The Pastor of the Celestial Church of Christ Worldwide, Reverend Emmanuel Mobiyina Oshoffa; the Board of Trustees and the Pastor-in-Council have condemned a video production titled “Juba F’Olorun”, which was produced by Funmi Ade Bank Anthony and whose contents portrayed the Celestial Church of Christ and its faithful in a very negative light.
They said the video production, which had got extensive exposure on YouTube and other social media platforms, showed scenes where people clothed in the Sutana (the Celestial Church garment) engaged in lurid dance steps, smoking of Marijuana, reckless display of violence and use of very foul language within the confines of a Celestial Church of Christ’s parish.
The board said, “We wish to categorically state that the foregoing portrayals do not represent what the Celestial Church of Christ stands for. We are a Bible-believing church that operates under the divine direction of the Holy Spirit.
“Our rules and tenets forbid our faithful from smoking cigarettes, Marijuana, use of hard drugs and consumption of any type of alcoholic beverages. Bona fide members of our church must not engage in any form of immorality. Fornication, adultery, night crawling and ills like fighting and backbiting are an anathema.
“The damage done to the image of the Celestial Church of Christ by this totally condemnable video production is indeed enormous. It is true that as a church of God, we are slow to tow the path of seeking redress in a court of law but even at that, we cannot continue to fold our arms while the image of our church is continuously battered by others. This is not the first time that this is happening. We say enough is enough!”
The Chairman, Committee on Publicity, the Press and Publications, SVMSE Kayode Ajala JP, M.P.I.C, said in a statement that the authorities of the church had taken steps to address the development.
The statement read in part, “The Parish where the scenes in the said video were shot has been identified and the Shepherd has been summoned to appear before a disciplinary panel. Appropriate sanctions will be meted out thereafter.
“A letter of complaint has been sent to the Director General of the Nigeria Film and Video Censors Board to register the church’s displeasure and to demand the necessary intervention of the board in the case at hand and actions to prevent any future recurrence.
“A Letter of complaint to the leadership of all associations governing the production and marketing of local movies across genres has been sent and a letter of complaint, registering the church’s displeasure to the producer of the offensive video production has been sent.”
SVMSE Kayode Ajala said the church demanded an apology from the producer of the movie to be published in at least two national newspapers.
He said in the weeks to come, Reverend Emmanuel Mobiyina Oshoffa would issue pastoral proclamations that would spell out very severe sanctions on any Shepherd, Parish and Parochial Committee that allowed such derogatory video productions to be shot in their parishes.
He added that the leadership of the Celestial Church of Christ Worldwide would address a press conference on the issue and others affecting the church.
“Finally, we wish to appeal to all members of the church spread across continents to remain good ambassadors of the church. We salute all those who stood up to condemn this unsavoury video production, just as we call on all Celestial faithful to remain calm and not to take the laws into their own hands,” the church council said.
They urged members to rest assured that corrective measures were being taken to tackle the issue.
Meanwhile, the Shepherd in charge of the Celestial Church of Christ, Hamoshia Parish, Ikorodu, Lagos, where the movie was shot, Most Senior Evangelist Henry Akinnuoye, has appeared before a disciplinary panel of enquiry constituted by the apex authority of the church.
The disciplinary panel, which was chaired by Superior Evangelist M.O. Shodunke, had the following as members: Superior Evangelist Bola Akinterinwa, Venerable Superior Evangelist J.O. Toriola, Asst Ven Sup Evang Segun Folorunsho, SVMSE Kayode Ajala, SVMSE Pekun Sobodu, SVMSE Bello Olusanya, Evangelist Ade Tinubu, Prophet Rotimi Olulana and Bro Gbenga Daniel Adebayo.
In line with its terms of reference, the panel took submissions from the erring Shepherd and members of his church, including the location manager of the movie, Bro Kayode Adebayo, and the Parish Chairman.
Hamoshia parish Shepherd, Most Senior Evangelist Henry Akinnuoye accepted total responsibility for the misdeed and tendered a written letter of apology as he explained that the permission granted the movie maker to use the church premises was not motivated by pecuniary benefits.
He pleaded for leniency and assured members of the panel that such an unacceptable occurrence would not be allowed to happen in the future.
The panel is scheduled to make its report public in the weeks to come.
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