By The Venerable Idowu Adewakun
Bishop Amos and Mama Abike Fagbamiye were already well established as Anglican Clergy in Nigeria before they relocated to the USA. Their earlier location in the Military took them around Nigeria as missioners with encounters with many church leaders and many parishes. They tasted the cultures and embraced the Christian culture and way of life in their different stations. The movements kept them in assisting churches and learning from the likes of The Most Reverend Abiodun Adetiloye, the Rt. Reverend Aderin, and the Rt. Reverend Peter Adebiyi, among others.
Bishop Amos Fagbamiye also had opportunities to plant churches including St. Jude’s Anglican Church in Mende, Anthony, Ikeja, Nigeria. And they helped to stabilize some churches and served in others. All the above would later yield dividend as the Bishop’s family relocated to the United States.
Natives of Ile-Oluji, Ondo State, both Amos and Abike Fagbamiye attended the Gboluji Anglican Grammar School, Ile-Oluji. Even though Amos was born in Jos and grew up in Jos in Northern Nigeria with his siblings, he returned to Ile-Oluji as a teenager and blended very well with the community. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.
He earned a master’s degree from the University of Ife, Ile-Ife, Nigeria and a Master of Divinity degree from the Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, Indiana in the United States. He attended the Bishop Awosika Seminary in Ondo, Ondo State, Nigeria for his Diploma before he was ordained a Priest of the Church of Nigeria by the Rt. Reverend Aderin of Ondo Diocese. Mama Abike graduated at the University of Benin with a bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy. She attended many Bible School courses and Clergy wives’ trainings.
In America, the family arrived to test waters, having won the United States Visa lottery. It was by providence that I was on ground and already worshipping at the Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd Church in Indianapolis. The family quickly blended with this all-Caucasian Church of which I was the only African American at the time. Some Nigerians have joined me to start a fellowship in Indianapolis which catered for the needs of our people as to Christian Celebrations and gatherings unto the Lord.
The Fagbamiye family brought vigor and growth to the Church and fellowship. This was possible because Mama Abike Fagbamiye and her children were active in worship, on instruments, and ministry of the church in Nigeria and like the breaking of the day, the light of these children and their mother could not be hidden. They were assets and invaluable to the Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd and the Fellowship.
On arrival of Father Amos Fagbamiye, he insisted on relocating his family to the Episcopal because that was the Diocese in the Lambeth Communion with the CoN. Obedient children and wife, they followed their father to the Episcopal. I went with him on few occasions but found the attention given to us not encouraging and remained in the Anglican Province of America.
The rumblings of the liberal theology and ignoring the Lambeth Mandates and damning the consequences were already prevalent in the TEC but most importantly was the drift of Nigerians to the new Pentecostal Churches to worship in their culture permissive gatherings.
Many Anglican family members and friends rejected the TEC and as such found solace in the Redeem, the Deeper life, CAC, and even the Celestial Church. There were good discussions and private quests for the unabated loss of Anglicans to other sects in America and especially in Indianapolis that was growing with a huge number of Nigerian immigrants.
This led to Bishop Amos Fagbamiye requesting and seeking the authority of the Church of Nigeria CoN to start an Anglican Church that will hold the few remaining Anglicans in Indianapolis, win back some who have wandered to other sects and prepare a place for the new entrants. There was the need to win back many other Nigerians, Africans and Caucasians who were not attending any church at that time.
The CoN gave verbal go ahead to start an Anglican Church to the Venerable Amos Fagbamiye and in November 2002, the Anglican Chapel of the Resurrection started with the permission of the Rt. Reverend Peter Adebiyi who encouraged the church and supported the church with resources, prayers, and nurture. Let it be on record that Mama Abike Fagbamiye and the Fagbamiye family paid the rent for the space we used at The Seven Days Adventist Church on Michigan Road, Indianapolis.
But the landlord was quick to increase the rent after the first two months. God showed that He oversaw this mission and missioners and before the expiration of the rent, we got an unbelievable welcome at trifling rent by Robin Run Healthcare in Indianapolis where I, Idowu Adewakun was working as a Medical Aide at the time.
Venerable Amos Fagbamiye and his family grew the Church. The Vicar came with his big bag carrying church materials to the Chapel every Sunday. The children came with the musical instruments and their mother came with snacks, water, and soda. The Vicar kept teaching us and encouraging every member of the young parish to serve and commit to God through the Anglican Communion. A humble, focused, and diligent person, the Venerable Amos Fagbamiye was not into seeking personal gains but was dogged on doing mission and only through the CoN.
I wish the Church of Nigeria (CoN) will search for the enduring truth from those of us who started with him. I cannot but thank the Bishop Peter Adebiyi and his wife who supported us at the launching of church building fund and invited their friends in the United States to support us. The Church bought her first property on Michigan Road in Indianapolis, Indiana with a good down payment and bank loan which many members, some of whom had no house of their own including students, guaranteed.
The compelling entrance of CoN into America because of the New Theology of sexual relationship, abhorred and categorized as sin in the bible but amplified by the TEC, made it incumbent on provinces of Anglicans from all over the world and in America to come together to seek a redress and choose between serving God or serving the people. This led to the birth of CANA of which the Venerable Amos Fagbamiye and the Anglican Chapel of the Resurrection members gave their total and unalloyed support from the very beginning.
We cannot but mention the gift of Amos Fagbamiye and his wife at identifying opportunities. The Chapel applied for grants and got grant that further helped the church in mission and engagement of the youths and children. The Vicar supported me, Idowu Adewakun, unto his ordination by the Rt. Reverend Peter Adebiyi in the Diocese of Lagos West. The Vicar coordinated with his many friends and family members who supported the church financially and with resources. A decent and faithful church worker and administrator, Amos Fagbamiye developed protocol, good liturgical worship with full embrace of the manual of service of CoN.
Anglican Chapel of the Resurrection soon became the Church to emulate and relate with. In the Chapel of Resurrection, the Venerable Amos Fagbamiye was elected and consecrated the bishop of the Church of Nigeria in the year 2007, as one of the four Suffragan bishops of CANA.
In his never lacking behind style of life, Bishop Amos Fagbamiye saw other groups in CANA and ACNA becoming dioceses and he pursued the same opportunity for the Nigerian clusters of Churches. Thus, the Missionary Diocese of the Trinity was duly approved by the Primate, the house of bishops of the CoN and the ACNA province in America in September 2011 and MDT was inaugurated in August 2012. Missionary Diocese of the Trinity changed its name to the Anglican Diocese of the Resurrection (ADOTT) to remove any insinuations of limited authority to perform as a diocese in July 2016.
Today, ADOTT will be measured as having about 90 Churches in the United States, Canada and Japan all pastored by selfless vicars who work to keep themselves and help the parishes. The vicars are loyal and dutiful as they see example in the selfless and mission-oriented life of the Diocesan and his wife, their leaders, who led by example. ADOTT has a good and sound structure built on strong foundation. Good women ministry, children ministry, youth ministry, choir and worship ministry, prayer ministry, evangelical and lay ministers’ ministry, medical ministry, knighthood ministry, and welfare ministry, among others.
Bishop Amos Fagbamiye brought in all his endowments, gifts, talents, and experience to serve God. A teacher, a scientist, an administrator, a soldier, a manager, a husband, a father, and a born-again Christian. One area of his comfort is the love and relationship that exists in his family. He has the fatherly commitment and deep understanding of his family. This is particularly manifested in the unconditional loyalty to him by his wife, who sought ways of complementing and growing the family in the service for God.
They live on prayer and propel the diocese by prayer and true commitment to Jesus Christ as the redeemer, savior, and messiah. Even at that, the ADOTT diocesan was strict and had no tolerance for any act of slothfulness or indecencies.
He abhors irreverent discussions, unhealthy jokes, and wayward associations. I was privileged to watch the Bishop improve the church in chants, liturgy, and order of service. He was centered on rehearsals before many celebrations to ensure the edification of God in service. In his words, we do not know who is present and seeking to meet Jesus, our ways and acts must never obstruct them rather it must foster the connection and for that reason we must do it well.”
If you want to know more about the Pioneer Diocesan of the Anglican Diocese of the Trinity and his wife, The Rt. Reverend Amos and Mama Abike Fagbamiye as to their mission in diasporas, please read the book, “Anglican Diocese of the Trinity: Formation and Building of a Church of Nigeria Mission.”
It will interest you to know that Father Amos Fagbamiye and his wife, in my application of the Herschel’s scale of measurement, qualified as Ethical Prophets. The bishop and his wife had a vision and translated it into a mission by committing same to a goal and outlining the plan of execution. Bishop Fagbamiye was barely made a bishop when he talked about the huge and verse mission field of North America and Canada with emphasis on the need to develop dioceses to ensure effective labor and soul winning.
This prophesy will translate into the election and consecration of four bishops, Suffragan to the diocesan, by the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion in 2019.
Bishop Amos Fagbamiye plays the organ and loves to work, read, and exercise, a guarantee for good health, long life, and peaceful living in his elderly age. Mama Abike Fagbamiye likes to cook, entertain people, exercise, and she is a good driver. They now invest in collaborating with and engaging their grandchildren. The Diocesan and his wife shined the light of God to lead ADOTT in the way of Christ and they remain shinning son and daughter of Ile-Oluji Kingdom.
They are worthy ambassadors of the Logbakun, Fagbamiye dynasty, and good representatives of the Gboluji Anglican Grammar School Ile-Oluji. They are noble Nigerian Americans, genuine stewards of the CoN, and true servants of God. We rejoice in the Lord’s doing in the lives of Bishop Amos and Mama Abike Fagbamiye and celebrate them as they retire from the pedestal of ADOTT Diocesan to continue the work as laborers of God. May the peace of God abide with them in the name of Jesus. Amen.
The Venerable Idowu Adewakun, MBA, M.Div. Dip. M., M. Inst. M.
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