Money was nothing to him- Ojelabi

Features, Star Interview

That Tuesday evening, Ven. Seyi Ojelabi, the vicar in charge of All Saints Anglican Church, Yaba did not hesitate to talk on the late primate. Though very busy he spared time to recall his experience with Adetiloye. Excerpts:

“Let me start by saying it is a privilege to talk on our late primate. It gives me great joy that I had the opportunity of knowing him and sharing in the grace of God upon his life. Today we are not mourning but celebrating and thanking God for the life he lived. He lived to a full old age. And he fulfilled the ministry committed to his care
I’m particularly grateful to God because Adetiloye was the man who ordained me to the priesthood. It may be hard to recall many things about him because it’s been a while now but all I can say is that this man sacrificed his life for the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion. He was selfless and was always willing to assist. He was not the kind of person that would put undue pressure on you and he understands the strength of each church and every person that worked with him. Adetiloye was always willing to attend programmes any time anywhere.
I had the honour of hosting him in my first parish for the confirmation service. Then we were under Ikorodu Epe Archdeaconry. Adetiloye was around. The church was not a big church and the environment was particularly not too fantastic. We had to get palm frond to create a makeshift roof for him when he came.
He presided over the service and when he was leaving we gave him some money in the envelop as a way of showing our appreciation. But he returned the money and said we should use the money to develop the church. He was somebody who made a lot of sacrifice for the church.
In those days I used to wonder where he got his strength from. When we go for clergy school in Ede or Warri, hardly will you see him for two hours. He would show up chat with us and then would disappear. He was always on the road and he travelled long distances visiting churches and seeing to their welfare. He was truly an exceptional leader.
IWhat is outstanding about him is that baba will not relate with you as a boss but rather he would take you as a son. You perhaps would not know the difference between his biological son and his spiritual sons. He encouraged us not to relent and live on past glory but rather we should aim high. He encouraged so many of us to go back to school. When I was ordained as a priest he was the one who kept encouraging me to go back to school and acquire more degrees.
When he was the primate, the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion was regarded as the fastest growing Anglcan Communion all over the world. You could see the joy of serving God in him. He had no life apart from the church life. Papa comes across as somebody who had a first hand experience of God and who was always willing to let people around him embrace God. He believed strongly that we don’t have anything to lose serving God. He used to say “Those who serve God will not go without being blessed of him.”

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