DEED OF INAUGURATION
INAUGURATION OF THE DIOCESE OF LAGOS
WHEREAS THE CONSTITUTION OF METHODIST CHURCH NIGERIA-THIRD SCHEDULE SAVING AND TRANSITIONAL PROVISION-Sub-Section 5(i) Stipulates that
“Conference shall before the ‘Appointed Day’ take all necessary steps to define and demarcate the boundaries of the various Circuits, Dioceses and Archdioceses of Conference Area”
Whereas Conference has fulfilled its own part of this stipulation with particular reference to the definition and demarcation of the boundaries of Diocese and Archdiocese by a resolution passed on 9th day of September 1975, during its representative Session in Calabar;
Whereas the District of Lagos which will now become the Diocese of Lagos has fulfilled all necessary requirements, relational and constitutional.
And whereas a primary purpose of this special Service is to inaugurate the Diocese of Lagos following the due Ratification of the Constitution of Methodist church Nigeria on the 20th January 1976;
Therefore, by Divine Will and by Authority of Conference, on this date, 23rd day of January, 1976, at this Divine Service held primarily for that Specific purpose at Wesley church, Olowogbowo, Lagos.
I DECLARE that the Diocese of Lagos comprising Olowogbowo, Tinubu, Ereko, Ago-ijaiye, Yaba, Ikorodu, Palm Avenue, City Mission, Ogbe, Itesi, Egbado and Badagry Circuits is hereby inaugurated, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
ANTECEDENT: The Diocese of Lagos has its origin from the old Lagos District, which was in fact, created out of the old Gold Coast District. The Lagos District was then made up of two Circuits created in 1899, namely OLOWOGBOWO and FAJI (Tinubu) Circuits. The Yoruba Interior Circuits developed thereafter, spreading to ILESHA, EKITI, and IJEBU. The old Lagos District transformed to be the Diocese of Lagos in the 1976 Constitution of MCN. At inauguration in 1976, it was comprised of ten (10) Circuits, namely Olowogbowo, Tinubu, Ereko, Ago-Ijaiye, Yaba, Ikorodu, Ogbe, Itesi, Egbado and Badagry. Diocese of Lagos has continued to develop and expand throughout the Conference Area. Diocese of Lagos created and inaugurated the Diocese of Egba-Egbado now Egba-Yewa comprising Ogbe, Itesi and Egbado Circuits on 16th January 1983 and Trinity Church Council comprising Tinubu Circuit on 23rd October 1986.
Additional Circuits of Palm Avenue, City Mission, Ikate, Ikoyi, Odi-Olowo, Agege, Oshodi, Ado-Odo, Somolu, Ijesatedo, Bariga, Agbowa, Festac Town and Igbobi-Folami were created out of the Circuits that existed at the time of the inauguration of the Diocese of Lagos. Conference of Methodist Church Nigeria has created and inaugurated Diocese of Lagos Mainland on 22nd January, 1995, Diocese of Ikorodu on 29th January, 1995 and Diocese of Badagry on 9th February, 1997 out of the existing Diocese of Lagos.
Additional Circuits of Sogunle, Saint Peter’s and Abesan were also created out of the Circuits that existed at the time of inauguration of the Diocese of Ikorodu. From the constitution of the Methodist Church Nigeria 2006 Section 227; “Dioceses made up of at least four Circuits in the same area shall be created as Conference from time to time determines for the effective spiritual and administrative oversight of all Circuits” which led to the creation of Diocese of Lagos North on 22nd January, 2012 comprising Agege, Oshodi, Sogunle, Saint Peter’s and Abesan However, in spite of the depletion in Circuits, the Diocese is still comprised of ten(10) Circuits to date namely Olowogbowo, Ereko, Ikoyi, Olorunda, Araromi, Ikorodu Road, Talabi Coker, Ota, Igbogila-Ipaja, and Obun-Eko.
EVANGELISM: The evangelistic drive in the Diocese manifest in the creation of more Circuits and Local Assemblies in other to make-up for the depletion occasioned by the creation of new Dioceses. An outreach program known as ‘Methodist Peoples and Friends’ is in place, using gifts and Medical evangelism as strategies. It’s on record that the evangelistic drive of our brethren in Olowogbowo, many years ago, led to the establishment of Churches outside Lagos, e.g. Igbobini.
ECUMENISM: The Diocese participates actively in the activities of CAN and CCN. Our Circuits and Local Churches are encouraged to associate with these bodies in their zones and area.
EDUCATION: The Government policy on ownership of Educational institutions discouraged efforts in this regard. With the liberalization of this policy, efforts will be revived in this regard. Notwithstanding, our local Churches are encouraged to adopt any school in the neighborhood for mentoring, example is the Methodist Primary School, Ipaja adopted by the local church there. Mention need to be made of the contributions of the old Lagos District in the establishment of schools like MBHS, Broad Street; MGHS, Yaba; Birch Freeman High School, Surulere and Igbobi College, Igbobi.
CHURCH ADMINISTRATION: The Diocese is the headquarters of the Archdiocese of Lagos, hence it is administered by an Archbishop who also doubles as the Bishop of the Diocese. Down the line are ten (10) Circuits that are administered by Presbyters, and thirty eight (38) local Churches/Preaching Stations that are administered by Priests. Since the inception of Episcopacy in 1976, the following Archbishops have been at the helm of affairs at various times to date in this order Most Rev’d, M. F. SODIPO, Dr. J. O. E. SOREMEKUN, E. A. O. IDOWU, J. A. OBABA, A. ABIODUN OMODUNBI, Dr. S. OLA. MAKINDE and Dr. J. S. AJAYI. To complement the leadership by the clergy, we have lay leaders headed by Lay President at the Diocese, Senior Circuit Stewards at the Circuits and Senior Church Stewards at the local Churches. The following members have been Lay Presidents at various times till date in this order Sir (Hon Justice) Duro Adebiyi, Bro. G.G.O. Sonekan, Bro (Engr) E.O. Ogundiya, Sir. Joseph Adewuyi, Sir. Akin Oyenusi and Olusegun Sofunke Esq. The Synod is the supreme body of the Diocese while the Diocesan Council is the executive organ of the Synod and acts on its behalf. The Diocese adopts the Committee system of administration as stipulated by the Constitution.
FINANCE AND INVESTMENT: The Sources of fund for the Diocese are, in the main, assessment, levies and donations. The local Churches, from where the assessments are paid, have the traditional sources as collections (offerings), tithe, etc. Investment is yet to take root as efforts are being made to float a registered company named MCN-DOL NIG LTD, which is expected to create a platform for investment activities. It is however to be noted that Olowogbowo Circuit Lay Preachers once had a piggery project at IPETU BABAODE in Ota Circuit, but it is moribund now. In our effort to fund the planting of new churches, a Church Planting Fund has been created where members contribute a minimum of N50.00 per Sunday.
SOCIETIES AND ASSOCIATION: There are many societies in our local churches across the Diocese. They have been organs through which brotherly Christian relationship and care are promoted, funds are generated, laudable projects embarked upon and youth are guided in the way of the Lord. The ones that cut across the Diocese are The Wesley Guild Society and the Association of Methodist Brigades.
THE YOUTH: The Youth department at the Diocesan headquarters is headed by youthful clergy and he coordinates the activities of the Youth in the Diocese. However, efforts in the areas of Youth empowerment, Scholarship and Employment Drive, Vocational Training programs are largely localized in most of our local assemblies. A Youth/Computer Centre at Olowogbowo is in the pipeline as we face the challenges of space.
WOMEN WORK: Women Work in the Diocese has been carried out with vigor by the Diocesan Women’s Fellowship. Programs for the spiritual development of women are regularly organized e.g. Bible Study sessions and Prayer vigil; Pep talk on health and related matters are arranged,; in order to encourage fidelity and love at home, a Couples Day program is organized. In year 2010, the Fellowship hosted the Archdiocesan Convention of the fellowship for Dioceses in the Western Zone.
WELFARE SERVICES TO MEMBERS AND STATE: Whereas these are more visible at local Church levels, efforts have been intensified in recent time by the Diocesan Christian Social Action Committee through its sub-committee on Benevolence and Visitation to (1) visit the sick and the aged with gift items(2) visit the inmates at the Maximum Prison, Kirikiri with gift items and our daily devotional ‘Daily Reflection’ and (3) visit the impaired children of the Wesley School of the Deaf, Surulere, in fact the school Clinic was built by a member of the Diocese and managed with little assistance from the Diocese. The Lagos State Government has been approached on behalf of the inmates of Kirikiri Prison for improved educational facilities such as posting of teachers to the school there and the creation of WAEC and NECO centers in the Prison environment.
CHURCH AND HEALTH: The Diocese has organized some health-improvement programs such as Health Seminars/Workshops, Pep-talk on Specific common ailments, and Drug dispensation at outreaches. A medical outreach was conducted in June 2011 at Ado-Odo General Hospital, Ogun State where many lives were touched spiritually and physically. Discussion is currently on with the Lagos State Government for the establishment of a Clinic at a portion of the Methodist Primary School Ereko compound.
CHURCH AND THE SOCIETY: The Diocese, through interaction with relevant Government organs and recommendations at Synods, has contributed to the debates on good governance, eradication of corruption and the infusion and sustenance of best practices in all establishments both in the Private and Public Sectors.
THE TURBULENT YEARS: Although the turbulence sparked off from the Diocese of Lagos (as it were), the Diocese played major role in stopping it. The Diocese also had its share of the negative consequences of the crisis, however it is to be noted that the ‘healthy rivalry’ then, led to the increase in the number of Churches in the Diocese and elsewhere.
OTHERS: As a continuum of the old Lagos District, established by the 1962 Constitution, Year 2012 is our year of Jubilee Synod, as our 50th Synod will be hosted by Ikoyi Circuit, Obalende, Lagos. We covet the prayers of all and sundry for successful Jubilee celebration as we invite you to join us in praising God Almighty.
CONCLUSION: Glory be to the LORD ALMIGHTY, Our Old Districts of Lagos, Ibadan, Ilesa and Umuahia, the Premier Diocese of Methodist Church Nigeria celebrated GOLDEN JUBILEE SYNOD in 2012.