CPAN: Cel­e­brat­ing 36 Years Of In­spir­ing Lead­er­ship

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - IBRU CENTRE - By Florence Utor

THechris­tian Pro­gres­sive As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria (CPAN), a so­ci­ety founded by some vi­brant mem­bers of St. Peter’s Angli­can Church, Idimu, La­gos, re­cently launched a book on its ex­is­tence and sus­te­nance for the past 36 years. This book clearly sets out to cel­e­brate an era of in­spir­ing lead­er­ship and achieve­ments by the CPAN, as well as its in­valu­able con­tri­bu­tions to the spir­i­tual and phys­i­cal de­vel­op­ment of Idimu Archdea­conry. Es­sen­tially de­scribed as the prod­uct of a fu­sion of two Chris­tian so­ci­eties, the CPAN was founded for the sole pur­pose of mak­ing ac­tive con­tri­bu­tions to the church’s growth. Both so­ci­eties, the book stresses, were es­tab­lished be­tween 1981 and 1991. In prin­ci­ple, CPAN’S birthing process could well have started within this pe­riod.

Then, in a typ­i­cal flashback fash­ion, the nar­ra­tive takes read­ers back­ward in time to the be­gin­ning of St. Peter’s Angli­can Church. Here, his­tory as­sumes its nat­u­ral role of ex­pos­ing the ties that ex­ist be­tween this so­ci­ety and its par­ent body.

The first phase of the church’s his­tory, which stretches from 1914 to 1980, also ac­counts for its small be­gin­ning as a mere seedling planted by an ex­con­vict at a time the then in­hab­i­tants of Idimu com­mu­nity were still neck-deep in pa­gan wor­ship.

Through sheer hard work and dili­gence, Tako Sanbe- lalu and his fol­low­ers were able to plant the church in the com­mu­nity and su­per­vise its growth, un­til a pe­riod in the fu­ture, when the rest of the ec­u­meni­cal work fell on the shoul­ders of non­indi­genes.

The se­cond phase, 1981 to the present day, wit­nessed the church’s rapid spir­i­tual and phys­i­cal de­vel­op­ment. The roles played by in­di­vid­u­als, fam­i­lies and so­ci­eties, es­pe­cially the CPAN, whose con­tri­bu­tions have been largely in­stru­men­tal to the church’s el­e­va­tion to the level of an Archdea­conry seat in the Dio­cese of La­gos West at this point in its his­tory, are also high­lighted in the book.

One of th­ese fam­i­lies, the Olorun­y­omis, earned a spe­cial men­tion. The fam­ily is ac­knowl­edged for en­cour­ag­ing and su­per­vis­ing an early in­flux of new set­tlers, who would later spear­head the all-im­por­tant drive for the de­vel­op­ment of Idimu com­mu­nity and the church. Chap­ter three high­lights the con­tri­bu­tions of and in­flu­ence of such so­ci­eties as the Eg­beite­si­wa­jukristi, the Idimu So­cial Elite and the Chris­tian Pro­gres­sive League in the birth of the CPAN and sub­se­quently, in the over­all de­vel­op­ment of St. Peter’s Angli­can Church.

The church, we are in­formed in Chap­ter four, is in­debted to the CPAN in terms of ad­min­is­tra­tion. Although the lat­ter’s con­tri­bu­tions are best de­scribed as un­quan­tifi­able in the book, the fol­low­ing words suf­fice to prove that ma­jor­ity of its mem­bers were ex­traor­di­nar­ily com­mit­ted: “When the so­ci­ety was founded in 1981, ma­jor­ity of the mem­bers were in their 30s. They were young, strong and ad­ven­tur­ous. They were will­ing to spend their time and tal­ent for the prop­a­ga­tion of the gospel of Je­sus Christ.

“In the 1980s and early 1990s, St. Peter’s Angli­can Church, Idimu, could be likened to a typ­i­cal African Fam­ily with CPAN as the First Son. The so­ci­ety was in­volved in all de­ci­sion- mak­ing ef­forts of the church. Noth­ing was done out­side CPAN.”

This is, by all means, a wor­thy tes­ti­mony. The tempo is sus­tained through­out the nar­ra­tive. The as­so­ci­a­tion is also por­trayed as be­ing vi­tal to the church’s evan­gel­i­cal mis­sion, of­ten lead­ing the way when­ever duty called. More im­por­tant, it was in­stru­men­tal to the emer­gence of the Idimu Area Group of Churches be­tween 1986 and 1989, the de­vel­op­ment of in­fra­struc­ture in the church and the found­ing of the St. Peter’s Choral Group, among other con­tri­bu­tions.

Since any so­ci­ety is as good as its mem­ber­ship, the author of this book deems it nec­es­sary to pay tribute in the con­clud­ing chap­ters to some wor­thy CPAN mem­bers, whose con­tri­bu­tions also helped to dic­tate the pace of the church’s spir­i­tual and phys­i­cal de­vel­op­ment, as well as Idimu com­mu­nity th­ese past 36 years.

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