|Doctrines|| ||The word 'Aladura' (the prayer people) refers to various independent churches of West African origin characterised by their belief in prayer, divine healing, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The belief in the possibility of deliverance from evil forces reflects a perception of the continual presence of God's power, and the need to pray, to prophesy and to heal assumes the possibility of immediate divine intervention.|
|History|| ||Anglican communities flourished between 1895 and 1920, especially among the Yoruba, even reaching Ijebuland, which until then had been closed to missionaries.|
Like other African independent churches, the Aladura began as an African response to European control of the Christian churches, as a historical response to social and cultural constraints, and as a renewal movement in search of true spirituality.
The movement expanded considerably during the 1930s under the influence of Joseph Babalola (1906-59), a self-proclaimed charismatic healer and prophet. Under his leadership, and with the support of missionaries from the pentecostalist Apostolic Church in Great Britain, the various groups in the Aladura movement combined to form the Apostolic Church. Disputes within the movement led Babalola and Isaac B. Akinyele and their followers to secede from the Apostolic Church and to establish the Christ Apostolic Church. This new church enjoyed rapid growth and spread into neighbouring countries such as Ghana.
Another distinct movement emerged in 1925 under the leadership of Orimolade Tonolase, a charismatic church leader, and Abiodun Akinsowon, a young Anglican woman who on Corpus Christi Day (18 June 1925) fell into a trance in which she felt called upon to create a new church. This was called the Cherubim and Seraphim society. In 1928 the society separated from the Anglican church and subsequently disintegrated into smaller groups.
The largest, and most important movement is the Church of the Lord (Aladura), which was founded in Nigeria in 1930 by Josiah Oshitelu, an Anglican school teacher and catechist. The church spread quickly throughout northern Nigeria and into Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone. From Africa it moved to the United Kingdom and the United States, where it has branches in London and New York City.
|Symbols|| ||Ministers above the rank of teacher are invested with an iron rod about two and a half feet long, looped in a handle at one end, as part of their insignia of office. It is likened to the rod of iron mentioned in Revelation 2:27, where it is a rod of rule, of judgement and punishment, but in the Church of the Lord it is a rod of 'power', symbolizing the powers of the prophet. A prophet touches the objects he consecrates brought by people who come for prayers and healing sessions. Teachers and disciples also use symbols such as a wooden staff with a cross at the top, while a bishop or apostle may have a crozier similar to that of an Anglican or Catholic bishop.|
Rosaries, either Christians or Muslims are used to consecrate water, or to pray the psalms. Vestments and gowns are widely used, according to proper instructions set in texts such as the 'Order of the Official Robes for the Ministers and Members'. Other symbols widely used are crosses, candles, water, and incense.
|Adherents|| ||There are no official figures available for the number of adherents within the Aladura movement as a whole. The Church of the Lord (Aladura) has an estimated 1.1 million members (Europa Publications 1996, 733).|
| ||The main centres are located in Yorubaland (Nigeria), while communities exist in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ghana. The headquarters of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) is: Anthony Village, Ikorodu Road, POB 308, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria.|