Oke-Osupa Baptist Church: Resurgence of a 19th century church,celebrates 5th anniversary of reestablishment

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Femi OGUNLANA
Oke-Osupa Baptist Church, Ogbomoso Sunday December 20, celebrated the fifth anniversary of its reestablishment during a service held in its auditorium at Osupa.
The auditorium is built at the site it was originally established in about 1877 by Rev. W.J. David encompassing an obelisk erected to commemorate the event with the inscription “Rev. W.J. David here built Oke Osupa Baptist Church about 1877.”

The obelisk to commemorate the building of the church by Rev David in about 1877 now encamped in the present day auditorium


The anniversary was attended by dignitaries including Baale of Osupa, Chief Oyeleye Ariori; Alamura of Amura Ladokun Oba Dn. Olakunke Samuel; Mr. Peter Remi Odetomi, a three-time chairman of Ogbomoso South local government; Prince Solomon Adeoye Ajadi, a former caretaker chairman of Ogo-Oluwa local government; Captain Olatunbosun (retd.) with his wife and Mr. Sunday Olaniyi, chairman of Osupa Community Association.
In his sermon, titled, “The Ark of the Lord returns home,” with text from II Samuel 6:16-23, Rev’d Dr. Joseph Titilola Olawale of Owode Baptist Church, near Odo0ba, Ogbomoso, noted that Oke-Osupa Baptist Church remains the church founded by the American missionaries centuries ago despite the vicissitudes it suffered averring that when the ark of the Lord was brought back to Jerusalem its name was not changed.
“When the ark of the Lord left Jerusalem and was brought back later during the reign of King David, did the name change?” he asked.

Another obelisk in the vicinity commemorating the visit of Bishop Ajayi Crowther on his way to Ilorin


Rev’d. Olawale posited that it was not the fifth anniversary being celebrated in actuality insisting that the church never was extinct, “it was only on holiday.”
He charged the leaders and members of the church not to lose the great vision saying, “The obelisk is here as far as Baptist denomination is concerned in Ogbomoso. The return of the ark always ignites trouble so the ones you are facing is should not deter you, you should thank God it did not lead to the death of any of you.”
The cleric warns those that might want to conspire against the survival of the church to desist encouraging members not to retreat in the face of opposition.
He further cautions that no one should look down on the church “lest the curse on Saul’s daughter descend on you. It is God that chose to love this place. You should not be concerned with the status of rank whether First Baptist Church or not, does God care about rank? But about what each does!”
Giving a history of the church, the lay leader, Dr. (Dn.) Sanjo Ayandele stated that the accommodating nature of Osupa people facilitated the settling of the American missionaries in the area claiming Baale Osupa family which welcomed the missionaries was the one that gave parts of their land for the housing of the missionaries, “to establish the first primary school in Ogbomoso, to found the Seminary (Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary) and Baptist Hospital (now Bowen University Teaching Hospital, BUTH).
He further stated that the First Baptist Church in Ogbomoso was started at Osupa. He said the church grew in population but that vagaries of the time led to the cessation of the church which caused its land to be taken over by some people.
He stressed that land grabbers even collected rent on the lands that did not belong to them, a development that sparked crisis.
However, he informed that God ensured the reestablishment of the church on December 20, 2015 by the Baale Osupa chieftaincy family, which originally donated its land for the expansion of the gospel as brought by the missionaries.
Dr. Ayandele said although it was first thought that the remaining land in the vicinity of the obelisk should be used for construction of the palace of Baale Osupa but that Rev’d. Dr. Thomas Oladotun Oke, a member of Baale Osupa chieftaincy family and pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Odo-Alamo, Ogbomoso, mooted the idea of resuscitating Oke-Osupa Baptist Church. The idea flew with family members thus the church was reestablished taking on the former name.
The first service was held under a tent with 27 worshippers and the sermon was delivered by Rev’d Dr. Oke. The church was later adopted by Calvary Baptist Church, where Rev’d Oke is Minister-in-Charge, in line with the dictates of the Nigerian Baptist Convention.
But according to Ayandele it was not a smooth sail as some ministers in the association, conference even up to the convention level feared its resurgence would ignite confusion. Various obstacles were allegedly instigated against the reestablished church but it has continued to march on.
Rev’d Oke corroborated the history revealing that God had told him years ago that the glory that left Osupa would be restored asserting this was the beginning. He disclosed the church was poised to claim its eminent position in the comity of Baptist churches in Ogbomoso, adding, “it was our forefathers that donated lands to house the missionaries, build the Baptist Hospital, the primary school and the Seminary. We should not be denied the compliments due us any longer.”
The programme was also used to appreciate a former minister who worked in the church with devotion, Rev’d Sam Ishola.

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