organ published by the Faith Tabernacle Congregation in USA , was regularly sent to Nigeria . Copies were freely distributed to members within the fold and outsiders.
The resultant effect of reading, studying and meditating on these literatures, which became the second Bible, was a vindication and confirmation of the belief and stand on the Vision of Divine Healing which had hitherto been accepted and embraced as Divine Revelation given by God since 1918.
After comparing the teaching of the Faith Tabernacle Congregation USA with the Word of God in the Bible, the Diamond Society unanimously decided to affiliate with Faith Tabernacle Congregation in the USA in 1923. Since then all members of Diamond Society in Nigeria became members of Faith Tabernacle Congregation. Late Pastor D. 0. Odubanjo became the presiding pastor of Faith Tabernacle Congregation in Nigeria .
|The Nationwide Revivals|
|Between I 929 -1930, a mighty, long-expected sweeping Revival broke out in Nigeria . The Lord raised up two Evangelists who simultaneously conducted evangelical out-reaches in different parts of Nigeria . The two prominent servants of God used to perform many works of miracles and healing were Late Evangelist J. A Babalola and Late Evangelist D. 0. Orekoya.
Late Evangelist D. 0. Orekoya, an Elder in the Faith Tabernacle Congregation at Ebute Metta was raised up by the Lord in the year 1929- 1930.
Late Evangelist J.0. Babalola was however a member of the Anglican Communion before he was called by the Lord to work for Him. In 1929 Late Babalola approached the Faith Tabernacle Congregation and was Baptized and given Right Hand of Fellowship. The Lord raised him up to perform many works of healing and deliverance which drew thousands to the Lord.
With the advent of the Apostolic Church in Nigeria , Late Evangelist J. 0. Babalola travelled to the Eastern part of Nigeria vis a vis Calabar. He arrived Creek Town , Calabar in 1933 simultaneously with an Evangelist from Great Britain , Evangelist I. J. Vaughan. The resultant effect of their ministry was the conversion of Late Pastor E. 0. Ene and several others to The Apostolic Church
|Establishment of The Apostolic Church Nigeria 1931|
|With the upsurge of the revival services of 1929, there was an increase in the level of persecution that arose against the Faith Tabernacle Congregation.
It became increasingly necessary therefore to get affiliated to a Pentecostal Fellowship abroad. However, the Philadelphia Headquarters of Faith Tabernacle Congregation refused the request of the Church in Nigeria to come to their aid.
The leadership of the Church therefore agreed to look to God in faith and prayer to send deliverance from any quarters according to his will.
Amidst these uncertainties, Pastor D. O. Odubanjo, the leader of the Faith Tabernacle Congregation in Nigeria , was given a magazine called “Riches of Grace” which is the official organ of the Church containing the fundamental doctrinal beliefs of The Apostolic Church.
The leadership of the Church under the distinguished chairmanship of Pastor Odubanjo studied the magazine and discovered the universality of the vision as there were lots of similarities in the principles and practices of The Apostolic Church and the Faith Tabernacle Congregation in Nigeria as recorded by S. G Adegboyega. He said “We discovered that their doctrines were similar to our own received from Faith Tabernacle Congregation in America. We also discovered that there were doctrines embraced and taught by the Apostolic Church of Great Britain which we found to be scripturally sound but were not taught and practised by the Faith Tabernacle Congregation of America”.
Letters were written to The Apostolic Church in Great Britain inviting them to Nigeria.
|The Story as it had never been told|
|When Joseph Ayo Babalola was raised up for a revival by the Lord, he was a junior minister under late Pastor J. A. Babatope, at llesha in the Faith Tabernacle congregation.
The full blown Revival made pews in most Conventional Churches in the south west of Nigeria almost empty as many of their members trooped to the Revival and subsequently became members of Faith Tabernacle. There was an uproar and persecution by the churches. This affected most of the churches in the country then. This later led to recurrent sympathy visits of encouragement to llesha and prayer fervently made by the brethren from Lagos and lbadan under the leadership of Late Pastor D. 0. Odubanjo who was based in Lagos .
When the Lagos brethren later visited llesha as usual, they made enquiries on the position of the problems in Ilesha . The late Pastor J. A. Babatope related the vision of Babalola to the visitors. Pastor Odubanjo at the same forum told the fathers that he had been receiving some publications from an organisation of a church called by that name. The magazine was called “Riches of Grace” Pastor Odubanjo was then the secretary of the Faith’ Tabernacle Congregation. All the ministers then agreed that he (Odubanjo) should communicate to that church and invite their leaders to Nigeria .
The Lord in a prophecy had also informed the church in Great Britain that there would be an invitation from some people outside the British Isles , and that the invitation should not be refused and the church was to prepare financially and materially for the invitation. The prophecy was confirmed when a letter was received from Nigeria . The church in UK then invited the Nigerian brethren to Britain . Pastor J. A. Babatope, Pastor Eni and his wife from the East represented the Nigerian brethren.
It was after that visit that the Brethren, from Europe came to Nigeria . They could not reach Ilesha because they were deported at lbadan. On their return to Britain , they consulted the Queen about their problem in Nigeria , and a grant was given to them to visit anywhere in Nigeria .
A return voyage was made and the officials arrived Nigeria in September, 1931.
|The Great Vision|
|Before the arrival of the delegates of The Apostolic Church from Great Britain, there was a persistent rumour flying around the church, that the Apostolic Church Great Britain did not believe in divine healing (i.e. healing without the use of medicine!), a doctrine which was warmly embraced and practised by the Faith Tabernacle Congregation in Nigeria.
The Conference of Pastors of Faith Tabernacle Congregation in Nigeria was held at ljebu-Ode, to decide and to send a telegram to the expected delegates to cancel their visit to Nigeria . Pastor I. G. Sakpo (then a brother) who was not present at this meeting, was raised up by the Lord where he was at ljebu-Ode to deliver a very strong message to the ministers at the conference. He came in to’ the meeting and began to prophesy.
His prophecy focused on the decision to be taken by the Pastors on the delegates of The Apostolic Church, Great Britain. Through him the Lord warned the Ministers to desist from the negative decisions and to allow the Apostolic missionaries to come to Nigeria .
After his message, the Pastors were caught with awe and yielded to the authority of God through the Prophecy.
In 1931 three prominent leaders of The Apostolic Church in United Kingdom visited Nigeria . They were Pastors D. P Williams, Andrew Turnbull and Prophet W. Jones Williams who arrived Lagos on 23rd September, 1931.
By 15th November 1931, all conditions of agreement had been met and Faith Tabernacle Congregation, Nigeria got affiliated with The Apostolic Church, Great Britain. During the morning service of Sunday, 15th November 1931, the first ordination service was conducted and seven ministers of God were ordained pastors. They were Late Pastor Esinsinade of ljebu-Ode, Late Pastor D. 0. Odubanjo of Lagos , Late Pastor J. A Babatope of llesha, Late Pastor S. A Mensah of Kaduna , Late Pastor E. G. L Macaulay of Zaria , Pastor I. B Akinyele of Ibadan and Late Pastor S. G. Adegboyega.
|Expansion of The Apostolic Church Vision in Nigeria|
|The Apostolic Church In The Cross River State Field|
|The Apostolic Church in the Cross River State has the same Origin as those in Jerusalem and Samaria as recorded in the book of Acts Chapters 2 and 8 respectively. Two God-sent Evangelists, I.J. Vaughan from Britain and Joseph Babalola from Western Nigeria, arrived in Duke Town creek Town, Calabar simultaneously in the year 1933.
The powerful gospel message of these evangelists was accompanied with such signs as were predicted by ~he Lord Jesus Christ in Mark 16 verses IS to 17. There were also attended by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, healing of diverse kinds of sickness and casting out of unclean spirits as found in the entire book of Acts.
The two Holy Spirit-filled preachers with all the disciples they had made in course of their ministrations in their different locations were led of God to come together. Discovering that they had all things in common as touching their beliefs and practices, they fused into one body and one fellowship.
This great spiritual revival which hitherto has no comparison spread its flames to the whole of the old Eastern Region and later into the Cameroun Republic . The result of this wonderful spiritual awakening is the establishment of ‘The Apostolic Church’ which now has hundreds of Assemblies of thousands of converted saints all over the state.
In 1988 Akwa lbom which was part of Cross river Field became an autonomous field when that state was created in October 1987.
The gospel of Jesus spread into all nooks and corners of Cross River Field and today the Field has given birth to another field known as the ‘Northern Field’ with seven areas. Now, there are 17 Areas, 75 Districts, 403 Assemblies (Prayer houses not included) and over 45000 members being ministered unto by 17 Apostles, 84 pastors, Elders, Deacons and Deaconesses.
|The Apostolic Church Maritime Field|
|The year 1934 will remain a notable year in the history of the Apostolic Church Maritime Field, because it was the year The Apostolic Church was established in Bodo, the Cradle of the word in Maritime Field, which also is the Headquarters of the Field.
It came about that Mr. Uranta, a petition writer from Opobo town brought news to the little group of worshippers in the Christ Army Church in Bodo that a church was operating in Calabar in which there was the practice of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit Ministration of Spiritual Gifts and clapping of hands while singing were on. After hearing this, the group in Bodo sent a representative led by Late Pastor N.V. Boban, the only literate among them to Calabar, where they met the Calabar Council, who sent Pastor Noah Evans to Bodo to show them The Apostolic Vision, its attendant principles and practices in 1935.
When in 1940, the lgbo were granted area status, the Ogoni brethren now Maritime Field were attached to lgbo area and made a section which had seven Districts. Great men of God, who were missionaries, White and Black came in and administered in the area; among them were Pastors Joseph Philips, D. C. Hopkins, D. H. Macgil, George Perfect, l.J. Vaughan , Pastors E. E. Okon, A. 0. Essien; Henshaw, E. E. lta; Asama, E. N. 0. Ene; Udom, J. Thomas etc. Early indigene called into the Ministry were Pastors N. V. Bodhan ordained 1939, R.V. Gbarato ordained 1942 both of blessed memory, F N. Philips, M. A. Pirah and P B. Isaac.
In 1950, at the request of our founding fathers, the Missionary Committee in Bradford sent Pastor and Mrs. G. P Seiby who came to Nigeria in 1952 and supervised the work from Amumara. Pastor and Mrs R. J. j. Lewis came to Bodo in 1955. Pastor G. P Seiby and R. V. Gbarato were in the leadership of the work from 1852 to 1966. Late 5 1968 to early 1970 during the Nigerian Civil War, Pastor B. Faara-Vigo of blessed Memory supervised the work. In May 1970 when the war ended, Pastor M. M. Anyachor recommended to Bradford at the request of Rivers people that Rivers State should have an autonomous administration, which request and recommendation Bradford granted. As at then, we had 15 Districts of 125 Assemblies. An Area Council with Pastor G. P Seiby as the Area Superintendent was put in place.
On the 23rd September 1978, The Apostolic Bible college was opened in Bodo, the Headquarters of the church, offering a three-year Diploma course in Theology, with 15 students. Pastor B. A. Zorasi as the Acting Principal, Pastors J. B. Leema and E. G. Kogbaraas Teachers. Presently the College has been affiliated to Cornerstone University and Seminary of Israel and America and have been up-graded to the status of a Seminary, now a degree awarding institution offering courses leading to the award of B. A. B. Th and M. A. in Theology and Religious Education in the main campus, Wobo extension campus and soon in Yenagoa campus.
At the dawn of 1979, we adopted the Name “The Apostolic Church River Field” to embrace every ethnic nationalities in Rivers state, in view of the progressive revelation of God for expansion of the work, as at then we had six areas, I 0 sections, 135 Assemblies, 10,81 members and 1,833 adherents and 86 members on the ministry staff, including 6 Apostles.
Pastor G. P Seiby left the Superintendency of Rivers Field in February 1980 to Pastor G. G. Weeks, he also left the Superintendency in 1982 to the Fist African Field Superintendent, Pastor B. Faara-Vigo of Blessed Memory, during his tenure, we had 12 Areas, 30 sections, 250 Assemblies, 18 Apostles, four Prophets with 150 Ministers; after late Pastor L. B. Nwainah had seceded with 61 Assemblies and Ngo area gone with 8 Assemblies.
With the attendant problems of separation nursed among the many ethnic nationalities in the Rivers State and ‘at the creation of Bayelsa State out of the State, Council was led by the Spirit to adopt a name that will unify the church and stop further sucession even if more states were created. So February 1998 council adopted the Name “The Apostolic Church Maritime Field”.
With the demise of Rev. (Dr.) B. Faara-Vigo in 1997, Pastor F N. Philips was appointed to be the Maritime Field Superintendent. In March 1997, Pastor F N. Philips became the Maritime Field Superintendent. Now we have 20 Apostles, 5 Council prophets, 222 Ministry staff and 80 non-ministerial staff including widows on our pay voucher. We have IS Areas, 100 Districts of 310 Assemblies with more than 16,000 membership spread all over Rivers and Bayelsa State .
With the cooperation of the National Executive council resisting the trend of non-indigenes of the field in pursuance of forming their autonomous indigenous Apostolic Assemblies all over the place, we hope for more expansion and with enough finance we shall advance into the hinder part of the Riverine and up-land areas where Evangelism is seriously needed. By God’s Grace we are going to cover needed grounds.
|The Apostolic Church Akwa lbom Field|
|The rapid growth of the work of the Gospel Ministry as borne by The Apostolic Glorious Vision which was brought to this part of the Nigeria through two anointed servants of God, Evangelist l.J. Voughan from Britain and Joseph Babalola from Western Nigeria. The work of these two pioneer servants of God was planted at Creek Town and Duke Town in the former Calabar Province , but soon grew and reached out to cover the Interland of the other Provinces as Uyo, Eket, Oron, etinan and lkot Ekpene.
The growth in this work gave birth to 12 Areas in the Mainland part of the former Cross River State . Consequent upon the astronomical growth of the work under the able leadership of our Father in the Lord, Pastor E. E. Okon, (the First National President) a separate Field was carved out from the then Cross River Field in March, 1984 under the Name, Mainland Field, Headquarters at Uyo and under the superintendency and leadership of Late Pastor E. I. Esshiet.
In 1987, when the Federal Government created Akwa Ibom State , the Mainland Field changed also to know as the present Akwa lbom State Field. In 1994, when the Pioneer Superintendent of the Field, Pastor E. I. Esshiet was called up into glory, Pastor B. U. Umoh became the Field Superintendent.
Meanwhile, the Field has metamorphosed into agiant Community of believers with 30 Areas and about 240 Districts. At the glorious departure of Late Pastor B. U. Umoh, our Father in the Lord, the National President, Pastor E. E. Okon became the Superintendent and Supervisor of the Field for a period of Four(4) years.
Currently, with the passage of time and the good hand of the Lord, the Ministry of the Gospel in Akwa lbom has grown tremendously and the Field enlarged to give birth to three(5) new Fields since December, 2000.
|The Apostolic Church In lgbo Field|
|lgboland caught the Glorious Vision of The Apostolic Church in December 1931 . With the visit from Calabar in 1932 of Pastor George Perfect and Idris Voughan to Umuigu Oberon, Nbawsi, Udo Ezinihitte and Aba where the Church was firmly established. Between 1932 and 1938 the Church grew to no less than 13 Districts and over I 20 assemblies. By 1937, Port Harcourt , the KEY to the East, became one of the three SECTIONS of the Eastern components . By 1940 the Church in lgbo hinterland had achieved Area status with Amumara as administrative headquarters and Pastor Idris Vaughan, as its first Missionary Superintendent. lgbo Area was subsequently incorporated on September 12, 1952. Between 1944 and 1964 there were the following component sections in lgbo Area – Amumara, Bodo, Nbawsi, Umuahia, Port-Harcourt and Enugu with 32 Districts and 170 Assemblies.
During the Nigerian Civil War (1966 – 1970) the Church remained intact both in teaching and practice – a proof of the good foundation that had been laid and the steering Christian qualities of God given leaders like Pastor M. M. Anyachor and others dead and alive. After the war the brethren in the Rivers State were ungrudgingly granted their independent Area status and thus the large work pioneered in Port Harcourt and Ogoni sections by lgbo Area fell under the ambit of then Rivers Field.
As a component of the national set-up, Igbo Field spanning eight states of Nigeria comprises some 200 Districts, 800 assemblies and 19 areas with a total staff strength of over 1000. There are presently two highly rated educational establishments – The Apostolic Church Theological Seminary, Amumara, a degree awarding institution affiliated to the University of Uyo and the Glorious Vision seminary, a Christ-centred institution for upbringing of the younger generation of APOSTOLICS. It is popularly know as God’s Arena For Apostolic Manifestations.
The first indigenous Field Superintendent was Pastor M. M. Anyachor .