At exactly 08:14 a.m., I walked into the Rapture Proclaimer Evangelical Church of God founded by popular evangelist, Funmilayo Adebayo nicknamed Mummy GO (General Overseer) on social media.
For weeks, Mummy GO has become social media sensation with many online users turning her hell-threatening sermons into memes circulated online.
On getting to the church located in the Iyana Ipaja area of Lagos State, I met a group of people chanting “Hallelujah!” They were about seven in number. Beside them were another seven elderly women praying loudly.
I was about to enter the church when a security official who identified himself as Brother Femi said my dress which was some inches above my ankle wasn’t long enough. I wasn’t surprised. Brother Femi’s observation was my first confirmation of all that I had seen Mummy GO preached in viral videos.
Brother Femi led me to a female usher in the church simply called Sister Bunmi who brought out a carton with several fabrics which had different colours like purple, orange and grey.
I picked one fabric and tied it around my waist to be allowed into the church.
On getting inside the fairly roomy bungalow auditorium, a bell chimed and Sunday School commenced with the classes divided into three segments; Yoruba class for age 40 and above, the English class for teenagers and other adults, and another Yoruba class for age 40 and below.
I sat in the class for age 40 and below?? (English or Yoruba class?) with a slim, dark-complexioned lady, who wore a purple top and a very long black skirt as the teacher. She later identified herself as Mrs George.
The topic for the Sunday school class was ‘Devil Like Jesus’. I noticed they all had a Sunday School booklet and not long after, an usher walked up to me to advertise the booklet for N400. I bought the English version.
The class was interactive as Mrs George made every member read from the booklet and give examples. She dwelled on how God is helping Mummy GO despite her many persecutors online. She said many churches don’t preach about hellfire like Mummy GO.
Some moments later, I heard the sound of another bell. The three classes collapsed into one with the men moving to the right-hand side of the auditorium and the women occupying the left-hand side.
The Sunday School session ended with an offering and the Sunday Service started proper with a man asking the congregants to shout the ‘Blood of Jesus’ 21 times.
After this, the choir, decked in purple tops and long black skirts, started their ministration.
Hymns were recited afterwards and then a man wearing a grey suit mounted the pulpit and led a short prayer session.
There were a few ministers on the platform but Mummy GO was not present. A source later told me she stopped attending the church, claiming some Internet users were threatening her over her hellfire sermons.
I made a rough count of the congregants in the adult church — 57 men and 46 women; all forbidden to wear necklaces, earrings, make-up, and any fashion ornaments. Trousers were also forbidden for ladies while jeans were outlawed for the men.
The service was still on when a female minister took over and led another set of heated prayers. She asked us all to go outside the church auditorium to take several positions and pray.
After the prayers, the offering was collected followed by some announcements, the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, the benediction and their watchword which goes thus, “For he said unto Moses, I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy upon, I will have compassion upon who I will have compassion upon, Lord have mercy on me.”