United States-based cleric, Superior Sunday Aro is the Shepherd, Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), Minnesota Parish. Our Community ran into the man of God at the Harvest of the Celestial Church of Christ, Iyanu Oluwa Titun Glorious Parish in Ijedodo, Igando-Ikotun LCDA. He gladly shared his parish’s contributions towards the upliftment of the needy in the community.
What brings you to Nigeria?
It is particularly because of this harvest. I normally come to Nigeria in December but because of him (Asst. Superior Venerable Oluwole Gbere) I decided to come by this time. He usually visits our Parish during our harvest which is on the 3rd week in August and he has been an ever presence for the last four years. I am basically returning the favour.
Can we get your thoughts on the event thus far?
It has been excellent, very educative, interesting and prayerful. I really enjoyed the occasion and I also brought my son too.
Can you tell us a little about this parish (Iyanu Oluwa Parish)?
Well, I know the shepherd, his wife, his Personal Assistant, as well as many other members. They are wonderful and lovely people. The only thing I can say is that they should continue loving one another. Love is the key. In other to be successful you must love even your enemies. I pray the Lord continually gives us the spirit of love and help us continue to do his work.
Can you tell us about yourself?
I am a humble Shepherd who is always ready to lend a helping hand. All the churches that I have been overseeing, including the Parishes I oversee in Canada, I always help people. When people come to Canada or the United States of America and have accommodation issues, we harbor them in the church. Up till now, we have people in the church—Minnesota Cathedral. I am just like that: loveable and rarely ever upset about anything.
As a clergy man, tell us about the journey thus far?
In 1995, as a Shepherd in Canada, I have been doing it well but with a lot of challenges. The challenges are numerous, you can’t pinpoint any one. I have gone through a lot of challenges and at the same time, the Lord told me to continue doing what I am supposed to be doing, that he (God) would sustain me. As you can see, I am an elderly man, so I might not spend up to the amount of years I have already lived before God calls me to heaven. So, it is better for me to do the will of God. When I first moved to Minnesota it was a very small church. The Lord told me “this land is a dry land but I will turn it into a land of milk and honey and he did it. In the span of six years we were able to move from ‘small church’ to a bigger church. And God still said he was still moving us to another level. That is the way God is. Another thing is that I do not look for positions. I am part of the Executive Council of the United States Diocese and that is the only one I am involved in. It is what happens in your church that will make people pronounce the name of your Shepherd or church, but ultimately, Jesus is the owner. He is the owner of everything and he will continue to do things the right way. There was a church I visited in Ogba where none of the youths there had travelled abroad. I told them that people would start travelling abroad. Little by little people started winning Visa Lotteries, green card and what have you. That is to say that if you do the will of God, he will do what he promised to do no matter what. When people do evil to you despite your good; do not look bad, keep doing what you do. Many people that I have helped have stabbed me in the back but I don’t look at that and keep doing what I do. You may not know me but my name speaks for itself. That is one thing I am standing on – the promise of God. The church I was transferred to in Minnesota, as much as seven Shepherds had rejected such transfers believing that the place would never function. You know (some) Shepherds function according to John 10: 10 where the thieves come through the window. So, some are looking for quick money, what the Yorubas call “Olorun s’ogo”. They do not want ‘Surulere’ (patience). But when God says this is the way I want you to do it and you follow the spirit of God, things will turn around much better than you expect. Just follow God’s will and he will carry you through. It is not easy but as you keep going day by day, he will keep promising your daily food. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. So, whatever you do today, remember, you might not see tomorrow. Some sleep and do not wake up. If you want to do the will of God, then continue to do it and help others. That is the only way we can move the Celestial Church forward. In the earlier Celestial time, if you say “Hallelujah” you will already find a job but lately even the Shepherds are just out for their pockets. But that is not the issue. The issue is that you must do the will of God because our final home is heaven. This place is just a temporary place.
What are the future plans of Minnesota Parish going forward?
Our aim is to move from where we presently are to a bigger place where we will have a school that other people can attend also. During our harvest time we normally collect clothes for all the needy. We distribute it on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday of our harvest. Majority of the people who come to collect these clothings are the white people, so, we continue to do that and move the church forward in a way that others will emulate. That is the future plan for that church and God will continue to sustain His church.
What are the charitable ventures the church is engaged in?
Anything that you need from us, we are there. If you have a friend that doesn’t have a place in the United States, call us. We do not charge and we do not limit your time unlike the way other churches do. We accommodate you until you find your feet. That is what we do.