Sue Young Histories

Mojola Agbebi (1860–1917)

November 22, 2013

Mojola Agbebi (1860–1917) Mojola Agbebi **(1860–1917) *’… *was a Nigerian Yoruba Baptist minister, the president of the independent Baptist Church in Lagos, and of the Yoruba Baptist Association__…’

Mojola Agbebi was a friend of James John Garth Wilkinson and is listed in his 1895 address book at the Congo Training Institute, Colwyn Bay, N Wales, and in Lagos (Swedenborg Archive Address Book of James John Garth Wilkinson dated 1895). _Agbebi is entered under his birth name as ‘… _Rev. David Brown Vincent  (now Mojola)…’ in the ‘Where is it?’ address book at The Parsonage, African Church, Lagos, West Africa (Swedenborg Archive Address Book of James John Garth Wilkinson ‘Where is it’ dated 1.10.1892).

From ‘…He was formerly named David Brown Vincent, but during the wave of African nationalism in the late 1880s, he changed his name. Agbebi was a strong advocate of indigenous leadership for African churches. He initiated evangelistic work in Yorubaland and in the Niger Delta.

Agbebi was the son of a Yoruba Anglican catechist, and was born shortly after his “Saro” father returned from Sierra Leone to his homeland with the gospel. He left the CMS (the Church Missionary Society) in 1880 and became a Baptist around 1883. He played a prominent role in the March 1888 establishment of the Native Baptist Church (now the First Baptist Church) in Lagos, which was the first indigenous church in West Africa.

Agbebi was a part of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Lagos, which was formed as result of a dispute within the First Baptist Church when American missionary Rev. W. J. David fired Rev. Moses Ladejo Stone, the native pastor. David rebuffed requests for an explanation by a delegation and by the church business meeting, claiming that he had the authority to dismiss Stone.

Agbebi was an apostle of ecumenism. In 1898 he founded the African Baptist Union of West Africa, and in 1914 he started the Yoruba Baptist Association. He also supported his wife’s efforts in establishing the nationwide Baptist Women’s League in 1919. He was also politically active, and presented a paper at the 1911 First Universal Races Congress in London…’

From ’… *The Congo Institute, also known as the African Training Institute, was established in 1890 at Nant y Glyn, Colwyn Bay in north Wales by a returned missionary and pastor in the town, Reverend William Hughes. *

_Reverend Hughes, who was a friend of Sir Henry M Stanley whom he had met while a missionary in the Congo, returned to Wales in 1885 with two Congolese students and settled at Colwyn Bay, living on charity and money collected at lectures. He believed the African students should be given a Christian education and trained in a craft apprenticeship, such as carpentry, printing, tailoring, blacksmithing etc. (Mr FW Bond, who features in the collection, taught printing at the Institute.) The intention was that they would then return to Africa and act as missionaries in their own country. _

Students attended Tabernacle Welsh Baptist Chapel, Colwyn Bay and Calfaria Welsh Baptist Chapel, Old Colwyn. In the Old Colwyn cemetery there are gravestones of Congolese students who died in the area. The Institute finally closed in 1911. Reverend Hughes died at Penrhyndeudraeth, Merioneth…’

From ‘… the African Training Institute of Colwyn Bay, North Wales which existed from 1890 to 1912 to train Africans as indigenous missionaries with a trade to enable them to be independent of western missions. Over 100 Africans and those of the diaspora passed through its doors and returned to various parts of West, East and South Africa as pastors, doctors, teachers, tailors, printers and activists...’


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