St. Joseph's Chosen Church of God International
History of the Church
The Church was founded by Apostle Joseph Ikechiuku, of blessed memory. He was born on 13th July 1913, in Abata quarters, Ogbuebulle Village, Oboro District, Ikwuano Local Government area, Umuahia, Imo State, now Abia State.
On 17th July 1937, he received his call into the Ministry while he was a labourer in the field of Agriculture at Nkwere, near Onitsha. God spoke to him there that he was 'a thing the whole world desire to see'; and he saw this inscription in a dream written in Ibo Language on the Sky. At Ajagbodudu in 1942, he was employed as a head labourer in Cowan Estate Palm plantation. Here while working in the field, the Holy Spirit came upon him in 1945 and he fell on the ground. Power was given to him to start doing the work of God. He then resigned and took up photography, to enable him get enough time and money for the work of God.
In 1946, he built his first Church here at Ajagbodudu and called it St. Joseph Apostolic Church
. Here also he received the revelation, which led him to compile the Immutable Rules and Conduct
, now known as Rules and Conduct of St. Joseph's Chosen Church of God.
In 1947, the revelation of the Box of Covenant
was received here at Cowan Estate Ajagbodudu. The Construction and consecretion of the Box of Covenant were also done at Ajagbodudu.
The Box of Covenant was to be a token of his call and an agreement between him (Ikechiuku) and God.
In 1949, he established the Church at Urhuovie, Urhuoka and Oria all in Abraka. In 1952 the Holy Spirit led him to Urhuoka in Abraka where he uncovered The First Healing Water
On 12th May 1950, Apostle Joseph Ikechiuku established the Church in Benin City
. The Oba of Benin, Oba Akenzua II and his Chiefs, on 14th May, 1950, gave him audience and granted him the permission to build the Church. In 1952, approval was given to him to purchase the land at the cost of N30.00 (Thirty Naira Only), where he built the first Church in Benin
at No 36 Virginia Street, Benin City.
The first Annual Conference of the Church was held in Benin City in 1952. A branch of St. Joseph's Apostolic Church, as it was then called, was established at Sapele in 1953.
In 1954, a second healing water
was uncovered inside a thick forest in Ogbeson Village, off Agbor Road, Benin City.
In the History of the Church, much importance is attached to the Year 1952
, because that was the year God directed the founder to go and pray for the healing of Late Deaconess Anna Alile, the mother of the present Spiritual Leader, Apostle (Dr) Hayford Alile (OFR). He rode on a bicycle from Ajagbodudu to Benin City, a distance of 31 miles.
In June 1960, the name of the Church was changed to St. Joseph's Chosen Church of God
. On November 11th, 1964, St. Joseph's Chosen Church of God was registered under the Land Perpetual Succession Act, with Apostle J. Ikechiuku as Sole Trustee.
Growth of the Church Before the Crisis
As the afflicted were set free through the power of the Holy Spirit, so were souls drawn unto God for their salvation. As the news of the miracles spread, so grew the Church of God. It is interesting that majority of the Ministers; Caretakers in Churches, Elders, Deacons and Deaconesses have one story of a miraculous healing or the other to tell.
Apostle Joseph Ikechiuku was called at about the same time with two other prominent men of God and they were doing similar works. They were Apostle Joseph Babalola
of the Apostolic Church
, and Joseph Akindoyemi
of the Redeemed Church of God
In about twenty years, between 1946 when Apostle J. Ikechiuku built his first Church at Ajagbodudu to 1966, the eve of the Civil War, the Church grew astronomically. At that time, there were a total of One Hundred and Fifteen (115) Churches or Stations having not less than thirty-four thousand (34,000) members through out the Country. In the then Mid-Western Region alone, there were sixty-five Stations divided into eight districts.
In terms of personnel, there were about that time six staff (ordained) Pastors, fourteen unordained Pastors and thirty-five Teachers, all trained by the Elect of God, Apostle Joseph Ikechiuku.