Women can lead, they should not be discriminated against in church —Akinwande
Reverend (Dr) El-Miram Akinwande is the Founder of El-Rabboni Evangelical Ministry and Spiritual Mother of Ebenezer Praying Band Church, Cherubim and Seraphim (C&S) Unification Church. In this interview with SEYI SOKOYA, she talks about the role of women in the church, among other issues.
How do you think Nigeria can overcome the many challenges it has been facing lately?
With the way things are in the land, we need prayers and more especially to bring the enemies into subjection. In the Bible, King Jehoshaphat defeated the enemies – Amorites and Hittites. He was helped by God with praise. It is my desire that God deliver the country from the siege of terrorists and other enemies. The current situation where people are looting the treasury is quite reprehensible. There are things these funds should be used for; the problem of ASUU is there, poorly equipped hospitals, bad roads, unstable power supply and other things that do not make life comfortable for the citizens.
However, by the grace of God, Nigeria will not die; some people’s selfishness won’t kill him because God won’t allow it. We have had leaders who have done their best and whose names are written in gold. Moreover, we should know that we have brought nothing to this world and that we will leave without taking anything from it; our leaders need to know that we will all be accountable for our lives here on earth. The scripture says we are only residents on earth because there is eternity and the quality of life we live, in terms of doing what God requires of us, will determine where we spend eternity.
The issue of succession has pushed back some churches, how do you see that?
Ideally, succession should not bring acrimony. As children of God, things must be done according to the leading of the Holy Spirit. For example, my mother who was a midwife and founder of the Ebenezer Praying Band Church, Cherubim and Seraphim (C&S) Unification Church, did not make room for hereditary succession in the constitution of the church.
Currently we have a new Baba Aladura while the immediate past is still alive. Our constitution states that the Baba Aladura’s term should end when he turns 75, but the Baba Aladura Emeritus, who happens to be my husband, held the office until he was 80 because he was trying to stabilize the church. But with the baton passed to another leader, Baba Aladura Afolabi, some people have questioned the action. The truth is that a church leader does not necessarily have to leave the earth before having a successor.
Despite the fact that women have begun to play a vital role in church activities, some people still subscribe to the idea that it is taboo for women to lead churches; what do you say to that?
Women must not be discriminated against in the vineyard. If called to ministry, they can lead a church; there should be no barrier. Being women, and in ministry, is not contrary to C&S doctrine. I lead a branch of the Ebenezer Praying Band, the C&S Unification Church.
God called my mother in 1951 and she gradually started the church around the age of 40. While for me, God called me into the gospel ministry to preach the second coming of Christ and was commissioned to operate in accordance with the mandate of El-Rabboni, the Christ teacher and healer, when I was in my thirties. .
It depends on who God is calling; it is God who calls people, for example, Mama Captain Abiodun Emmanuel whom God called when she was 17+ in 1925. She co-founded the Cherubim and Seraphim with Prophet Moses Orimolade. Some men don’t want women to speak up, but these women can’t afford to fold their hands, they can’t afford to be isolated, or be unable to maximize God’s grace on their lives. Those days are over.
There are examples of women doing well in ministry. God also loves women and is ready to give us more missions. Let me also add that for two terms I led the Mosan Okunola region of the CAN as the first female leader. With the support of the people, we have recorded some achievements, to the glory of God, and recently I was appointed grand matron.
Can you enlighten us on your spiritual encounter which gave birth to your ministry?
My call came on the 40th birthday of a church member; it remains a day that I will never forget. I walked in as the ‘Rock of ages’ anthem continued, while others stopped, I couldn’t stop. The wind blew over me and my eyes opened to see writings on the wall; my mouth opened and I started speaking in tongues although I didn’t understand what I was saying. But I was led to pray for some people, one of whom was a woman who wanted a child and was able to conceive and give birth to a son. From there began the El-Rabboni evangelical ministry; my team and I have organized many outreach activities inside and outside Lagos including UK, Canada and USA.
Also, to commemorate my spiritual encounter, October 25 of each year is set aside. This date is used to remind individuals and nations not to take Christ’s second coming lightly. I hope that this date will be recognized by the United Nations as a solemn reminder of the return of Jesus.
The Ebenezer Praying Band, C&S Unification Church.in Aguda, Surulere, Lagos holds an interfaith service every year on October 25th for this purpose. Truly, I want the world to know that Jesus is coming. It is an important message. I know nothing is impossible with God, so I desire that October 25th be globally recognized for the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Finally, your charge to women?
They should be tolerant, calm and peaceful. They must be exemplary in their conduct and refuse to be extravagant, we know we like to be flamboyant as women but it takes moderation. I’m not saying women should look horrible and archaic while trying to be moderately dressed. We must be clean inside and out. When it comes to nation building, we must join with our political leaders and help them lift the nation to great heights. We must also surrender ourselves to the guidance of God and my prayer is that we will be helped by God in building our lives, homes, careers, ministries, nations, and we will not lose our reward on earth and in heaven.