Vol. 1 No. 15 [Special Issue – October 2011]
ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF CHURCH PROLIFERATION: THE REDEEMED CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF GOD AS A CASE STUDY IBIYINKA OLUSOLA ADESANYA, PhD DEPARTMENT OF RELIGIOUS STUDIES SOCIOLOGY OF RELIGION UNIVERSITY OF ADO-EKITI ADO-EKITI, EKITI STATE NIGERIA
The environmental effects of proliferation of churches continued to be a major concern to all and particularly those in the mainstream of environmental protection. So disturbing has it become that analysts begin to think of the need for a legal framework to tackle the menace. This paper appraised the extent of proliferation of churches with particular reference to The Redeemed Christian Church of God. Churches are noted to be springing up at an alarming and unprecedented rate in all available spaces, shops, warehouses, hotels, to mention but a few. Using both primary and secondary sources of data collection, the paper also listed and discussed some of the problems associated with the proliferation of churches, such as noise pollution, traffic congestion at the Redemption Camp, inhalation of exhaust gases and related air pollutants, improper ventilation and the collapse of weak structures being used. All these were noted to lead to various health hazards like suffocation, stressinduced ailments like hypertension, diabetes, hearing loss, alterations in cardiac functioning and the likes.The paper therefore concluded by recommending some stringent statutory environmental laws that could be enacted to solve the problems. Also, all stakeholders including government and religious bodies were advised to work together to introduce legal and administrative frameworks to manage the effects of this church proliferation. INTRODUCTION
Our global society today is undergoing significant constant proliferation of churches which have brought not only changing values, but also greater source of solutions to people’s problems. This rapid multiplication of churches is borne out of the understanding that in Nigeria, there is freedom of religious worship. Central to the constant proliferation of churches is the question of its environmental effects on the people in the society. The question of how the undesired physiological and institutional effects on individual and environments can be solved. This question has not only been of concern to the officials of Environmental Protection Agency but also to the academia. The major thrust of this paper therefore is to discuss the environmental effects of church proliferation with particular reference to the Redeemed Christian Church of God. Historically, the origin of RCCG could be traced back to 1952 when Rev. Josiah Akindayomi began to express a feeling of dissatisfaction with his mother church – The Cherubim and Seraphim Mount Zion in Lagos. He felt totally persuaded to leave the church because he saw some of the elements like the lighting of candle, burning of incense and ritual washing as a departure from the true word of God. Somewhat dissatisfied with some of the practices, he left C & S in 1952 to start a house fellowship called the “Glory of God Fellowship” with nine members. Akindayomi led this growing church, which was formally inaugurated in Ebute Metta, Lagos in November 1954 and given the name RCCG. He died in 1981 after which Enoch Adejare Adeboye assumed the leadership position of the church. As a member of the elites, Adeboye introduced many different innovations into the church. One of them was the Holy Ghost service which started in March 1986 at Ebute Meta. However, due to the overwhelming crowd, the place of the service was relocated to the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. The Holy Ghost Prayer Ministry which always comes up in the last Friday of the month is said to be usually jam-packed with throngs of worshippers from different religious tradition and Christian denominations (Olayiwola 2002:3) Today, the total number of parishes of...