Pastor Emmanuel Oluwasegun Medaiyese is the Senior Pastor of Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) Surrey Docks London and the Regional Superintendent of CAC in Europe called Anosike Region.
In this interview with Ebenezer Daramola et al, Baba Medaiyese as we fondly call him, spoke about his childhood, his call to the ministry and his journey thus far in God’s vineyard.
Question: When and where were you born?
I was born in 1943 in a little village called Ogale in Kogi State Nigeria. My father is from Ayere and my mother is from Ogidi both in Ijumu LGA of Kogi State, Nigeria.
Question: What was your upbringing like?
I spent most of my childhood in Ogale before absconding to Kabba at age 17 in 1950 when I could no longer bear the ill treatment I was subjected to where I was staying with a relative. I trekked from Ogale to Kabba on a journey that spanned almost a whole day. At 17, I had neither academic nor apprenticeship training.
On getting to Kabba I decided to learn Carpentry for about two years under strict and difficult condition because my master was very cruel and mean.
I left Kabba back to my mother’s village in Ogidi. There was a prior pronouncement that I must walk into my mother’s town on my own volition and should never be brought by anyone. I walked into Ogidi; though my mum was not around then, I located my grandmother’s house divinely without any prior knowledge of the place nor guidance from anyone. My grandmother welcomed me and served me a piece of meat which was the only meal I had for the whole day. After the visit, I left the place, I went back to my father; on sighting him, I greeted him well but his response was cold and unwelcoming. When I noticed it; I went to one of his brothers to explain to him and he decided to come with me to my father; my father told him he was unhappy with me because, where I went to was without his consent. I went back to my mother’s family place and went back to Kabba on the same day. On getting to Kabba, I gathered all my clothes and other possessions and set them ablaze so I could be left with nothing to look up to in Kabba then I went back to my father’s place and started farming which I did for almost three years and also did some petty trading.
How did you manage to get out and start a new living?
When I was with my dad, whenever I come back from the farm, I will sit in front of my dad starring at him; this was my practice until this faithful day when my uncle Pastor J.O. Medaiyese, the 3rd CAC General Superintendent (1964-1975) came visiting, he was my dad’s elder brother. When he saw me, he asked my dad, what’s your son doing here? My dad responded that; he’s living with me; he didn’t tell him that I was farming because that would have infuriated him. He then asked me to go inside and get all by belongings and he brought me to Akure in 1960.
In 1961 at my uncle’s place, his only daughter sat me down for a long chat in which she advised me to go to school and do something meaningful with my life as all I know to do was just to cook all day for people and nothing else; that’s the more reason I’m a good cook; I used to do loads of cooking those days; I was responsible for making food for all of my uncle’s guests.
I felt so down after the conversation then went to my uncle; knelt down before him and made my request that I want to go to school, my uncle answered back “oh so you just realised that you need to go to school?” he then gave me a note to give to the principal of St James primary school Oke Isegun in Akure were I spent 4 years; I was the oldest in the entire school, I was in fact older than most of my teachers. When I left St. James’, I proceeded to Commercial School Ilesha which I left in December 1969 to Lagos at the invitation of my elder brother.
Question: Kindly tell us about how God called you?
When I got to Lagos, I was involved in so many things to make ends meet; after a while I fell sick and I was rejected by my brother who denied that he was the one that asked me to come to Lagos.
Through the help of God, I moved to Tonade Street (Ikeja) in Lagos to live with Pastor Agbonifo. Prior to then, there have been several prophecies concerning me that I was going to be a minister of God which I wasn’t completely disposed to. I was with him for about 15 years.
My Ministerial work started around 1978 which was the year I was first granted visa to study abroad but was unfortunately sent back at the point of entry. I returned to Nigeria to continue my ministerial tutelage before I was recommended to study at the CAC Theological Seminary, Ile-Ife in 1981. I can vividly remember my first day at the Seminary, as I was coming in, one of the seniors called me and asked for my name; I told him I’m Emmanuel Oluwasegun Medaiyese; he said, oh you are the son of our father Medaiyese? He asked me to drop my baggage and handed me a bucket to go fetch water for him which I obliged, when I came back with the water, he collected the bucket and poured the water away; he said, he only wanted to test me if I was going to obey him or not.
I was known at the seminary for my forthrightness and for always speaking out against wrong doings which pitched me against some people.
Question: How did you eventually come to London after your first refusal?
While I was at the seminary, I was the typist for the school. I was in the office one day when a member of staff from the ordination department came with a letter and begged me to type the letter for him. He said he wanted to apply to International Bible Training Institute (IBTI) in UK; I typed the letter and I gave it to him. When the man left, something just said to me that; “you can as well make a copy of the letter for yourself; just change the address and put your own name” which was exactly what I did. Fortunately, I was granted the admission; though there were obstacles with some people unwilling to let me proceed but with the help and persuasion of Miss Pearse, I was eventually allowed to go. I had financial difficulties and at a point I was advised to transfer my admission to someone else which I vehemently refused but to the glory of God and unflinching support of my wife; we were able to gather some money. I then went to Pastor Akande in Ile-Ife who promised to bring me to London. I entered London in 1985 with a month visa that was granted at the point of entry.
I studied for 2 years at International Bible Training Institute (IBTI). I was loved by everyone at the college and also obtained favour from God.
How did you locate CAC in London?
During my studies at IBTI, I was not permitted to work but I needed to work to sustain myself and family back at home. One day on my way back from work, I was stopped by police and when they searched me, they found an ID with me which was an indication that I was working; they took me to their station around Jamaica road where I was detained for a while. When I was released, I looked haggard and disoriented but proceeded to CAC Seven Sisters which was my initial destination before my arrest. I met with Pastor Adeusi and explained my plight to him; he extended hand of fellowship to me and would often send me money in college from the little given to him. He was very supportive and he showed me so much love.
Question: When were you ordained as a Pastor?
24th August 1988, I was the first person to be ordained a Pastor in Christ Apostolic Church, UK under the leadership of Pastor Adeusi.
Question: Tell us about C.A.C Surrey Docks – How did it start?
After my studies, I moved fully to London and was with Baba Adeusi at Seven Sisters. Myself, Baba and few others notably among them was Elder Fasuan (of blessed memory); we started a prayer session on the 1st of May 1987. After one of the prayer sessions as I was going back home and walking towards the underground station in Seven Sisters, God spoke to me that, if I refuse to do the work he has placed in my hands, he would replace me. My plan then was to go back to Nigeria to start my own ministry; I had bought all the equipment and instruments I would need to start my ministry in Nigeria but God’s plan for me was different from my own plan. It was that prayer that gave birth to CAC Surrey Docks
We had our first service on Sunday 7th June 1987 at Silwood Estate Bermondsey London; our attendance was 63 congregants and first offering collected on the day was £190:00; the first announcement was written by Pastor Adeusi after which I took over from him.
We moved to St Mary’s church in Dec 1989 where we rented for a while before we finally bought our own property at 163 Ilderton Road, South Bermondsey London. It was then an abandoned church building that has been left unoccupied for almost 25 years; we bought it and got it renovated; that’s the building we are still using till today.
Question: What were the challenges the church faced at inception?
Our main challenge was a place of worship; it was very difficult to get a property as no one was willing to sell to us; they complained that we were too many and had several cars and that we would be making so much noise but to the glory of God, we surmounted all obstacles.
Question: When are you expected to go on retirement according to the plan or arrangement of the church leaders in Nigeria?
I’m 75 years old already and will leave whenever the Church authority from Nigeria instruct me to do so; I won’t stay a minute longer.
Question: Do you have any plan for life after retirement?
I cannot disclose this for now however, I will still be in the ministry and will continue to support the work of God.
Question: What would you like to be remembered for when you eventually retire?
I would love people to remember all the good and presumed bad things I did. For them to emulate the good ones and learn from my mistakes and not to make such.
Question: Would you be happy to see churches under Surrey Docks such as Welling, Leyton and others become districts or you prefer them to remain within one district (Surrey Docks) forever?
It depends on how they run the course. If it’s properly channelled with the correct process and on acceptable agreement by all. I would like to remind the pastors of the various branches that the churches they head do not belong to them. All of the churches are integral part of Surrey Docks.
Question: What is your advice to the political leaders in the world, most especially Nigeria and Britain?
We need to return back to God! People are no more faithful to God nor truthful to each other; We can only continue to pray for our nations for God’s intervention. I will admonish our leaders to have the fear of God and serve the people who elected them faithfully.
Question: Being a full time Pastor, how do you balance ministerial work with your family life?
I have a covenant with God that I will serve Him for the rest of my life; God gave me the grace and wisdom which is sustaining me in balancing my family life and ministry. My wife is very supportive and I can never forget her. If it’s possible to remember someone after we have left this world; I won’t ever forget my wife for her, commitment, faithfulness and dedication to the ministry
Thank you so much sir for your time and once again, congratulations on your 75th birthday. We are thankful to God for your life, ministry and all that God has done through you; it’s our fervent prayer that God grants you many more years in good health. (Amen)
Interview crew; Bro. Ebenezer Daramola, Bro. Michael Odere, Sis. Olurotimi Olaniran and Sis. Kemi Ayeni