ORIGIN OF ST. JOSEPH'S CHOSEN
CHURCH OF GOD INT'L
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CHURCH
1) I, Apostle Joseph Ikechiuku, the Elect of God according to His will. Founder of Saint Joseph's Chosen Church of God was born in Abala Quarter in Ogbuebulle village, Oboro Clan in Ikwuano/Umuahia Local Government Area of Imo State, now Ikwuano Local Government Area, Abia State.
2) I was directly called by GOD on 17th July 1937, in Agricultural Plantation at Nkweke near Onitsha, where I was working as a weeding labourer at four pence a day.
3) At the time of my call, I was an illiterate. Soon after God had filled me with His Holy Spirit, I discovered that I could read and write through the power of the Holy Spirit, this is the miraculous work of God.
4) In 1946, I established the first Church at Ajagbodudu, near Sapele in Ethiope Local Government Area of Bendel State, now Delta State. I named the Church after my own name- 'Saint Joseph's Apostolic Church'. It was named because Apostolic Church was the Church I first attended after my call.
5) In 1960, I changed the name of the Church to 'Saint Joseph’s Chosen Church of God', as I was directed by the Holy Spirit.
6) The word, 'Saint' which qualifies 'Joseph' is so named because, he whom God called, chose, sanctified and filled with His Holy Spirit is holy and is therefore, qualified to be called a 'Saint'.
7) The phrase “Chosen Church of God” which forms "Saint Joseph’s", is so called because, Jehovah God who chose an illiterate like me that had no idea or knowledge of establishing a Church, filled me with His Holy Spirit and Power, that enabled me to establish the Church. He is the one who established the Church: hence 'Chosen Church of God' followed.
8) The Holy Spirit is the Executive Head of the Church. Since, the Holy Spirit directs, guides, teaches, and leads the Church. St. Joseph's Chosen Church is therefore, a spiritual church where members worship in spirit and in truth. Jesus said: “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: For the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” John 4:23-24; 14:26; 16:13.
9) BOX OF COVENANT: St. Joseph's Chosen Church of God has a Box known as the Box of Covenant. The Box was constructed strictly in accordance with God’s revelations and it is a symbol of the agreement reached between God and myself. His chosen servant from whom the Church generated.
10) The Box of Covenant came in this wise: when I was called, I was so full of fear and doubt as to my ability to do the work of a minister, as I had no educational qualifications necessary for such an assignment. I was in a serious temptation, during the course of an evening prayer meeting one day, I saw a Box in a vision. At the same time I heard the voice of God saying "Carve this type of box according to the shape I showed you, for it will be a Box of Covenant (Mutual Agreement), between Me and you Joseph my servant. This is to assure you that I Jehovah God, Am the one who called you for my service, and I will be with you to the end". Then the Box was built as God authorized and directed me. This Box has since become the great power, pride and boldness of this Church. This event took place in 1947, at Cowan Estate Palm Plantation, Ajagbodudu, near Sapele.
ST. JOSEPH'S CHOSEN CHURCH OF GOD
IS GOVERNED BY SPIRITUAL REVELATIONS
1) St. Joseph's Chosen Church of God is a spiritual Church. Being a spiritual Church, the Church is predominantly governed by spiritual revelations through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit speaks and reveals this to the Ministers and the Church through the prophets and prophetesses, visionaries and dreamers. The will of God made known or revealed to the ministers and the Church of God, though the Holy Spirit, is the spiritual revelation.
2) Jesus says, 'Now is the time when the true (or genuine) worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him'. The reason for this statement is because 'God is a Spirit', His worshippers must worship Him in spirit and in truth – John 4:23-24.
3) God says, 'I will raise up for them a prophet, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him. Whoever will not hearken to my words, which he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him' – Deut. 18:18-19.
4) Jehoshaphat said, 'Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper' – 2 Chron. 20:20.
5) God said, 'I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitude, by the Ministry of the prophets… And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved' – Hosea 12:10, 13.
6) God’s promise; 'And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions' – Joel 2:28. Fulfilled in Acts 2:16-18.
7) Jesus said, 'but the Comforter; which is the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name to represent me, he shall teach you all things… Jesus continued, 'Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will; show you things to come' – John 14:26; 16:13.
8) Apostle John said, 'But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him' – 1 John 2:27.
9) For the above reasons, although the Church has the Holy Bible and her Rules and Conduct as guides for the ministers and members alike, yet the Church is predominantly governed by SPIRITUAL REVELATIONS through the Holy Spirit.
10) The Church is predominantly governed by Spiritual Revelation because when Jehovah God called me Joseph Ikechiuku, and endowed me with His Holy Spirit, I preached the good-news of Christ Jesus and my ministering was confirmed by indisputable miracles, signs and wonders. The miracles attracted people who became convinced thereby becoming members of the Church.
11) When the Church has tested all that proceeded from the Holy Spirit through the prophets, prophetesses, visioners, and proved to itself beyond all reasonable doubts, that the Holy Spirit she received is the Spirit of Truth from the Father, members have to submit themselves to the Holy Spirit, giving Him passive obedience in all things. This is in order because whenever anyone neglects the order from spiritual revelation through the Holy Spirit of God, it means that such one has neglected doing the will of God. Such person must receive a worthy punishment from God. For this reason whenever any of the members is told by spiritual revelation through the Holy Spirit, to fast, or to run in the Church for a number of times, or to stop going to the market for some days; or to sleep in the Church hall for some days, approve or disapprove any marriage proposal or orders one to confess one’s sins, etc. etc, such person must obey.
12) PASSIVE OBEDIENCE TO THE HOLY SPIRIT: - For the foregoing reasons passive obedience to the will of God as expressed through the Holy Spirit is strictly enjoined for all members. Also Jehovah God demands that the revelations of His will, revealed to the Ministers and the Church by the Holy Spirit, be taken as a rule for man’s life, for where there is no consistent and passive obedience to God the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, in heart and in conduct, no sacrifices through external acts and homage to God can make up the requirements in the services of God.
13) NO CONDEMNATION: Apostle Paul, a man full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom of God, and who had all along in his ministry lived, walked, moved and acted after the dictates of the Holy Spirit of God became convinced, with his long years of experience, that there is no condemnation – no adjudging guilt of wrong doing – for any man or woman who is completely led, that is, who lives, walks, moves, and acts after the dictates of the Holy Spirit. In like manner, I Apostle Joseph Ikechiuku, a man full of the Holy Spirit and the wisdom of God and who has all along in my ministry been living, walking, moving and acting by the dictates of the Holy Spirit of God, have with my long experience in the service of God, come to the conclusion, that there is no condemnation - no adjudging of guilt of wrong doing - to any man or woman who is completely led, that is, who lives, walks, moves and acts in conformity with the dictates of the Holy Spirit of God. This is because our implicit and passive obedience to the dictates of the Holy Spirit of truth, which comes from the Father to teach us all things and to guide us into all truth, has freed us from sin, death and hell.
ST. JOSEPH'S CHOSEN CHURCH OF GOD
HISTORY OF THE CHURCH
In 1946, he built his first
Church here at Ajagbodudu and called it St. Joseph Apostolic Church.
Here also he received the revelation, which led him to compile the Immutable
Rules and Conduct, now known as Rules and Conduct of St. Joseph's
Chosen Church of God.
In 1947, the revelation of
the Box of Covenant was received here at Cowan Estate
Ajagbodudu. The Construction
and consecretion of the Box of Covenant were also done at Ajagbodudu.
The Box of Covenant was to be
a token of his call and an agreement between him (Ikechiuku) and God.
In 1949, he established the
Church at Urhuovie, Urhuoka and Oria all in Abraka. In 1952 the Holy Spirit led him to Urhuoka in Abraka where he
uncovered The First Healing Water.
On 12th May 1950, Apostle
Joseph Ikechiuku established the Church in Benin City.
The Oba of Benin, Oba Akenzua II and his Chiefs, on 14th
May, 1950, gave him audience and granted him the permission to build the
Church. In 1952, approval was
given to him to purchase the land at the cost of N30.00 (Thirty Naira
Only), where he built the first Church in Benin at No 36
Virginia Street, Benin City.
The first Annual Conference
of the Church was held in Benin City in 1952.
A branch of St. Joseph's Apostolic Church, as it was then called,
was established at Sapele in 1953.
In 1954, a second
healing water was uncovered inside a thick forest in
Ogbeson Village, off Agbor Road, Benin City.
In the History of the Church,
much importance is attached to the Year 1952, because that
was the year God directed the founder to go and pray for the healing of
Late Deaconess Anna Alile, the mother of the present Spiritual Leader,
Apostle (Dr) Hayford Alile (OFR).
He rode on a bicycle from Ajagbodudu to Benin City, a distance of
In June 1960, the name of the
Church was changed to St. Joseph's Chosen Church of God.
On November 11th, 1964, St. Joseph's Chosen Church of God was
registered under the Land Perpetual Succession Act, with Apostle J.
Ikechiuku as Sole Trustee.
GROWTH OF THE CHURCH
BEFORE THE CRISIS:
As the afflicted were set
free through the power of the Holy Spirit, so were souls drawn unto God
for their salvation. As the
news of the miracles spread, so grew the Church of God.
It is interesting that majority of the Ministers; Caretakers in
Churches, Elders, Deacons and Deaconesses have one story of a miraculous
healing or the other to tell.
Apostle Joseph Ikechiuku was
called at about the same time with two other prominent men of God and they
were doing similar works. They
were Apostle Joseph Babalola of the Apostolic Church,
and Joseph Akindoyemi of the Redeemed Church of God.
In about twenty years,
between 1946 when Apostle J. Ikechiuku built his first Church at
Ajagbodudu to 1966, the eve of the Civil War, the Church grew
astronomically. At that time,
there were a total of One Hundred and Fifteen (115) Churches or Stations
having not less than thirty-four thousand (34,000) members through out the
Country. In the then Mid-Western Region alone, there were sixty-five
Stations divided into eight districts.
In terms of personnel, there
were about that time six staff (ordained) Pastors, fourteen unordained
Pastors and thirty-five Teachers, all trained by the Elect of God, Apostle
IN THE CHURCH
Grading of Pastors in the 1967 Conference at Sapele.
This involved Pastors Gabriel Onu, Samuel Agbonifo and Joseph
Eguasa. In this grading, the
Holy Ghost moved Pastor Eguasa who was second in command to Ikechiuku to
the third position. The
vessels used were Prophetess Oghosa Ugo of Benin, Prophet Samuel
Emofonmwan and Pastor Gideon Ogunka.
Building of Modern Church Hall at Sapele, No. 8. Ikomi
Road, with wood supplied by Brother Timothy Atenaga working in AT&P
Sapele, another one at Umuahia, but none in Benin as at that
The Control of all Church Funds by the Elect alone was
not acceptable to the Church members.
Apostle J. Ikechiuku's marriage to additional wives –
an order given to him through prophecy - to move from monogamous to
polygamous life, for him to open the road to all polygamists who are
believers to worship God freely.
The burning desire of the rebellious group (led by
Pastor Samuel Agbonifo and Elder Chief James Egbuson) to take over the
Church from the Elect.
The rebels wanted the leadership of the Church by all
means; more so when the blessings of the oil boom through out the country
became conspicuously reflected in the size of Tithes, Freewill Offerings,
Harvest Thanksgiving etc. They
would not want the Elect to return to the Church.
Tribalism was not left out of the weapons applied against the Elect
The year 1970 marked the end
of the Nigerian Civil War and the beginning of the Crisis in the Church.
On 18th August, 1970, the rebels appointed Chief James Egbuson,
Timothy Okaka, Daniel Ighodaro, and James Ojo as the new Trustees of the
Church. On 9th February 1971,
the Ministry of Internal Affairs cancelled and recalled the Certificate of
Incorporation of the new General Executive Council (GEC) dated 14th July,
1970, on the ground that all actions purported to have been taken by GEC
in that respect were of no legal effect.
In this same year 1971, the
rebels took Apostle J. Ikechiuku to Benin High Court – to remove the
Elect from being the Founder and Sole Trustee of the Church, and to render
all the Church Accounts to them. At
the High Court was Justice Andrew Obaseki.
The case lasted for three years.
Judgement was given in favour of Ikechiuku.
On 5th March 1974, Chief
Egbuson and Co filed notice of Appeal against judgement of High Court.
Case moved to Supreme Court of Nigeria.
On 3rd June 1977, the Supreme
Court gave judgement mainly in favour of Ikechiuku.
EFFECT OF THE CRISIS ON THE CHURCH:
The rebels lost the case as
they presented a false Certificate of Incorporation at the High Court.
Consequently, they resorted to violence, which led to loss of
lives, and seized all the Church property by force, as the rebels were
more in number. In about the
year 1980, the name of the Church was changed to Christ Chosen
Church of God without any consultations with members.
In 1983, April, a new
Board of Governors in place of the defunct General Executive
Council was formed at the 30th Annual Conference at Kirikiri, Lagos.
THE REMAINING LOYAL MEMBERS:
The completely new St.
Joseph's Chosen Church of God (after the crisis and the rebels
broke away under their new name, Christ Chosen Church of God), started
from 83 Sakponba Road, Benin City, Reclamation Road Sapele, Kirikiri Apapa,
Lagos, Osapa London, and Umuahia.
MISSIONARY JOURNEY TO GHANA:
On the 9th December 1975,
accompanied by Elder M. O. Atenaga, Apostle Joseph Ikechiuku left Lagos,
Nigeria by Air on a Missionary journey to Ghana. They landed at Accra and after successfully establishing a
total of sixteen Stations in Ghana, they returned to Nigeria on 18th
December 1975. During the
tour of Ghana, they were assisted by a native, Pastor Ebenezer Ntim who
was based in Ghana and acted as a guide to them.
The Elect and Elder M. O. Atenaga put up at Aponopong via Suhum and
the Stations established were in the Eastern Region of Ghana.
The names of the Stations
were as follow:
The Elect of God, Apostle J.
Ikechiuku came back to Nigeria with the guide Pastor Etim, got him trained
and ordained him as a Staff Pastor during the Abbi Conference of 1976.
When this came to the
knowledge of the rebels (Christ Chosen Church), they quickly prevailed on
him and bought him over with all the money required to become one of their
Pastors. Pastor Ebenezer Etim
led them to Ghana and introduced the rebels to all the sixteen Stations
established by the Elect. Apostle
Joseph Ikechiuku was no longer interested in further conflict with the 'break
away' Church, and so he turned his attention away from Ghana, in
spite of the long letter written to him by the Elders in Ghana in 1976 to
THE LAST WORDS OF THE ELECT OF GOD, APOSTLE JOSEPH IKECHIUKU
During one of my daily visits
to see the Elect of God in the evening, he was resting outside.
He requested me to sing for about half an hour, a song on 'Faith',
which I composed through the revelation of God.
In that song, we asked God to give us Faith because we are the sons
and daughters of Ikechiuku; and the children of the 'Covenant'.
Many members of the Church who were familiar with the song joined
the chorus until Papa asked us to stop.
He called for a bottle of
Olive Oil and asked me to massage his legs and hands. Then he mustered courage and stood up; (he would not like
anyone to help him). He
walked carefully into the house and asked me and the wife to follow him. He entered the toilet and asked us to come inside.
He passed urine into a plastic container.
He gently kicked it with his leg.
It was a mixture of blood and water.
Papa looked up and shook his head.
Then he turned to me and said, 'My Son, I think you know why I
am showing this to you?'. I answered, 'Yes'.
On the previous day, the Elect had told me that he was observing in
his urine, more blood than water. I
comforted him by telling him, 'It will be over'
Looking downwards and
grinding his teeth, the Elect said to me, 'My Son, I have always
told you, I have finished my work and that I have won my Crown.
Satan wants me to bow down to him and break my Covenant with God.
He is a liar! Joseph
did not allow his servants the Physicians to give medicine to Jacob his
father. He commanded
the Physicians to embalm Jacob. That
is how my children of the Covenant will do to me and lead me back to
Ogbuebulle my home town.' Three of us quietly came out from the house as people returning
from the Graveyard, and we joined the other members outside.
I kept weeping inside me as I continued to remember the last words
of the Elect of God to me.
Seven days later, Papa gave
up the ghost. May God grant
him eternal Rest.
PASTOR C. O. NKEBAKWU
FRIEND AND CONFIDANT OF THE LATE FOUNDER)
HISTORY OF THE CHURCH
history of the Church to my knowledge dates back to when the late
Spiritual Leader & founder of the Church, Apostle Joseph Ikechiuku and
I were young men staying in the village.
of us were from Ikwuano Local Government Area (LGA), in the then Eastern
Region of the Country - Nigeria; later part of the old Imo State until
August 1991 when that part of the country was created into the now Abia
late founder of the Church was from Ogbuebulle, in Ikwuano LGA, while I
was from Umuigwu, also in the same LGA. The two villages are about 30-45
minutes walk from each other, and about 15 minutes drive apart. However,
my own mother was from a clan in the same village with Apostle Ikechiuku.
a young man growing up in a neighboring village, I knew late Apostle
Ikechiuku to be a very strong wrestler. He was a champion in wrestling in
the local community and represented his own clan and village in wrestling
competitions within our local government.
he left the village to Onitsha-Ugbo, in today’s Anambra State, where he
worked in an agricultural farm (a plantation). It was at this plantation
he received the first calling from God to go into the Ministry. In a
message from the Holy Spirit, God called on the late Elect to go and work
for him. Thereafter, he left Onitsha-Ugbo and went back to his village at
in the village, he joined the local branch of The Apostolic Church where
he was eventually made a Deacon and also a church leader. With the signs
and wonders that followed that followed his ministrations from this early
stage, every body knew that the had the calling of God and the power of
the Holy Spirit.
just a Deacon who was not the Minister in charge of the church, it was
baffling that many that were sick or in one trouble or the other were
brought to him for healing and spiritual counseling; and indeed, they all
received their divine healing and deliverance.
time I had my own personal encounter with the power of God in him was in
1939 when I was very sick and my mother brought me to the late Apostle for
prayers. He prayed for me and I received my healing instantly.
so, God continued to use him mightily to touch many lives and deliver
those in spiritual bondages. But life was not easy for him financially and
materially, as he had a tough time making ends meet. The late Apostle then
decided to relocate to Ajagbodudu, then in the Midwest region of the
country, later part of the defunct Bendel State, and today, in the current
to the late Elect’s own account, he backslided during this period and
turned his back on the work of God. At Ajagbodudu, he eventually got a job
in a UAC Palm Plantation as the head of the Labourers.
at Ajagbodudu, one day he took the Labourers to the field for the usual
day-to-day tasks. After lunchtime, he prepared to go round to supervise
their work and see how they were faming. According to the Elect, as he was
in the field, he saw a ray of light which came upon him; and feel down. He
then heard a voice calling him three times… “Joseph, Joseph,
Joseph”. The voice of God said that “ His Sheep was roaming around
without a shepherd” and that he, (the Elect) should get up, go and
gather them together and tend for them.
next day following this revelation, he tendered his resignation to the UAC
authorities. This was around 1945. He went back to Ogbuebulle, to the
Apostolic Church. There he confessed his sins and asked God for
thereafter went back to Ajagbududu, as a changed man. On his way however,
he stopped by at Enugu to see his brother, (late Gabriel Ayanwu). I was
with Gabriel at Enugu at the time. There, the late Elect told me and his
brother the story about how he received God’s calling at Ajagboduddu. He
told us that he was going back to the place to do the work of God.
the Apostle got to Ajagbodudu, I wrote to him that I would like to come
and join him there; and he agreed that I could come over. Around January
1946, (exactly 60 years ago) I went to Ajagbodudu to join him.
getting to Ajagbodudu, the late Elect told me that when he received my
letter, he asked God in prayers for direction; and the Holy Spirit told
him that he should send for me to join him; that I would be a good
instrument to work with in his Ministry.
then, he had started gathering some few members together, who met in his
sitting room for Sunday Church Services. The membership then was not more
than ten, mostly immediate family members.
that time also, the Elect was learning to become a photographer. With the
photography work, God opened doors of opportunities for him and he begun
to be financially self-sufficient. Shortly after then, he bought a land at
Ajagbodudu where he begun to build a church and a parsonage.
that early stage of the ministry, a major development that helped to
expedite the growth in membership was the migration then, of quite a
number of youths from Ogbuebulle to Ajagbodudu to come and work at the UAC
Palm plantation. Most of them were members of the Apostolic Church back
home and some of them were also great men of God filled with the power of
the Holy Spirit. Among them were some few I can still remember their
names, they included Michael Onwulere; Okebiwe (I have forgotten his
surname); Simeon Igwe; Samuel Nworgbo; and a lady called Rachael (whose
husband also worked at Plantation). Other early members were his brother
Gabriel Anyanwu and I. These people were used by God to reveal God’s
plan and purpose for the Church and Ministry.
we all know, the elect of God was illiterate. This was a major challenge
because he was always pondering on the possibility of him, a stark
illiterate going to preach to people especially the educated and
revelation came in early 1947 about the building of Box of Covenant as a
symbol of his call from God.
Specific instructions were received from the Holy Spirit on how the Box
would be built; even the name of the particular carpenter that would do
the building was revealed – he was
an old man from Okpona (in today’s Delta state, Nigeria) who also lived
there in Ajagbodudu.
after then, God asked the Elect to go back to Ogbuebulle, and ask Pastor
Kawa (the Pastor in charge of the Apostolic Church, Ikwuano District) and
Lazarus Egemba (who was the caretaker in charge of Ogbuebulle branch) to
come and dedicate the Box of Convenant at Ajagbodudu.
told the Elect that the box was the sign of agreement between them. God
old him that he should
not worry about his illiteracy. The Holy Spirit assured the Elect that
despite his educational
shortcomings, he would become a teacher, preacher and an author whose fame
would travel far and wide.
God promised to teach him how to read and write. And indeed, God fulfilled
this promise. Every one of us
today can testify to the fact that the late Apostle Ikechiuku was a
prolific writer, whose teachings, preaching and healing ministry
touched many lives within and outside Nigeria.
the Ministry was growing, one day, we (me, the elect, and some other
brethren) went to the Staff Quarters of the U.A.C Palm Plantation for
evangelism. After the Elect's preaching, he made an altar call for any body
that was sick to come out for prayers. He prayed for as many
as answered the altar call.
another time, the same group went with the Elect, to that same
staff quarters for another round of evangelism. After the preaching, he
asked that those that received healing during the first evangelism to come
forward. Among those that came out was a man who identified himself as
Gabriel (from Urovwio-Abraka, now Delta State).
man gave a very touching testimony of how he been stricken by gonorrhea
for many years which defied every cure. At a time, his family brought a
woman for him to marry. But because of the infection, they were married
for many years without children. The man testified that after the
Elect’s prayers, all symptoms of the infection disappeared; and shortly
after, his wife became pregnant. The church was filled with joy and awe
as they listened to the wonderful testimony. Eventually, the wife put to
bed a baby girl and the man took her and the new baby to his village,
where he told his people about the goodness of God to him. This was what
led to the opening of the first branch of the Church, in Urovwio-Abraka.
news went round the whole community and many of the indigenes gave their
lives to Christ. The Chief of Urovwio-Abraka invited the Elect and told
him that evil permeates the land so the progress of he people has
been retarded. He asked the Elect to destroy all shrines and evil
alters in the village. The Elect did this and there was a mighty spiritual
revival in the land: and the story went far wide, reaching Benin, Sapele
and many towns n the Midwestern environs of Nigeria.
brought their sick from Benin, Warri, and all other places. One of such
persons was Late Agbonifoi’s mother in-law, she told the Elect that she
had a son who had for may years left home and gone to Eko (Lagos State)
and has not been seen by his family since then. She said they were not
sure if he was still alive or dead. The
Elect prayed for her and told her that her son was alive and well, and
that he would come home before the expiration of a specified period of
time. Less than two weeks later, the woman’s son actually came, and was
full of testimonies and thanksgiving to God.
news of the power of God as manifested through the elect continue to
spread eve wider, round the whole Midwestern region: and the Church
expanded in membership.
a time, the Elect went to a convention of the Apostolic Church holding in
Amumara (close to Aba). At the conference, the Elect told members of the
church that the wished to merge his church with theirs. But they bluntly
refused the offer. The Apostolic church said that the merger could change
their pattern of worship, a development they were not willing to accept.
the Elect came back from that Convention, he, for the first time, named
this own Church: “St. Joseph’s Apostolic Church” which became the
Church’s identity. Later
however, he got a revelation from God that he should rename the church:
“St. Joseph’s Chosen Church of God”, the name the church is known by
of the great wonders of God manifested in the Elect’s Ministry was when
God showed him a pond somewhere in the old Bendel State, where, if he
takes any sick person, he/she would be healed.
there was a time the late Oba Akenzua of Benin Kingdom (then father of the
reigning Oba Erediauwa) invited the Elect to his Palace when he (the Oba)
was having confrontations with the Ogboni fraternity. The Elect assured
him that he would live to fulfill his God-given days as the Oba, and that
his throne would never depart from him or his coming generations.
the Urovwio-Abraka branch, which was the first branch of the Church, the
second one was in Benin (the Number One Church in Virginia Street, in
today’s 2nd East Circular road, Benin City. At that time, the
Ajagbodudu outlet was like the headquarters, since that was where the
Elect resided. The Apostle then shuttled between Virginia
Branch, Benin City and Ajabodudu.
then onward, the church began to spread like wild fire, with branches
springing up in many towns and cities in the old Midwest and Eastern
region and parts of the Western region. But the Ministry did not go
without its taste of temptations. A major crisis rocked the church
following the aftermath of the Nigerian civil war (1967-1970). The
controversy led to the break-up of the church and the cessation of a
faction of the church led by Pastors Agbonifo, Eguasa, and Akpomuje, to
form the Church which is today known as Christ’s Chosen church of God.
faction questioned the action of the Elect, which, he was believed to have
taken by directives via prophecy - a trial that
could come to any true man of God. The Elect had re-married more than one
wife. The faction accused the Elect of polygamy and broke away from the
Church. They confiscated most of the legally acquired
properties of St. Joseph's Chosen Church of God, and copied the rules and
conducts, all the
original doctrines and dogmas that God had used Apostle Joseph
Ikechiuku, the founder of the Church to establish - in so much that by implication and
extension, Apostle Joseph Ikechiuku remained a true Founder.
It should be noted that loyalists to the Elect showed their love and
support to him through the years of his trial till such a time in his life
that he did restitution and remained married to one wife.
It should be noted that loyalists to the Elect showed their love and support to him through the years of his trial till such a time in his life that he did restitution and remained married to one wife.
break-away faction also dragged the Elect to Court. The Benin District Court declared him the
winner of the case; and he also won the appeal filled in Lagos Court,
which also gave the go-ahead to claim all the branches, and church
properties that the faction was trying to confiscate.
on getting home, the Holy Spirit admonished the Elect not to struggle with
the faction for possession of the Church and its properties. The Elect
then called on the Church to let peace reign; he advised his members not
to engage the faction in any brutal struggle over anything. He expressed
the belief that those which are for him, no matter how far away they go,
would come back to him someday.
so the breakaway faction made away with a greater number of the Church’s
branches, especially those in Benin and its environ, including the Number
One Church in Virginia Street, Benin City. Some branches in Lagos,
including Ajegunle, Maroko, Bariga, etc, were confiscated as Christ’s
Chosen Church property.
the end of the crises, St. Joseph’s Chosen church of God had few
branches remaining. At the time I came to Lagos (September 1970) it is
note-worthy that there was not a single St. Joseph’s branch in Lagos
State. Then, I and Elder Ovuru (who was the Father of Church at Falomo
branch, one of the churches taken over by Christ’s Chosen Church) wrote
to the Elect, inviting him to mobilize for the opening of a branch in
Lagos, as there was no branch where his loyalists in that part of
the country could worship.
Elder Ovuru and a Pastor who was living with him (I cannot remember his
name) went to meet Deaconess Ieketimi (today’s Mother General of Lagos
Zone), who led us to a school (at the back of the Aroromi Local Government
Area Council) where we begun to worship under the St. Joseph’s Chosen
Church of God’s umbrella.
at a time, the church was told to leave the School. As God's intervention,
the late Pastor Osieke was brought to the Church very sick. He Lord healed
him and he became a very fervent member. It was through him that we got a
worshipping venue at Kirikiri (Olodi-Apapa), which became the first Lagos
branch after the breakaway episode.
this, a branch was opened at Maroko. When the Maroko area was demolished,
Orile, Surlere and Bariga branches were opened by brethren who left the
Maroko crises and fled to different parts of Lagos. Dopemu branch was
later opened and then Osapa branch. That was how St. Joseph’s branches
started springing up again all over Lagos State, Nigeria.
thank God that today, (February 12, 2006), St. Joseph’s has over 10
branches in Lagos alone, and over 50 in Benin and its environs. St.
Joseph’s Chosen Church of God International has become the mustard seed,
which I boasted to Pastor Eguasa (one of the faction leaders) during the
crises that God will make us. Today, the church has over 100 branches
within and outside Nigeria.
is obvious from this short account I can remember that the late Elect of
God, Apostle Joseph’s Ikechiuku, was a true man of God, which God used
for great signs and wonders. I thank God that He had fulfilled all the
promises he made to the Elect before he was called to eternal glory in
historic account is not what somebody told me in a folktale, but what I
witnessed with my own eyes; and in most cases, I was a party to.
Elder Sampson Oriaku
Joseph’s Chosen Church of God International