‘Bishop Ajayi Crowther Centre is historic, we need to keep the place alive’
• We Are Proposing A University In Kweita
The concluding part of the interview of Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba conducted by Advent Cable Network Nigeria (ACNN TV) dwells on restructuring going on in the Church of Nigeria Mission Society.
Would you like to share your thoughts on some task force/committees you set up within this one year in working out your agenda?
Let me begin with the Church of Nigeria Mission Society (CNMS). We reconstituted the Church of Nigeria Mission Board and now put in place the Management Committee. The intention is that the Board will form the policies, while the Management Committee will now see to the day-to-day running of the mission enterprise of the Church of Nigeria under CNMS, so that every other mission enterprise and activities will be monitored, guided and led by them. We are looking at restructuring the mission architecture of the Church of Nigeria and have pronounced that Bishop Ajayi Crowther Centre will not only serve as Mission Centre, but also as our Mission Institution and a base from which every mission will operate. Bishop Ajayi Crowther Centre is for us a very historic place. We, as a church, feel that we need to keep alive and build on the memory and contributions of Bishop Ajayi Crowther. Hence, the church under Archbishop Nicholas Okoh resolved that we needed to build a Mission Centre in Osogun.
Continuing on what Archbishop Okoh started, we went and dedicated the structures that were raised— the Church, the Rectory, Guest House, Hall and other structures. We will build more structures like hostels for students, staff quarters for teachers and those who will be running our mission activities. We are trying to institutionalise, build up an institution that will be able to support and sustain the work of ministry, the work of mission and evangelism.We are also mindful of how we train our pastors, because up till now, the curriculum of our theological institutions have been based on what we inherited from our colonial masters and the church that gave birth to us, the Church of England, and other Western training institutions. The curriculum of our theological colleges shall continually be reviewed until we are able to produce pastors, evangelists and ministers that will be so educated and nurtured to uphold the faith and be able to teach and pass it on.
The events of the past decades, especially the developments in theology or doctrine and the diverse teachings that are coming forth from the Western world have really put fears in our heart. This was what gave rise to Baba Peter Akinola establishing Crowther Graduate Theological Seminary, because we can no longer trust the places that we were training our people before, because of the kind of result, people that train, the kind of impact, they brought into the life and ministry of the Church in the West and in America. So, we will need to interpret the Word of God by ourselves for ourselves in our context. And if we are to do this, we need men who are nurtured. That is why we visited Crowther Graduate Theological Seminary, Abeokuta, to see what we need to do to empower them to do their work.
Within this one year, we have appointed a new Rector. We have also appointed a new Registrar and reconstituted the Governing Board. And we are releasing funds to them to get some repairs because when we visited there, we saw that the place needed renovations, reconstructions and also, realigning their programmes, and ensuring that the affiliations and the certificates they are awarding are worth it, and that those who pass through there come out with the best. We trust that the Board of Governor’s Chair, Archbishop Buba Lamido, the Dean of the Church of Nigeria and the newly reconstituted members will surely deliver.
We are proposing a university in Kweita. We proposed a University of Technology. But some of the information coming to us suggests that we need to broaden the base. I want to commend Professor Jerry Gana, his team, and the Implementation Committee for the proposed university. They are working hard. We have gone with them to hand over the site, so that they can start interfacing with the NUC and start the development of that place. Our intention is that, as in the past, the Anglican Church played a key role in this country’s educational system. We need to recover and reclaim what we had, which seem to be dying.
We are encouraging our dioceses to establish nursery, primary and secondary schools, good institutions that will dispense not only sound education, but also Godly education, and be able to prepare the young people for the future.
In the past, this church had not only theological institutions, but also Teachers Training Colleges. But after the takeover of schools by government in the 70s, we became so discouraged that even up to few years ago, we had no college of education that was totally owned by the Church. How can we change the dynamics in education, as it is now, if we are not engaging? So, we are encouraging dioceses and provinces to engage in doing this. We thank God that Supra West has established the Ajayi Crowther University at Oyo, the Joint Council in the East has started Paul University, and in the north, the Anglican dioceses and our provinces are in the process of establishing Water Miller University. But we still have more lands to conquer, as far as education is concerned.