Sunday, August 11, 2019 3:40 am
As part of the activities marking the 2019 Annual Camp Meeting of The Apostolic Faith Church, AFC, holding at Faith City, Igbesa, Ogun State, people from all walks of life converged on Saturday August 10, 2019, to witness the first of the concert series of the Meeting. This will be followed by the Youth Concert on Saturday August 17 and the Children’s Concert on Monday August 19.
The Camp Meeting Concert with the theme, “Sing His Praise and Power”, had in attendance, top government functionaries, legislators at the federal and state levels, captains of industry, executive members of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, members of the Music Society of Nigeria and royal fathers, former Secretary, National University Commission, NUC, Professor Peter Okebukola, and Oloye of Oye Ekiti, Oba Michael Oluwole Ademolaju.
At the programme, different Choristers and orchestras from 15 countries of West and Central Africa, with Nigeria taking the lead, took turn to perform spirit filled classical song ministrations in several languages including French, Yoruba, Igbo, Efik and Ewe.
Ending the first segment of the concert, the history of the orchestra which started in 1964 was highlighted. According to Revd. Kayode Oje, the first General Superintendent of West Africa, Rev. Timothy Gbadebo Oshokoya travelled to the world headquarters of the church in Portland, Oregon, United State of America, USA, where he was introduced to foreign music and its musical instruments, which he fell in love with and decided to introduce them to the church worship in Nigeria. He stated that African musical instruments are used to worship idols hence, foreign musical instruments are preferable. Oje said, “It started about 64 years ago by Revd. T. Oshokoya. In 1965, he went three weeks before the camp meeting to Portland and he was introduced to some instruments and music in general. You know this is not really African music originally. Our own music is different. Our own music mostly is the music we use to worship idols. He saw that this foreign music is sacred. He went there and learnt music. He learnt some instruments. He brought a few instruments back and he started to train people until it became this. He was the teacher of rudiment; he was the one that was conducting rudiment test, sight reading test, instrument tests for all categories. God just helped him to organise a system of music that has become 3000. I am sure if God gives him the opportunity of looking down from heaven, he will be very happy that his tree germinates and is growing and it is going to continue to grow by the grace of God. You have to have people that you will pass things to. There are some people here who were part of the early thing. He taught the first set of the orchestras. Among those he taught musical instruments is Sister Esther, his secretary”.
According to Sister Esther, a principal violist, who joined the church orchestra in 1965, 54 years ago, and known by a special number, “Make my life Beautiful”, Oshokoya was a lover of music, who devoted his time to teaching the first set of choristers’ gospel music. She added that Oshokoya trained Brother Emmanuel Sotade in music, who in turn trained her. Taking over from Oshokoya was Brother John Aina, who got married to a Ghanaian, Sister Joan Van der Puije, now Sister Joane Aina, whose favourite song is, “Gba Aye mi Oluwa…”
According to Oje, Brother Aina’s musical ministration influenced faithful like Brother Dotun Ewumi, Brother Daniel Akoje, Revd. Saviour Nnodim, an organist from the Eastern part of Nigeria, Brother Eden Bassey from Efikland, now a Regional Overseer, Revd. Paul Ibikunle Saliu, a trumpeter, Sister Stella Adeoye, Brother Amos Adeoye, Brother Samuel Odumosun, Brother Amos Adesanya, Brother Samuel Gbede, a music director of the Republic of Benin, Brother Lucas Obakoya, Brother Elebutu and Brother Ezekiel Aremu, the Regional Overseer that mentored the church Superintendent, Revd. Adebayo Adeniran.
Speaking, Revd. Adeniran pointed out that the concert marked the 75th anniversary of the commencement of the church in Nigeria adding, “We are singing the praise to Almighty God. You can be sure that His presence is here and as we sing along, His mighty power will descend. Expect to be blessed, healed and revived”.
He also declared that about 600 orchestras, described as a small fraction of the full orchestra of the church performed at this year’s concert. Earlier, at the start of the programme, Adeniran welcomed everyone to the meeting intimating the church of the greetings sent from other countries across the world.
Urging the faithful to go out and win souls, he pointed out that anyone that is committing sin is in the prison of Satan. He added, “I don’t know the prison you are right away but if you are committing sin (s), if you are committing the sins of fornication, adultery, stealing as well as engaging in any vices of Satan, you are in the prison of sin. To be free, it must come from your heart and you must accept that there is a superior power, the power of the Almighty God that can deliver you. It is only God that can save and set you free. Many people are living against their destiny. Such people will be located and delivered in Jesus name’’.
Speaking about the theme of the Camp Meeting, “The Gospel of Power and Exploits”, he declared, “We are here to praise God. We are here to worship God. We are here to consecrate our lives so that we can receive grace and exploits from God to do anything for Him. We are here to rededicate ourselves to God. We are here to make a joyful noise to God. The church has been existing for 75 years and we still maintain the faith of our fathers, nothing has changed. The gospel has spread and continues to spread’’.
Speaking on behalf of the guests, Oba Ademolaju, a regular attendee of the church concert, who has been accepted to be part of the church, expressed his gratitude to God who has helped him to attend the camp meeting for the past 20 years.
He said, “I am very glad to be before this great orchestra in Africa. There are churches and there are churches. It is not easy to see a church that will be committed to training its members from the cradle. This church teaches people right from the womb of their mothers. This church teaches you to know the language of God and when you know the language of God, then you will know who you are. I have been coming for music concert in this church for the past 20 years and it is only one year that I missed. I missed it that year because I was out of the country”.
The monarch, however, bemoaned the state of security in Nigeria stressing that important personalities could not attend the concert because they are scared of being kidnapped on their way to the concert.
He said, “Nigeria is no longer secure. Kings are being kidnapped in their palaces. This is the reason why some monarchs who are regular guests to the camp during the concert cannot come. Charms have failed us. It is only this church that can pray for Nigeria for God to restore peace and security. The insecurity has never been this bad in Nigeria. Nigeria is seriously unsafe. That is why there are empty chairs here. We that come have security escorts. We can no longer move without security escort in Nigeria. It is that bad. I want to use this opportunity to appeal to this church, the only church God understand its language, to pray for Nigeria”.
He continued, “Our situation is so bad to the extent that there is famine in the land. We don’t have food to eat again. The West that use to be safe before is no longer safe. Because of insecurity, we don’t have season of planting again. Our farms have been taken over by the kidnappers and other evil men. Our farmers can no longer go to farm again because of the fear of being kidnapped. No one is safe in Nigeria. The members of this church must raise their voices to the Lord to restore peace in our land. Next year must be the year of our jubilee”.
Okebukola, a member of the church, testified to the greatness of the power of God in his life, stressing that he got saved in the church.
He said, “I was born into a Christian’s family. My parents were ministers in The Apostolic Faith Church. In July 1974, my parents-in-law asked me if I was saved and I told them that I was saved, sanctified and baptised. They replied by saying that I don’t have the fruits of salvation. I later prayed and God saved me. In 1985, I was sanctified and filled with the Holy Spirit. Since then, I was genuinely saved; God has been marvellous to me. Since 1991, I have never swallowed a tablet. God has been my healer”.
Okebukola further noted that the Church’s university, Crawford University, is noted for knowledge and Godliness noting that the NUC was amazed about the progress so far recorded when it visited the institution about two weeks ago.
As at the time of filing this report, the church authority revealed that over 3000 blessings have been recorded.
According to information obtained from the website of the church, music is an integral part of its worship. From eight Choir and Orchestra that first performed in the first concert in 1952, the church choir and orchestra has grown to a combined strength of over 5,000 across West and Central Africa.
Pointing out that music school is open round the year for born again children of God to prepare them for the Lord’s use in its music ministry, the church stated that its music education covers the following stages: Rudiments of music, Junior instrument, Music sight reading, Senior instrument. Musical instruments taught and used include: Keyboards: Piano, Organ, and Accordion, Strings: Violin, Viola, Cello, Double bass, Harp, Woodwind: Flute, Piccolo, Clarinet, Bassonne, Brass: Trumpet, Cornet, Trombone, French Horn, Tuba and Baritone.
The Camp Meeting continues till August 25, 2019.