SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2014
REFLECTION ON THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA ANGLICAN SEMINARY AT ABEOKUTA
The year 2010 is memorable in the annals of the Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion). In that year the Church of Nigeria had set up a Post Graduate Seminary known as CROWTHER GRADUATE THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY in Abeokuta, Ogun State of Nigeria. It is on record that the Church has other seven Theological Colleges namely: Trinity College, Umuahia, Emmanuel College of Theology, Ibadan, Saint Francis of Assisi College of Theology, Wusasa, Zaria, Vining Theological College, Akure, Crowther Theological College, Okene, Ezekiel College of Theology, Ekpoma and Saint Paul’s Theological College, Awka. These theological colleges offer Diploma in Religious Studies and Theology. It also awarded degrees but in affiliation with different Universities in Nigeria.
Indeed, a time was when the Church was content with what these seven Theological Colleges offered but ever since 2010 with the setting up of Crowther Graduate Theological Seminary, things now changed in terms of Theological education and formation. This is in line with the age-long thinking that “the pulpit must be higher than the pews” particularly in the true sense of theological education acquisition.
It is instructive that the Church chose Abeokuta as a place for citing this seminary. From the archives, Abeokuta is one of the cradles of christianity in this part of the world in the 19th century. The missionaries got to Abeokuta at that time and their impact contributed to the eventual Church growth and stability. It is not surprising that many clerics including the third but retired Primate of the Church of Nigeria, the Most Rev. Peter Akinola hails from this ancient town of Abeokuta, the land of the Egba people. It is also worthy of note that two former Heads of State (Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Chief Ernest Shonekan) are Egba.
This graduate Theological Seminary is saddled with training and retraining of personnel for the ministry and also for spreading the gospel of our Lord Jesus christ to the people of this age. The avalanche of courses offered in this seminary includes but not limited to: Master of Missions, Master of Divinity, Master of Theology, Master of Arts, Doctor of Ministry and Doctor of Philosophy apart from many Certificate and Diploma Courses. Through these, the Church intends to achieve the mandate of Jesus in Matt. 28:18ff (Go and make disciples of all nations).
Recently, the seminary has been commissioned by the Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion) to undertake training of Missionaries to the Francophone countries. This will no doubt go a long way in helping the missionaries and mission field to flow in the language of the environment. This attempt is better than the earlier times where interpreters were used and it greatly weakened the force of the gospel. It is also planned that the Seminary will undertake the translation of worship books into this language as a way of helping missionary activities.
It is good to point out that the institution accommodates students from other Church denominations. This in a way is to encourage interdenominational relationship across the Christian family and at the same time helping to equip ministers of this Church and other denominations in the work of soul-winning.
We must therefore in all sincerity acknowledge the tireless efforts of the Rector of the institution, the Rt Rev. Prof. Dapo Asaju, on whose shoulders the burden of running the institution lies. He ably is assisted in the administration of the institution by the Registrar, Ven. Kaine Nwashili and other reputable Professors and Academia to ensure effective theological teaching and learning.
It is also good we appreciate the indefatigable Primate of All Nigeria, Most Rev. Dr Nicholas D. Okoh and his brother Bishops especially for supporting the Seminary and sponsoring their Clergy for higher degree courses in the institution. We earnestly pray for the continual growth of this institution as it fulfills its mandate.Ven. Ernest Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.