Diocese of Igbomina West History
THE HISTORY AND GROWTH OF ST. JAMES' ANGLICAN CHURCH, ILUDUN ORO: THE CATHEDRAL OF THE DIOCESE OF IGBOMINA WEST
Man and the world that he lives is so dynamic. The change that man brought to the world has affected the abode of man. This has reflected on the pagan village called Iluju from her inception has now grown to become a great Christian town, Iludun Oro.
The exact date Christianity came to Iludun was not known, but oral tradition that had gone through many generations had it that Christianity started at Iludun Oro around 1909. It was some traders from Ijesa, popularly referred to as “Osomalos” that brought Christianity to Iludun. According to the record, the first set of traders include Mr. Ayeni and his younger brother, Mr. Abraham Latunji Ibironke, who resided with the chief. As they were selling their goods, they felt concern of preaching the good news of salvation to their pagan hosts and hostesses. Shortly, their evangelism started producing fruits when Mr. Noah Adewole Bello of Ile Baale became a convert. With time, the number of converts started to grow and multiply. Those that could be referred to as early convert include Mr. Odewole and Mr. Adekeye aka “Aregba Tun Bonse”. Mr. Adekeye was highly devoted but unfortunately he died shortly after his conversion. After his death, Mr. Moses Durotoye came from Lagos. The death of Mr. Adekeye was a great blow to the members of the newly found faith.
The early Christian faced a lot of persecution from pagans. With this, the converts continue to grow to the extent that the house they were using for worshipping at the Baale’s house could not contain them.
The venue of worshipping was moved to Mr. Durotoye’s house. The fast growth of the newly found faith was not pleasing to the pagans. They tried to destroy the faith but all the efforts proved abortive. It was believed that Mr. Durotoye’s house was set ablaze by the pagans through thunder and lighting all these acts were making the Christians to grow stronger in faith and number.
Venue for worshipping again was shifted to the house of another convert Mr. Babatunde, shortly after Mr. Babatunde died of small pox. The death of Mr. Babatunde no longer encouraged the early Christians but yet they did not give up. Prior to this, God brought some God fearing and bold converts from Lagos in 1923, among them was Mr. Matthew Toye. With the combined efforts of these people and people at home they were able to restore their confidence in the living God. The venue for worshipping was shifted to a tent erected near Abejo’s compound.
For the new development Mr. Abraham Latunji was acting as the Pastor, while Mr. Noah Adewoye remained the Chairman (Baba Egbe) of the church. The population continues to increase exceedingly and they started contributing money for two specific projects. The first project was the idea of employing a Trained Teacher (Pastor) and the building of the church that would occupy all the converts during worship hours.
On the 6th of February, 1927, Mr. S.A. Adebayo, the first catechist was posted to the church by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) authority. The foundation stone of the first church was laid on the second day of his arrival and it was commissioned on the 15th of August 1928, under the leadership of Archdeacon J. Meekay from Osogbo. He was exceedingly happy that he made a contribution of Ten Shillings to the church.
In the year 1930, the church built a house for their Pastor. In the same year those that were baptized in the church were one hundred and fourteen (114) about (72) seventy two of them qualified for the confirmation and those attending Baptismal classes were 72 members who were living outside the town, both far and near, were established to be about 300. Because of this another living crop up to build a more modern church that would be able to accommodate all members wherever those people came home. Between 1932-1934 was marked with lots of confusion and some misunderstanding which gained ground among the 9 villages called Oro. Among this the church still continued to march on. In 1933 the church established a Primary School in the year 1933 this was a remarkable progress on the issue of building a modern and bigger church.
The year 1935 was a preparatory year for the building of the new church. It was on the 22nd January, 1936 when the foundation was laid by D.O. Ayorinde. The church was 100ft long, 40ft wide and 29ft high. The thickness of the wall was 11/2ft. this church was completed and dedicated on the 19th April, 1992 by Bishop A.A. smith
Another remarkable progress emerged on the 25th of September 1944 when the foundation stone of her primary school was laid. Before this time a section of the church had been in use as the kindergarten school. The school was completed and commissioned in the month of June, 1945, the first set of the school graduate and bagged school leaving certificate in 1948. After the death of Baba Egbe (chairman) Chief Mathew Toye became the new (Baba Ijo) chairman and David Olatunji was installed as Baba Isale while Chief David Folayan was made Balogun Ijo.
The idea of building another befitting church was raised during the annual general meeting in 1958. The Lagos chapter i.e members of the church residing in Lagos were assigned to see the design of the new church. The church started saving money in the bank at Ilorin for the purpose of the new building. By 1963, (#5,000.00) was realized and saved.
It was a Lagos based Engineer that first cral drawing of the church while the Diocesan Architect of Kwara Diocese took over the supervision. This church became the District Headquarter, that is D.C.C in 1964 and the Rev. A. O. Oyeleye was the first Chairman. On the 8th of April, 1968, the (Baba Ijo) Chief Matthew Toye died. While Chief David Folayan was installed as Baba Ijo on January, 1969 and Chief J.T. Awodokun was made the Balogun of the Church. It was very interesting to note that the site for the new church complex was formerly used by the Egungun worshippers popularly referred to as “Igbo Igbale”.
The Foundation stone of the multi Million naira ultra church complex was laid on the 27th December, 1976 by the Lord Bishop of Kwara Anglican Diocese, the late Rt. Rev. H.A. Haruna. The Church span 36 meters in Width and 36 meters in Length. The window was originally designed to be continuous vertical slits but was later broken into unit because the capacity of the contractor employed could not cope technically. A central focus of the altar is new to the Anglican concept of church structure, but logical in traditional style of congregational meetings. Another achievement was recorded when the church established a Nursery/Primary School in January 1973. The church also established Iludun Oro Anglican Girls College in 1992.
On the 29th December 1982 St. James Church became the seat of an Archdeacon. Through the contributions of women who were taken with high esteem. The first iya Egbe was Madam Rebecca Dolapo Bilewumo after her departure, Madam Dare Olateju was made Iya Egbe, while Madam Sarah Moronfola became the Successor after Madam Dare joined her ancestors.
CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF ST. JAMES WORKER’S/VICAR’S ROLL
- Mrs. S.A. Adebayo - 1927 - 31
- Mr. J.A. Kayode - 1932 - 34
- Mr. M.O. Rotimi - 1935 - 38
- Mr. S.A. Ajayi   - 1939 - 44
- Rev’d A. Okunribido - 1945 - 57
- Rev’d A.O. Oyeleye - 1958 - 66
- Rev’d J.A. Asa - 1967 - 67
- Rev’d Canon S.O. Bakare - 1968 - 72
- Rev’d E.O. Ogun Seju - 1972 - 77
- Rev’d Canon G.A. Ogunyinka - 1977 - 83
- Ven. G.A. Ogunyinka - 1983 - 86
- Ven. J.A. Adefila - 1987 - 93
- Ven.E.A. Abogunde - 1993 - 97
- Ven. S.B.G. Olashinde - 1997 - 2000
- Ven. J.O. Akinola - 2000 - 2010
This church St. James became a Diocesan headquarters when, on 18th September, 2009 the Supreme National body of the Nigeria Anglican Communion graciously gave approval to the creation of the Diocese of Igbomina West and Rt. Red. J.O. Akinola was subsequently appointed as the Bishop of the newly created Diocese.
THE CHURCHES IN THE NEWLY CREATED DIOCESE AS AT INAUGURATION
- St. James Church, Iludun Oro
- St. Paul’s Church, Agbamu
- St. John’s Church, Igbonla
- St. Barnabas’ Church, Sanmora
- Holy Trinity Church, Oke – Ola, Oro
- St. Michael’s Church, Igosun
- St. Peter’s Church, Egudu
- St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Agidingbi
- Christ Anglican Church, Were
- St. Stephen’s Church, Ipee
The cordiality between St. James Anglican Church, Iludun Oro, and the Churches that make up the Diocese of Igbomina West began as early as 1964 when Iludun Oro was made the seat of a District Church Council (DDC) in the then Ibadan Anglican Province, and St. Paul’s Church Agbamu, St. Stephen’s Church, Igbonla, St. Barnabas Church, Sanmora, All saints Church, Oke Onigbin, St Peter’s Church, Igbesi and Holy Trinity Church, Oke-Ola Oro. These churches were put under her spiritual suzerainty and management. Even in 1983, when the DCC metamorphosed into an Archdeaconry, the harmonious relationship did not only continue but also waxed stronger.
Several open Air Revival, Crusade and Planting or new churches had tremendously increased the size of the Diocese under the effective spiritual supervision. It has been recorded through the instrumentality of this harmonious relationship; therefore, expanding God’s kingdom here on earth in line with the great commission.
Although, the desire for a Diocese in this Archdeaconry had been in existence for chain of years, it could not materialize as a result of one logistic constraint or the other. However, by March, 2009, the desire came alive again and indeed it became a compelling necessity for the purpose of accelerated expansion of the frontier of the Anglicanism throughout Igbomina land.
In their usual demonstration of sense of solidarity and respect for age-long historical relationship when the logistic for the creation of the Diocese were being put together, all the churches in the Archdeaconry except All Saint’s Church, Oke Onigbin and St. Peter’s Church, Igbesi willingly agreed to join hands with the St. James’ Church, Iludun Oro to form the new Diocese.