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ST PAUL’S ANGLICAN CHURCH ILE-IFE: FROM DREADED FOREST TO KINGS’ CHURCH | Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)

ST PAUL’S ANGLICAN CHURCH ILE-IFE: FROM DREADED FOREST TO KINGS’ CHURCH

  • Korede Akintunde
  • December 15, 2023
  • 0 Comments

Source: BOLA BAMIGBOLA

Saint Paul’s Anglican Church, Ayegbaju, Ile-Ife, Osun State, was built in a place regarded as a dreaded forest 100 years ago but has been serving as a place of worship for the Oonis.

Tracing the history of the church, the People of Moore-Ilode quarters, Iremo Quarters, and Ilare Quarters went to Ooni Ademiluyi and said they wanted to start their church in their community. Ooni then requested that they should first build the Ayetoro church, what is known as Saint Paul’s Anglican today, before they would be allowed to build their churches. So by 1923, the church started here and this is the year 2023. The church is now 100 years.

In about 100 years of existence, the church has been central to many historical happenings within the ancient town of Ile-Ife. It was the place of worship for Ooni Ademiluyi Ajagun, the 48th Ooni of Ife, who approved the land where the church was built in 1923, and two others who succeeded him on the throne.

Ademiluyi’s successor, Oba Adesoji Aderemi, who during his lifetime served as Governor of the defunct Western Region, also attended the church. By his position, history recorded that he had reasons to bring several leaders of government back then, including the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, to worship in the church.

The Royal Eagle, the 50th Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade, at the early stage of life, was known to be a member of the African Church. He was however said to have adopted Saint Paul’s Anglican Church for palace functions and actively attended the church during his lifetime.

To further add to the rich history and central place the church occupies in the life of the Ife community, the 51st Ooni and current occupier of the throne of Oduduwa, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, did the dedication of his son, Tadenikawo in the same church. Father to Ooni Ogunwusi, Prince Oluropo Ogunwusi attends the church.

The church, planted in the year 1923 in a forbidden forest in Ile-Ife, recently marked its centenary anniversary with pump and pageantry.

Recently in marking the centenary anniversary of arguably one of the biggest Anglican churches in Osun State, dignitaries from far and near converged on the church to celebrate its interesting history and steady growth amid daunting challenges.

The major contributors to the church’s growth were bestowed with awards at the special service which climaxed the week-long activities marking its centenary anniversary celebrations.

The awardees include; Oba Ademiluyi Ajagun, the 48th Ooni of Ife; Oba Okunade Sijuwade, the 50th Ooni of Ife; Rt. Rev. Dr Olusola Akanbi, Bishop of Offa Diocese, Rt Rev. Oluranti Odubogun, former Bishop of Ife Diocese, Rt. Rev. Gabriel Oloniyo, the first Bishop of Ife Diocese and Rt. Rev. Nathaniel Ogundipe, Bishop of Ifo Diocese, supported by family and friends, joined in the celebrations.

The incumbent Ooni, Oba Ogunwusi, also led a large retinue of chiefs and aides to the service held amidst songs of praises to God in celebration of the 100-year-old church.

Delivering a sermon during the service, the Diocesan Bishop of Ife, Rt. Rev Olubunmi Akinlade, recalled that the land upon which the church was built used to be a thick forest providing a shield for those who wanted to commit suicide.

He however said, “We give thanks to God for the grace that this church has turned 100’’

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