Celica Church of Christ, Ibadan, Oyo State was agog on Thursday, April 14. It was the historic visit of a delegation of All Africa Conference of Church to the 29-year-old church founded by Rev Dr. Emmanuel Adetunji Adeonigbagbe.
The AACC team was led by the General Secretary of the conference, Rev Dr Fidon Mwombeki who came from Nairobi, Kenya.
The delegation of the AACC also comprised of the Director of Programmes of AACC, Rev Dr. Lesmore Gibson Ezekiel, General Secretary, Christian Council of Nigeria, Lagos, Rev. Dr Evans Onyemara, Ecumenical Officer of Nigerian Baptist Convention, Rev. Dr. Testimony Onifade and Ecumenical Officer of Church of the Lord Aladura, Deacon Kehinde Adebayo.
Despite being a workday, members of the church trooped out in their immaculate garments; in large numbers to welcome the AACC team.
The visit was not only historic, it turned out to be a homecoming for the AACC delegation as Dr Mwombeki noted.
He said in his short speech at the event that AACC, which is the largest association of Protestant, Orthodox and Indigenous churches in Africa was conceived in Ibadan in 1958.
As a fellowship of churches, the AACC accounts for over 120 million Christians across the continent comprising 173 member churches in 40 African countries.
Its headquarters is in Nairobi, Kenya. It has a regional office in Lomé, Togo, and a liaison office to the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Mwombeki said it was in Ibadan in 1958 that hundreds of people met to say they want to have a conference of churches.
“The constitution guiding the organisation was drawn here in Ibadan. All the meetings that led to its formation were done in Ibadan. All the preliminary works about AACC were done here in Ibadan until it was born in Kampala in 1963,” he said.
Mwombeki disclosed that the 60th anniversary of AACC which is coming up in 2023 will be held in Ibadan as a mark of honour to its historic founding place.
Describing Nigeria as a big, mighty and strong nation, the AACC GS said he was impressed the Celica Church of Christ is propagating the cause of the gospel saying that Nigeria is always on the prayer list of AACC.
He said, “I am very impressed of your desire to bear witness of Christ with Nigerians. Every time we hear the problem of peace disruption, we tell churches in Africa to pray for you. We know our calling is not only prayer but by social intervention. We shall continue to stand with you.”
The AACC GS promised the organisation would work on the expectations of Celica Church saying, “Celica church is part of Nigeria. The inspiration you have is for the benefit of all Africans and the world. Because of the position of Nigeria. We will work towards those expectations,” he said.
Earlier in the programme, the Head of Administration of the church, Anointed Prophet Olukunle Abimbola said the church was happy to host the AACC delegation.
He disclosed that the Celica Church of Christ was established by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit on November 15, 1992 at Ibadan, stating that the name Celica has its origin in Hebrew, Latin and Greek languages. From Latin, it means Heavenly or Celestial.
According to him, the church can be distinguished through its chant of Hosanna and its mode of dressing; a white garment with a blue cross on the left-hand side of the garment.
He averred that “the church is Bible-based, spiritually dynamic and is in constant and permanent unity with other churches that have no affiliation with the occult.”
Its vision according to Abimbola “is to share with both believers and non-believers Christ’s unfailing love and salvation through both words and deeds and to preach and teach the Bible which is the inspired word of God.”
While disclosing also that the church draws inspiration from its humanitarian services, he said it has never relented in speaking out against injustice and oppression since 1992 when it was founded.
“We have never been afraid in speaking truth to power and different spiritual messages have always been sent to individuals and governments both in Nigeria and across the globe. Failure to adhere strictly to the Lord’s instructions especially by political authorities in Nigeria had led to increased insecurity, ethno-religious crises and loud agitations for succession by different groups in the country.”
He said in the speech that the solution to Nigeria’s problems is to return back to God and allow Him to take control while also urging the body of Christ to be united in spirit and pray that the will of God will prevail on Nigeria.
Celica Church: Why did we join the AACC
In the speech, Abimbola disclosed that the church joined AACC because it believes Christ is better propagated through the promotion of understanding, peace and unity of believers in Jesus Christ.
He said the church is also poised to carry out more humanitarian gestures if it has access to required resources.
Placing a demand on AACC, he said, “We want access to foreign theological training for our priests. We want to implore the AACC to try and incorporate a theological scholarship pool fund to assist priests from member churches.
“We want more aid for member churches who are mostly independent and African Instituted Churches to assist them for their humanitarian activities and development projects.”
Founder of the Celica Church of Christ, Rev Dr. Adetunji Adeonigbagbe in his address described the church as a growing independent church.
He stated that God has been gracious to members of the church by showing His power and making members excel in their endeavours.
He expressed deep appreciation to the delegation of AACC and also thanked members of the church including his wife who has been so magnanimous in their support for the church.
At the event, Rev Dr Adeonigbagbe was presented with the gift of a sculptured cross by the AACC General Secretary, Rev Dr Fidon Mwombeki.
Mwombeki described the cross as symbolic of the unity of the body of Christ.