The Rt Revd Dr Peter Awelewa Adebiyi in one of his sermon during the Synod 2012, enjoined every member of the Diocese to join him in prayers for a good successor. He explained that the choice of a successor belongs to the Church of Nigeria and so members should all pray for the Church so that whoever comes here will see our church as a place where he will settle down to work; where he will work in accordance to the slogan of the church - tell the story, keep the faith. “You cannot tell the story without keeping the faith. Neither can you keep the faith without telling the story. We are preaching Christ for all nations - not for the west alone, or for the east alone. Our slogan is very important. This is a duty for both the clergy and the laity.” He therefore prays for a successor that will embrace the work of evangelism.
On Wednesday, February 9th, 2013 at Agbarha-Otor in Delta State South-south Nigeria during 2013 Bishops’ retreat, the answer to the Bishop Adebiyi and the entire members of the Diocese of Lagos West fell on the Ven James Olusola Odedeji, the Dean of Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Ikeja, Lagos. He was elected the Bishop of Diocese of Lagos West alongside with other two. The news spread like wild fire. Prior the time, it became a song on the lips of all clergy and laity even outside the Diocese of Lagos West about who would be the Bishop of Lagos West. I cannot count the number of times I have to dodge to answer several questions or comments on the online chat and social networks of the Diocese of Lagos West. There were rumours that many Bishops were seeking translation to Lagos West. Some felt it would be better for somebody among the clergy in Lagos West to be elected Bishop of the Lagos West. One could ask why all these agitations.
I think the Episcopal achievements of Bishop Adebiyi which include but not limited to the following: the introduction of the COVENANT SEED in the Diocese of Lagos West, which has proved to be a veritable source of income., aggressive Evangelism and Church Planting – which has resulted in about 90 new churches as at the last count on December 31, 2005, investment - Outright purchase and acquisition of 12 acres former Nigeria Airways grounds at Ikeja, Lagos, establishment and construction of a Multipurpose Conference Centre at Ipaja, Lagos for the women of the Diocese of Lagos West, pioneer role in the provision of comfortable 500-bed hostels for students in the First Anglican Communion University in Nigeria, the Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, the joint successful hosting of the 1st All African Anglican Bishops’ Conference in November/December 2004, the first of its kind, with the Diocese of Lagos, which had Bishop Adebiyi as the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee and The hosting of 10th General Synod of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) between 19th and 25th September 2011, call for the anxiety. People felt who would be able to step into his shoe. But God never lacks men to achieve his purpose. Bishop Adebiyi himself acknowledged this in one of his sermon that he knew his successor would do better than him. It is my prayer that God will make it so in Jesus name.
After one and half years of no Dean in the Cathedral of Lagos West Diocese, the Bishop-Elect, Venerable Olusola James Odedeji was nominated and elected the 3rd Dean of the Archbishop Vining Memorial Cathedral Church, Ikeja on Wednesday, June 30th, June at the Standing Committee of the Cathedral. He resumed office as the Dean on Thursday, July 1st, 2010 until his election as the Bishop-Elect of Lagos West.
The Venerable James Olusola Odedeji was born 44 years ago into a clergy family of Late Pa Venerable Odedeji and he hails from Eko-Ajala Village, Ikirun, Irepodun Local Government Area in Osun State, a Western part of Nigeria. After his secondary education in Origbo High School, Ile-Ife, he went to School of Art and Science for his Advance Level. He was then admitted into Immanuel College of Theology, Ibadan in 1990 for his Theological Education. He was made a Deacon in 1993 and then ordained a Priest in 1994. He had his Bachelor of Art (BA) and Master of Art (MA) in Christian Religious Study from University of Ibadan, Ibadan and Lagos State University (LASU), Lagos respectively. He is presently undergoing his PHD programme in LASU.
He is a very spiritual Clergyman with a powerful preaching ministry. He believes so much in living a righteous life as Christian and dong things well. He had worked in various Churches in the Dioceses. He worked as Cathedral Priest and first Bishop Chaplain of the Lagos West between 1997 and 2003. He also served as the Vicar of All Saints’ Anglican Church, Oshodi and then first Archdeacon of Oshodi Archdeacon which grew tremendously under his leadership before his nomination as Dean of the Cathedral. He was the Dean until his election as the Bishop-Elect of the Diocese.
His choice as the Dean brings sporadic spiritual, financial and physical growth to the Cathedral and the Diocese. He has a way of motivating people to do things. He assisted the Diocesan in raising money through the cathedral to buy landed properties for newly planted Churches. Many unfinished churches were completed through his effort. Some societies in the Cathedral had also helped in building ultra-modern churches. One will not be surprise his choice as the Bishop of this great Diocese. It was as if his father, Bishop Adebiyi has duplicated himself in him. We can say like father like son. When he speaks to the house of Clergy, they listen raptly to him. Sometimes he would nearly prostrate to the older Archdeacon. He had once said that a man must be become more humble as he climbs up in life. I wish him successful ministry in the Diocese of Lagos West.
Ven Odedeji is happily married to Mrs Oladosu Odedeji, a Senior Nursing Sister in Lagos State University Teaching Hospital. The marriage is blessed with five children.
He will be consecrated a Bishop on Sunday February 24, 2013 at the Cathedral of St Jude, Ebutte-Meta in the Diocese of Lagos-Mainland and served as Bishop Co-Agitor with Bishop Adebiyi till April 27, 2013 when Bishop Adebiyi will finally bowed out officially as the Bishop of Lagos West. On Sunday April 28, 2013, Bishop-Elect will be enthroned at Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Ikeja as the second Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos West.
NOTE: The Service will be broadcast live online on Diocesan website www.dioceseoflagoswest.org/media or media.dioceseoflagoswest.org
The Revd Oluwole Ibikunle
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