Rev Joshua Gbenga Ajayi is the vicar of All Saints Anglican Church 41, Road Festac Town . In this interview with Church Times, Ajayi describes the late primate as a rare gift to the Body of Christ. Below are excerpts:
What can you say about the Most Rev.Joseph Abiodun Adetiloye?
Oh! I can talk endlessly about this great icon of the Church but time may not permit me. Without mincing words I want to say that The Most Rev.Dr Joseph Abiodun Adetiloye was a Nazirite of God called to positively revolutionize the Church of Nigeria ,Anglican Communion. He was a highly focused, firm and loving Primate of the Church. He was very passionate about the physical and Spiritual growth of the Anglican Church.
The arrival of Baba Atetiloye to Lagos marked a new beginning of radical evangelism that kicked against cultism and polygamy. He also encouraged with every possible means the literacy of his Priests and activated Scholarship opportunities through which many of the Clergy travelled abroad.
As a primate of the Church of Nigeria , His grace the Most Rev.Joseph Abiodun Adetiloye brought the Anglican Church into a lime light and increased the number of Dioceses he met. Without any doubt,Baba Adetiloye left indelible legacies behind that he will ever be remembered for.
You spoke so well about Bishop Adetiloye, Did you meet him one or one?
Yes, as a son of Clergy I had known baba Adetiloye as far back as when he was the Bishop of Ekiti. I remember his improtu visit to my father’s( the Rev.James Ademelo Ajayi) parish at St.James Anglican Church,Obada Ekiti in 1984. He just came straight to the vicarage and said “Alufa nko o” i.e where is the vicar? We all came out and baba sat with us and interacted in an amazing way. While the chatting was on, he saw a hawk on a tree behind the vicarage and asked his driver to bring his double barrel. He shot at it but missed the target. He later gave all of us the children money before he left. That for me was quite unforgettable.
Did you become a priest before Bishop Adetiloye retired?
No,I was ordained ten years ago in the Diocese of Lagos West by Rt Rev.Dr Peter Awelewa Adebiyi. Through him, I have also heard so much about the great commitment of baba Adetiloye to the work of Evangelism.That may also explain the reason why the Lord Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos West,Rt Rev Dr Peter Awelewa Adebiyi remains a Church planter and dynamic evangelist.
Can you tell us briefly about your ministry?
The bible says, nobody bestows this honour upon himself except someone who is called by God. I want to thank God for calling me into this sacred ministry. I finally hearken to the call of God in the year 2000. As a committed EFAC leader in the Diocese of Ekiti, I attended the selection conference and was selected to attend Ezekiel College of Theology, Ekpoma. Having passed all the examinations and interviews, I was admitted into the seminary and graduated in the Year 2003. I was posted to the Diocese of Lagos West and ordained by the Rt. Rev. Dr Peter Awelewa Adebiyi. Ever since I have served in various parishes and presently the Vicar of All Saints Anglican Church,41 Road Festac Town.
What is your advise to the leaders of the nation and the church?
Borrowing a leaf from the life and ministry of baba Adetiloye,my candid advise to all leaders in the Nation and the Church is to do things that will make people remember them for good. They must be focused and firm in discharging their duties, knowing fully well that they will give account of whatever they do.