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Samuel Ajai Crowther


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Samuel Ajai Crowther

  1. 1. MISSIONARY TO YORUBALAND Samuel Ajayi Crowther (1807 – 1891) A presentation by Dr. Peter Hammond
  2. 2. SETTING THE CAPTIVES FREE One of the many fruits of William Wilberforce’s life-long crusade against the slave trade, was that Samuel Ajayi Crowther, who was born , in Yorubaland, in 1807, the year Great Britian abolished the slave trade, became the first African bishop of the Church of England.
  3. 3. Enslaved Samuel Crowther was born in Yorubaland. At age 13, he was captured by African slavers
  4. 4. and sold to a Portuguese trader for transport across the Atlantic.
  5. 5. Freed Samuel was rescued by a British naval squadron in 1822 and put ashore at Freetown.
  6. 6. From 1809 the British government mobilised its navy to search suspected slave ships, even foreign vessels, on the high seas.
  7. 7. For a century, the Royal Navy was dedicated to setting the captives free, going far beyond clearing the oceans of slave ships,
  8. 8. to boldly sailing up unchartered rivers and creeks,
  9. 9. to storm slave stockades,
  10. 10. freeing captives at every turn.
  11. 11. Great Britain dedicated it’s resources to fighting and opposing the slave trade.
  12. 12. The British spent millions of pounds in suppressing the slave trade, and sacrificed much blood in fighting to set the captives free.
  13. 13. The West-African country of Sierra Leone had been established by British Evangelicals to serve as a haven for freed slaves.
  14. 14. Britain invested vast amounts of money into developing Sierra Leone as a free and independent state, where liberated slaves could settle.
  15. 15. Converted In Sierra Leone, Crowther was converted to Christ. He received an education both in Sierra Leone and in England.
  16. 16. “About the third year of my liberation from the slavery of man, I was convinced of another worse state of slavery, that of sin and satan. I was admitted into the visible Church of Christ here on earth as a soldier to fight manfully under His banner against spiritual enemies.”
  17. 17. Called In 1843, he was ordained as a Church of England minister for service with the Church Missionary Society (CMS).
  18. 18. Impact Crowther was one of the leaders of a successful missionary venture that took him, and several other former slaves back to their native Yorubaland, where a vigorous Christianity soon developed.
  19. 19. One of the first converts Samuel baptised was his own mother – who took the Christian name – Hannah. His language Yoruba became the first African Language to be used for Church of England liturgy in worship.
  20. 20. Yoruba Christian worship was distinctly Protestant and Evangelical in the Church of England style. Crowther led converts in burying or destroying their traditional charms, fetishes and idols.
  21. 21. In 1864, Crowther was ordained as the first African bishop of the Church of England
  22. 22. in an overflowing Canterbury Cathedral
  23. 23. and directed to undertake a mission along the Niger River. This was to follow up on the Niger expedition of 1841, which was led by William Wilberforce’s successor, Foxwell Buxton. Crusade Against Slavery
  24. 24. T. Foxwell Buxton was an Evangelical leader in Parliament and an anti-slavery crusader.
  25. 25. His expedition up the Niger River Valley of West Africa was to overcome the ravages of the slave industry still entrenched there. Of the 145 Europeans on that expedition, 130 were struck down with Malaria, and 40 died.
  26. 26. Yet, the expedition succeeded in establishing a Missionary Centre at Fourah Bay for training liberated slaves to evangelise West Africa. It was built on the very place where a slave market had once stood.. Transformation
  27. 27. The rafters of its roof were made almost entirely from the masts of old slave ships.
  28. 28. Samuel Crowther was one of the first four students to graduated from Fourah Bay College, sub Saharan Africa’s first university.
  29. 29. Samuel laboured diligently to bring the Gospel to the diverse tribes along the Niger River, producing Biblical tracts and Scripture texts dealing with witchcraft and charms. Winning Muslims to Christ
  30. 30. He also dealt with the common ground between the Qur’an and the Scriptures, and produced Gospel presentations for Muslims founded entirely on Biblical quotations.
  31. 31. Teaching God’s Book Crowther wrote in 1854 of his contact with King Ogara of Panda: “I asked if he would like his people to be taught God’s Book, and how to worship God as we do in the white man’s country…
  32. 32. …for it was these two things together which made England great, and that they would bring peace and prosperity to any country who received and embraced them …he replied …that he was very desirous that war should cease, that his people might trade and be taught God’s Book; he wished us many blessings…”
  33. 33. He was effective in opposing slavery, witchcraft and Islam and, and won many converts among the Nupe and the Hausa.
  34. 34. Bishop Crowther worked effectively at indigenising an Evangelical Anglicanism, which was truly African. Today there are over 18 million Anglicans in Nigeria. Enduring Fruit
  35. 35. Frontline Fellowship PO Box 74 Newlands 7725 Cape Town South Africa E-mail: Web: