Ministers Wives’ Fellowship
Christ Apostolic Church Ministers’ Wives Fellowship (CACMWF) is another prominent unit of the church where women are doing exploits. The fellowship was initiated at the national level in 1973 by Benjamin Okpaise, the then national publicity secretary. Mrs. C.O. Latunde was the first president while Mrs. Modupe Okpaise was the first secretary. The second chairperson was Mrs. M.S. Obafemi while other officers include Taye Odesola, E.O. Olajide, and L.O. Alokan. Its first conference was held at Moore, Ile Ife and it is still being held on annual basis at Ikeji Arakeji and in the other sections of the church. Like other association fellowships of the church, a written report of its deliberation is submitted to the executive council of the church. It is statutory for the wife of the incumbent CAC president to be the chairperson of the fellowship. Therefore, for this reason, Mrs. S.K. Oladele is its present chairperson.
The purpose of its annual conference is to coordinate wives of ministers, train and groom them spiritually by the older women in a bid to enhance their cooperation with their husbands in the ministry as well as build good Christian homes. Its meetings feature lectures meant to promote Christian holy living, the role of a minister’s wife, the Christian home, the church and women ministry, humility, steadfastness, and dedication to God.
It is obligatory for all wives of serving ministers to be members of ministers’ wives’ fellowship by registration and compliance with the rules and regulations of the fellowship. The function of the fellowship is quite different from that of the good women association. The local meetings are held at DCC and zonal levels while the national programmes are held on a yearly basis at CAC International Miracle Ground, Ikeji Arakeji, Osun State. For north section, in Abuja and for the South-south and South-east, in Port Harcourt.
CAC midwives are the church arm of maternity care for women within and without the church. They are the products of the midwifery college founded in the year 1959 by the church authority. The college is being coordinated by Lady Evangelist Awoyungbo Olufunmilola Olayinka who was the assistant matron in 2011. The school was registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission under the Voluntary Midwifery and Community Birth Attendant Association of Nigeria (VMCBAAN) in 2010. According to the coordinator, the school was founded by the women wing to train midwives that will care for pregnant members in accordance with the church’s beliefs and practices regarding healing. The need for the establishment of the faith home arose when most of the church pregnant women were regarded as fanatics and were denied proper antenatal care in public hospitals because the church does not believe in the use of medicine. Nevertheless, the midwifery unit now employs orthodox medicine in their antenatal care for patients.
The spiritual laxity among christians in terms of poor eating habits and unbridled social lifestyle has led the church to the introduction of orthodox medicine into prenatal care in recent times. This is because it is believed that these habits coupled with western civilisation and technological advancement have a serious negative effect on pregnant women. For example, it is medically proven that negative eating habit of pregnant woman may lead to oversized babies. In a situation where the baby is too big for the mother’s cervix, the only option to deliver the baby is caesarean section (CS).
Besides child birth services, the maternity centers also have programmes for those who are waiting on the Lord for children. In cases like these, prayer sessions are organised for both the pregnant women and those who are looking up to God for conception. Several delivery and conception complications have been solved through their spiritual approach. The successes of CAC maternity centres coupled with their affordable charges have made their services attractive in their various communities.
Constitutionally, CACMWA holds national annual conferences at their different sections. Foremost among the subjects on their programme is the update of the midwifery practices. These meetings afford the midwives ample opportunities to share their experiences in their profession and to draw up programmes which will promote their ministry as the child delivery arm of the church. A written report of its deliberations is submitted to the general executive council of the church at the end of the conference.
Christ Apostolic Church is so endowed with female evangelists and prophetesses. Most of whom are renowned church planters within and outside the shores of Nigeria. Prominent among them in Delta State (which is the Case study of this) is Esther Enatiku of Iluelogbo town in the Isoko North Local Government Area of Delta State. She was born in March 1920. Church records have it that she got converted during Joseph Ayo Babalola evangelistic campaign in the year 1948. She was baptised of the Holy Spirit after conversion. Besides her prophetic endowment, she was also gifted in childbirth and featured a midwife alongside in her prophetic ministry.
Female Evangelist and Prophetesses
Prophetess Elizabeth Shadowei is another personality in the history of spread of Christ Apostolic Church in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. She was an indigene of Ogwerhu town in the Urhobo area of Delta State. Through the ministry of prophetess Elizabeth, several pioneers of the church in Delta State got converted. She was converted in the year 1958 probably through the activities of Babalola or some other minister of Christ Apostolic Church. She was called to ministry in the year 1962. Her endowment with power of healing furthered the ministry because several of those who were healed in her church became preachers of the good news and many also started CAC assemblies. Notable among those who received healing and later pioneered Christ Apostolic Churches are John O. Erimu, Mrs. Rebecca Omotor, Mr. Macaulay, Mr. Seen, among others. Elizabeth’s ministry was well known that prominent ministers of CAC such as Pastor Orogun, Pastor Medayese, and Prophet Igabor paid her a visit at different times. A healing home of about forty rooms which housed about four to six patients at a time was built in the church premise.
Prophetess Rebecca Omotor ran with the baton of ministry of Elizabeth as a prophetess and evangelist in Isokoland. Rebecca Omotor was cured in the Elizabeth Shadowei healing home of the sickness that defied both native and orthodox medicines for two years. There she received the call to ministry as an evangelist and a prophet. Afterwards, she served as a prophetess in the church of John Erimu for a period of time until she was commissioned to begin her own mission. She founded Christ Apostolic Church, Ozoro Number 2 with a healing home for the sick. She cofounded several other assemblies in the Niger Delta region.