Continued from: Registration of the Church
TENETS AND MODE OF WORSHIP
93. It is ordained by the Holy Spirit that:
(1) members of Celestial Church of Christ are forbidden to engage or participate in any form of idolatory, fetish ceremony or cults, black magic and charms;
(2) cigarette or tobacco smoking or snuffing or any type of weed smoking or snuffing is forbidden to members of the Celestial Church of Christ;
(3) consumption of any form of alcohol, wine or any strong drink that can intoxicate is forbidden to members of Celestial Church of Christ as the odour of all these – cigarettes, tobacco, alcohol, etc. – are repugnant to the presence of the Holy Spirit;
(4) consumption of pork or any food offered as sacrifice to idols or other powers of darkness is forbidden to members of Celestial Church of Christ;
(5) members are forbidden to wear apparels made of black or red materials except for professional reasons;
(6) members should not wear shoes when wearing their sutana or within the premises of the Church;
(7) male and female members are forbidden to sit together side by side within the Church and its premises;
(8) female members during menstruation are not allowed to come within the precincts of the Church until after their sanctification after seven clear days; and where the menstruation extends beyond seven days, two clear days should be allowed for after stoppage before sanctification;
(9) female members are forbidden from entering the altar area or leading the congregation in worship;
(10) In Celestial Church of Christ, only white candles are to be used. Coloured candles are strictly forbidden;
(11) fornication and adultery are forbidden in the Celestial Church of Christ;
(12) Holy is the Celestial Church of Christ and all who worship in her should endeavour to be clean in body and in soul…
MODE OF WORSHIP
94. All forms of worship in the Celestial Church of Christ are entirely as revealed by the Holy Spirit. This includes the setting of the altar, and the seats therein, the number of candles used for the various types of services and the seating arrangement. In particular, it should be noted that the seating arrangement was revealed through a prophetess who under the influence of the Holy Spirit in the wilderness on Friday 5th October 1947, sketched the seating arrangement using oranges.
ORDER OF SERVICE
95. There is an Order of Service laid down in the Celestial Church of Christ for different occasions such as Marriage, Funeral, Mass in remembrance of the Dead, etc. The order for the respective occasion is strictly as revealed by the Holy Spirit and is set out in the booklet titled “Order of Service” obtained from the Supreme Headquarters in Porto Novo, the Nigeria Diocesan Headquarters, Makoko, Lagos and indeed from many parishes all over the country.
96. The Order of Service, as revealed, contains certain Holy Names which usually precede reading from the books of Psalms. The meaning of some of these Holy Names are given as follows:-
Eh-Yibah Oluwa Alanu
Eli-Yah Oluwa Olorun
Eli – Bamah – Yabah Oluwa -Omo Emi – Michael
Agashadual Oba Olusegun
Jehovah Jecho – Hirami Oba Olubukun
ANNOUNCEMENT AND SERMON
97. Announcement during Devotional Services shall be made by the Parish Secretary and shall be designed to bring to the notice of the congregation items of interest to the Church, forthcoming Church programmes, guidelines for the adherence to the Tenets of the Church and such items of announcement as may from time to time be ordered by the Pastor or from the Diocesan Headquarters.
98. Sermon during Worship shall be delivered by any Church elder so appointed by the Pastor’s Representative at the Parish for the occasion. The elder so appointed shall strictly observe the following guidelines.-
(a) The sermon shall be taken from the Bible texts appointed to be read for the day. Strict adherence to the text shall always be an overriding principle.
(b) Reference to Newspaper Publications, to items of political nature or items that have connection with Government Policy or items that may be construed as antagonising or derogatory to other religious organisations is forbidden.
HOLY RITES OR SACRAMENTS
99. There are a number of Holy Rites or Sacraments within the form of worship in Celestial Church of Christ which are of utmost importance. Members shall avail themselves of the opportunity to partake in these Rites or Sacraments:-
This is by immersion. Before being accepted as a member of the Church one must be baptised or re-baptised into the faith of Celestial Church of Christ. Reference is made to Acts 19:1-6.
(b) HOLY COMMUNION
The important rite of the Holy Communion is generally held Quarterly as well as on Holy Thursday (Pre-Easter), and on Christmas Day at the Porto Novo Beach. It may also be held on other special occasions such as Marriage, Funeral, Mass in remembrance of Departed Souls etc.
(c) ANNUAL WASHING OF FEET
This is held on the Thursday of the Holy Week (Passion Week). It is in commemoration of the event when Jesus Christ washed the feet of His disciples during the last supper. For this purpose, it has been laid down that representatives of each parish shall congregate at the Diocesan Headquarters, Makoko on Saturday preceding the Palm Sunday. After a short service the representatives would return to their
respective parishes on Sunday (i.e. the Palm Sunday) and would perform the washing of feet to members of their respective parishes on the following Thursday-John 13:5-9
(d) ANNUAL CONVOCATION AT PORTO NOVO CHRISTMAS EVE
It is ordained by the Holy Spirit that all members of the Celestial Church of Christ, wherever they may be, shall convocate for Christmas at the sea side in Porto-Novo, Republic of Benin. This is in remembrance of the birth of Christ during the census decreed by Caesar Augustus – Luke 2: 1.
(e) ANNUAL EASTER CONGREGATION AT MAKOKO
This is a Congregation of all members of Celestial Church of Christ Nigeria Diocese at Makoko from the morning/ afternoon of Good Friday_ until Easter Sunday. Three services are held in Celestial Church of Christ on Good Friday to celebrate the anniversary of the arrest, trial, conviction, crucifixion and burial of our Lord Jesus Christ. These are at 9.00 a.m., 12.00 noon and 3.00 P.m. local time. Representatives of each parish in the Diocese are enjoined to attend the 3.00 p.m. service at Makoko and thereafter partake of the feast of fruits and water at about 5.30 p.m. The day’s celebrations will be considered over thereafter as from about 6.00 p.m.
The following day, Saturday, in the evening, there will be a procession to the Cemetery for a devotional service there at twelve midnight.
Then on Easter Sunday morning, there will be a full devotional service of joy and victory in the Church.
(f.) ANNUAL HARVEST THANKSGIVING SERVICE
It is also laid down that each Parish of the Celestial Church of Christ shall annually observe the Harvest by holding Harvest Thanksgiving. Service followed by Harvest Sales. This will be celebrated in two parts – Juvenile and Adult. The Juvenile Harvest will be celebrated by all parishes on the first Sunday in June each year, while for the Adult Harvest, parishes shall inform and agree their respective dates with the Diocesan Headquarters in Lagos, always provided that no parish shall hold its Harvest Thanksgiving Service on the Ist Sunday in October, which is the date fixed for the Supreme Headquarters in Porto-Novo or Ist Sunday in August, which is the day set aside for the Diocesan Headquarters, Makoko in Lagos.
(g) HOLY MARY’S DAY
This is in commemoration of the appearance of Holy Mary to the Pastor on the 15th day of July 1977.
The significance of Holy Mary to the Celestial faith can be traced to the earliest days of the Celestial Church of Christ; for the very first spiritual hymn that was given to the Church through one of the early prophetesses of the Church (WOLISATA) was the hymn which reads thus
(Hymn No. 762 CCC Hymn Book):
“Enyin ara ‘nu Kristi : s: s: m: 1: s: –
E gbe orin soke d:m-s:-f:m:r:-:-
K’ e si gbo ohun ti d:s:-m:l:s:-d:
Jehovah nso m:s:-f:m:r:-.-
Ere di re te fi wa s:d:d:t:l:s:s
Ninu Ijo Mimo yi? iii:m:f:m:r:f:m:-:-
Ere di re t’e fi wa s:d:d:t:l:s:s:
Ninu egbe nla yi? m:m:f:m:r:f:m:-:-
Ki Maria iya wa s:d:d:t:l:s:-
Le e wa sin wa lo M:s:f:m:r:f:m:-:-
K’Eni Mimo rere yi s:d:-t:l:s:-m:s:
Wa ma sin wa lo ‘.’ f:til:r:r:d:-:-
Significantly, thirty years later, on 15th day of July 1977, the Pastor, in a trance, saw himself climbing a number of steps until he got to a plane full of fallen leaves and sighted a fair white lady clad from top to toe in blue apparel and standing in a posture as if shielding something away from him.
Then the Pastor found himself descending steps until he sighted a Church from which a Reverend Father emerged and bowed in homage to him repeatedly. Then the Pastor found himself ascending again back to the spot where he earlier saw tile fair lady. This time, the fair lady opened up to show that what she was shielding away earlier was a baby having a crown on His head and she said, pointing to the baby:
Emi Mimo ni,
Okan mimo ni,
Oba iye ni,
Eni ba fe sin gbodo tona to mo rekete”
meaning in English
“This is Jesus Christ,
He is Holy in Spirit,
He is Holy in Mind,
He is Life everlasting.
Tell people that those who would worship Him must tread the path of spiritual cleanliness”.
At this juncture, the Pastor realised that the fair lady was Holy Mary. She repeated the injunction in song thus:
“Jesu, Emi , mimo ni, d:-s:-:-:-d: iii:rn:m:r:-:-:-
Okan Mimo ni, r:d:m:M:r:-:-:-
Oba iye ni, r:r:d:d:r:-;-:-
Eni ba fe sin Jesu a m:s:s:s:r:ni:d:d:s:
tona to mo rekete”. s:r:r:d:d:d:-:-:
Continuing, she told the Pastor that he should remain undaunted by the colour of his skin because race is of no significance in things of the Spirit. She added:
“Okan mimo re la nwo ti a fi ngbe inu re.”
meaning: “It is because of your clean mind that we dwell in you”.
Almost exactly a year after the incident described above, the Pastor fell ill during which it was spiritually revealed (also in trance) that due recognition shall be accorded to Holy Mary in the Celestial Church of Christ by commemorating the above incident annually. In consequence, the Pastor declared first Friday of July every year as Holy Mary’s Day to be observed by full congregational Service throughout the Celestial Church of Christ all over the world. The first observance of Holy Mary’s Day took place on Friday 7th July, 1978.
100. The Pastor-in-Council shall have sole responsibility for the publication of all Church Literature of the Celestial Church of Christ. Included in this Literature are Gospel Diary, Almanacs, Hymn Books, Calendars, Church Periodicals and such other Literature as shall be purported to be authorised by or to emanate from Celestial Church of Christ.
101. All persons who earnestly and sincerely desire to be saved and therefore accept Jesus Christ as the son of God and only Lord and Saviour of mankind and who wish to worship and serve Him in the Church; demonstrating their sense of conversion by taking up such duties and privileges as are entailed in the fellowship, are welcome into the fold.
102. Nobody shall be considered a member of the Church until he has
been baptised in the Celestial Church of Christ, irrespective of any previous baptism(s) in any other Christian denomination(s).
103. A worshipper desiring to become a member shall
(i) renounce membership of all secret cults, societies, fraternities, etc.
(ii) renounce the worship of all idols and fetish,
(iii) desist from the worship of Satan and all his works, from following any fetish priests and from engaging in magic or any powers of darkness,
(iv) renounce all titles, positions or associations which directly or indirectly conflict with the above injunctions (e.g. any type of Chieftaincy title),
(v) declare that living or dead, he is a full member of the Celestial Church of Christ and that on his death, he should be buried in accordance with the tenets and rites of the Celestial Church of Christ,
(vi) sign a declaration of adherence to the above.
All the above are based on the teachings of the Holy Bible: Exodus 20:3 “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” and 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 “Be ye not unequally yoked together
with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?”
104. Members shall use within and outside the Church only those appellations and/or prefixes relating to their rank within the Church. In addition, members may use outside the Church those appellations and/or prefixes that relate to their professional titles (e.g. Engr., Arch., Dr., Brig., Flight Officer, Navy Commander, or B.A. M.Sc. etc) or their gender (e.g. Mr. Mrs., Miss., Esq.)
105. New members shall normally, prior to admission undergo sanctification with a pail of water and candle to avoid uncleanness in the Church. The prayer of sanctification shall be conducted by the Pastor’s Representative in charge of the Parish or by his appointee.
SOLEMNITY OF THE CHURCH SERVICES
106. During Church Services, the utmost solemnity and attention shall be observed. All mannerisms that may militate against this, such as gossip, side talk or pasting of currency notes on members of the Choir in appreciation of their music shall be totally avoided.
107. Celestial Church of Christ is one and indivisible. For organisational purposes and within the framework of this organisation, the following terms, wherever they are used and wherever they occur in this Constitution, shall be deemed to have the meaning hereunder respectively assigned to them.
(a) INTERNATIONAL HEADQUARTERS: Celestial Church of Christ is world-wide. While its Supreme Headquarters is at Porto Novo, Republic of Benin (formerly Dahomey) which is also its birth-place, the INTERNATIONAL HEADQUARTERS of the Church world-wide is at the Mission House, Ketu, Lagos State, Nigeria.
(b) DIOCESE: refers to the entire Church within Nigeria with its National or Diocesan Headquarters at 12/15 Church Street, Makoko, Yaba, Lagos State. It also includes for the time being those Parishes outside Nigeria (e.g. in United States of America, United Kingdom, Western Europe) which are administered from Nigeria.
(c) DISTRICTS: denote groups of Parishes within the Diocese ministered unto by Pastor’s Representatives of the rank of Assistant Evangelist and above. Such Assistant Evangelists (and above) shall normally be based in a Parish from where they would administer to the parishes within the group to which they are assigned such Holy Rites as can only be administered by those with the rank of Assistant Evangelist and above.
(d) PARISH: denotes individual Church Congregation within the Diocese. As examples, we have
(i) Badagry Parish
(ii) Yemetu Parish
(iii) Oke-Ado Parish
(i). Harton Street Parish, etc. etc. etc.