THE COMING OF NAGF
Nigeria Assemblies of God Fellowship, (NAGF) is an ethnic fellowship that was recognized in 2011 by the General Council of Assemblies of God, USA as part of the twenty one Fellowships under the General Council. NAGF is a fellowship founded by Nigerians who are members of Assemblies of God Church residing in the United States of America; membership is not exclusive to members of AG or Nigerians alone. Anyone who shares the vision and appreciates the ministry of NAGF is welcome to join the Fellowship.
The journey of NAGF did not start as a command or an order from the General Council of the Assemblies of God Nigeria or the United States of America. We can rightly say that NAGF is another act of the Holy Spirit. It started in 2003 when three Nigerian ministers of the AG met in New Jersey during the funeral of the wife of Rev. Paul Audu-Anto who was at the time the President of the Africa Assemblies of God Fellowship. During this funeral service, Reverends Joshua Nathan, Ephraim Ike and Abraham H. Chikwendu agreed to start a prayer time to support our ministries. The purpose of the prayers was not specific rather we prayed for everything including signs and miracles in our ministries and for God to bless our coming together. The Lord showed up and not long after that people like Prof. Silvanus Okeke, Rev. Anthony Okeoma, and Dr Daniel Kalu Azu and eventually Sister Justina Uluocha all joined. The Lord added to us as many as were being called as in Act chapter 2: 47. At this point, the ministry started developing beyond our initial vision. We prayed consistently every Saturday morning for nine years without fail.
All this time we congregated via telephone conference line for prayers, but in 2006 a longing to see each other face to face developed. We tried to meet in 2007and 2008 but failed, success came in 2009. This meeting was scheduled to be held in New York. As at this time we had no structure. Rev. Abraham H. Chikwendu hosted the prayer fellowship along with Rev. Joshua Nathan and Rev. Ephraim Ike. These men become the fathers of the movement.
We agreed to hold our first meeting in New York on December 4th-6t, a planning committee made up of Prof. Silvanus Okeke as Chairman with Rev. Anthony Okeoma and Dr. Daniel K. Azu as members was formed. Before we set out for New York a thought developed. This thought was “After New York what next”. This thought was in the back of our minds as we set out for New York.
We had a good turnout in New York as we worshiped and thanked God for bringing us together. For some of us, this was the first time seeing each other. We had no agenda beyond this first meeting and the miracle of carrying on beyond this first meeting came from the question “After New York what next?” We had serious discussion in the areas of our objectives and our relationship with the General Council of Assemblies of God Nigeria and the United State of America. After all was said and done we ended up with a resolution to become a fellowship and to develop a relationship with our host country the United States of America and to let our country Nigeria AG know what is happening. In pursuit of this goal a committee of nine members was organized with a mandate to develop the article of fellowship, come up with a befitting name, and plan the next meeting and our relationship with the General Council of AG USA.
As we departed New York, the committee of nine which eventually became G9 (Group of 9) went to work. They appointed Prof. Silvanus Okeke as Chairman, Rev. Jeremiah Anighoro, as secretary and Rev. Dr. Patience Oti as Treasurer and five others as committee members. The committee met every two weeks and eventually a number of recommendations were made;
The proposed body will be known and addressed as Nigeria Assemblies of God Fellowship USA
The Fellowship will be for all Nigerians in the US and those who share the vision of the Fellowship
Have a relationship with the General Council of AG Nigeria and United States
Develop the Article of Fellowship acceptable to the General Council of Assemblies of God US and foster the smooth running of the Fellowship
Determine where the next convention will be held and organize a program towards that.
Determine the vision and goals of the fellowship.
With these goals in mind, Prof. Okeke and his team worked tirelessly to achieve them. It was agreed that the next convention would be held in Dallas, Texas and Rev. Dr. Bright Osigwe and his church the Amazing Grace Church would host the convention, they did a great job. The convention started on August 27 and ended on the 29th. We had representatives from Nigeria and all over the United States. Amongst the special guests, were, Rev. Dr. Chidi Okoroafor who is now the Assistant General Superintendent of AG Nigeria, and Rev. Yakubu Pam who is the District Supt of Plateau. Also present was Rev. Scott Temple who is the Director of the Department of Ethnic Fellowship of the General Council of AG USA. Rev. Scott Temple presided over the review of the Article of Fellowship of NAGF. By the end of the review he told us that NAGF was as good as approved as a Fellowship with the General Council. On this happy note the convention closed thanking God that this was a success and there was hope for the Nigerian members of AG in the USA.
Two weeks later, we were officially informed that NAGF was recognized by the General Council and we were told to set up the structure of the Fellowship. Until then the Fellowship has been under the management of an interim body known as the G9 and now that it has been approved. It will be ratified with officially elected officers of the Fellowship. The G9, led by Prof. Okeke, quickly approved that Boston was going to be the venue for the next convention and where the Fellowship will be chartered. The date of the convention was set for July 16th- 19th, 2011, and Rev. Abraham H. Chikwendu to be the Event Coordinator.
The G9 came through again in organizing and coordinating the convention. Teen Challenge Center in Brockton Massachusetts, was chosen as the venue of the convention. Two Churches, International Assembly of God Randolph and People’s Pentecostal Assembly Brockton hosted the event..
Special guests were present at the occasion including retired Gen. Supt of Nigeria, Rev. Dr. Charles Osueke and his wife, the current Asst. General Supt. Rev. Dr. Chidi Okoroafor and his wife, Retired Asst General Supt Rev. Franklin Ukoma, Retired Director of Men’s Ministries Rev. Azuka Obi and Rev. Yakubu Pam, District Supt. of Plateau State of Nigeria. From the US we had the host District Supt. Rev. Robert Wise of South New England District and the Director of Intercultural department of the US General Council, Rev. Scott Temple who officiated at the business session of the convention.
The climax of the Boston convention was the election of the first officers of NAGF:
Rev. Abraham H. Chikwendu was elected as President,
Rev. Joshua Nathan as vice president,
Rev. Henry Bello as Secretary,
Rev. Dr. Ephraim Ike as Treasurer and
Rev. Dr. Bright Osigwe as Publicity Secretary
The business session concluded with the handing over of the staff of office on behalf of the General Supt of AG US, Rev. Dr. George Wood to the newly elected president of NAGF , Rev. Abraham H. Chikwendu and the receiving of gavel from the host district Supt. At this point the Fellowship was recognized as an AG ethnic fellowship..
We give thanks and praise to God for what He has done in our midst.