DAILY FILE – In the past few days there have been a furore that a Pastor of the NKST church sent some people on the wedding train that took place in his church. In this interview, a Makurdi based journalist, Yanor Kukwa, took time out to take a trip to Gboko and had a one-on one with the pastor who opened up on everything that went on that day in a frank and down to earth interview.
Question: Welcome to this interview Reverend. Can you introduce yourself Sir?
Answer: Thank you. I am reverend Gbiligh Ezrah of the NKST Classis Gboko
Question Are you the Resident Pastor Sir?
Answer Yes I am the resident Pastor of NKST Bristow Church Gboko
Question: Were you the officiating Priest during the wedding of one Mr. Vihi Sir?
Answer Yes, the wedding took place on Saturday March 30th, 2019 here (in Bristow) and I officiated that wedding myself.
Question: There is a lot of fuse that you sent the bridesmaids and groomsmen out of the Church during the wedding. Is that true Sir? What really happened?
Answer: We did not do that and we cannot do that. That wedding went on successfully. We started around 10:00 am and rounded up in the Church by 2pm without any hitches at all.
Question so what really happened? There are rumours and speculations all over the place that the bridesmaids and groomsmen were sent out of the church for whatever reason. That is precisely the area we would like you to shed light sir.
Answer The groom and his bride did their wedding without any hitches like I earlier said. The grey area was the wedding train. Every church has its own doctrines. In the NKST we also have our own doctrines and rules of wedding and when you want to wed in our church we tell you.
In our doctrine, only the reformed churches members can participate in
the wedding train and the reason we do so is because people from
different denominations have different doctrines and how things are
done in their own churches. For instance, in some denominations,
different styles and kinds of dancing is allowed during the wedding
procession but in the NKST, dancing on the bridal train is limited-infact
we have only one particular dance we do during a wedding procession.
We also have some denominations that are more liberal in dressing than
others so to avoid a clash of rules, we hold pre-wedding meetings with
intending couples and outline our dos and donts. This is not peculiar to only
the NKST but cut across all the denominations. On the day of the particular
wedding in question, before the wedding proper, we screened the wedding
train in the elders room and discovered that some of them were not of the
reformed churches denomination As a church and we don’t do
different rules for different people to suit our whims so we told those of them
that were not of the denomination that it is against our doctrines for them to
be on the bridal train or wedding train and we accordingly advised them to go
and be part of the wedding in the congregation. We did not send anybody out
of the church.
The groom and his bride were there. We sent nobody out of the church on that day. What we did was that we told some of them on the train that it was against our doctrines.
But they were not sent out, neither did they go out. They were all part of the wedding.
Question: So the actual bone of contention was whether to participate on the bridal or wedding train or not but nobody was sent out of the church?
Answer Nobody was sent out of the church. None at all. How can you send people out of your church? Even the brides brother is a Reverend father of the Catholic faith. As a fellow priest, I called him to join me on the pulpit. Although he was absent anybody who attended that wedding on that day can attest to this so why then would we send somebody out of the church that he is not a member of the NKST? It is infact against the doctrine of Christ to send away people from the house of God and we cannot do that and we did not do it.
Question; But one version of the Story out there is that you said that the ladies on the bridal train did not dress properly so you sent them out of the church.
Answer; For the umpteenth time, nobody whatsoever was sent out of the church during that wedding. There was one lady, she was part of the congregation and not among the bridal train, her hair was uncovered so one of the ushers advised her to cover her hair. This lady told us that she did not have a head tie with her. Meanwhile
we have a lot of headties in the church which we keep for just such
cases. So we gave her a head tie to cover her hair which she did and
returned it back to us after the wedding. The level of mischief,
falsehood and hate circulated on the social media by Christians themselves since
that wedding is sad and unfortunate. Christians need to watch it.
Question Now you said that people you stopped from participating in the bridal train, none of them went out and actually stayed inside the church to witness the wedding?.
Answer; That is exactly what I said. Nobody was sent out of the church. Even the screening of members of the wedding train took place in the elders room before the wedding began and not inside the main auditorium of the church.
Question And the wedding went on smoothly without any hitch?
Answer None whatsoever. Infact church members are surprise to read all manner of stories on the social media about a wedding in which they too were a part of. Whatever decision we took was in the elders room and in good faith according to laid down rules and absolutely not to victimize any particular person or denomination. Those who could march on the procession did so. Those who couldn’t joined the congregation. It was normal everyday thing. Nothing extraordinary and the wedding went on peacefully and successfully. The chief bridesmaid with other bridesmaids as well as the Best man and other grooms men were there and we had our wedding
Question So what could have accounted for the rumours everywhere that the NKST sent people away from their church.
Answer: It is in their mindsets. When I read it on facebook I said oh, these are not christians because what they are writing on facebook didn’t take place at NKST Bristow at all.
Question Ok let us re-visit the NKST doctrines on wedding sir.
Must somebody be a communicant member of the NKST to qualify to participate as a bridesmaid or groomsman in a wedding in the NKST Church?
Answer Yes, it was not so before but we had to re-adjust our wedding rules and regulations when we discovered that people from other denominations tend to bring their own ways which in many cases were not in conformity with ours. So for the sake of uniformity in our weddings, we made it mandatory that the wedding train should be our members because they share the same doctrines and would therefore make weddings in our churches more tidy for us, less stressful and all that. That is by no means saying that doctrines of other churches are inferior to our own. No, it is just that we wish to abide by our own tradition as a church especially during ceremonies that are as important as weddings. What people are writing is just plain mischief. Every denominations has their own doctrines on every ceremony; baptism, wedding , naming ceremonies, holy communions etc. We cannot go to another church and tell them to do as we do just as they can’t compel us to do it their own way. What must however be paramount and without compromise is the worship of God in truth irrespective of whatever denomination
Question Okay now what is your advice to the people out there who have heard these rumours?
Answer: My advice to the general public is that the body of Christ is one but denominations are different. So I would advice that if anyone wants to wed, he or she should stick to the rules of his or her church. I do not mean only the NKST. I mean all Christians should stick to the rules of their churches and all this won’t have to come about.
Question I hear that the pastor of the groom who is said to be from the Jos classis was also around during the wedding. What was his own reaction concerning what went on?
Answer Yes, the Pastor of the groom Rev. Isaac Koko of NKST Anglo Jos was with me here during the wedding.
Like I told you earlier, our discussion with the couple and their wedding train took place in the elders room and it was an amicable resolution. What is going on on facebook is a huge surprise to all of us. It was in fact the grooms pastor who drew my attention to what was been written on facebook concerning the wedding and he told me he would call his member and demand an explanation as to how and why a confidential decision by elders and pastors of the church became a topic of public discussion
Question what was the reaction of the groom and bride in the elders room when it was decided that some members of their wedding train could nolonger be on the train again?
Answer; The groom was not too happy but we reminded him that he is very much aware of that particular doctrine and in the course of his wedding preparation we had repeatedly reminded him. So he relented and we went ahead with the wedding. The bride on her part simply assented.
Question I hear the bride is catholic. Is there any rule that the NKST should not marry outside NKST?
Answer Not at all. There is no such rule. You can marry anywhere you want as long as the person is Christian. For ladies of other denominations marrying into the reformed churches, we only require that they undergo our catechism in order to be made conversant with the doctrines of the reformed churches.
You see, most of the people writing things on facebook are emphasising about Catholic but it is not so. The doctrine is you must be a member of the reformed churches to participate in an NKST wedding march to the aisle.
Question is reformed church another name for NKST or are there other churches under the canopy of the reformed churches?
Answer There are a lot of reformed churches in Nigeria we have the COCCIN, EKAN, CRCN etc, many of them.
Thank you sir
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