That Sunday as we walked to the premises of the church, one could notice order and the presence of the Holy Spirit. The atmosphere was serene and enchanting. The message that day by the vicar of the church, venerable Yemi Agbelusi held the worshippers spell bound. All eyes were glued to him. By the time he ended his sermon it was time for special thanksgiving and then you see the uniqueness of the church.
Though an Anglican Church of many years; the Church had differentiated itself long ago from many Anglican churches in their mode of worship. You probably think you are in an evangelical church. They simple know how to worship God.
But the credit according to three of the oldest members of the church who spoke with us during our visit goes to the late primate who encouraged them to maintain that unique style of worship.
Andrew Aroloye one of the editors of the book that chronicled the history of the church told Church Times that the idea of loud praise and singing of choruses during worship service started from the church and now spread to many other Anglican churches.
He said, “Some of us who are the Anglicans from birth wanted to stick to our old tradition of worship while those who have gone to other churches and have experienced worship elsewhere wanted Pentecostal. So for a long time our children were encouraging us to be vibrant. But the agitation divided us to strong camps of traditionalist orthodox worshippers and Pentecostal.
“By and large Adetiloye got to know about the agitation. On this day of the launching of Fountain of Hope one of the societies in the church, baba Adetiloye came here and I got stuck with him. I had known him from his Ibadan days but that very day I was impressed about his perspective of worship. When we noticed he was around we were doing the usual Anglican thing of quiet worship.
“The he said, this is not the way he had been told we worship. He said we should do it the way we do it which makes it different from other Anglican churches. So we were all afraid and went out again but we took courage to do our ascension thing and came in. He said, yes I can now understand. I will go back to the cathedral and tell them to see worship the way Ascension people are doing it. That is why we can claim to be the first to start Pentecostal worship in the Anglican Church.”
Aroloye who recalled that the church membership was barely 60 then said the Anglican Church of Ascension has been known as a family church where there is a strong bond between members. He recalled that baba used to come to the church unannounced and he would sit at the back of the church putting on mufti. So when they ask knew comers to stand up, he would stand up. He did that for several times when he was around as the bishop”
Also commenting, Olubukola Adeniran who was also at that meeting said Adetiloye cut the image of a very spiritual and humble servant of God. “I did personally had a one on one relationship with him and I glorify almighty God . When my father in law died there was a split in the family on where he would be buried. I was at the bed side when he was about dying and he said he wanted to buried at Ife but some other members of the family thought otherwise.
“Incidentally my mother in law and Adetiloye were related. So this day we brought the casket to the front of the church for the burial in an Anglican Church in Ife as God would have it was the presence of baba Adetiloye that saved the day.
What happened was that baba had earlier in the week met one of my friends and asked her what he was going to do that weekend. And the friend said he was going for my father in-law’s burial and there and then he recalled that he had been told about the burial. So on the day of the burial he put on mufti and came.
“He would not robe. When he got there the church was locked and he was there to find the church locked because of the controversy over where to bury my father in-law. But the moment the vicar of the church heard Adetiloye was around he had to open the church that was how we had the service. That experience to me gave me a picture of a primate who loved would come to the level of anybody and relate with such person. He did not discriminate and he spared time to give attention to people no matter who the person is.”
Another respondent who also experienced Adetiloye one-on-one Mr. Dapo Fafowora said of him. “I know him one and one. When we started this church, he was always coming to see what was going on. I remember going to greet him and I had to stay far away. But he insisted that I should come nearer and he related with me so well. I never thought a primate could be so accessible.
“The other encounter was when I went to him and asked that he should come and minister at my child’s wedding ceremony. Initially people around him had to me not to bother him that he would not come. But I went to him personally and invited him and told him I would want him to be the preacher of the day. He simply said he would come and he came.
“Ever since he knew me one-on-one. He would call me and interact me. He was a great man. He was a man who had a clear vision on what he wanted and he went for it. He was not distracted.” Fafowora concluded.