Oluseye Yomi-Sholoye Foundation recently organised a capacity-building conference in Lagos, with over 7,000 participating youths. Rebecca Ejifoma reports
The youth, they say, is the future of any nation. And empowerment and capacity-building are needed to harness their potentials. Keying into this, Dr. Oluseye Yomi-Sholoye Foundation recently held a capacity-building conference for over 7,000 youths of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church Nigeria.
Tagged, Seraph Youths Arise, it was an unforgettable day for the beneficiaries so much so that the heavy downpour did not deter them from trooping to the 10 Degree Events Centre in Oregun, Lagos.
Although the hall was a 5000-capacity centre, additional 2,000 youths were accommodated. The youths, in the range of 16-40 years old, participated in the maiden edition of the conference and capacity-building seminar tailored to meet their needs on how to reshape their destinies and the society at large.
At the grounds of the event, there was no class distinction as all adorned the customised T-shirts emblazoned with Seraph Youths Arise at the back. THISDAY findings revealed that the youths had trooped to the area from all parts of the country including Abuja, Delta, Rivers, Edo, Kaduna and Kwara, as well as all states of the South-west region.
The huge attendance was easily explainable. According to them, it was the first of such gathering of youths of the church and it afforded them the opportunity to interact among themselves, network and share common values.
As a capacity building conference, veterans were drawn from the entertainment industry and other sectors to address the youths. Present at the occasion were legendary Yinka Quadri and Idowu Philips (Mama Rainbow). Others include Teju BabyFace, Ronke Oshodi-Oke, Alhaji Wasiu Balogun and gospel artiste, Shola Allyson, who in between worship lectured the youths on how to achieve their dreams.
During her ministration, Gospel Artiste Shola Allyson who had the crowd singing along heartily said she learnt everything about God from the Cherubim and Seraphim Church. Imploring the youths to give God their best she said: “The Spirit of God is potent in the C&S Church. Don’t be discouraged, where you are now is where you ought to be.”
Talking about her life, she said she went through series of abuses and was exposed to several vices but what kept her was her commitment to the church as she was already a member of the choir at age 14.
Also at the event were the Onigbobi of Igbobi, Oba Owolabi Adeniyi; former Executive Director of Fidelity Bank, Tobi Lawal; Balogun Oluwo; Senior Apostolic Mother, Esther Ajayi (United Kingdom District) and Chairman Cherubim and Seraphim Lagos State Baba Aladura Abikoye.
Some of the performing artistes who entertained the youths at the occasion were Laolu Gbenjo, , Seun Aransiola, Big Bolaji, Mike Abdul and so forth. However, it was not all dancing and funfare for the youths as some major leaders in the public and private sectors, as well as men of the pulpit were also invited to give motivational talks to the youths. Foremost among these were ace comedian Teju BabyFace, likewise Lawal, Quadri, Oluwo, Philips, Oshodi-Oke and a host of others.
His Royal Majesty Oba Owolabi Adeniyi, the Alayeluwa of Igbobi Sabe, joined to add pep to the occasion where they all charged the youths not to be daunted by the challenges of life, but should remain focused and look unto God.
Also, Rev. Mother Ajayi encouraged the youths to remain undaunted by the challenges they face today, even as she urged them to always believe in themselves and be focused on their dreams to be able to achieve greatness in life.
In their pep talks, Mama Rainbow entreated the youths to be conscious of the things they are involved in now that they are still young, while Oshodi-Oke encouraged the youths before praying for them. In his brief talk,Teju BabyFace said ” the time has never been better for you to succeed in Nigeria than now, forget what they say about recession.”
Going down memory lane he narrated how his life changed for good after an encounter with God in London. Challenging them to be youths who will be role models, he said: “We are living in a world where Instagram is the church people go to. There’s hardly any young person you can find who has a good marriage, good success and a good business you can trace. The three areas of your life where you will be judged are: God, family and business or work.”
Many other notable church leaders who gave words of encouragements to the youths included ace broadcasters, Taiwo Akinsola, Bose Osinowo, and a host of others.
In her speech, the founder, Dr. Oluseye Yomi-Sholoye, who is also the Managing Director of International Alpha Limited, said, “Many of our youths today lag behind their peers in the scheme of things in the society of which we are a part. In view of this, efforts are being made for Seraph youths to get training in various vocational skills which we belief would intimately enhance the purchasing power of our future generation in the church.
“The foundation is poised to partner corporate organisations, financial institutions to train our youths and also make financial grants available for successful members to establish their small businesses and eke out a living.
“We have also realised that most of our members are not so financially endowed and this is telling on the youths of the church greatly. The organisers of this programme did appreciate the biblical injunction that man shall not live by bread alone, but they also understand that man cannot live without bread.”
On how the capacity training was borne she said, “This gathering is indisputably the largest gathering of youths of Cherubim and Seraphim organisation in any part of the world. We give glory to God that it is a reality. There was an event on July 20 at the Seraphim Land (Night of Restoration) and it revolutionalised the entire fabric of the church. Immediately after the Night of Restoration vigil we began to receive series of telephone calls, text messages from members asking for a sustained vigil.
“That gave rise to the dinner and the official launch of our pet project, The New Seraph on August 22. You should be aware that the journey to where we are today in the New Seraph started when God commanded me to spearhead the revitalisation of C&S churches. The commission that I was given, among others, was to focus on youths in the C&S church since they are the leaders of the church tomorrow. But there can be no proper starting point from rejuvenating the church without understanding where we are coming from as a church.
“We all have to recall that for a long time, our church has been ridiculed in christendom. Members of the church were disparaged and seen as second class christians, albeit rather erroneously. During this period the church was often castigated as being occult, where members are perceived as never-do wells, illiterates and the church seen as belonging to the downtrodden.
“Erroneous as the blanket categorisation of all members of the church into this sphere, there are, however, a few bad eggs out there that are dragging the name of the church in the mud. So, it is imperative that we all have a role to play in changing this wrong perception about the church.”
Yomi-Sholoye said the reformed C&S should be grounded in the word of God and that there should be less emphasis, total dependence on prophesy. She said, “Not that prophesy is bad, what should be uppermost in our hearts is the efficacy of prayers and good teaching of the Word of God. The message each and every one of you should take home is that the C&S Church is at an age of rebirth. There should be new ways of doing things in the church; our mode of dressing, worship, our carriage among co-christians, require total upgrade.
“We need to bring in dynamism into the church without necessarily eroding the laid-down behavioural tenets handed down to us by the founders.”
Gospel artiste Allyson thrilled the crowd with her performance and also admonished them to stay committed in the church.”