Ven Kayode Olorundare is the son of a trained catechist. He grew up in the church environment and experienced what it meant to work in God’s vineyard. But the treatment meted out to his father and some priests did not make priesthood an attraction for him.
He made up his mind that he will never follow in his father’s footsteps even when he had an inner witness that God wanted to use him in His vineyard. He tried his hands on a couple of things including trying to secure admission to the university after his secondary education. He got admitted but somehow his admission was upturned.
After struggling with God for a while, he gave in and surrendered. At the time he made up his mind to become a full-time priest, he was already serving as a church agent in the Akoko Diocese of the Anglican Church. But he needed to horn his preaching skill and get formal training.
Being a science student while in secondary school he had to sit for WAEC again; to do art-related subjects which qualified him for admission to Archbishop Vining Theological College.
It was while in college that his perception of priesthood changed. Gradually, he began to fall in love with the profession. The age-long stereotype of priests not doing well soon disappeared from his memory.
Coming to Lagos
Coming to Lagos and straight into the hands of the pioneer Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos West, The Rt. Rev Awelewa Adebiyi further helped to strengthen his resolve to commit his all to priesthood in the Anglican Church.
“It was Baba Adebiyi that ordained me in 2001. And I must confess, working with him was a pleasant experience I will never forget.”He said during a phone chat with Church Times.
Olorundare started out at the St. John Anglican Church, Satellite Town where he served for five years. From there he was transferred to Emmanuel Anglican Church, Ota where he spent two years, and then to Christ Church, Agege in 2009.
Presently he is the vicar of All Saints Anglican Church, FESTAC Town. He says he owes a lot of appreciation to God and also to Bishop Olusola Odedeji who has been of tremendous help to him in terms of his career progress.
“Bishop Odedeji has been a huge blessing to me and indeed to the Diocese of Lagos West. He preferred me as honorary Canon in 2017 and then statutory canon in 2019. By June last year, I was preferred a Venerable.”
On what it means to be venerable in the Church, Olorundare explains, “It means a lot. When you work and you are remembered, it makes you feel a sense of being appreciated. But then I see preferment as a privilege. I had served for years and it was like nobody was looking at my side, but God used Bishop Odedeji to bring me out of obscurity. I also see it as God making all things beautiful in his own time.”
Olorundare who confessed to having gone through a lot of good and bad experiences, said, “If not for the conviction that God called me, one would have been discouraged. I tell people, if you don’t have a conviction of your calling as a priest, you will lose focus. I must also say that my wife has been quite instrumental in helping my ministry.”
On Bishop Odedeji, he notes, “We can’t thank God enough for the gift of Bishop Odedeji. God has used him to consolidate the foundation laid by Bishop Adebiyi. He was so close to Baba Adebiyi that it became literally impossible for him not to build on the work Baba started.”
He observed further that it is not always easy to get a successor in a diocese as big as the Lagos West Diocese. “But God did it for us. One of the most remarkable things Bishop Odedeji did in the last ten years among many is his unalloyed commitment to the welfare of priests in the diocese. He does not joke with our welfare and well-being,” he said.
Beyond taking care of the priests, Olorundare noted that Odedeji has touched virtually all areas of ministry in the diocese. “In terms of landmark buildings, the diocese is outstanding. We have a Bishop’s court that is second to none in Nigeria. He has impacted the diocese spiritually. You can’t be in this diocese and be a spiritual dwarf.
“The grace upon the life of our Bishop has rubbed off on all the priests. Everybody is up and doing. It is the encouragement of Bishop Odedeji that made many of us go back to school. Today, I have my Ph.D. because he encouraged me to go for it. Many of my colleagues have similar stories to tell about the great impact Bishop Odedeji is making in the diocese. Going forward, I see this diocese becoming the number one diocese in the whole of Africa”