One of the thirteen tenets of Christian faith divinely enshrined in the Christ Apostolic Church constitution and an age-long doctrinal practice is divine healing. This has to do with faith healing which comes from absolute faith and trust in the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. It aims at making the human body free from sicknesses and diseases. The doctrine is a function of obedience to divine stipulations and implicit faith in the name and atoning blood of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour in healing of the body and soul.
This scriptural practice started with the founding fathers of Christ Apostolic Church in 1918 (a revival movement first called the Precious Stone) under the Holy Spirit’s anointing. The practice was later greatly popularised from 1930. Those who suffered from sicknesses, diseases and diverse infirmities received healing through a number of ways. These include effective prayers by men of God (James 5:13-16), laying of hands (Mark 16:18), the use of sanctified water for drinking and washing by sick people, reminiscent of Prophet Elijah’s encounter with Naman (II Kings 5:10,14; Isaiah 55:1,2), anointing of the sick with sanctified oil (James 5:14). This doctrinal practice continued unabated over the years and paved the way for the eventual establishment of faith homes, specifically for the care of pregnant women in the church as in Exodus chapter one.
Birth, Origin, And Development
As an emergency measure to support the tenet of divine healing of the CAC, devout old women (aka Iya Agbebi, literally translated as midwife) as well as experienced ministers’ wives were put in charge of pregnant women and their safe delivery without patronising either traditional herbalists or even hospitals. With the use of psalms, sanctified water, fried oil, and the dependence on prayers as well as the power of the Holy Spirit, the fears and anxieties of women during labour disappeared since 1930.
This temporary measure adopted to ensure good health services among the pregnant women in the church had to be revised and greatly modified after twenty years of practice. Some of the major reasons that accounted for the new development include the expansion of the church (which had led to a great increase in the number of pregnant women in the church and the volunteers could not cope with), the unyielding persecutions from detractors and government health officers grew by the day (regarding the welfare of pregnant women in the church).
This situation compelled Apostle J.A. Babalola and the other leaders of Christ Apostolic Church to establish a midwifery centre as a solution to the impasse. That centre took off casually as a faith home at Ehindi Alanaka in Efon Alaaye, Ekiti State with one Prophetess Lydia Oluwayemisi as the only candidate.
In subsequent years, the number of students gradually increased progressively in 1959. The Lord then directed late Apostle Babalola to move CAC faith home to a permanent site at Talafia, Ede, Osun State. The divine order was duly obeyed and the transfer was completed in 1959. Mrs. D.A. Oladiran, a trained nursing sister, was appointed as the first matron. She was assisted by one other trained assistant and three junior workers. Late Prophet Samson O. Akande (aka Baba Abiye) had been divinely positioned at Ede to play host to the new faith home. Later, Mrs. A.O. Pearce, a former principal of CAC Bible Training College, Akure, joined hands with Mrs. Oladiran at the faith home. It was at the official dedication service of CAC faith home in Ede that late Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola rested in the Lord on Sunday 25 July, 1959.
Progress And Challenges
The response of pregnant women visiting the Faith Home was surging as a result of the 100% success recorded in child deliveries as well as antenatal and postnatal cares. Women came from near and far for safe deliveries of their babies. In spite of the initial handicaps (in temporary shortage of facilities), the faith home in Ede waxed strong. Interestingly, it gradually developed to a centre of revival and evangelism. Barren women were blessed with babies, women with protracted pregnancies were safely delivered of their babies, women with threatened abortions delivered their babies maturely, mothers whose breasts failed to supply milk for their babies were healed. The work of faith healing was not limited to pregnant women alone. The Lord graciously manifested Himself in curing diverse diseases among patients of both sexes including impotency, hypertension, asthma, stroke, barrenness, and resuscitation of stillbirths, infant mortality eradication, and other miracles.
Encouraged by the impressive achievements of the faith home, the church authority expanded the facilities. For two years, there was intensive training of larger numbers of fairly literate, virtuous, and mature Christian female students (aged between 25 and 45 years) and were sponsored by big CAC assemblies or districts nationwide. CAC good women association actively supported the church authority in this regard financially with annual grants, etc., just as CAC men association has been doing for CAC Theological Seminary, Ile-Ife. The faith home training centre was duly registered with the government, as CAC Faith Home Child Birth & Missionary Health Workers Training Centre, Ede with late Pastor (Doctor) J.K. Fagbo supervising.
The two year full time residential training curriculum includes classroom teaching, maternity practical (with modern equipment), incessant and prevailing prayers, and practicum (occasional attachments), etc. The training schedule includes the following subjects:
- English Language.
- Christian Religious Studies.
- Human Anatomy, Physiology & Hygiene.
- Nursing care.
- Maternal health.
- Child health.
- Family planning, and many more.
All these subjects are handled by expert medical doctors, qualified and government registered staff nurses, midwives and matrons, as well as pastors.
In order to ensure effective management of the institution, the church authority established a governing board for it. These comprises representatives of good women association, the old student association, medical practitioners, and a few church leaders, one of whom has always been appointed as the chairman of the board. The past incumbent of that office include Pastors A.O.A. Olutimehin, E.A. Faniyan, D.I. Ojo, S.O. Adeola, J.K. Olaosebikan, S.O. Adebayo, and Z.O. Aniyikaye and J.A. Adeleke who, upon his retirement in December 2017, was succeeded by Pastor P.A. Ogunwale, Ife DCC superintendent (the incumbent chairman of the board).
As for the school’s head, after Mrs. D.A. Oladiran had served as matron for 28 years, she retired in 1988 and was succeeded by Mrs. L.F. Ajayi. She in turn retired in the year 1994 and was succeeded by Mrs. V.A. Alabi. After retiring in 2012, Mrs. Alabi was also succeeded by Mrs. Lola Awoyungbo (NRN, NRM, PHN, CHO), the incumbent matron. All of them are trained and experienced in the nursing/midwifery profession as well as being Holy Spirit filled lady evangelists in CAC.
For many years, the supervising physician was late Pastor (Doctor) Jacob K. Fagbo. After his demise, Pastor (Doctor) Thomas O. Odejide was appointed and is still in charge till now. He is a member of RCOG.
In addition, the faith home training centre is a pioneer member of the registered voluntary midwifery and community birth attendants association of Nigeria established to further regulate the practice in the field. Every faith home must also be duly registered with the state’s Ministry of Health and supervised by a qualified medical doctor.
To God be the glory for the tremendous progress being made in recent years, especially in the upgrading of the institution’s infrastructural facilities, acquisition of modern teaching equipment, employment of qualified medical doctors, nurses, and midwives as teaching staff. Also, the enhancement of the teaching curricular plus the higher quality of student intakes so as to meet the required standard in the school of basic midwifery without sacrificing the God ordained tenet of divine healing. Therefore, efforts are currently being intensified to obtaining government approval and recognition for our products to qualify for the state registered midwifery certificate.
In recent years, modern developments and the nature of the jobs, occupations and professions of the new generation compels many of our church members to call at the hospitals for one thing or another, especially depending on individual’s faith, specific needs, and convictions. Nonetheless, such avoidable cases do not diminish the significance of the doctrinal belief in faith healing. After all, divine healing is part of the work which Christ did for humanity on the cross (Isaiah 53:5). Finally, it is important to note that the faith home, both in Ede and in all our church assemblies nationwide, is one of the legacies of Christ Apostolic Church with regard to the hallowed doctrine of divine healing.