It is well established and documented history that the Anglican Church arrived in Igbo-land first. The Crowther CMS (Church Missionary Society- the Anglican mission) came ashore on the banks of the River Niger at Onitsha on July 28 1857, and were well received by the Obi and leaders of Onitsha. The Bishop Crowther expedition team was given land near the Niger River banks for their mission, and they settled in. Without delay, they embarked on their missionary work, branching out and spreading to other parts of Igbo-Land, establishing missions and “stations.”
Twenty-five years later, the Roman Catholic Church came along and requested land from the same Onitsha people for their own mission and ministry. The Obi and Onitsha leaders directed the Roman Catholic missionary team to approach the CMS and ask them for some land from the portion of land that was already given to them (the CMS).
The Roman Catholic Church mission did so. The CMS gave them some land from what they (the CMS) had received from the Obi and Onitsha people. The Basilica of the Blessed Holy Trinity Onitsha stands on part of the land that the Catholic Church got from Onitsha. The CMS and the Roman Catholics worked well along each other. Very soon, the whole of Igbo-Land was a Christian land within a few generations.
In less than a century, primary schools, churches, maternity homes, hospitals, clinics, dispensaries, churches, domestic-training centers, midwives and nurses training institutions, secondary schools, boarding schools, cathedrals, convents, and seminaries filled Igbo-land, making it one of the fastest spread of Christianity in modern history.
The present Igbo alphabets and the “Igbo” language we use in our everyday communications came to us through the work of the Anglican Church in Igboland. The German ministers working with the CMS, came up with and developed the Igbo alphabets. With the translation of The Anglican Book of Common Prayer and the Hymnal in Igbo, known as “Ekpere Na Abu” and the Igbo Bible, Igbo language and their general use in homes and institutions throughout Igboland, the greatest development of the Igbo language and the ability and ease of communication emerged.
Thus this Igbo language development became perhaps the most important contribution the Anglican Church gave to Igbos through the establishment of the Igbo-Union, and the so-called “Central Igbo Language” that brought the harmonization of the Igbo language, both in written words and in our everyday usage today.
Today, in spite of the various dialects and nuances, Igbo people speak to and understand each other, notwithstanding their native home towns, provinces, regions and areas. This is a very unifying feature.
In all, Igboland has benefited immensely from the advent and establishment of the Anglican (CMS) and the Catholic Churches in Igboland. The generation of those who we in boarding schools – mostly owned by the churches- before the Nigeria/Biafra War benefited the most from these Christian missionaries. Everyone else is also a great beneficiary from the great efforts of the foreign missionaries and the natives who assisted them. Almost all that we have today in Igboland, and all the people that made/make us proud, had/have their lift through the Churches.
It is therefore a BIG SHAME and a heartbreak that we are today fighting over what was bequeathed to us (which we have hardly improved upon for over a hundred years) instead of improving on what we inherited.
After reading and hearing from both sides, honest and impartial observers will most likely come to the conclusion that the Anglican Church is the rightful owner of the “Bishop Crowther Primary School.” I came to that conclusion based on what I have read and gathered from both sides. I am not a priest of the Anglican Church of Nigeria. My position is of an Anglo-Catholic priest, trained and ordained and serving in the Anglo-Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth. I am impartial.
Watching and listening to what is going on at Ama-Awka, I think that Bishop Samuel Crowther, James Fredrick Schon, William Russell, Archdeacon Dennis (honored/remembered by Dennis Memorial Grammar School), Roman Catholic Rev. Fr. Lutz, St. Cyprian Tansi, Fr. Tagbo, and others (both Anglicans and Catholics) who gave their all for Christianity in Igbo-Land are turning in their graves.
We owe these holy ones who should be resting from their labors some PEACE, not some Christian Denominational War, all in the name of “Anambra Politics.”
Is this a joke?!
This is pathetic!!
Southern Nigerian Christians should be working TOGETHER on Short-Term and Long-Term plans and strategies to save Igbo-land and South East Nigeria from Islamization and the REAL threat of Moslem over-running/domination and destruction of the South.
This is not the time for planning of how to disenfranchise one Christian denomination or the other from their rightful property. This is very unChristian and unethical.
This madness has got to stop NOW, and let TRUTH reign.
The Christian God we all worship is the God of TRUTH.
Truth is SACRED.
Facts are SACRED.
Re. Dr. Kingsley Jon-Ubabuco, Rector
St. Philip the Apostle Anglican Church