The old and the new: Ten decades of our Saviour’s Church
Our Saviour’s Church, TBS, Lagos, from inception was quite a unique and distinct church. She remained the only church in Nigeria founded by virtue of legislation in the early 20th century. She was a church founded for the Europeans who were working in government and the firms operating in Lagos and its environ. These Europeans together with the directors at the firms’ headquarters in Europe were joint partners with government in founding the church. A partially completed church building which was a consequence of this joint partnership was dedicated in 1911.
The book, The Old and The New, Ten Decades of Our Saviour’s Church, gives a fully documented account of how this Colonial Church was administered for four decades by the British colonial government and later on by the Colonial Church Council. Apart from holding church services for her members, the Colonial Church got involved in education and established two of the foremost primary schools in Lagos – St. Saviour’s School Ebutte Metta and St. Saviour’s School Ikoyi. This historical account of the church should make an interesting read for past and present teachers and students of these two schools that have given children a solid foundation for life.
As the Colonial Church remained a church that wasn’t part of any Anglican Diocese in Nigeria or the United Kingdom or under any of the missionary bodies which had established churches in Nigeria, stiff opposition arose regarding the structure and administration of the church. Chronicled in this book are details of the opposition that arose to having a church outside the administrative but not spiritual authority of the Bishop of Lagos. As the life and times of the church is unravelled in the book, you get to read about the transitory stage of the church, that is, the church as a chapelry of the Diocese of Lagos, known as St. Saviour’s Church. Although the church at that stage was a chapelry of the Diocese of Lagos, the Bishop of Lagos still did not have administrative jurisdiction over the church.
Towards the end of this transitory stage of the church, a serious crisis ensued. The crisis was a consequence of a refusal on the part of the Church Council to accept the only logical next status for the church, that is, from being a chapelry of the Diocese of Lagos to becoming a parish church of the diocese. After a series of legal battles which did not resolve the crisis in the church, a decree was promulgated in 1991. This decree marked the end of the church as an autonomous entity and her emergence as a parish church in the Diocese of Lagos. The name of the church was then changed from St. Saviour’s Church to Our Saviour’s Church by the Bishop of Lagos who began to exercise spiritual and administrative authority over the church. The 1991 decree therefore ushered in a “New dawn” for the church as she was shed of all vestiges of colonialism.
The population of the church grew by leaps and bounds while she flourished greatly in all aspects of church life – spiritually through ministries, where the congregation empowered by the Holy Spirit and encouraged by the Priests used their talents, time and treasure in the service of the Lord. There were outstanding physical developments exemplified by a magnificent church building. Impressively, the hallmark of the church congregation right from inception was generous giving to things of God.
To the glory of God, in the many upheavals that the church went through from inception to the time the she became a parish church in the Diocese of Lagos, in conformity with the Word of God, the gates of hell did not prevail against Our Saviour’s Church. Instead she did not only emerge victorious each time, but also stronger that she was previously. The word of God is truly powerful and eternal.
Structurally, it should be pointed out that the book which inadvertently highlights the changes in the political arena in Nigeria is in three parts with each part containing enough information to be a book of its own. The book can therefore be considered as three books in one. Thus the book, a very big one, is in a way, in the form of a coffee table book. It is leather bound and printed on cream coloured bond paper, thus heightening the quality of the production.
Importantly, the history in the book has salient spiritual principles that cannot but impact on lives positively, to the benefit of the Nigerian nation. The Lord be Praised!
The public presentation of the book holds at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, on Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 10.00 a.m. prompt. The occasion by His special grace will be a blessed one.I look forward to seeing you at this historic event.
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