AVMCC ends 60th anniversary celebration, set for the future

by Church Times

The Archbishop Vining Memorial Cathedral Church,Ikeja Lagos  on Sunday, June 30 drew the curtain on its 60th anniversary celebration with a three-in-one event.

The anniversary started early in the year with a series of activities including a musical concert and a host of other  programmes. It has the theme; Consolidating His abundant grace @ 60

The climax of the Celebration which  took place at the church auditorium  included a lecture, an award to outstanding individuals that are connected to the cathedral , and the launch of a book on its history titled The Chronicles.

L-r: Chairman of the 60th anniversary of avmcc, Mr Kola Olawunmi, Dean of the Cathedral, Ven Ebenezer Adewole, Chancellor of the diocese, Hon Justice Babasola Ogunade, Bishop of the Diocese, Rt Revd Dr Olusola Odedeji, Chairman/Chief Launcher, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru; 60th Anniversary Guest Lecturer, Professor (Mrs.) Folasade Ogunsola; Book Reviewer inr, Mr. Lanre Idowu at the 60th anniversary celebration of avmcc held yesterday at lkeja

 Prof Folasade Ogunsola

But the high point of the one-day event was an incisive lecture delivered by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Professor Folasade Ogunsola

Ogunsola’s lecture touched on the history of the AVMCC and the need for the church to begin to reinvent itself to get the attention of the younger generation.

She noted that the first 60 years of AVMCC was a time of exponential growth recalling how the church started with about 50 people.

The church according to Ogunsola has made a great impact on society. “The church has made a lot of impact that can’t be quantified. It has been involved in charitable outreaches, support for the homeless, prison outreaches, and a whole lot more. Many lives have been transformed through the activities of the church. The church has been doing awesome work in counseling. It has been involved in cultural enrichment, advocacy, and social justice”

Chairman/Chief Launcher, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru; 60th Anniversary and Book Reviewer, Mr. Lanre Idowu

People lifestyle

She however said there is a need for the church to begin to interrogate the reason people live a different lifestyle during the week as against the life they live on Sunday.

Giving further insight, she said, “Church is about people,”. She urged the church to begin to look for ways of ensuring that younger people are more integrated into the church community.

She said, “We must not be complacent. We have to do it right. Young people want to be mentored. They don’t want to be shamed. They want engagements on controversial issues, they need a sense of purpose and relevance. We need to know how to accept them and engage them. They are prone to anxiety and a high level political activity.”

The present generation in  her words “is constantly questioning the relevance of religion. They enjoy the freedom of investigating beliefs. They want sermons to connect them with what they do. They want authenticity.”

The UNILAG VC then pleaded with the church to begin to consolidate. “This church is well positioned in terms of finance and the people. We must start to use the young to bring the young. As long as we keep to the tenets of our faith, we can change”

History of AVMCC

Earlier in his lecture, Ogunsola noted that the church was named after Leslie Gordon Vining who was the first archbishop of the Province of West Africa. “He was appointed bishop in 1940. He reached out to the Muslim community and did a lot of evangelical work. He died in 1955 as he was traveling back to England and was buried in Sierra Leone.

“The church started from two segregated churches—one for the white and another for the black. European civil servants worshiped at Ikeja Magistrate Court while the black congregation worshiped at the Police College. Both churches had their roots in Saint Saviour Church. By 1964 the two churches were combined to become the Anglican church GRA”

The awardees

In the course of the event many outstanding individuals both dead and alive that are linked to the cathedral were honoured.

They include the pioneer Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos West, The Rt Rev Awelewa Adebiyi who was given a posthumous award, Other people given posthumous awards were Revd. Canon Yinka Olumide Rtd.  Revd. Canon Clement Akinbola Rtd., Mama Dorothy Arit Ikokwu, Pa. J. A. James,  Mr. Dotun Oyewole / Post Humous and Chief Sunday Dankaro.

Also on the list of posthumous awardees were Chief Mrs. Frances Adebajo, Sir. Michael Lawani, Lt. Col. Alphonse Keshi Rtd.  Mr. Festus Ogbonnaiya Ogbu, Mr. Sydney M Odukwe  and ACP Solomon Haruna.

Awards were also given to those who are still alive. They include the first Dean of the Cathedral, The Most Rev Segun Adeyemi Rtd, the Present Bishop of the diocese, Maxi Sam Ohuabunwa, Chief Olusegun Osunkeye, and Sir Michael Adeojo. Ven. Dr. Bandele Oladejo Okunnuga Rtd., Ven. Stephen Babatunde Akinola Rtd. Right Revd. Dr. Olusegun Adeyemi Rtd. Ven. Oloniluyi Akinwande Rtd.  Mr. Alfred Ayo Jagun

Other beneficiaries of the award were,  Mr. Babatunde A Fetuga, Mrs. Comfort Ubosi, Mazi Samuel Iheanyichukwu Ohuabunwa, Chief Michael Ade-Ojo, Chief Sam Ubachukwu, Mr. Charles Hammond and Mr. James Garba Dasa

The Chronicle

In his review, Mr Lanre Idowu said the first thing that strikes any reader of The Chronicle is that it is an incredibly attractive book in look and feel. It invites you to hold it, flip over its pages, and ponder over its content which is presented in everyday English.

“It’s a non-fiction history book on church growth and development. The Chronicles is the story of the growth of a small parish church to a cathedral. It is presented in 12 chapters across 248 pages with 427 photographs and illustrations. It is a book that ticks the boxes of professional publishing. It remains curious though why it does not carry the imprint of an author or a group of editors as publishing norms prescribe”

Alabi who is the CEO and Editor-in-Chief at Diamond Publications said the book is a bridge between the past and the present as noted by Bishop James Odedeji in the forward to the book.

Theme of the anniversary

Chairman of the planning committee for the event, Mr. Kola Olawunmi described the celebration was the church’s way of appreciating God for the past and looking to the future with the hope of more impact.

The theme of the anniversary is consolidating His abundant grace @ 60

The First Lady of Lagos State, Dr Mrs Ibijoke Sanwoolu who Mrs Abimbola Odumbaku represented at the event congratulated the Cathedral on the diamond jubilee and expressed the hope that the it would continue to make an impact till the coming of the Lord.

She noted that documenting the story of the cathedral in the form of a book is a worthwhile adventure.

Present at the event were the Bishop of Diocese of Lagos West, The Rt Rev Olusola Adebiyi, his wife, Dr Mrs Lydia Odedeji, Dean of the Cathedral, Ven Ebenezer Adewole, Prof Femi Peters, Mr Dayo Alabi a host of other dignitaries

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