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 a 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 group of 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 is some inches above my ankle isn’t long enough. I wasn’t surprised. Brother Femi’s observation was my first confirmation of all that I had seen Mummy GO preach 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 spacious 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 gave 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 sang 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 necklace, earring, make-up, and any fashion ornament. Trousers are also forbidden for ladies while jeans are outlawed for the men.
The service was still on when a female minister took over and led another round 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.”
As the service came to an end at 11:15am, a majority of the congregation didn’t stand up as they had to say the prayer the minister who ended the service instructed them. Some did it on their seat while others knelt down to pray. None of that bothered me. I packed my belongings and returned the Bible that was given to me during the Sunday School and walked out to see a group of men, about four in number, who were interrogating the woman who led the long session of prayers on how they could get access to interview Mummy GO. She declined all entreaties and told them the GO wasn’t around and could not be interviewed.
While all this was going on, I sat in a car and watched from afar as they dispatched. Then, I walked up to one of the guys and asked him his mission. He told me he was there to interview Mummy GO and that the rest of them wanted to tackle her preaching. He was disappointed that she wasn’t in church.
I had to leave with the lady whom I waited in her car who confessed to me she came there for cruise and wanted to see Mummy G.O. also. While she turned to leave the church, the only lady amidst the men who claimed they came to tackle Mummy GO asked if she could join the car which we obliged. We all drove off to our different destinations.