SUNDAY, MARCH 10, 2013.
WHEN DIOCESE OF OWO MARKED 30TH ANNIVERSARY
OWO Archdeaconry became a diocese on March 1, 1983, under the spiritual leadership of former Primate of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Timothy Olufosoye. It was carved out of Ondo Diocese. Its first Bishop was Rt. Rev. Abraham Awosan.
At inception, it had one archdeaconry and not more than 15 pastors. As is often the case with pioneering efforts, many things begged for attention. But Bishop Awosan, a teacher and administrator, swung into action and laid a solid foundation for the diocese.
When he retired, he was succeeded by, Rt. Rev. Peter Adebiyi, who later became the first Bishop of Lagos West Diocese in 1999. Before his translation to Lagos, Adebiyi contributed his quota to the growth of the diocese. The third Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dr. J. A. Oladunjoye with his amiable wife (Mama Owo), Mrs. Grace Oladunjoye, took over the mantle in 2000, and God has used them mightily to give direction and leadership to the diocese.
Recalling help the diocese has received from God in 30 years, the Bishop, the Diocesan Board and faithful decided to celebrate His blessings. An anniversary committee was set up, having Ven. S. O. Obanla (chairman); Mr. S. D. Dahunsi (secretary) assisted by Rev. Canon Olatunde O. Abiodun and Mr. Sam Adewale (publicity chairman).
The theme of the celebration was ‘Ebenezer’ (1 Samuel 7:12) ‘Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, Thus far has the LORD helped us’.
The diocese lined up activities to commemorate His faithfulness, such as pastoral visitation to some church stations, as a way of strengthening the flock of Christ and pulpit exchange programmes for pastors to enable them share God’s love and bond of unity with parishioners.
Two lectures were delivered: ‘Owo Diocese Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’ by the Dean, Immanuel College of Theology, Ibadan, Ven. B. A. Adedapo, and ‘Empowerment of the Diocese of Owo’ by Prof. J. O. Agbede, Lecturer, Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA).
Participants described the lectures as revealing and enriching.
On Friday, March 1, 2013, there was a special Holy Eucharistic service held at the Cathedral of St Andrew’s Owo, to mark the inauguration of the diocese. Diocesan Bishop, Rt Rev. Oladunjoye, presided over the service. He was assisted by co-Bishops – Rt Rev. S. S. Olayanju; Rt Rev. and Mrs. N. O. Fasogbon; Rt Rev. and Mrs. E. B. Dahunsi and Rt Rev. James Odedeji.
Preaching, the second Bishop of the diocese, Rt Rev. Peter Adebiyi, thanked God for continued help since the diocese was created. He revealed that the diocese started as a debtor but today, through the help of God, it is gradually standing on its feet financially. He prayed God to sustain spiritual, social and infrastructural development in the coming years.
Thereafter, in a colourful ceremony, a book on the history of the diocese was launched. An anniversary cake was also cut.
Dignitaries at the occasion include Mrs. R. B. Arobo (representative of the Deputy Governor of Osun State, Chief Mrs. Tomori Titilayo) B. Akeredolu (represented Senator Tinubu); Prof. S. O. Oyewole, Chancellor of the Diocese, and his wife, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu; Registrar of the Diocese, Chief Mrs. Dupe Olomolehin; Prof. A. I. Ayodele; Prof. I. O. Solarin and Dr. Mrs. T. E. Ojo, among others.
We thank God for the Diocese of Owo, particularly on its spiritual and numerical growth. It now has seven archdeaconries and 56 pastors in different church locations.
We join men of goodwill to wish the Bishop, Rt Rev. Dr J. A. Oladunjoye and faithful of the Diocese of Owo a happy 30th anniversary.VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,