Chief Olorunda Akinwande wrote this tribute in honour of the Late Anglican Bishop who died on February 10 2022 in Lagos
My thoughts on the late Anglican Bishop Peter Adebiyi- Chief Olorunda Akinwande.
Canon Dr. Peter Awelewa Adebiyi, transferred from Ekiti Diocese, resumed duty as Vicar of Archbishop Vining Memorial Church, (AVMC) GRA, Ikeja in 1987. He later became the Archdeacon of the Church and Administrator of Ikeja Archdeaconry from where he was elected by the House of Bishops as the Bishop of the Diocese of Owo in 1993. He moved to Owo and was consecrated as the Bishop of Owo Diocese.
The Diocese of Lagos West was created and inaugurated on November 20, 1999, with AVMC as the Cathedral. The Rt. Revd. Peter Awelewa Adebiyi was translated (from Owo) and enthroned as the Pioneer Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos West as the diocese.
An accomplished academician Dr. Adebiyi, Ph.D. of the Christian Religion was a blessing to the new diocese, the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, the global Anglican Communion, the entire Christendom, and indeed humanity. He was accepted as a propagator who practiced what he preached and a foremost upholder of the liturgical order.
Bishop Adebiyi was a foremost Evangelist and Epistler who according to the priesthood demand was really “called” to the ministry and who based his episcopacy on the principles of the Early Church as established by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who, determinedly, categorically, and purposely directed the Apostles of the Early Church to feed His lambs, feed His sheep and ordered them to witness in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the utmost part of the World.
Adebiyi, thirsty for scriptural, spiritual, physical, and material growth, and the rapid spread of the Word focused on soul winning for the second coming of Jesus Christ. Adebiyi did all that was just for the expansion and spread of Christianity.
He was very close and was acceptable to his congregations. He used periodical visitations to his congregations to assess, discuss, preach and attend to their needs. He established voluntary Covenant fundraising and other donations as means of assistance, rapid growth, and improvement of churches of the diocese.
The project was later broadly copied by other dioceses even beyond the nation. He appealed to and convinced Individuals and organisations, especially societies of churches to build churches and other structures to help and improve new and needy churches.
Within a few years of his administration of the Diocese of Lagos West which initially had difficulty meeting essential financial administrative costs, the diocese did not only become buoyant, she grew so rapidly that two of her Archdeaconries became two dioceses that were even nurtured as Baba Adebiyi’s baby Dioceses.
They are Badagry and Awori Dioceses. Also years after, two other Archdeaconries were pinpointed and prepared to become dioceses but for the suspension of the creation of new dioceses for tactical reasons by the Nigeria Anglican Communion, Festac and Ikorodu Dioceses would have again been created out of the present Diocese of Lagos West during the tenure of Bishop Adebiyi.
Bishop Adebiyi’s evangelisation programs and hospitality were not limited to Anglicans and the Christian family but were extended to other beneficiaries without discrimination but for evangelism. They included needy individuals, institutions, hospitals, prisons, and police posts where hostels, churches, and other supports were provided.
It extended to the Americas where the Diocese championed evangelisation and revival and the scriptural rising of dry bones was spare-headed by the Diocese of Lagos West under Bishop Adebiyi. Glory be to God, the ad hoc churches created then had developed into strong Anglican Dioceses.
The human relationship of Dr. Awelewa Adebiyi was superb. He was very loved by many if not by all, in return for his love for everybody. Principled though, the bishop was listening and was inquiring. He was forgiving and he was reforming. He was philanthropically generous.
Whoever cared to be close to Bishop Adebiyi cropped the loving-kindness of the bishop just as his clergy testified when and where they could. He mentored them for godliness. He encourages them to cherish cleric advantages by grooming and appreciating their congregations with appreciation. He established helpful institutions for on-service and post-service living for the clergy, the staff, and their families.
Bishop Adebiyi preached the gospel as ordained in the Holy Order of Christianity, and as was commissioned by the Anglican Communion. The epistle was his directional torch, mirror, and sanitary weapon. People eagerly listened and scrambled to listen to and possess copies of his multifarious topic and broad Annual Diocesan, Presidential Address at Synod Sessions.
Their personal relationship with Bishop Adebiyi on Christian morals was very cordial He was not tribalistic. Bishop Adebiyi always told the truth to the face of the leaders of the nation/s without hesitation and as ordained. He told the truth to the faces to their faces and admonished them when necessary and chastised them as became necessary.
God knows the why, when, where, who, and how of life. We give Him glory for the life and times of our church leader, an emblem of fairness, a trained and groomed teacher, a good guardian, and a formidable church leader.
In the last trying years, he did not for whatever reason say or display signs of WHY ME GOD? Rather he was always fulfilled and looking unto his creator. He was always observed to be very prepared to meet his creator.
He did not express any regret. The good Lord will grant him a place in the Everlasting Kingdom.
As Vicar, Archdeacon, and Bishop, Rt. Revd. Dr. Peter Awelewa Adebiyi, an indefatigable servant of God gave his best as a called and instituted Priest.
He propagated Christ and ideal Christianity broadly. He fulfilled the Diocesan Vision, Mission, Motto, and Slogan as instituted at the foundation and the later imbibed Diocesan Anthem. He chose and retained his officers, subordinates, and helpers for as long as they were productive. He, a disciplinarian, was himself disciplined and tolerant. He would not want any sheep to be lost.
Bishop Adebiyi was a renowned organizer and host of local and international conferences and seminars. He hosted the First African Anglican Bishops’ Conference at Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral premises from 26th October to 1st November 2004. This was in addition to other national and provincial conferences held in his domain.
The beauty in Bishop Adebiyi’s successes is that he shared his gifts abundantly with as many as he came across and as many as cared: students, subordinates, friends, and many more. He did not only preach the sermon, he authored a series of historical and educational books on Christianity, civil education, environment, politics, and living. They include “History of Christianity in Ekiti” 2003, Divine Messages for Special Seasons”, “Divine Message for Special Season” 2009, and “Let the Nation Hear” 2012, which was his last publication.
His wish and plan were to share his knowledge by focusing on and producing more religious and educative books. His determination was to continue to positively affect souls in retirement. Glory be to God who let man propose and He, God, disposed of.
May the good work of The Man of God RT. Revd. Dr. Peter Awelewa Adebiyi who loved and was loved acceptable to his Creator and may the Lord grant him a place in Eternity. Amen.
Adieu, Baba Adebiyi.