The history of the New Apostolic Church in Nigeria

The beginning of the NAC in Nigeria

In August 1968 – in the time of the terrible Biafra war – the young Suisse brother Peter Gfeller comes to Nigeria, sent by a Swiss Trading Company. At that time, he was the only new apostolic all over Nigeria. For his spiritual well-being he was served from Germany by regular “soul care letters” as well as by the new apostolic magazine “Our Family” which he studied intensively.

In October 1973, Bishop Rudolf Schilling (NAC Hessen/Germany) meets Peter Gfeller for a short first personal meeting in the Transit Area of Lagos International Airport. On behalf of District Apostle Gottfried Rockenfelder, he is in charge of the emerging New Apostolic Church in Ghana at the time and now also commissioned to support the foundation of the New Apostolic Church in Nigeria.

In February 1974, Bishop Rudolf Schilling conducts the first new apostolic Divine Service in Nigeria in presence of about 50 guests; Peter Gfeller is commissioned to organize regular meetings with the guests in order to prepare further spiritual visits from overseas.

First visit of District Apostle Gottfried Rockenfelder to Lagos. On Sunday, 19th May 1974, 33 souls are sealed, Peter Gfeller ordained as Priest and four brothers as a Deacon.

In late 1974, Priest Felix Omeh who had signed an eight-year contract with the government of Guyana was asked by District Apostle M. Kraus to terminate the contract and take the New Apostolic Church to Nigeria. Immediately after his return to Nigeria he met Priest Peter Gfeller in Lagos on 12th January, 1975.

Due to his job as an engineer with the Federal Government of Nigeria, Priest Omeh was sent to Jos in the northern part of Nigeria. On Sunday, 22nd January, 1975, he conducted there the first divine service in his hotel room. Later the testimony was brought from Jos to other areas in the North as well as to the Eastern part of Nigeria.

During a Bible conference in the USA, Okuyak Uwah from Uyoh gets in contact with the NAC. Soon after his return to Nigeria, new apostolic Church ministers from North America come to the Eastern part of Nigeria, commissioned by District Apostle Michael Kraus. On Sunday, August 31, 1975, Okyuak Uwah is sealed and ordained Priest by Apostle Erwin Wagner (Canada) in Uyo.

On Sunday, 19th February 1978, the than District Elder Okuyak Uwah is ordained as first native Nigerian Apostle, working under District Apostle Kraus, assisted by District Apostle Helper Erwin Wagner and later District Apostle Helper Nelson Kraus.

The decade of growth

Within this decade the Church grows, blessed by God’s grace and the enthusiasm of the believers. Many new congregations are founded, a vivid congregation life fostered, also for children and youth as well as for members gifted for music – and Christian love towards the neighbour is practiced in many ways …

After retirement of District Apostle Gottfried Rockenfelder in 1984, District Apostle Saur takes over responsibility for the Church areas in Nigeria, cared for by GermanyAfter retirement of District Apostle Gottfried Rockenfelder in 1984, District Apostle Saur takes over responsibility for the Church areas in Nigeria cared for by Germany. In a transmission phase he is still assisted by Apostle Rudolf Schilling, afterwards for a short time by Apostle Herbert Schneider and from the late 1980th for about 20 years by Apostle Günter Beck.

For further promotion of the Church development, additional local apostles are ordained.

The decades of further expansion

Three visits of Chief Apostle Richard Fehr, the leader of the New Apostolic Church International, mark this decade. His first visit is to Lagos in March 1992.

More apostles are ordained again in order to foster the work.

"Sweet fruits" of blessing and joy were a visible sign of the spreading of the Apostle’s teaching.

In May 1999, Chief Apostle Richard Fehr visits Lagos again …

… and in November 1999 Uyo-Four Towns.

The decade of changes

In December 1999, Apostle Günter Beck retires. Apostle Volker Kühnle takes over the task as Lead Apostle for Nigeria. The former separated parts of NAC in Nigeria, cared for by Canada and Southern Germany, are merged together. Again further apostles were ordained for help.

Children and youth contributing for further growth of the work.

On Pentecost 2005, Chief Apostle Richard Fehr retires and hands over responsibility to Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber. In April 2006, District Apostle Klaus Saur retires and District Apostle Michael Ehrich follows him.

Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber’s first visit to Nigeria in December 2005 leads him to Owerri, Port Harcourt and Uyo.

District Apostle Michael Ehrich comes for his first visit to Nigeria in November 2006. District Apostle Klaus Saur rtd. takes farewell after 22 years of spiritual leadership in Nigeria.

Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber conducts a festive Divine service in Uyo in November 2008. Apostle Okuyak Uwah retires, 2 Apostles and 5 Bishops are ordained.

The decade of stabilization

For the first time in the history of the NAC, District Apostle Michael Ehrich invites all district ministers to Lagos for a special Divine service (with ordinations) on Saturday and the Divine service for the departed on Sunday, November 6/7, 2010.

Chief Apostle Helper Jean-Luc Schneider comes for the first time to Nigeria (Lagos) in February 2013. Apostle Charles Ohemeng and Bishop Eddy Monday are retired, Apostle Itoyapine E. Hagher ordained. A further reorganization provides equalized Apostle areas.

On Pentecost 2013, Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber retires, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider takes over the high ministry and international responsibility.In January 2016, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider visits Uyo-Four Towns, with retirement and ordination of apostles.

In July 2015, Bishop Eberhard Koch, says farewell to Nigeria after 15 years of intensive seminar work. Responsibility for the seminar work handed over to District Elder Wolfgang Oehler.

In November 2016, District Apostle Michael Ehrich conducts the Divine Service for the departed in presence of all Apostles and Bishops from Nigeria, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea in Abuja. Apostle Volker Kühnle -after 17 years of working in Nigeria- is discharged as lead Apostle for Nigeria, Apostle Geoffrey Nwogu is commissioned as new lead Apostle for the country.

In this decade, 7 apostles more are ordained for the further stabilization of the work.

On Sunday, March 24, 2019, District Apostle M. Ehrich dispenses in a festive Divine service in Abuja – in presence of all Nigerian Apostles and Bishops as well as Apostle Volker Kühnle- the Silver wedding blessing to lead Apostle Geoffrey Nwogu and wife.