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A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF SAINT ANDREW, WARRI

 

History has it that the birth of the St. Andrew’s Anglican Church stem from the home coming of the freed slaves from the Gold Coast, which is present day Ghana, important towns began to develop especially along the coast; amongst these towns was Warri. The people’s life became dominated by European trade with the resultant changes to the moral, social and political lives of the people.

 

Available records show that there existed in Warri at the tail end of the eighteenth century a small body of Anglican Christians who were mainly Sierra 

 

 

History has it that the birth of the St. Andrew’s Anglican Church stem from the home coming of the freed slaves from the Gold Coast, which is present day Ghana, important towns began to develop especially along the coast; amongst these towns was Warri. The people’s life became dominated by European trade with the resultant changes to the moral, social and political lives of the people.

 

Available records show that there existed in Warri at the tail end of the eighteenth century a small body of Anglican Christians who were mainly Sierra Leoneans. Because these Sierra Leoneans were already converts, wherever they found themselves; they organized Sunday Services where they sang and prayed. It was such Sunday gatherings that gave birth to the Anglican Church in Warri.

 

According to one of the twin-founders of the Anglican Church in Warri, Mr. Charles Henry Palmer Kamp, the Anglican Church was founded at about 1902 by one Mr. Taylor a Sierra Leonean Treasury Clerk, whose parents were Christians. History has it that they started meeting at the Old Police Barrack, the site on which the Male Ward of the General Hospital, Warri now stands. There they would say the Lord’s Prayer together and Taylor would then say the Grace and that was the end of the service; only two of them. After sometime, Taylor started to appeal to the other Sierra Leoneans to attend his service and as the congregation increased they shifted to Chief Dogho’s Court which is now the Chief Magistrate Court in the Government Reservation Area (G.R.A).

 

James Johnson who for a long time had turned down the offer of post of Assistant Bishop in the hope that he could work up the Niger Delta Pastorate to an extent where it would be created into an autonomous Diocese and he will be made the Diocesan Bishop, finally accepted the post he had earlier rejected when his initial hopes were dashed.

 

Accordingly, he was consecrated an Assistant Bishop to Rt. Revd. Herbert Tugwell on 18th February, 1900. Thereafter, he made his maiden visit to Warri and Sapele in July 1901. In his first Episcopal Mission, he organized the Anglican Christians in Warri into a proper worshipping community. However, some of them had been his parishioners when he was the Vicar of the Church Missionary Society (C.M.S) Breadfruit Church, Lagos.

 

During one of his visits, remarked that he could o longer continue to worship in a house where criminals were condemned. There and then he suggested that they should build a church. In 1911, the foundation was laid and within three months the building was completed along the Robert Road on the premises of the former St. Andrew’s Anglican School now Mowoe Primary school and was dedicated on 25th June 1911. At this time, there was no Pastor, no organ, no pews and no hymn books. Later, Mr. C. King who was a lover of music bought an organ for the church.

 

Later Reverend John was sent to Warri by Bishop James Johnson as a resident Priest in about 1911. At the time, Warri was still under Patian District. The Reverend W.D. Bum Billy Wright and Garbutt were also visiting Priests Patani. However, the Warri District Church Council was formed in 1938.

 

With the creation of Warri District Church Council it was suggested in the District Council that a larger Church Building should be erected which may in future serve as a Cathedral for Warri Diocese.

 

The congregation to whom Bishop Johnson addressed himself comprised of the following persons:

 

  1. Taylor – The founder
  2. C.H. Palmer Kamp – Co-founder
  3. &Mrs. S.S. Thomas – Chief Mrs.Nkun’s father
  4. Pa Jackson
  5. Pa Hamilton
  6. Wilkey – Dr. Chief Wilkey’s father
  7. Britto – An Itsekiri inspector of Police
  8. Alber – A Clerk
  9. Bajulaiye – A dispenser
  10. Alber Lee
  11. Alder – A Lagosian
  12. Brown
  13. Charles King
  14. Alasan Macaulay
  15. Syraku
  16. Smith – Rosy Wilkey’s Husband
  17. Madam Rosy Wilkey
  18. Old Brook – A Fanti

Subsequently, on February 21st, 1939 at 5.00pm, a foundation stone of a larger and modern church was laid on the present site of St. Andrew’s Anglican Cathedral, 22 Okere Road, Warri. The church building was completed in 1960 after 21 years and was dedicated on St. Andrew’s Day November 30th, 1960 by the Diocesan Bishop who later became the Archbishop of the Province of West Africa His Grace Most Rev. Dr. Cecil John Patterson with the Rev. Canon Christopher ObiefunaIwuno as the Warri District Superintendent.

 

In order to give adequate Pastoral care to the new converts in the area, it was not enough to post European Missionaries, West Indian Missionaries, etc to the area. What was needed if the church was to be deeply rooted in Warri District was the training of indigenes. Without indigenous priests the young churches in Warri District was the training of indigenes. Without indigenous priests the young churches in Warri District would not be properly and effectively administered. This need led to the sending of Agori-Iwe to St. Andrew’s College Oyo in 1924 to be trained as a Catechist and a Higher Elementary Teacher. Later he went to St. Paul’s College, Awka in 1937 where he was trained for priesthood and ordained as a Priest in that year.

 

With the stationing of Revd.James  Welch at Ughelli in 1932, Ughobo District was created and in the year 1950, Revd. Agori-Iwe was made to be in-charge of Urhobo District. Subsequently, he was consecrated and enthroned in 1961 as the first Anglican Bishop of the defunct Benin Diocese which has presently given birth to many Dioceses. At the time Rt. Revd.Agori-Iwe retired in 1977, two new Dioceses were created out of Benin diocese namely: Warri and Asaba Dioceses.

 

 

 

The 1st Andrew’s (Ang.) Church Building in the early 50’s

 

 

THE WARRI CRISIS; OUR GRATITUDE TO GOD

 

When it pleased God that the old Benin Diocese be split into three, little did we know that this portion of the Diocese known as Warri Diocese will be crisis ridden, a crisis that raged for about three years (1977 – 1979). The battle was not between two nations or tribes nor is it to be likened to the Graeco-Parsian War which was  a struggle between oriental despotism and occidental individualism, as described by Rt. Revd. J.O. Dafiewhare, rather it was a crisis on the choice of Bishop between Warri Diocese and Anglican Communion Nigeria Province.

 

Thanks be to God, the crisis was resolved. On January 25th 1980, the Diocese of Warri was inaugurated; the first Bishop of the new Diocese in person of the Rt. Revd. John OnyaeneDafiewhare we consecrated and enthroned by His Grace the Most Revd. Dr. Timothy O. Olufosoye, D.D, Archbishop and first Metropolitan and Primate of all Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and asrequired by the constitution of the church, he was assisted by two other Bishops.

 

After the Consecration and Enthronement of the Bishop, it became necessary to constitute the parish church of St. Andrew’s Warri into a Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Warri for the throne of the Bishop.

 

Therefore, at a meeting of the Diocesan Board of Warri held at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Warri on Saturday the first day of March, 1980, the St. Andrew’s Church was officially constituted as the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew Warri. At the same meeting of the 1st March, 1980, the statutes of the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew were passed.

 

Consequently, on Friday March 21st and April 11th 1980, the Standing Committee of St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Warri was formally and officially elected. And on the 29th April 1980, the Standing Committee recommended to the Bishop the Revd. Canon Alfred WodehaBovi to be made the Provost of the Cathedral. After much prayer and supplication, the Bishop proceeded to appoint him as the first Provost of St. Andrew’s Cathedral on Sunday, May 14th, 1980.

 

His installation was done on Sunday, June 29th, 1980. The Very Revd. J.K George the Provost of St. Matthew’s Cathedral, Benin City Preached the sermon.

 

When Bishop Dafiewhare retired in 1991, he was succeeded by the Rt. Revd. Nathaniel AkporovabeEnuku, M.T.S. (Harvard) Dip. Th. (London P.G.D.E. (Uniben) consecrated and enthroned on April 12th 1992. He retired in the year 2003. The Diocese then witnessed another three years of crisis like the one before Bishop Dafiewhare’s enthronement.

 

Subsequently, the Rt. Revd. Christian Esezi Ide was consecrated 20th August and enthroned on August 23rd, 2006 as the Bishop of Warri Diocese. Under him the Church has witnessed peace, flourished and expanded so rapidly that when one considers the state of the diocese when the bishop was enthroned, one cannot but conclude that one cannot but conclude that our God indeed “moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform.

 

Available records show that the following Priests have served in the Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew, Warri

1.

Revd C. Frank Cole

1914 – 1920

2.

Revd R. Kidd (visiting from Sapele)

1921 – 1926

3.

Revd W.A. Thomson (a West Indian)

1924 – 1925

4.

Revd J.C.C. Thomas

Note: He laid the foundation of the present Church building on Feb. 21st, 1939.

1926 – 1932

5.

Revd I.E. Akande (visiting from Sapele)

January – June 1932

6.

Revd S.A. Sobande

July 1932 – June 1933

7.

Revd J.W. Hubbard, J.N. Carr Garbutt, O.N. Garrad, W.D. Burne, H.E. Daws, Clark and Ven. F.D. Wilcokvisitors who stayed to minister)

1933 – 1943

8.

Revd S.O. Ebie Deacon)

January 1944 – 1941

9.

Revd A.W. Wokoma

Jan. 1944 – June 1949

10.

Revd H.J.J. Brown (Deacon)

Sept. – Dec. 1949

11.

Revd D.D. Africanus Coker (Retired Priest)

1950 – 1952

12.

Revd S.O. Efeeturi

1953 – 1954

13.

Revd C.A. Echenim

1955 – 1959

14.

Revd C.O. Iwuno

1960 – 1962

15.

Revd S.O. Igie

May 1963 – Dec. 1972

16.

Revd S. Orheruan

Jan. – Dec. 1965

17.

Revd J.A. Eterhere (now Ven. J.A. Eterhere (Retd.)

Jan. – Dec. 1966

18.

Revd Mark B. Forae (now late Ven. M.B. Forae)

1967 – 1972

19.

Revd Canon E. Arawore (now late Ven. E. Arawore)

1973 – 1981

20.

Revd J.O. Omenuwoma

1973 – June 1980

21.

Ven. J.A. Emoefe

 

22.

Revd O.G. Awani

 

23.

Revd R.K. Morhirhi

 

24.

Revd Canon Dr. P.E.I. Nwabuoko

 

25.

Revd E.B. Emamezi  (now Rt. Revd E.B. Emamezi

 

26.

Revd Canon P.O. Ereh

 

27.

Revd M.O. Iyede

 

28.

Revd P.E. Ozako

 

29.

Revd R.O. Arhawho

 

30.

Revd R.O. Olori

 

31.

Revd O.D. Edjere

 

32.

Revd Canon Emmanuel Agbawe

 

33.

Revd A.O.C. Esibe

 

34.

Revd W.A.E. Egere

 

35.

Revd V.T. Orumu

 

36.

Revd Paradise O. Onoriose

 

37.

Revd C.C. Amadi

 

38.

Revd R.D. Omodoro

 

39.

RevdS.Igue

 

40.

Revd Gabriel N. Obenamadu

 

41.

Revd R. Emamezi

 

42.

Revd B. Idume

 

43.

Revd D.O. Adube

 

44.

Revd B.O.M. Iyomih

 

45.

Revd Canon Amos D. Uwadiae

 

46.

Revd Robinson O. Orido

 

47.

Revd Hope F. Imoroa

 

48.

Revd Terry E. Olokor

 

49.

Revd Innocent U. Ereridjere

 

50.

Revd Donald Ogilo

 

51.

Revd B.E. Akpoguma

 

52.

Revd S.A. Ojukoko

 

53.

Revd Peters Agamugoro

 

54.

Revd Faith A.K. Aghe

 

55.

RevdToritsejuOburoh

 
   
 

PROVOSTS/VICAR

 

1.

The Very Revd Alfred W. Bovi (late)

1980 – 1987

2.

The Very Revd Vincent Muoghereh(now bishop of Ughelli Diocese)

Aug. 1987 – Dec. 1997

3.

The Very Revd Prof. Samuel U. Erivwo

1998 – 2006

4.

Ven. John Usiwoma Aruakpor (Incumbent)

2006 – 2011

 Ven. P.O.G Whiskel2011 – Date
 

CANON RESIDENTIARIES

 

1.

Revd Canon R.U.E. Mariere

 

2.

Revd Canon P.O. Ereh

 

3.

Revd Canon A.O. Kaku

 

4.

Revd Canon F.O. Ejemrae

 

5.

Revd Canon J.F.E. Edewor (now Retired bishop of Oleh Diocese)

 

6.

Revd Canon J.U. Aruakpor (now Bishop of Oleh Diocese)

 

7.

Revd Canon J.O. Ishokare

 

8.

Revd Canon P.O.G. Whiskel (Incumbent Vicar, St. Andrew’s Cathedral)

 

9.

Revd Canon M.O.P. Olobia

 

10.

Revd Canon O.I. Ophikale

 

11.

Revd Canon Dr. E.A. Otobrise(incumbent)

 
   
 

THOSE WHO SERVED AS CATECHISTS

 

1.

Catechist Okoro

 

2.

Catechist Torufa

 

3.

Catechist Anayo (now Revd)

 

4.

Catechist N.A. Enuku (now retired bishop of Warri)

 

5.

Catechist Ebie (now Revd)

 

6.

Catechist Hosanna E.E. David

2011 – till date

   
 

SEXTONS

 
   
 

Mr. Jacob Okeri

 
 

Mr.AkpobomeSiakpere

 
   
 

LAY READERS

 

1.

Evang. Owunna

 

2.

Evang. N.U. Emamezi ( Now Reverend)

 

3.

Evang. D.O. Ohworakpo

 

4.

Evang. R.A.O. Umukoro

 

5.

Evang. S.O. Umukoro

 

6.

Evang. Lady May Afatakpa

 

7.

Evang.I.E. Arawore

 

8.

Arch. IneneErivwo

 

9.

Dame Grace A. Aghoghovbia

 

10.

Dame Beauty Ogbodu

 

11.

Evang. OmoterijesuAghegho

 
   
 

WARDENS

 

1.

Mr. S.T. Aminu

People’s Warden

2.

Chief Agadaigho J.O.

People’s Warden

3.

Mr. D.D. Edjere

People’s Warden

4.

Evang. N.U. Emamezi

Pastor Warden

5.

Mr. Cole J.

People’s Warden

6.

Sir J.O. Arthur

People’s/Provost Warden

7.

Sir William ItiveAdeda, KSC

People’s Warden

8.

Engr. K. Ogunsanya

Provost Warden

9.

Sir ChukaUdolisa, KSC

Provost Warden

10.

Mr. S.O. Adaramola

Provost Warden

11.

Sir Engr. Paul OkeAvwobobe

People’s Warden

12.

Mr. J.A. Adewoyin

People’s Warden

   
 

VERGERS

 

1.

Evang. D.O. Ohworakpo

Verger

2.

Mr. John Nwose (late)

Verger

3.

Mr. Abraham Okorodudu

Provost Verger

4.

Evang. R.A.O. Umukoro

Provost

   
 

GUILD OF STEWARDS – PAST AND PRESENT LEADERS

 

1.

Evang. S.E. Otobrise

 

2.

Mr. J. Quaker

 

3.

Evang. G.O. Amreaketa (late)

 

4.

Chief S.O. Amagada

 

5.

Mr. P.K. Nwadibie

 

6.

Mr. J.O. Obogare

 

7.

Evang. R.A.O. Umukoro

 

8.

Mr. T.O. Mafe

 

9.

Sir Chief Samuelson E. E. Odibo (JP)

 

10.

Sir Paul OkeAvwobobe

 

11.

Mr J. Adewoyin

 

THE GROWTH OF THE CHURCH

In order to serve the urgent need of the fast growing population of the church within and outside the church in Warri and environ, the Governing Council fo St. Andrew’s Church, Warri decided that the church building then, be expanded to provide adequate accommodation for the growing congregation. But His lordship, the Rt. RevdAgoriIwe, CFR, MBE, JP, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Benin felt that such a decision was not prudent enough and then directed that instead entirely new churches be built at other suitable areas in Warri.

 

  1. PETER’S ANGLICAN CHURCH IGBUDU, WARRI

In view of the above, St. Andrew’s parochial Church Committee headed by the Vicar Revd S.O. Igie decided to acquire a suitable 3-plot of land measuring 300ft by 150ft at Igbudu layout, Efejuku Street, off Deco Road, for a church building and a parsonage in the year, November 20th, 1965, where members worshiped in a temporary structure.

 

Subsequently, on the 1st of July 1972, the foundation stone of the Church was laid by the Bishop of Benin Diocese the Rt. RevdAgoriIwe. On the completion of the Church building in 1973, it was dedicated for worship. While the maiden service was held on 15th of July 1973, the sermon was preached by late Ven. E.A. Arawore, and Revd J.O. Omenuwoma officiated. This was the birth of the present day St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Igbudu, Warri.

 

  1. MATTHEW’S ANGLICAN CHURCH, OGUNU

This church was founded by the Cathedral as a result of a crusade carried out by St. Andrew’s Cathedral A.A.P.S. under the leadership of Evang. Ajogbe when Ven. E. Arawore was the Vicar. The Cathedral raised the money for the purchase of the piece of land where the church stands today. Mention must be made of the role played by late Mr. Bennett Ogbe and Late Chief I.O. Efekemo who helped in acquiring the land and Late Chief AgbinoshiOgbe who was one of the early worshippers.

 

  1. JAMES’ ANGLICAN CHURCH AJABUGBE, WARRI

This Church emerged out of St. Andrew’s Cathedral on 5th November, 1987, as a result of a strong desire by the Urhobo worshippers in St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Okere Road, Warri to have a place where they can worship god in the Urhobo language. Before now, the Urhobo worship session in the Cathedral had exploded population-wise.

 

In order to achieve this goal, a Committee was constituted in 1986 and a piece of land was bought. Subsequently, the foundation stone was laid by the Bishop of Warri diocese, the late Rt. Revd J.O. Dafiewhare. Work commenced on the 9th of November, 1987, while the dedication ceremony was performed by the then Provost of St. Andrew’s Cathedral, the very RevdV.O. Muoghereh (now Rt. Revd V.O. Muoghereh, bishop of Ughelli Diocese). The sermon was preached by late Ven. E.A. Arawore.

 

Amongst other churches that emerged out of St. Andrew’s Cathedral are:

All Saint’s Anglican Church, Airport Road, Warri; founded on the 7th of February, 1991 and dedicated on 7thMay, 2000 by the then Bishop of Warri diocese, the Rt. Revd N.A. Enuku.

 

Good Shepherd Anglican Church, D.D.P.A. Igbudu Warri and The Redeemer Anglican Church, Makro Street, Warri (presently in Frank-Ailemen Street, Okumagba Layout) Warri moved from the Cathedral in the year 1995.

 

CHAPEL OF THE RESURRECTION

Chapel of the Resurrection (Anglican Communion) D.D.P.A. Ugborikoko was founded in the year 2001. The Church building was dedicated by His lordship the Rt. Revd C.E. Ide (JP) Bishop of the Diocese of Warri, on Saturday, 12th September, 2009 at 11.00a.m.

 

Ebrumede, Ogbukurusu, Holy trinity Ugbenu now in Sapele Diocese, Irrodo, St. Michael’s Anglican Church, Mammy Village, and many more, are direct children of the Cathedral Churh of Saint Andrew.

 

From the above you will agree that the church has experienced a tremendous growth since inception.

 

PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT

In 1988, the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew embarked on a massive restructuring and renovation of the Church Building. Other works done include the extension of the wing spaces of the building to accommodate the growing number of worshippers, construction of an impressive tower, Priests’ Quarters, a new Vicar/Provost Residence and office complex, a Greater Chapter, a library, a Lady Chapel which was dedicated on Saturday, April 7th, 2001 by Bishop Enuku.

 

Others include a gigantic Health Facility Building of St. Andrew’s Hospital located at the Robert Road, Warri. The foundation of the Church Hospital was laid on 15th October, 2002 by His lordship, the Rt. Revd Nathaniel AkporovabeEnuku the then bishop of Warri Diocese.

 

On December 16th, 2001, as the Centenary celebration was coming to a conclusion, the cobble-filled premises and parking space of the Cathedral was commissioned for use by Bishop Enuku. This facility was provided by Chief E.K. Clark a parishioner, assisted by his family, friends and the Cathedral Church.

 

Recently, flat screens/Plasma TVs were installed in the main church for parishoners to see clearly all service procedures especially during the Sunday services-despite a member’s sitting position within the church and outside.

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