Most Senior Apostle Olusola Obube is the representative of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church on the Irish Council of Churches’ Executive Committee.
He spoke with ICC Programme Officer Damian Jackson about the church and its practices.
The history of the Church in Ireland
The Cherubim and Seraphim (C&S) church in Ireland was founded 21 years ago by Mother Cherub Prophetess Agnes Aderanti. Mother Agnes was in London at the time, having founded the church there seven years earlier. At that time C&S members in Ireland were worshipping in other churches. Mother Agnes moved to Ireland and the church was officially opened in July 1998 and celebrates with a special anniversary event on the second Sunday each July.
It has since gone through the procedures necessary to be registered as a charity and now has its main centre in Dublin city. Other C&S churches have also been established in Ballycoolin, Maynooth, Cork, Ennis, and Galway.
Worship in the Church
During worship the congregation dress in white garments, and remove their shoes. This is to symbolise holiness and comes from the vision of the founder Saint Orimolade Tunolase that when you come to worship together you are to be holy. The removal of shoes on entering the church is to remind worshippers that they are coming on to holy ground as Moses did before the burning bush (Exodus 3:5).
Our services follow a structured liturgy which begins with a procession into the sanctuary, followed by an opening hymn and the introit – where the priest approaches the altar. Then the service proper begins with a confession and a psalm of sanctification for both the premises and the participants and songs of praise and rejoicing. Following the Apostles Creed is a distinctive element in the liturgy: the hour of prayer. During this hour people pray as they feel led by the Holy Spirit. This then followed by a sermon and a time when testimonies of God’s work can be shared. The service ends with a closing hymn and the sharing of the grace before the procession out of the sanctuary.
Altogether the service usually lasts about three hours although that is variable as the C&S Church believes that it is important to give time to let the Spirit lead and direct the worship and to give time to minister to one another in prayer.
Sung worship has great importance in the church. We believe it is important to praise with our whole heart so it is powerfully emotional, expressing joy and thankfulness to God for his provision for us. 1 Samuel 30:5–6 speaks of how King David strengthened himself in the Lord when he was distressed so when we sing in praise we also are strengthened in Him. We believe that in the presence of God there is fullness of joy and we experience this as we worship. We find that we are elevated out of our day to day stresses and worries.
We use many instruments including the “talking drum” which can communicate language and emotion through the tone, which can be varied by squeezing the drum which changes the skin’s tension.
We celebrate the Eucharist about 3 or four times in a year. Once a year there is a baptism service. Candidates for baptism are usually about 12 years old and must first complete several classes so that they have a clear understanding of the meaning of baptism and what it means to be a full member of the body of Christ.
Both women and men have leadership roles in the church, but only men can go to the altar, and then only when they have fasted beforehand. Different level of seniority are signified through titles that are given to members such as Leader, Evangelist, Deacon/Deaconess and Apostle/Mother. Some also are called Prophet if they are recognised as having been given the gift of prophecy.
The congregation members are all assigned to a “bands” with the name of biblical character such as Esther, Dorcas, Mary or David. These are organised by age group and encourage each other by celebrating birthdays, Praying for one another and building friendships. They meet up periodically and share what is going on in their lives so that they can pray together and even support one another financially if one of them is in need. Each band has its own president, vice president, and secretary. Children are assigned a matron or patron who has responsibility to mentor them and encourage them in their journey of faith.
Before the church service each Sunday there is Sunday school for one hour for all of the church members. This comprises group bible study and assignments given for homework which are then marked. The best marks are recognised with prizes.
Young people have specific roles they can play in the liturgy. They are the ushers who lead the processions at the beginning and end of the services. They are also involved in the music and singing. As they get older they might lead the hour of prayer, pray for the service – that the Spirit will be heard, and carry the host for communion.
Connections between the Church and other Churches in Ireland
C&S is committed to participating in local and national inter–church and ecumenical initiatives – we joined the Irish Council of Churches in 2007. We are also part of a group called the “white garment” churches, along with the Celestial Church of Christ, with whom we regularly meet and pray, holding one another accountable.