Youth Fellowship

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Saturday, 05 September 2015 17:38

THE BEGINNING
There are two schools of thought about the origin of the Youth Fellowship. The first was that the Fellowship started when a set of young people in All Saints' Church decided to form a group in 1981 to be known as "All Saints' Church Youth Fellowship". The Fellowship has as part of its aims, to lead members to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour; to help members develop spiritually, physically, educationally and socially; and to prepare members to take their rightful place in the Church. The foundation members of the then Youth Fellowship included Mr. & Mrs.  Edema, Dr. & Mrs.  Soji Vaughan, Dr. Ekundayo Falase, Mrs.  Florence Ilofuan, Mrs.  Aba Durosaro, Mrs.  Dapo Falase, Mr. & Mrs.  Funso Ojo, Mr. & Mrs.  Laolu Akomolafe among others.

The membership of the Fellowship then was of two types: ordinary and honorary. The ordinary membership had two categories: the "Tenderfoot Group" (14-17 years) and the "Pilgrims' Group" (18 years and above). These groups met once in a month.

The second school of thought, which persists till now, is that the Youth Fellowship began when a group of youths within the neighborhood of Jericho and Idi-Ishin, as well as youths within All Saints' Church decided to meet every Saturday for fellowship in word and prayer. The fellowship of this group of youths started some time in the early 90s and had a positive impact on the lives of members. The aim of the Fellowship was to help members grow in the knowledge of God Almighty. The leadership were Tunde Thomas, Yinka Adeleke, Yinka Fagbemi, Korede Olunloyo among others.

The neighborhoods of Jericho, Idi-Ishin and Eleyele benefited immensely from the activities of members through whose personal evangelism and revivals many souls within the neighborhoods were brought to the knowledge of God.

STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT
The need for the Fellowship to make more impact within All Saints' Church brought a slight change in its leadership some time in 1998. When Yinka Fagbemi became President. Under his leadership, there was great improvement in the participation of youths within the Church through activities like Drama, Dance and Song (Choir) which aroused the interest of youths in joining the Youth Fellowship and made many youths begin to attend its Saturday meetings. The Fellowship meeting was held between 4 p.m and 6 p.m. and usually featured (as it still does) worship, word impartation and prayers.

The activity groups became a strong platform for the Fellowship to create an impact in All Saints' Church, through periodic presentations in drama and songs to the congregation during Revivals, Sunday services, Watch-Night services etc.

When in 1999, the Church decided to incorporate Praise and Worship Choruses into its order of service, the group was in the forefront. One cannot fail to recall the consistent involvement of the then President, Mr. Yinka Fagbemi, who led other youths in anchoring this session during Sunday services and other special services. When the singing of choruses was introduced the Church hardly had any musical instruments other than the pipe organ. However, instruments like drums, guitars and trumpets were later acquired to add life to the singing of choruses, the quality of which has continued to improve while some members have learnt to play some of these instruments.

 In January 2001, Mr. Taiwo Daramola became President, with the following as Executive members: Olohi Ilofuan (Secretary), Yemisi Adebayo (Assistant Secretary), Dare Ademuyiwa (Prayer Secretary), Bosun Olunloyo (Assistant Secretary), Tolu Vaughan (now Mrs.  Owoeye) (Treasurer), Imabong Usoroh (now Mrs. Odegbo-Olukoya) (Welfare Officer), Kehinde Daramola (Choir Leader), Tope Fatoyinbo (now Mrs.  Paulson) (Public Relations Officer).

The leadership of the Fellowship tried to build on what its predecessor had been able to achieve and was imbued with the vision to build young people to become a dwelling-place of God. To achieve this, the meetings on Saturday were made more interactive and participatory. Programmes like word-feast, talk shows, question and answer sessions, sports etc. were introduced to enable members become more integrated into the Fellowship.

Later on, there was a minor reorganization in the Executive when some of its members at one time or the other had to relocate or take up other assignments that did not allow them to function efficiently. The new Executive comprised Kehinde Daramola (Vice President), Yemisi Adebayo (Secretary), Tayo Vaughan (now Mrs.  Adewunmi) (Assistant Secretary), Bosun Olunloyo (Prayer Secretary),Meire Ilofuan (Assistant Prayer Secretary), Seun Olusanya (Public Relations Officer). Other positions remained as occupied. This development brought more vibrancy and innovativeness to the Fellowship.

The process of drafting a Bye-Law, a document that states the mode of succession and operations of the Fellowship, was initiated in January 2006 by a committee comprised of Barrister Kehinde Daramola (Chairman), Wale Oluwole (Secretary), Riche Brown, Dolapo Denton. Tayo Vaughan (now Mrs.  Adewunmi), Imaobong Usoroh (now Mrs. Odegbo-Olukoya).

The process began in earnest with inputs from members of the Fellowship and the then Assistant Minister, Very Rev. Olusoji Mewoyeka, whose office traditionally serves as the coordinator of the Youth Fellowship. The Bye-Law was instituted at the end of2006. With the Bye-Law in place, a new Executive was formed, thus bringing to a close the 7-year tenure of the Taiwo Daramola - led Executive. This new Executive under the leadership of Femi Odegbo-Olukoya became the first to have been constituted under the new Bye- Law. Other members of the Executive were Tolu Vaughan (now Mrs.  Owoeye) (Vice President), Segun Adio (Secretary), Dapo Denloye (Assistant Secretary), Oreoluwa Sowonola (Treasurer), Gbemi Akinpelu (Welfare Officer), Tolani Oderinde (Assistant Welfare Officer), Leke Oluyemi (Prayer Secretary), Chineze Ogbogu (Assistant Prayer Secretary). Jide Ajomale (Public Relations Officer), Amos Adeyemi (Organising Secretary), and Dayo Denloye (Librarian).

The tenure of this Executive brought more dynamism to the Youth Fellowship; attracting more youths from within and outside the Church, The vision of the Fellowship at this period focused on youths realizing that they are enrolled in God's Army; thus every youth should build himself/herself in the knowledge of God in order to become a bona fide member of that Army, During this period, the Fellowship experienced tremendous growth and development.

In December 2008 the Youth Fellowship had the second consecutive transition of a new Executive after the institution of its Bye-Law. The new Executive (current) is led by Akin Abudu(President), Others include Gbemi Akinpelu (Vice President: Oreoluwa Sowonola (Secretary), Dapo Denloye (Assistant Secretary). Busola Akinpelu (Prayer Secretary). Chineze Ogbogu (Assistant Prayer Secretary), Dayo Denloye (Assistant Treasurer), Seyi Olaleye-Philips (Welfare Officer), Elvis Osagbede (Assistant Welfare Officer), Samson Nwajei (Organizing Secretary) and Tobi Oderinde (Public Relations Officer), The Youth Fellowship has continued to instil in its members confidence in God's word as the answer to all of life's problems.

THE BYE-LAW
The Youth Fellowship Bye-Law is the document that guides the organization and operations of the Fellowship. It states the objectives of the Fellowship, which include: the promotion of deep fellowship with God among youths in All Saints' Church Jericho. Ibadan; the promotion of a fruitful and successful academic, social, spiritual existence of youths of All Saints’ Church; as well as the promotion, discovery and development of the talents of every youth in the Church.

The process of succession in the Youth Fellowship is clearly articulated in the Bye-Law. With the appointment of a 3-5 man Choice Committee, which consists of the Assistant Minister (Chairman) and other members of the Fellowship who would not be serving in the next Executive, the procedure for the selection of the new Executive is initiated. Nominations from members of the Fellowship are usually sought in the process of selecting the new Executive. The tenure of members of the Executive shall expire after two years. The procedure for the amendment of the Bye-Law is also stated in the document.

GROUPS AND DEVELOPMENT OF TALENTS
The Youth Fellowship is blessed with talented members. From its inception, members have exhibited a wide range of talents. Recognizing the importance of using our talents to serve God, our Maker, from the parables that our Lord Jesus Christ told us, these talents have not been left to waste or be misused as members are encouraged to channel their God-given talents to serve in His house. For ease of administration, these talents have been categorized under different activity groups: the Drama Group, the Youth Choir and the Dance group. Other units through which members express their talents are the Publication Unit and the Organizing Unit.

 

THE DRAMA GROUP
This group has the mission of expressing God's message through drama, a very powerful medium of communication. Over the years, the drama group has performed in various capacities within the Fellowship and in the main Church. The group ministers during Mattins (usually on the last Sunday of the month), at other church programmes like the Couples' Evening, the Annual Revival and also during Youth Fellowship programmes. The group has grown in number and experience and has staged many successful drama productions over the years; examples of these include "Compromise" and "Tangents". Outsiders who attended such productions still make reference to their impact up until now.

THE YOUTH CHOIR
Praise is very important to God as He inhabits the praises of His people. It is on this premise that the Youth Choir ministers to God's people in songs. Members of the group also form the bulk of Praise and Worship team. This vibrant group leads the people of God to His courts of praise during church services as well as at the Fellowship's meetings and outreach programmes. The Youth Choir include not only members who can sing but also those who can play the keyboard, guitar, trumpet, mouth organ and drums. Some members of this group also assist the Public Address System team of the Church.

THE DANCE GROUP
The Psalmist said; "Let them praise, His name in the dance" - (PsI49:3a). The Dance Group praises God's name through dance. This group was named "Sainteers", an adaptation from the name of the Church. The group comprises members of the Fellowship who can dance; they perform mainly during Fellowship programmes like the Youth Weekend and Church programmes like the Easter Picnic. Although people generally do not see ministration in dance, often regarding it as entertainment, this group has grown through the years to correct this notion. The greatest success so far was recorded at an annual programme of the Anglican Mothers' Union held at Immanuel College on 14 May. 2009. The Dance Group ministered at this programme on invitation. The mothers continue to express the power of that ministration to the Glory of God, even till today.

OTHER UNITS
Other units through which talents are expressed include the Publication Unit and Organizing Unit. The former Unit is committed to the production of a newsletter called This House through which members of the Fellowship as well as the Church at large express their talents in poetry, writing, drawing etc. The Organizing Unit arrange and decorates venues for the programmes of the Fellowship. Youths who can decorate and make venues look beautiful are members of this unit.

THE FOOTBALL TEAM
The Youth Fellowship also provides an avenue for young boys to harness their football talents. A football team has been put in place to help accomplish this objective. The team participates in competitions annually and records modest successes.

THE YOUTH FELLOWSHIP AND SPIRITUAL GROWTH
The spiritual growth of members of the Fellowship has been very steady. Individuals have been witnesses of real-life manifestations of God through miracles, signs and wonders, resulting in powerful testimonies.

Members have also been able to harness the gifts of the Spirit in themselves, thereby building up their confidence in Jesus Christ through constant fellowship and communion with God: this has enhanced their ministering of the gospel in and outside the church. Members of the Fellowship have been able to discover their potentials and use them to fulfill God's purposes.

THE YOUTH FELLOWSIIIP AND THE CHURCH
The Youth Fellowship has, since its inception, made tremendous impact on the Church. The activities of the Fellowship have, to a large extent, brought variety into worship and the general activities of the Church. In recent times, the Fellowship has been integrated fully into the mainstream of the Church as compared with earlier times when members seemed independent of the Church.

EXALTED PRAISE
This is an evening service organized by the Youth Fellowship on the last Sunday of every quarter. It developed from the usual community hymn singing which was purely a formal hymn singing service. As a way of bringing variety to the service, the Fellowship by inspiration has made it a more informal service with lots of individual presentations, testimonies and chorus singing. This form of worship has continued to attract lots of youths and adults to evening service on Sundays when Exalted Praise is held. Not fewer than 120 people attend this service every quarter, a remarkable attendance for regular evening worship.

PRAISE WORSHIP
Some members of the Youth Fellowship coordinate the singing of praise worship choruses during Sunday services and special services. Due to the impressive performance of the Praise and Worship Team, members of the Church usually ask the team to perform at their social functions.

DESIGN OF ALL SAINTS' CHURCH WEBSITE
The Youth Fellowship took it upon itself to design and develop a website for the Church in 2000. The contents on the site were initiated by the youths with minimal reference to any document of the Church. Plans are on to upgrade the site so as to cater for the current trends in the Church.

PARTICIPATION IN THE QUARTERLY VIGIL OF THE CHURCH
Apart from handling the conduct of the Praise and Worship session at the vigil, members of the Fellowship have been asked to preach, lead prayers and perform other roles.

MEMBERSIIIP OF THE CHURCH COUNCIL
Members of the Youth Fellowship have served on the Church Council in recent times. This development has shown that the youths are indeed taking their rightful place as the future of the Church.

THE YOUTH FELLOWSHIP AND THE CLERGY
The Fellowship has enjoyed unflinching support from the clergy of All Saints' Church. Jericho, Ibadan. Worthy of note are the contributions of the immediate past Minister of the Church, Venerable G. B. Daramola. He gave members of the Fellowship the room to express themselves, doing things the youth way. Accepting "Exalted Praise" as an alternative to the traditional Community Hymn Singing, allowing youths to make presentations during Church services, attending Youth Fellowship programmes when invited are some instances of the landmark support given by Ven. Daramola. The Fellowship also enjoyed support from the current Minister. Very Rev. Olusoji Mewoyeka. When he was Assistant Minister, he was always ready and willing to give from his abundant wealth of wisdom to the youths, especially members of the Executive on various Issues.

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