Egbe Imole Kristi
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It was Chief Isaac Olusanya Ojofeitimi that God used 50 years ago to be the initiator and founder of this great society. He is the Andrew of the twelves disciples who contacted others who were either his friends like Pa. Benjamin, Ibitoso Fawibe, Pa Ben. O. Fagbola, Late Pa Oladele Kafi, Late Prince Ade Ogunmokun, his banker, Late Emmanuel Koya Adetomiwa, his elder brother, Pa Olufemi Fasesin and Late Pa Evangelist Olasupo Oduwale, Pa I.O. Ojofeitimi was the nucleus of the society at the inception.
The history of Egbe Imole Kristi has its genesis in the resumption of Late Rev. M.A. Oroge later Late Ven. M.A. Oroge who resumed as a vicar at the Holy Trinity Cathedral then a church on 1st January, 1961 on the same day when Pa B.I. Fawibe first officiated as the church Pastor’s Warden.
The Late Ven. M.A. Oroge on resumption encouraged the youth of the church to organize themselves into societies as vanguards for meaningful evangelization and church growth and development. Beforwe the end of year 1961, two societies emerged. The two societies were Egbe Imole Kristi and the present Egbe Ogo-Oluwa, then known as Christian Pioneer Society.
It was the likes of Pa. Isaac Olusanya Ojofeitimi, Pa Ben. I. Fawibe, Late Prince Ogunmokun, Late Pa J.A. Kafi, Pa B.O.A. Fagbola that started meetings earlier in the year. After about the fourth meetings they invited and later prevailed on Late Pa Cornelius. A. Agunbiade to join and lead the society because of the leadership qualities which almost all of them saw in him.
The earlier meetings of the society started in the church premises usually after the church services. By May, 1961 the society was formed by the following: “twelve wise men” who bear the foundation of the society:
1. Pa Isaac Olusanya Ojofeitimi – The Initiator
2. Late Pa. Cornelius Adesegun Agunbiade
3. Pa Isaac Olufemi Fasesin
4. Pa Benjamin Ibitoso Fawibe
5. Pa Benjamin O.A. Fagbola
6. Late Evangelist Olasupo Oduwale
7. Late Prince Christopher Ola Ogunmokun
8. Late Pa Emmanuel Koya Adetomiwa
9. Late Pa John Oladele Kaffi
10. Late Pa I.A. Bamigbose
11. Late Pa Olu Olatunji
12. Late Pa Fijabi Fagbamila
The first matron of the society was the Late Mrs. V.O. Opelami, wife of the then Principal of St. Peter Teacher’s Training, Muroko Road, Ilesa.
The first patron of the society was Late Pa J.O. Odeyemi.
It was at one of the pre-Inaugural meetings of the society that the Late Pa. C.A. Agunbiade suggested that the society be named “EGBE IMOLE KRISTI” which was unanimously accepted by the twelve wise men to date.
The second legacy of the first president of the society was the “SOCIETY’S ANTHEM” I.O.M. 359 which the society accepted and still uses to date. The society’s Logo and Motto is “JE IMOLE OTITO”
The dedication and inauguration of the society took place on a Sunday in July 1961 with all the twelve members wearing their best white Guinean Brocade” agbadas”.
With the impressive beginning of the 12 disciples and the high disciples of their leader Late Pa C.A. Agunbiade more members like Pa. Olatidoye Adewale, Pa. Gabriel Oladipupo Awe, Pa. Chief Bola Familusi, Pa Johnson Ajayi Obe, Late Michael Olufemi Adegbola, joined the society towards the end of the year 1961.
It is very important to quote verbatim the aim and objectives of the society from one of its earlier constitutions as follows to understand the mind, vision and mission of the founding of the society.
It is the aim of the association to operate as one of the Christian Organizations within the Holy Trinity Church, Omofe, Ilesa. (Herein after called the Cathedral) Emphasis shall be laid on selfless service and the Association shall be the Torch-Bearer of the church.
The major objectives for which the Association is established are:-
- To unite within the church all those who regard Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior according to the scripture and to encourage the spread of the Gospel of Christ through teaching and practice of the Christian way of life and those sublime principles of Christian charity and faith as taught and practiced by Christ Himself.
- To afford its members the means of social intercourse, mutual helpfulness, mental and moral improvement and rational recreation.
- To build Schools, Colleges, Old People Home, Youth Centre, Recreation centre and similar buildings in furtherance of the objects of the Association.
A careful and insightful of the first objective above will show that the aim and desire of the founding fathers was a spiritual thirst and a pursuit to discover and practice pristine Christianity. They were seeking to practice pure, fresh, clear form of Christianity in its original form as Christ Himself taught and practiced Christianity as a way of life.
The question we should be asking ourselves in this anniversary looking back over the last fifty years is; have the members really achieved or attained these lofty and laudable aim and objectives? Looking back, the founding fathers and their succeeding members have done extremely well.
They like the twelve disciples were ordinary men whom God has turned to extra-ordinary men. Then they were not wealthy or very rich men or even academicians and there were even no university graduate among them, in 1961. They were simply sincere and genuine Christians who desire to practice Christianity in purity, indeed and in truth. However the immutable Jesus Christ who turned water into wine, has turn these 12 wise men into extra-ordinary men and giants in their various callings and pursuits in life. When you look at the likes of Pa Omooba Benjamin Olaosebikan Akinloye Fagbla, Pa Olusanya Ojofeitimi, Elder Isaac Oluwafemi Fasesin, Pa B.I. Fawibe, Evangelist A. Ola Adewale J.P Late Evangelist Olasupo Oduwale, Late Pa Oladele Kaffi, Late Pa C .A. Agunbiade all of them are giants, successful and accomplished in their various fields.
Now we need to go down the memory lane to look at some of the unique and spectacular things God has use the Egbe Imole Kristi to achieve in the last 50 years, not only at Holy Trinity Cathedral Omofe, but in the Dioceses in Ijesha Land and the Anglican Communion in Nigeria.
The first; issue that comes to mind is the campaign against bazaar sale at church harvest. It was Egbe Imole Kristi under the Presidency of Late Pa. C.A. Agunbiade who first debated the issue among themselves and agreed that the practice of selling and buying of items in the church harvest bazaars is very unbiblical and that our Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated against it in (Matt. 21:12-15). They sent their representatives including Pa Sanya Ojofeitimi to the church leaders and the P.C.C. to stop it. There was a heated debate for and against the ideas then. Eventually the leaders in the church agreed with Egbe Imole Kristi and started the present mode of Harvest thanksgiving.
To the glory of God the church now get the greater percentage of her income from the Harvest Thanksgiving. This success at Holy Trinity Church spurred members of Egbe Imole Kristi who are synod delegates to Ilesa Diocese to adopt the policy to stop bazaar sales at harvest throughout the Diocese and at the Diocesan level the policy was accepted after heated debates.
Thereafter the policy spread to other Dioceses in the Anglican Communion in Nigeria. It is note worthy that this policy have influenced other orthodox churches like Methodist Church of Nigeria, the Nigeria Baptist Convention, the Roman Catholic Church, and probably it is only the white garment churches that still practice the sale of bazaars in the Christendom today in Nigeria.
The second remarkable policy was the society struggle to ensure that all her members are totally committed and hold total allegiance to Jesus Christ and do not belong to any secret cult or fraternity. In pursuance of this policy the society under the leadership of Late Pa. Cornelius A. Agunbiade invited the then Late Rt. Rev. Falope the first Lord Bishop of Ilesa Diocese to Holy Trinity Church Omofe and all her members publicly sworn that they do not belong to any secret cults. By their own public demonstration and example and awareness campaign the society was able to carry out a spiritual cleansing of the laity and clergy in the Anglican Communion in Ijesa land. Only God can determine the extent of the influence of this policy in other Dioceses in Anglican Communion in Nigeria.
The third policy is based on the motto of the society is “je Imole Tooto” and usually members always appear in white dresses for their thanksgivings. And we need to remind ourselves that the major aim of the society is to provide selfless services to the church.
The fourth is derived from the third policy which from the inception of the society in 1961 the society have on annual basis been providing selfless services to the church either collectively and individually. For instance in 1961 the society gave 12 church Hymn Book (Iwe Orin Mimo) to the church. In 1962 the society gave ceiling fans to the church, the first of its kind then. In 1963 the society ordered from the United Kingdom the staff of the Pastor’s warden and the People’s warden and donated them to the church.
In 1964 the society donated the first wireless Public Address System (PAS) to the church as the Anniversary gift. The fifth policy could be regarded as a matter of principle to impose on themselves the policy of not drinking alcohol at each anniversary to save money ands use their money to finance projects for the church.
It is of historical importance that Pa. Olatidoye Adewale suggested that the society should donate a marble pulpit to the church as the anniversary gift for the year 1973, and through selfless donations and collective effort the first marble pulpit which the Cathedral still use to date was donated in 1973, and indeed it was the first marble work in any church and novelty Anglican Communion in Ijesa Land.
Another land mark and achievement f the society was the building and donation of the present choir vestry which the society donated to the mother church as her 25th Anniversary gift in 1986. It is in the same vein that we should put on record the singular act of philanthropist of the initiator and founder of the society Pa. Isaac Olusanya Ojofeitimi who single handedly built the new vicarage behind the old one at Omofe which the cathedral now use as the resident.
The society was very instrumental to the birth, growth and development of Emmanuel Anglican Church Oke-Ola, in terms of finance and human resources. It is worthy of note that through the evangelical efforts and zeal of Late Pa. C.A. Agunbiade and Pa. Abraham Adewale the society in collaboration with other societies and resident vicars in the church help to create and develop many churches in Ilesa Diocese like Anglican Church, Ilo, Ijebu-Ijesa Road, Our Saviour’s Church Osu, etc. The society from inception has always thrown its door open to all Anglican Christians irrespective of tribe. It is note worthy that when Late Chief Ade Adefarati was a teacher, later a principal of Atakumosa, High School, Osu, he was an active member of Egbe Imole Kristi. He later became the Executive Governor of the present Ondo State Government, between 1999 – 2003.
The Late Bishop Olasupo Oduwale who became a well known evangelist was a foundation member of the society. The society grew and attracted into her fold many graduates, professional men and bankers of repute like Pa Fatinikun, a top management staff of NAL Merchant Bank, Late Pa Alex Adagunodo then Chief Buyer of British Petroleum (BP) now known as AP Oil Plc, Late Bro S.O. Aoko a prominent lawyer who later became a president of the society, Bro. G. Apantaku a reputable estate valuer, Bro. R.O. Lajubutu a seasoned administrator, in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. The society at a point became the toast of the high and low in the mother church (HTC) and many parents would enlist their children in Lagos and overseas as members of the society.
In terms of selfless service to the church it is worthy to put on record that for a period of more than 40 years members of the society have had the singular honor of being the People’s Warden and Treasurer at Holy Trinity Cathedral as follows:
1961 – 1972 Pa A.O. Adewale
1972 – 1985 Pa B.I. Fawibe
1985 – 1992 Pa R.O. Lajubutu
1992 – 2002 Bro Afolabi Igbaroola
Our current president Mr. Afolabi Igbaroola is by the grace of God the Pioneer Treasurer of our Diocese – ILESA SOUTH WEST DIOCESE.
Meritoriously Pa J.O. Awe and Pa G.A. Oke have been serving since 1961 as members of Guild of Stewards at the Holy Trinity Cathedral together with Mrs. Oke and Mrs. B.R. Igbaroola.
Members of the society have always been active members of the Parish Church Council and some have also been delegates to the synod of the Diocese with active principle or rather adherence to biblical Christian injunction. Members of the society inco-operation and collaboration with other societies in the church were active in the pursuit and creation of Ilesa South West Diocese. Prominence must be given to the contributions of members like Late Otunba S.O. Aoko, Chief Banjo Fasuyi, Pa B.I. Fawibe, Pa R.O. Lajubutu and Mr. Afolabi Igbaroola.
The history of our great society will not complete without a brief mention of the impact of the society on the clergy.
First and foremost we need to realize that Egbe Imole Kristi has always taken the clergy as their mentor and adviser.
Right from inception the society regarded Rev. M.A. Oroge as its mentor and adviser. Also because the society has always had the priviledge of having either or both the people’s warden and the pastor’s warden as members hence the society have always been in good position to work harmoniously with all clergy men who have worked in Holy Trinity Church, Omofe in the last 50th years.
Also within the fold of the membership of Egbe Imole Kristi. We have seasoned and reputable men of God like Ven. Fasugbe and Ven Awopetu (RTD).
Towards the efforts to improve its membership, the society introduced the admission of members wives and sons into the society and this has proved worthy in all standards and commitments. The society has the following as Leaders and Presidents since its inauguration in 1961.
1. Pa. C.A. Agunbiade – President
2. Elder Isaac Olufemi Fasesin – President
3. Otunba S. Aoko – President
4. Elder B.I. Fawibe – President
5. Mr. Afolabi Igbaroola – Current President
On records also were names of our departed Patron and Matrons.
1. Chief J.O. Odeyemi – 1st Patron
2. Mrs. V.O. Opelami – 1st Matron
3. Chief S.O. Igbaroola – Patron
4. Mrs. E.O. Adedeji – Matron
5. Rev. Oroge – Mentor (Spiritual Adviser)
May their blessed soul continue to rest in perfect peace.
We now have new Patrons and Matrons like Pa. Johnson Awe, Prof. Oyewusi Ibidayo Obe, Mrs. Yoloye and Justice Omotunde Ilori.