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Sapele: Crisis Brews In Bethel Baptist Church



Sapele: Crisis Brews In Bethel Baptist Church

…As Youth Body Suspends Diaconate

By Joe Aminah

Fresh crisis has erupted in Bethel Baptist Church, Sapele, leading to the expulsion of the church deacons and indefinite suspension of a member of the Diaconate over allegations of assault and attempt to harm the associate pastor, Rev Charles Okpara.

The ugly development in the church came to the fore recently, following an initial squabble that resulted in the molestation of the Associate Pastor penultimate Wednesday after close of a weekly fasting and prayer program in the church premises.

According to some members, who craved anonymity, the crisis stemmed from untamed inordinate ambition of the deacons to wield power at all cost and foisting of dictatorial tendencies over the two church pastors.

The youths in their reactions to the alleged overriding power of the deacons, culminating in the recent attack on the junior pastor, unanimously agreed to send the deacons packing by the removals of their seats in the church.

The radical young men, supported by church women says, enough is enough of the alleged dictatorship and power drunk by the deacons.

They listed several wrongdoings linked to the muscle flexing deacons, amongst which are complete disrespect, high handedness, disregard for the offices and positions of the pastors and other forms of intimidation against the pastors.

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According to them, since the youths and WMS (Women Missionary Society) of the church can no longer tolerate these oppressive behaviours of the pastors, we are therefore compelled to temporarily terminate the appointments of the deacons to allow for peace in the church.

The youths also lampooned the condemnable acts of the alleged chief culprit, Deacon Moses Agbakoko, for what they described as Agbakoko attempt to murder Rev, Okpara with an iron rod.

Imagine a situation where salaries of the pastors are withheld for no just cause other than personal grudges against them for preaching the true words of the Bible.
The church is nobody father’s estate, rather it is a chosen place to worship the Almighty GOD in spirit and in truth, anyone who is dissatisfied with its chosen servants have a fundamental right to move to another church, they said.

They further disclosed that trouble started on Wednesday, 1st May, 2024 by an attack led by Deacon Agbakoko said to be carrying out the order of earlier threat to Rev Agbakoko by one Mr Oyoma Ebireri.

Mr Ebireri was said to have been reprimanded as a result of his lateness to church services, especially on a day slated for his ( Ebireri’s) child dedication.

In his response through phone, Bethel Baptist Associate Pastor, Rev Charles Okpara confirmed the story of his attack and the position of the youths for sacking the deacons.

According to the clergy, he was earlier embarrassed penultimate Sunday while officiating in the child dedication of the family of Mr and Mrs Oyoma Ebireri.

He explained how the child, meant for dedication was almost dragged away from his hands by a friend to the family while on the alter to perform the process,

According to the pastor, the church deacons have over the years turned the revered Bethel Baptist Church Sapele into a political auditorium, stressing that their say on any issue is final and supercedes any suggestions of the pastors.

There have been several cases of molestations of even the senior pastor Rev. London Ohwonigho by the deacons and their gullible allies.

The Diaconate of Bethel Baptist Church is using boys to cause confusion and to undermine the role of the pastors,
These and more are what led to the unanimous decision of the youths to do away with the present deacons, who have since abandon the act of rotational deacons as obtained in every Baptist Church, they added.

Reacting to the allegations, Deacon Moses Agbakoko, after series of unsuccessful phone calls told this journalist that the suspected member involved in the crisis is being questioned with others by the Associational Moderator Rev, ( Dr) Sampson Ajagbe.

The Association Moderator, Rev ( Dr) Sampson Temioda Ajagbe, had earlier waded into the dispute between the deacons and pastors of the church to no avail.

However, latest information from Bethel Baptist Church, hinted that Rev Ajagbe, who is the resident pastor, Baptist Baptist Church, Sapele has called the warring factions to a round table meeting at finding a lasting solution to the impasse in the mother church of Bethel Baptist.


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