– St. David Cathedral Set To Celebrate It’s 170th Anniversary
St. David Cathedral, in Ibadan Oyo State is prepared to celebrate its 170th church anniversary, making it the oldest church in western Nigeria.
The Mogaji of Aboderin compound in Ibadanland and Chairman of the 170th-anniversary committee, Chief Olutunde Aboderin, on Monday, disclosed that they would be a run up of activities for the anniversary celebration.
He said the essence of the celebration was to package the history of Christianity in the town and lay down a good legacy and foundations for generations to come.
He said, “This anniversary is to package history for posterity. If we don’t do this, we will have thrown away a great legacy that we should give to future generations. By the special grace of God, the church of God will continue to match on
“We are here to showcase that Christianity started in Ibadan, from this place. It is a pride of the entire Ibadanland and a pride of the Yoruba race. We were told that it was under that tree that the first gospel was preached on April 27, 1853.
“I have been to so many parts of the world and I want to say this, in Hong Kong, you have trees on the road and when they were planted you dare not take a leaf from them without being arrested.
“There is a storey building here in Ibadanland which was built in 1853, the first storey building in the entire Ibadanland, not many people know that.
“Actually, this building should rank with the ones in Badagry and Abeokuta and should be a place that the state and Federal Government should take over and maintain as they do in other parts of the world,” he said.
In the 1800s, Ibadan was a warring town that had built a system that needed additional wars to nourish it. Slaves that were captured as a result of these wars had constituted to the majority of it’s military and economic strength.
The Protestant churches in Europe had begun to campaign against the slave trade by the early 1900s because it directly opposed the philosophy of love as preached by the gospel. They then began to strengthen missionary societies and this was how Africa became exposed to Christian evangelism and Ibadan seemed like a good place to start for David Hinderer and his team.
When they arrived in 1851, he was only allowed into the town after the Ifa oracle was consulted. Being a town that recognized the economic benefits of religious tolerance, the oracle responded with tidings of good fortune and he was warmly received. They were apportioned some land in the Kudeti hillside and this was the base for a church, a mission house and a school.
The church grew because the Hinderers were friendly, persuasive and focused. Many locals loved them and before long, their congregation grew and today, about 170 years later, is the St. David’s Cathedral – named after David Hinderer. The church was involved in other activities in that time. Activities like teaching converts to read the bible, learn catechism and educating children – spearheaded by Anna Hinderer.
The Hinderer’s house is the first storey building in Ibadan. It was completed in 1855 and was a spectacle in the days of traditional courtyard style housing.
The Hinderer House – Anna Hinderer was interested in educating the people, as a result there are a number of schools surrounding the house
THE HISTORICAL RECORD DISPUTE
On record however, it is said that Christianity in Nigeria started in Badagry in 1842 with the Church of England by Henry Townsend. Most of the time, Ibadan was always omitted in the History as the next place given credence is Lagos state. Samuel Ajayi Crowther, an ethnic Yoruba and former slave, was elected Bishop of the Niger and the first black Bishop of the Anglican Communion. Lagos became a diocese of its own in 1919.
This actually posses a problem because historians have traced the History to Christianity in the Yoruba land (the West) to Ibadan – St. David Cathedral precisely.
History has it that the first influence of Christianity on the Nigerian soil started with spasmodic missionary activities in Benin in 1515 when some Catholic missionaries set up a school in the Oba’s palace for his sons and the sons of his chiefs who were converted to Christianity.
It is no doubt that the Catholics were the first to set foot on the Nigerian soil, through the influence of the Portuguese traders. Yet again, Ibadan is not mentioned as the the second. Missionary endeavor to Nigeria was credited to the advent of the first English-speaking Christian mission in Badagry in September 1842.
It was from Badagry and later from Sierra Leone, that the missionaries infiltrated Abeokuta and other towns and C.M.S. churches were firmly established in several important towns, such as Abeokuta (1846), Lagos (1851), Ibadan (1853), and Oyo (1856). More branches of the C.M.S. church were founded in south-eastern Nigeria
These opened door for other missionaries such as the Baptist, under the American evangelist, Thomas Bowen, who started work from Ogbomosho in 1855. About the same time, the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) headed by the Rev. Hope Waddell started pioneering work in 1846, in Calabar.
If we are to go by the claim of the St. David Cathedral and Chief Olutunde Aboderin that said the church was founded around 1853, then History record is quite accurate because the Badagry records puts the age of Christianity and and the Church of England around 181 years old in Nigeria, whereas, the Ibadan Cathedral is 170 years.
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