THE HISTORY OF HOLY TRINITY ANGLICAN CHURCH, IKEREKU, ABEOKUTA.
History has it that Early Christian converts from Ikereku were part of the early Egba Christians worshipping in various Churches like St. Jude’s Church Ikija and St. Stephen’s Church Ilugun.
Some were attending the Methodist Church, Ogbe notable among whom were late Otun of Egba, Hon. Chief J.B. Majekodunmi and his brother Chief D. Adekunle Majekodunmi. It was in the 1880s that the idea of having an Anglican Church at Ikereku was mooted because the Methodist mission at Ogbe was too remote from Oke-Ona, and they were usually too tired to go back to Ikija or Ilugun for evening service after attending Mattins there. They stated having a temporary place for evening service at Ikereku for that purpose. Daddy Soyemi (Venn) helped to negotiate for a piece of land near the the rock at Ikereku in an area usually referred to as Esekuta. (Esekuta) meaning “at the base of the rocky outcrop” from a neighbor’s wife was known as “TAMU”.
THE FOUNDATION MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH
- Daddy Thomas Lewu
- Madam Suada Ogun (Mother of Isaac Babalola Ogun)
- Daddy James Bernard Majekodunmi (A.K.A. Ijaola or Baba oju Oopo) later Otun Egba
- Madam Eleanor Oredola (Popularly referred to as Iya Ijo)
- Daddy Isaac Sobola- (Alias Arila-Jiyan)
- Daddy Emmanuel Sojo
- Daddy Soyoye ( otherwise known as Venn) a very well educated man
A temporary worshiping shed was erected on the land, but in 1888 they decided to put up a permanent structure built of mud for regular Sunday worship. It was dedicated in 1890. It was close to the Holy Trinity (CMS). Primary school, Ikereku, Abeokuta. More converts Isale Ogun, Ikija, Ilawo,Ijaiye Kukundi and Ikatedo, later joined the new church.
The first church –worker to be put in charge of the young congregation the District Church Council was a catechist named Green. Daddy Green, otherwise called Adefolu, was the father of late Dr. Adefolu.
Very early in its existence, the young church ministered to the spiritual needs of worshipers from far and near. Candidates for baptism came from Ikereku itself, Asa, Ilugun, Ikija, Erunbe, Opeji, Kemta, Owu, Ilogbo.
PURCHASE OF THE PRESENT (OJU-OLONA) SITE
Around 1926, it was becoming clear that the church building at Esekuta was getting too small for the increasing congregation and its capacity was grossly inadequate any time an important event was being celebrated which attracted visitors and other guests. Furthermore, the rocks around would not allow for any expansion of the building.
Leading members of the church, pondered over the matter and eventually mooted the idea of building a more spacious church elsewhere. Among these people were Mr. J. O. Akisanmi, Chief D. Adekunle Majekodunmi (Alias ‘D. A’), Chief I. A Sodipo (Alias Molaja), Chief Isaac Babalola Ogun, Mr. Feyisara Sopein (Treasurer of the Church), Madam Eleanor Oredola, Madam Ayelaagbe (known as iya Eleesu) and Madam Efunjoun. The idea was shared with Hon. J. B. Majekodunmi who was looked upon as Baba Ijo of the Church because of the activities, his leadership qualities, and his generosity towards matters affecting the progress of the Church. He endorsed the idea and members of the congregation started to contribute to a fund while the search for a suitable site also began.
The first site purchased was a piece of land facing the property of Daddy John Adesanya who was otherwise known as Onile-Etija (i.e. the one whose house is near the market) because his house was close to Oja Apagun (Apagun market). It is on this site that Suada mission now stands. The site had to be sold because the women in the Church complained that the land was again too small and also too close to the main road. They feared for the safety of parishioners, especially children, in future when the volume of vehicular traffic would have increased. Infact, building material like stone etc had already been assembled on the site before its was sold out of deference to the point raised by the women. The land was first bought from the Church for the purpose of building a house for the man who later became Osile, Oba Yesufu Idowu Adedotun (1932-34), before it was eventually purchased by I. B Ogun for the building of Suada mansion.
The search for another site started again. It ended with purchases of the present Oju-Olona site where the Church now stands. This was between 1927 and 1928. It was bought from the children of Chief Adebesin, the first Jagunna of Ikereku. It was a swampy area and once served as Igbo Eluku (Eluku grove). All the land that now makes up the frontage of the Church was given free by the Amusan family.
THE BUILDING OF THE NEW CHURCH
Permission to build the new church had to be sought from the then Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos, The Rt. Revd. F. Melville Jones. One Saturday in 1930 a delegation led by the Hon. J. B. Majekodunmi and Otun Egba met the Bishop on the matter but the bishop was reluctant to give approval on learning that the Church had only £235:0s:0d (two hundred and thirty-five pounds) in its account. The Assistant Bishop, the Rt. Revd. A.W. Howells I, appealed to the Bishop to approve the building of the Church remarking that the leader of the delegation, the Hon. J. B. Majekodunmi, could single-handedly build the structure shown on the building plan submitted. Bishop Jones asked the members of the delegation to allow him time to consider and so they left.
On the Sunday following, the Hon. J.B. Majekodunmi reported to the whole congregation the outcome of the delegation’s mission to the Bishop and all agreed that a contributory fund should be started that Sunday towards the building of the Church. Each Sunday thereafter, members contributed generously and enthusiastically to the fund with the Hon. J.B Majekodunmi leading the way. It was not surprising therefore, that when the delegates later returned to the Bishop, approval was readily given.
A 52-member Building committee headed by Hon. J.B. Majekodunmi was there- upon set up to handle the project.
The foundation stone was laid on Saturday, 26th December, 1936 at 4pm by Alaiyeluwa Oba Ladapo Ademola II C.B.E (later Sir Ladapo Ademola), Alake Oba Egba, the service was conducted by Rt. Revd. F Melville Jones, the Bishop of Lagos Doicese, taking his sermon from 1Cor. 3:10.
The construction work was supervised by Late Chief Z.I Renner of Ijemo Agbadu (free of charge), a Carpenter by training but who was famous as a church builder.
The church was completed in 1941, at an estimated cost of 6,000.0s.0d (six thousand pounds). It was a surprise to most people at that time that such an imposing and commodious stone structure could be built within so short a time (1936 to 1941). It was dedicated on Easter Eve, 12th April, 1941. The service was led by the Bishop of Lagos then, Rt. Revd. Lesile Gordon Vining, who also preacher the sermon taking his text from 1 Cor. 3:10.
The Church became the seat of the chairman of Abeokuta North Provisional District Church council on 30th December, 1981.
The churches under the District Church council are Holy Trinity Church, Ikereku, St. Jude’s Church, Ikija, St. Stephen’s Church, Ita-Elega, Ilugun, Emmanuel Church, Keesi, Anglican Church Opeji, Anglican Church, Onibuku, Anglican Church Ologburugburu and St. Jude’s (Anglican Church) Iyana Eruwa Railway Station.
It became the headquarters of Abeokuta North Archdeaconry on 24th July, 1984 with Ven. V.O. Sotunde as the first Archdeacon. Churches in the following District Church Councils form the Archdeaconry: Abeokuta North and Osiele Otere (up to August 1994).
Eventually, Holy Trinity Anglican Church Ikereku became a sole Archdeaconry in 2008 when another four archdeaconries namely, Ikija, Ilugun, Keesi and Elega were again carved out of it.
The Archdeaconry now has four churches under it. They are Holy Trinity Church, Ikereku which is the headquarters; the Church of Advent, Saje founded in 1998, SS Timothy and Titus, Adedotun founded in 2009 and St. John of Baptist, Arakanga founded in 2010.
The first available record of baptism in this Church was that on January 11, 1891
The first available record of marriage was in 1908
The first available record of burial was in 1907
The church has been enjoying the services of church workers both lay and ordained unbroken since its foundation with the Venerable Samuel Oluremi Somorin as the incumbent
THE PRESENT CHURCH OFFICIALS ARE:
- S.O. Somorin – Vicar
- M. Olanrewaju Idowu Taiwo -People’s warden
- Olayinka Ogunseye – Pastor’s Warden
- Oluseyi Ogungbe – P.C.C Secretary
CHURCH CHIEFS ARE:
- Chief O.A. Lampejo – Baba Ijo
- Chief (Mrs.) M.O. Oyebolu – Iya Ijo
- Chief (Mrs.) E.O. Ogungbe – Iya Egbe,Egbe Aya Bishop
The today Igbein Archdeaconry began as Abeokuta East Provisional Church Council inaugurated on 30th December, 1981 with the headquarters at St. John’s Church, Igbein. The Vicar of the Church was The Revd Canon D. Ade Odutayo B.A. was installed the first Chairman of the Council. Other Churches include Christ Church Iporo – Ake, St. Jude’s Church Ijeun and other smaller Churches both in Abeokuta and Villages. The District was raised to a full fledged Abeokuta District Church Council on 9th November, 1983 by His Lordship The Rt. Rev. T.I. Akintayo.
In 1986 the Chairman Abeokuta East District Church Council was preferred Archdeacon, Ven. G.B. Oloniyo from then the District was upgraded to an Archdeaconry i.e. Abeokuta East Archdeaconry while St. John’s Church, Igbein remain its headquarters.
As a result of creation of new Dioceses out of Egba Diocese i.e. Egba West Diocese and Ifo Missionary Diocese, creation of new Archdeaconries were effected by the Diocesan Bishop Rt. Rev Dr. M.O. Owadayo. This brought about the name “Igbein Archdeaconry in 2008. The Igbein Archdeaconry continues to grow spiritually and numerically taking Evangelism as priority.
List of Churches, date of Establishment and Church Workers
- St. John’s Church, Igbein – 1847
Ven. O. Bamidele Odutayo – Vicar
Ven. E.A. Ogunlesi
Revd. I.O. Sodipe
- Bishop Jonathan Adeniyi Memorial Anglican Church, Kuto – (1994)
Rev Canon A..A. Arotiba – Vicar
iii. St. James’ Church, Ototo – 1920
Rev. D.A. Adediran – Vicar
- Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther Anglican Church, Adedero (2010)
Rev. Canon (Engr) O.A. Oyeneye – Vicar
Rev. B. A. Olusanya
Evang. S. O. Oyewole
- St. James’ Church, Lipetan (1932)
Rev. S.O. Adetunji – Vicar
- St. Phillip’s Church, Okoro (2010)
vii. Revd Canon J.J. Ransome – Kuti Anglican Church, Toolu (2017)
Mr. B.A. Odesina – Church Agent
Ven. Odubeko Bamidele Odutayo
Chairman, Igbein Archdeaconry
St. John’s Church, Igbein, Abeokuta
P.O. Box 2061, Sapon, Abeokuta