…As Deeper Life Church commissions edifice
Job Osazuwa; Vera Wisdom-Bassey
Tuesday, April 24, was a day of extraordinary joy for members of Deeper Life Bible Church. It was the day the church dedicated its 40,000-capacity edifice.
Many of the congregants who couldn’t conceal their ecstasy told Daily Sun that the inauguration of the headquarters marked a new dawn in the history of the church.
Thousands of members of the church, as well as guests, were at the event. From Okeowo Street to Gbagada Garage and its environs, the area was shut down. Human and vehicular activities came to a standstill for hours. The church’s car park was overwhelmed by cars, buses and SUVs, spilling into every available space in the neighbourhood. Policemen, operatives of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC) and other volunteers, in their numbers, controlled traffic at the various junctions.
At 11.30am, the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, in company with the General Superintendent of the church, Pastor Williams Kumuyi, and other leaders stepped into the glittering auditorium. To welcome the dignitaries, the congregation released a resounding hallelujah that reverberated through the neighbourhood.
Before the Vice President gave his speech, he rendered songs of worship to God. And the congregation spontaneously joined him in the adoration.
Osinbajo called on Nigerians across religious divides to unite against the growing cases of religious intolerance in the country. He said that the Federal Government was doing everything within its power to protect the rights of all citizens to enjoy freedom of worship as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.
Decrying the murder of congregants at worship centres across the country, he said religious intolerance remained a major challenge against the socio-economic survival and revival of Nigeria. He reassured Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari had specifically mandated him to intervene in areas currently facing such challenges with the aim of bringing enduring peaceful co-existence.
Osinbajo praised the Deeper Life Bible Church for positively impacting on the people of Gbadaga community through the recent provision of a link bridge and renovation of roads. He said the investments were a testament to the commitment of the church to the work of God and the people’s welfare.
He extolled Kumuyi’s virtues, describing the popular cleric as a man of uncommon humility with strong commitment to the spread of the undiluted gospel of Jesus Christ.
“This is one of my proudest moments as a Christian, seeing this edifice built solely for the propagation of the gospel of Christ. I am proud of the amenities, the IT architecture and ambience. It is my prayer that, with the way this church has been growing, the coming glory will be greater than the one gone by,” Osinbajo said.
Kumuyi thanked all the church members in Nigeria and abroad for their contributions to the completion of the church building even as he charged the congregation to make heaven their ultimate goal.
Delving into the history of the church, Kumuyi said the Deeper Life Christian Ministry had remained true to the propagation of the message of love embodied in the life of Jesus Christ. He promised that the new auditorium would be a pilgrimage centre for spiritual development, designed to emancipate society from the shackles of sin and the forces plaguing its journey to unity and prosperity.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who was represented by the commissioner for women affairs and poverty alleviation, Lola Akande, said he was delighted to be associated with the Deeper Life Bible Church for impacting on many lives and the Gbagada community.
“As a government, our mission is the entrenchment of harmonious relations among the people, respect for the rights of other people for freedom of worship and association, and we are happy to have found worthy partners and ambassadors in the leadership of Deeper Life Bible Church,” Ambode said.
The auditorium boasts of facilities and equipment for the comfort, safety and security of worshippers. The main building consists of a four-storey amphitheatre with central air-conditioning, air handling units and toilet facilities connected to a central sewage system.
The structure also houses a multi-purpose hall, water treatment plant, two industrial boreholes, fire hydrant and hose reels, office facilities and 12-passenger elevators. Adjoining the facility is a four-level car/bus park measuring 9,063 square metres, with a carrying capacity of 450 cars and 75 buses.
Mrs. Esther Kumuyi paid tribute to the late wife of the General Superintendent, Pastor (Mrs.) Abiodun Kumuyi. She said it was Abiodun’s death nine years ago that gave her the privilege to address the audience as the new superintendent’s wife.
She said: “I stand here today to represent the women of Deeper Life Bible Church. But it is the demise of our great mother in the Lord, Sister Biodun Kumuyi, nine years ago that has given me this privilege. We celebrate her as our amiable and impeccable mummy and the founder and editor of Women Mirror Magazine. She left many legacies and standards for us that, by the grace of God, we are building upon.”
In his remarks, the church secretary, Pastor Jerry Asemota, disclosed that the architectural designs of the building were done by Deeper Life members. At various stages, the architectural and structural details were reviewed and modified to achieve the goal of a modern, international church auditorium in line with the vision of the founder.
The General Overseer , The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), Bishop Mike Okonkwo, said the prophecy that was released some years ago that churches in Nigeria would be building beautiful edifices had come to pass.
“I am part of Deeper Life because Kumuyi and I attended the same primary school and I also attended some of his services then at the Redeemed Christian Church of God. And it might surprise you to know that the wife and I worked together at African Continental Bank,” he said.
The journey to the inauguration of the auditorium started in 2005 when the church resolved to migrate from the old 3,000-capacityauditorium to a 40,000-capacity super structure.
There were several dignitaries at the event. Among them were president of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Rev. Felix Omobude; a former ambassador and one-time managing director of Cadbury Nigeria Plc, Dr. Christopher Kolade; General Overseer, Lords Chosen Charismatic Revival Mission, Pastor Lazarus Muoka; and wife of Ekiti State governor, Mrs. Feyisetan Fayose.