CPAN: Celebrating 36 years of inspiring leadership
The Christian Progressive Association of Nigeria (CPAN), a society founded by some vibrant members of St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Idimu, Lagos, recently launched a book on its existence and sustenance for the past 36 years.
This book clearly sets out to celebrate an era of inspiring leadership and achievements by the CPAN, as well as its invaluable contributions to the spiritual and physical development of Idimu Archdeaconry.
Essentially described as the product of a fusion of two Christian societies, the CPAN was founded for the sole purpose of making active contributions to the church’s growth. Both societies, the book stresses, were established between 1981 and 1991. In principle, CPAN’s birthing process could well have started within this period.
Then, in a typical flashback fashion, the narrative takes readers backward in time to the beginning of St. Peter’s Anglican Church. Here, history assumes its natural role of exposing the ties that exist between this society and its parent body.
The first phase of the church’s history, which stretches from 1914 to 1980, also accounts for its small beginning as a mere seedling planted by an ex-convict at a time the then inhabitants of Idimu community were still neck-deep in pagan worship.
Through sheer hard work and diligence, Tako Sanbelalu and his followers were able to plant the church in the community and supervise its growth, until a period in the future, when the rest of the ecumenical work fell on the shoulders of non-indigenes.
The second phase, 1981 to the present day, witnessed the church’s rapid spiritual and physical development. The roles played by individuals, families and societies, especially the CPAN, whose contributions have been largely instrumental to the church’s elevation to the level of an Archdeaconry seat in the Diocese of Lagos West at this point in its history, are also highlighted in the book.
One of these families, the Olorunyomis, earned a special mention. The family is acknowledged for encouraging and supervising an early influx of new settlers, who would later spearhead the all-important drive for the development of Idimu community and the church.
Chapter three highlights the contributions of and influence of such societies as the Egbe Itesiwaju Kristi, the Idimu Social Elite and the Christian Progressive League in the birth of the CPAN and subsequently, in the overall development of St. Peter’s Anglican Church.
The church, we are informed in Chapter four, is indebted to the CPAN in terms of administration. Although the latter’s contributions are best described as unquantifiable in the book, the following words suffice to prove that majority of its members were extraordinarily committed: “When the society was founded in 1981, majority of the members were in their 30s. They were young, strong and adventurous. They were willing to spend their time and talent for the propagation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“In the 1980s and early 1990s, St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Idimu, could be likened to a typical African Family with CPAN as the First Son. The society was involved in all decision- making efforts of the church. Nothing was done outside CPAN.”
This is, by all means, a worthy testimony. The tempo is sustained throughout the narrative. The association is also portrayed as being vital to the church’s evangelical mission, often leading the way whenever duty called. More important, it was instrumental to the emergence of the Idimu Area Group of Churches between 1986 and 1989, the development of infrastructure in the church and the founding of the St. Peter’s Choral Group, among other contributions.
Since any society is as good as its membership, the author of this book deems it necessary to pay tribute in the concluding chapters to some worthy CPAN members, whose contributions also helped to dictate the pace of the church’s spiritual and physical development, as well as Idimu community these past 36 years.