The Anglican Youth Fellowship of All Saints Anglican Church, Surulere, Lagos, came into existence through the efforts of a group known as Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in 1960. When the Church as it were, worshipped at All Saints Church, Montgomery, Yaba due to lack of her own Church auditorium.
However, the performance of this group was uninspiring and seemed to have no direction. In view of this, the Chairman of the YMCA then, Mr. B.S. Njoku (now late) and a few others towed with the idea of turning the YMCA to AYF. When this idea was made known to the house, it was generally and unanimously welcomed and accepted as the AYF at that time was the only widely recognized Society in the Anglican Church. Having resolved to change their name from YMCA to AYF in order to accommodate all and sundry, they began to sensitize other parishioners on the need to join the fellowship. Following the change of name and ideology, the AYF blossomed with the influx of new and enthusiastic members including women and young people as the YMCA was an all male affair.
The Fellowship’s first general meeting was held on 3rd June 1960 with an attendance of thirteen (13) members among whom were Mr. James Okoye, Mr. Elisah Ojechi, Mr. G.E. Ogboo - now late Rev. Canon (Rtd) and Mr. Ben Nwokolo; these were lay readers at that time and also prominent members of the Church, others were Mr. B.S. Njoku, Mr. J.K. Ajero (now late), Late Mr. Goddy Obingbo (who died during the Biafran war), Mr. Victor Ikejiaku, Mr. Rowland Ogbo and Mr. G. Nwankwo both of who are now late. Most of these men were members of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) that metamorphosed into the Anglican Youth Fellowship (AYF). By the end of that year (1960) their numerical strength rose to thirty eight (38) members and as of today, the AYF has grown in leaps and bounds numbering above a hundred members. The AYF has also given birth to several other groups and societies in the Church.
The Fellowship’s first general meeting had the first election conducted to fill officers to various posts and after the election, the following members emerged as the pioneer officers/executive of the AYF, they include: Mr. B.S. Njoku (President), Mr. J.K. Ajero (now late) (Vice President), Mr. Goddy Obingbo – now late (Secretary) and Mr. Victor Ikejiaku (Treasurer). They also appointed the following as their Patrons and Matrons; Mr. F.O.C. Nwankwo (now late), Chief F.M. Moronu, Dr J.B. Azinge, Mr. J.E.A. Osuh, Mrs. D.C. Ejindu and Mrs. Violet Obiora.
The newly formed A.Y.F began to meet in earnest and on the 28th of June 1961 they were inducted at All Saints Anglican Church, Yaba by the then Vicar, Rev C.A. Akinbola (now Rt. Rev); hence the official birth and recognition of what is today known and addressed as the Anglican Youth Fellowship of All Saints Church, Surulere, Lagos.
The Fellowship in her early days had some challenges. The inconsistency witnessed in the Church’s place of worship at that time posed a great challenge to her continued existence. For instance, on January 1st 1970, they moved from All Saints Church, Yaba to Lagos City College Hall, Yaba, with the assistance of one of her Patrons, Mr. F.O.C. Nwankwo (late) who was then the Principal of the College and in April 1974 they moved to this present and permanent site which is today a magnificent edifice known as All Saints Anglican Church, Off Clegg Street, Ojuelegba, Surulere Lagos.
The A.Y.F being the first society in the Church organized and hosted the very first revival witnessed in All Saints Church in the early eighties with Rev. (Prof.) Onibere as guest speaker. The outcome of that revival cannot be over-emphasized as souls were won for Christ and the Church edified spiritually. It is worthy of note that the then Vicar, Rev R.C. Iwuchukwu (now late) openly acknowledged the impact the revival made in his life. In 1998, during the tenure of Sir Godfrey Agbanajelu as President, another powerful revival was organized by the A.Y.F with the theme: “The Great Commission” and the guest speaker was the Rt. Rev Emmanuel Chukwuma, Bishop of Enugu Diocese and now the Archbishop of Ecclesiastical Province of Enugu who also came with his amazing “Glorious Singers”. In June 2003, the Fellowship organized yet another revival with the theme: Holiness in God’s temple” and the guest speaker was Rev Canon C.A. Maduoma (now Archbishop of Ecclesiastical Province of Owerri and Bishop of Ideato Diocese). The A.Y.F has since then had the privilege of having some other seasoned men of God as guest speakers during her Anniversary Programmes such as the Rt. Rev .E. Akanya (Bishop of Kebbi Diocese and Archbishop of Kaduna Province), Evang. Frank Anunibe of the Deliverance and Healing Unit (D.H.U) St Barth’s Aguda, Ven. Stanley Ewuzie from Nnewi Diocese, Rt. Rev. Ephraim Ikeakor, Bishop of Amichi Diocese among other notable men of God.
In the early nineties, the A.Y.F was the first society to start her own prayer meeting which is today known as the Hour-Of-Grace and presently takes place every Saturday evening; during this period, the A.Y.F became more vibrant in evangelism and outreach programmes. Since then till date, the Fellowship has not relented in her efforts in enhancing the spiritual lives of her members and contributing her quota to the spiritual and physical growth of the Church at large. This they have religiously and vigorously done by marking their Anniversaries with Bible quiz, revivals and seminars. The A.Y.F also organized crusades at Akobi Crescent and Ojuelegba roundabout respectively.
It is worthy of note that during the construction of the Church building in May 1975, the A.Y.F apart from the Choir, Women Prayer Meeting and Building Committee participated actively in the manual labour organized by the Church towards clearing the project site under the supervision of Engr. E.E. Anyaegbunam. Also in the nineties, the A.Y.F constructed the Church’s solid and beautiful bill board and has maintained it till date.
During the tenure of Prince John Okoli as President in the late eighties and early nineties, the A.Y.F purchased her first Gospel Band in 1992 and launched it in 1994. Subsequently in 1996, when the need was felt to take the gospel to the world through music, the first Evangelism Bus was launched. Given the non-availability of a conducive space in the Church at that time, Prince John Okoli volunteered his office complex where band practices were held until members got perfected on the musical instruments. The complex also served as garage for the Evangelism Bus.
The A.Y.F band first outing with Mr. Goddy Nwankwo (now late) as the chief soloist, was a performance to reckon with any day. Overwhelmed by the ministration of their music the parishioners emptied their purse such that after the day’s event the band realized the sum of seventeen thousand naira (₦17,000). Since then the band has been a major driving force to the growth and progress of the Fellowship. Serving as the evangelism team as well as generating income. The band popularly known as the “HOLY GHOST BAND”, a name given to it by Prince John Okoli has launched two cassettes respectively.
In the nineties, the Fellowship introduced/integrated a programme known as “Variety Night”, a programme which was geared towards uplifting members spiritually, mentally and physically. In May 2001, they also organized an Easter picnic for members.
During the time of Sir Ikem Igbodike (now Rev Canon), the A.Y.F organized a seminar in June 2001 titled “Coping with stress in Business” handled by Mr. Felix Ohieweri and Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, “Managing Stress in the Home” by Mrs. Folarin from the University of Lagos (UNILAG), and “Christian in Politics” and the speakers were Dr Alex Ekwueme (former Vice President of Nigeria) and Dr Tunji Braithwait ( a legal luminary). As a matter of fact, this was one of the best seminars ever organized in the Church from inception till date. The attendance and level of participation by parishioners was overwhelming and unprecedented. It was indeed a huge success. It is worthy of note also that one of the factors that contributed to the success of this programme was the extensive and elaborate publicity given to it by our member, Lady Uche Ebeledike (now late) who at that time was working with the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA 10).
In October 2002, the Fellowship organized a talk by Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa on “Maximizing your Potentials”; this programme did not only witness a large turnout but also made positive impacts in the lives of members. It was indeed one programme that had left a landmark in the Church being so fabulous and spectacular. In 2007 under the leadership of Sir Ikem Igbodike the Fellowship launched her second Evangelism Bus, a mecedes 608.
During the time of Ven. Levi Opara (JP) as Vicar, a unique Bible quiz was organized by the Church in 2003 and an A.Y.F member, Bro Ikechukwu Onwumere emerged winner and thus was given the award for the Bible member of the year. Bro Ikechukwu Onwumere has also graciously represented the Archdeaconry and Diocese at National Bible quiz of A.Y.F from 2004 – 2007. The Fellowship attends/participates in the A.Y.F National Bible Study Conference (NBSC) held annually across the country.
The A.Y.F has also in her achievements produced several ordained Priests in the likes of Ven. Nnaemeka Nwosu, Ven. Moses Onwueyi, Ven. S.C.I. Okoronkwo, Ven. Theodore Nwabasili, Canon Chigozie Chamberlin Igwenazo, Rev Goodnews Akunwanne, Rev Ikenna Udoye, Rev Canon Rufus Ike (now late), Rev Gabriel .C. Ezeanya, Rev Innocent Chukwuekem, Rev Canon Ikem Igbodike, Rev Chinedu Egemonye and Rev Benjamin Eluchie.
In 2013, during the time of Bro Clifford Onwuzulike as President, precisely on 9th June, the Fellowship launched and dedicated her third Evangelism Bus to the glory of God.
In the year 2010, the Fellowship celebrated her 50th Anniversary/Golden Jubilee in grand style, the event included merit award to all past presidents and certificate of recognition to members who have been in the A.Y.F of All Saints for a period of twenty five (25) years.
In 2012, the Fellowship won a Diocesan award for good performance in local instruments from the Diocesan, the Rt. Revd (Prof) A.D. Akinde (now Most Revd) and another award from the Diocesan Council of the A.Y.F under the able leadership of Sir Chinedu Oguonu.
In conclusion, inspite of the severe challenges the A.Y.F faced during period of crisis in the Church, the Fellowship has remained resolute and firm in her programmes. She has also intensified effort towards her continuous vibrant existence in the Church as well as contribute her quota to the general progress of the Church at large. The A.Y.F of All Saints Surulere is indeed marching towards The Perfect Man, Jesus.
Past and current Presidents of the Anglican Youth Fellowship (A.Y.F), All Saints Church, Surulere; 1960 – Date
- Mr. B.S. Njoku (now late)
- Mr. Rowland Ogboo
- Mrs. Rose Ogbolu
- Prince John Okoli
- Mr. Emma Egwuatu (Interim Leader)
- Sir Godfrey Agbanajelu
- Mr. Ernest Nkwopara
- Sir Ikem Igbodike (now Rev Canon)
- Mr. Clifford Onwuzulike
- Evang. Lawrence Uwa
The motto of the A.Y.F is “Towards the Perfect Man” (Ephesians 4: 13A)
The Emblem of the Fellowship is “The open Bible standing between a handshake and two twigs joined to form a letter “V” and all on a circular blue background”.
Bible (white) stands for the teaching of Christ.
Handshake (Gold) stands for Fellowship.
Twigs (Green) stands for young people
Background (Blue) stands for love
Young people living together in fellowship and love according to the teachings of Christ.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES:
- To help in projecting the Christian principles and teachings in accordance with relevant provisions in the national constitution of the parent body, “The Anglican Youth Fellowship (Nigeria)”.
- To provide opportunities for the understanding and progress in corporate worship and private prayers: to enable young people to learn together the meaning of Christian faith and its relevance to the life of their generation.
- To lead young people to offer their work and leisure to God as members of this Church, in local, national and international levels.
- To give due recognition to the importance of fitness of body and mind, and the provision of suitable varied forms of recreation in all Christian Youth organization and groups.
- To help inculcate the spirit of love, peace and unity as enshrined in the Bible.
Fellowship! In Christ Fellowship!! In Christ Fellowship!!! In Christ Jesus
Membership is open to male and female registered members of All Saints Anglican Church, Surulere. Boys and girls within the age bracket of 10 – 18 years shall be admitted as Youth stars, while 19 years and above as Adults. Admission of a new member is conducted at the general meeting while Automatic Admission accrue to an applicant who has a testimonial or certificate to prove his or her membership of A.Y.F elsewhere.
Male members shall wear a pair of navy blue trousers, a white shirt and navy blue/black tie. Female members shall wear a navy blue skirt (beyond the knee), white blouse/shirt and a navy blue/black scarf or beret.
The Fellowship’s executive meeting holds on every first Saturday of the month at 6p.m, while the general meeting holds on every second Sunday of the month after the 10a.m Service.
|Night Vigil||Holds on First Friday of every month at 12 midnight.|
|Hour-of=Grace||This is the Fellowship’s Bible study/Prayer meeting which holds every Saturday at 6p.m|
|Anniversary||Holds annually in the month of June|
|Annual General Meeting (AGM)||Holds annually|
PATRONS AND MATRONS
The Vicar of All Saints Church, Surulere is the Chaplain of the A.Y.F or any curate as may be appointed by the Vicar. Patrons and matrons are open to male and female communicants of All Saints Church Surulere and shall be appointed by the fellowship.