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The Story of Scripture Union

Payson Hammond, an informal and controversial American preacher, confronted the rigid formality of Victorian religion one summer evening. The setting was John Street Chapel near Holborn, London, in 1867. Before him were the children, all silent and still, very respectful and properly clad in starched dresses, picture hats and velvet suits. Hammond might well have conformed to the solemnity of the occasion and passed on his way without recall. But he didn’t. He confronted the whole religious establishment by standing informally on the platform, smiling and generally throwing off the stiffness of formal preaching. His lively and attractive music matched his style. His stories enthralled the children, as well as a Mr. Josiah Spiers, who was in the congregation. Hammond emphasised love in place of fear. He spoke plainly, without condescension. He believed implicitly that a child could understand enough to be able to put personal faith in Jesus Christ. He introduced still another innovation, a children’s enquiry meeting at which children could received individual help. He believed in reaping the harvest. Josiah Spiers had attended these meetings every evening after work. He was deeply impressed with the lively, informal approach, the attractive use of stories and music and above all with the call for a response. Hammond had also strongly recommended the establishment of special services for children. Spiers heard the message and without wasting time, he arranged for a meeting near his home the following Sunday. Fifteen children aged 7-12 came along and a fortnight later there were fifty. It was not long before 300 were attending. A committee was soon formed which met every second Saturday. Children were prayed for personally and written to individually. Meanwhile Hammond’s meetings had sparked off similar services in other parts of London. The largest of these was at Surrey Chapel, south of the River Thames at which one of the leaders was a Mr Tom Bishop, a young civil servant in the customs. Tom Bishop helped with the services and counselled the children. The two men met in April 1868 and Bishop joined the committee Spiers had formed. On 30 May 1868 the name Children’s Special Service Mission (CSSM) was officially adopted. Despite his part in starting the mission and pulling together the committee, Spiers was no organiser. God made up for that deficiency through Tom Bishop who became secretary, later to be known as Honorary Secretary, then General Secretary. It was the teamwork, which lasted for forty two years, of Josiah Spiers, the magnetic children’s speaker and Tom Bishop, the skilful and far-sighted administrator, which built the CSSM and Scripture Union into a national, and then an international, force. Other Historical Highlights 1. The Origin Of Beach Missions In August 1868 Josiah Spiers went for a two-week holiday to Llandudno, a quiet resort place in North Wales that catered for the new fashion of holidays by the sea. As Josiah watched some of the children making a garden with pebbles and seaweed, he suddenly had an idea why might not these children be making a text of scripture with pebbles? Only a few minutes were needed to implement the idea. He ran off to the shop, obtained a ball of string and some pegs and appeared again on the beach. Eagerly he asked who will help him write a text. Stakes were fixed in the sand to make two straight lines. Josiah Spiers began to trace with a spade the words GOD IS LOVE. Excited children dashed off to collect white stones which they carefully filled into letters. As the work went on, quite a crowd of children and grownup people gathered round. Soon the text was finished. What shall we do next? The children asked. Mr. Spiers had not expected anything further, and was rather surprised. Shall I tell you a story? he suggested. Oh yes, a story! cried fifty voices at once. Quickly everyone moved a few yards up the beach and the children sat down on the sand to listen. When one story was finished, they asked for another and another. In this totally unplanned way the first seaside service was held. Each morning the children came running up to him as soon as he appeared on the beach. With a meeting each morning and text-decorating interspersed with fun, games and plenty of singing, the week passed all too soon. Finally he left Llandudno on 5 September, convinced that several children had come to put their faith in Christ and that beach missions had come to stay. As a result of this first year at Llandudno, Mr. Spiers made many friends among adults as well as children, and received a number of gifts for his work in London. Soon afterwards invitations began to arrive to conduct children’s services in the numerous parts of the country. As he had recently received a small legacy, sufficient to be able to manage without a salary, Spiers resigned his job: for the next forty years, until his death, he gave the whole of his time, without pay, to the CSSM. To SU the importance of Llandudno 1868 is not so much the record of historic facts, but the demonstration of an unchanging principle of child evangelism which was to be carried to four corners of the world. 2. Scripture Union Bible Reading Ministry In 1879, eleven years after Josiah Spiers’ Beach mission, the CSSM took a step which led to the development of a whole new dimension to its work. It started with a Miss Annie Marston, a young woman from Keswick, in the north of England. Annie wanted to encourage the girls in her Sunday school class to read the Bible but found that they did not know where to begin. If they did try to start they soon got stuck in some difficult part of the Old Testament and gave up. So she chose passages for them to read each day, wrote lists of them every week, and gave them to the children each Sunday. The following Sunday they discussed what they had been reading, and Annie tried to answer their questions about difficult passages. When children moved to higher classes, they continued to ask for the list of daily Bible readings. Another great truth began to dawn. Not only could children find Jesus as their Lord and Saviour in an intensely meaningful way, but they could read His Word and hear what He had to say to them. Faced with the demand for a systematic method of reading the Bible, Annie Marston wrote to the CSSM to take up the work of printing and circulating lists of daily Bible portions for children. However, Tom Bishop was not attracted by the idea as he felt strongly that it was not good for children to be asked to make promises they will not keep. During the next few months Annie, in her own words, fired another shot at CSSM from time to time. Eventually her patience was rewarded. In December 1878 Bishop was off work for a few days with a sore throat and had more time to think. He thought of Miss Marston and her persistent letters. Eventually he wrote, informing her that the committee would be meeting shortly and that he intended to put forward the suggestion about the Children’s Bible Union. He admitted seeing very little hope that CSSM would take up the work, but suggested that she might pray while the meeting was taking place. She no doubt prayed, and on 30 December 1878 the committee received the idea with great enthusiasm. A month later the scheme began to form. It was to be called The Children’s Scripture Union, and would provide a course of short bible portions to suit children. The first Bible reading cards were therefore started as from 1 April 1879. The card stressed the importance of reading the Bible thoughtfully and with prayer, and recommended choosing a verse or a few words from each day’s portion to think about during the day. By July 1870 thirty thousand cards had been issued. 3. The First S U Bible Reading Notes It was in 1886 that the first SU notes appeared. The initiative came from a twenty-two year old medical student at Cambridge, Charles Hartford-Battersby. While helping at a beach mission the previous summer, he had met a number of Christian boys from boarding schools. There were no SU meetings in schools in those days and he wanted to do something to help them. He wrote to Tom Bishop suggesting a monthly magazine, with notes on the SU reading each day and other features. This time Bishop and his committee were quick off the mark. Four months later the first issue of Our Boys. Magazine appeared, edited by a group of five Cambridge students, checked by Bishop, and published by the CSSM. Six months later daily notes also appeared in Our Own Magazine, written by Henry Hankinson (the first SU office secretary). The SU Bible reading ministry was a decisive turning point in the history of the Mission. It gave a new dimension to the ministry among children by offering valuable help to thousands who were not in touch with any of the CSSM’s existing activities. But it was soon to extend the mission’s influence into the adult world as well, as more and more people of all ages started to read the daily portions. It soon became clear, moreover, that the two aspects of the work, evangelism and Bible reading, fitted together perfectly. The history of the movement over the next hundred years illustrates the way that each side of the work complemented and assisted the other. 4. Scripture Union Moves to Adults In the 1880.s SU in England was still mainly for children. It was not until 1885, when founder members were starting to read the Bible through a second time, that a few cards were printed for adults. But in Japan, Scripture Union had already been launched as an adult movement two years earlier. It all happened through the initiative of an American schoolgirl. Adelaide Whitney had been introduced to SU by another schoolgirl at the age of thirteen, when she was visiting England. A few months later she returned to Tokyo, where she lived with her brother, W.N. Whitney, a doctor and a translator at the American embassy. She tried to persuade some of her foreign friends to join but had no success. One day she told an elderly Japanese Christian, Mr. Sen Truda, about her discouragement. Why don.t you ask us to join? He replied. The oldest Japanese Christian is only a few years old in the faith. The short readings will be just right for us. With Dr. Whitney’s active help they decided to launch Seisho no Tomo (Friends of the Bible) on 10 November 1883 at a crowded meeting at the Meiji Knaido to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther. Still only fifteen years old, Adelaide Whitney acted as national secretary. In the first month 304 members joined, and 2000 attended a meeting for members and friends the following April. 5. Scripture Union School’s Ministry It was the link with Cambridge that led to the next major advance which was into the public schools, the boarding schools for boys from middle and upper class families, where most Oxford and Cambridge students at that time were educated. As early as 1880, special cards were printed for the Public Schools Scripture Union. Membership increased during the 80s, partly through contacts at the seaside services, and partly through the boys. own efforts at recruiting among their friends. Two years later 2000 cards were printed, and there were branches in many leading schools, one having sixty members. In 1886, as we have already seen, a group of Cambridge students took the initiative in starting Our Boys Magazine. It was not easy to live a consistent Christian life in the tough world of a nineteenth-century boarding school, and the magazine aimed to help them to all that is good and right. Then in 1888 George Pilkington, a brilliant Cambridge scholar and athlete, was appointed to the CSSM staff to take missions in public schools. His academic reputation and colourful personality gave him many openings in the schools, and numbers of boys were converted through his ministry. 6. SU’s Camping Ministry In August 1892, two Cambridge theological students, Stanley Power and C.H. Clissold, came up with another idea: an evangelistic camp for public school boys. Our plan was as follows: to collect together as many as possible under canvas, to provide for them all the sports and amusements dear to the heart of boys, and while in the midst of these enjoyments to influence more by example than by words. It was an original idea to arrange a camp with an evangelistic purpose. The first University Camp for Public Schoolboys was held at Rustington, near Littlehampton, on the south coast of England. Fifty-five boys were present, with Major Liesbenrood in charge, and Canon John Taylor Smith (soon to be Bishop of Sierra Leone) as chaplain. The tents were pitched within a few minutes walk of the sea. The days, Taylor Smith reported were spent in bathing, boating, cricketing, fishing etc., and the evenings always closed with family prayers. On the last night, some of the most unlikely ones, who had come to camp as a joke told how they had found Christ that week. The Universities camps were not at first officially part of CSSM, but were closed linked it. Staffed by Christian army officers, university students and one or two young clergymen, the combination of a cheerful open-air holiday, energetic games, semi-military discipline, and spiritual challenge was on exactly the right wavelength for the boys and it proved immensely popular. Three camps had to be organised in 1883, and four in 1884, taking 254 boys and staffed by fifty-nine officers. 7. Scripture Union Goes International Through its Bible reading literature and through the hundreds who had served in its ranks when they were young and were now scattered all over the world, CSSM and Scripture Union could see the beginnings of its international ministry. By 1900 as many as eighteen million SU cards in fifty languages had been distributed overseas since the Mission started. Reports published in 1900 included news of Mr. Kanaya, traveling secretary in Japan and of William Smith, a colporteur on the staff in Sierra Leone. Beatrice Spiers, niece of the founder, had just started as a CSSM missionary in Spain. Luke John was busy with the Tinnevelly Children’s Mission in South India. There were 1,500 SU members scattered over 9 provinces of China. A long visit was planned for the newly appointed Assistant General Secretary, Martyn Gooch, to Australia and New Zealand. A seaside mission and weekly children’s services were being held in South Africa, where the SU branch had English, African and Dutch members. 8. The Scripture Union Structure An important change in the international structure was made in 1947, which made it possible for the movement in smaller countries like New Zealand to run its own affairs and even change its name if it thought it right to do so. Up to this time the CSSM council in England had been legally responsible for the movement all over the world except in Switzerland and France. As in the old British Empire, all decisions eventually came back to London. When he reached England, John Laird, former missionary staff to New Zealand, decided to change all that, and to turn the movement into a commonwealth, a family of independent national movements. He advised the London council to alter its legal articles and to delegate its power. As we shall see, it was only an interim stage in the development of the international structure. But it was an important one. By mutual agreement, two categories of national movements were recognised. In the first were those which were financially independent of London, and were autonomous. In 1948 there were New Zealand, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Switzerland. Each was encouraged to become legally incorporated in its own country, and was given formal permission to use the name of the movement so long as it continued to conform to the principles and methods of the CSSM, with particular reference to the doctrinal beliefs commonly held in the Mission. They were responsible for their own staff workers, finances, and policy, but they agreed to recognise the London Council as the senior member of the family. In the second category were Advisory Councils, still financially dependent on London. In 1948 these were Canada, South Africa, France, East Africa, South Australia and Peru. They agreed not to go into debt or appoint staff without approval from London. But they were encouraged to become financially self-supporting and self-governing as soon as possible. In the next twelve years Canada, France, South Africa, and South Australia all became autonomous, but several new centres had opened up and were included in the second category. To qualify for autonomy they had to have at least one full-time staff worker and be financially self-supporting. 9. Old Jordans – The First SU International Conference Late in May 1960, twenty-one leaders from CSSM and Scripture Union around the world gathered in England for a historic conference. They came with a keen spirit of anticipation. It was the first time such a representative group had met and the agenda opened up the possibility of a radical change in the way the movement was organised. John Laird set the scene at a public meeting in London a few days before the conference at which he also called for prayer for the wind of the Holy Spirit to blow through the conference. The conference centre was Old Jordans, a then 400-year old Quaker Hostel a few miles North West of London. Most of the twenty-three members of the conference had many years of experience in the movement, either on staff or as members of the committee. They came from twelve countries – South Africa, Ghana, Switzerland, New Zealand, England, France, Australia, USA, Scotland, India, Canada and Japan. Under the skilful leadership of Derek Warren, chairman of the London Council, the conference members considered, debated and tested almost every aspect of the movement’s activities and relationships. First of all, members reviewed the world situation and listed targets for the years ahead. The survey showed remarkable progress since the end of World War II. Secondly, the conference discussed ways of keeping the growing movement together. All were convinced that from now on SU was to be a family of equal national groups. But how could this loosely-knit family work together, so that the stronger movements could help the weaker ones, without dominating them, and consistent standards be maintained? Again Derek Warren’s clear legal mind helped the conference to see that what was needed was not a superstructure, controlling the emerging national movements from above, but an infrastructure, a secure framework within which various national movements could freely cooperate and support one another. It was also agreed to take the example of the recently formed Australia, New Zealand (ANZEA) regional council. In this case it was felt that as the work grew, cooperation would be better achieved at the regional level, with the regions rather than individual countries being represented at the international committee. The next step was then to set up an International Committee (later called the International Council) with just five members. Armin Hoppler, from Switzerland, became the first International Secretary with the International headquarters being in Switzerland. Thirdly, the conference laid down clear guidelines to help emerging national movements to understand what SU stood for in terms of aims, doctrinal convictions, methods, basic philosophy and its relationship to the churches and other Christian bodies. Fourthly, the conference recommended that Scripture Union, or a translation of it, should in future be the movement’s official name throughout the world. Other subsidiary names, such as ISCF and CSSM would continue to be used for specialised activities. But it was a unifying factor that the main name in every country was the same and it was a name that emphasised the central place of the Bible in all its activities. It is generally agreed that despite the inevitable small problems along the way, the international arrangements worked out at Old Jordans have served the movement exceptionally well. The rapid advance of the next twenty years and the spiritual harvest that resulted were in large measure made possible by the decisions that were made then. The second international conference was held at Lausanne in 1967, the third was at Port Dickson, Malaysia, in 1972, the fourth was near Edinburgh in 1979, the fifth was at Harare, Zimbabwe in 1985, the sixth was at De Bron, Holland in 1992 and the seventh at Nottingham, England in 2001. Nigel Sylvester took over as International Secretary from Armin Hoppler in 1976 while Emmanuel Oladipo, a Nigerian, began as International Secretary in 1993. In Africa , the Regional Council was formed in 1967 with Nigel Sylvester as the first Regional Secretary. John Dean was the second Regional Secretary who took over from Nigel. Emmanuel Oladipo became Regional Secretary in 1981 while MukendiMutombo took over from Emmanuel in 1993 and OlaniyiDaramola succeeded Mukendi in 1998. The story of Scripture Union continues today with your participation. Topic: Scripture Union of Nigeria Pioneers and Historical Development Focal Text: Hebrew 13:7-8; 1 Peter 2: 21 INTRODUCTION: Walking in the steps of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is a very difficult but possible and joyous task. To walk in the steps of Jesus Christ simply implies asking yourself ‘what Jesus would do’ in every situation before taking action, not minding the loss or harm that would ensue. But has Jesus asked us to work in His step? The answer is in the affirmative. In 1 Peter 2: 21, Peter says “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.” Again, in Matthew 16:24, Jesus Himself says “if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” God used various people to pioneer the work of SU in Nigeria at the three stages of her development history. These people were respectable and responsible individuals that made themselves available to God for use. These people included Missionaries (Foreign and Nationals), Expatriate Teachers along with other Professionals and the indigenous elites who bore all odds to ensure Standards and Holiness. These people, though skilled in one form or the other, were first and foremost Christians who had walked in the steps of our Lord Jesus Christ. As Evangelicals, they held to the doctrines of sanctification, holiness, the authority of the Bible as the final source of authority for matters of faith and conduct (i.e. they believe that the Bible in its original text is the inspired word of God and is Infallible). They equally believe in living morally upright life, which manifests the fruit of the Holy Spirit. They also believed in the reality of the new birth, which causes a change of life style and brings a genuine desire to see other souls saved from sin. They also believed in the power of the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life. They saw witnessing for their faith as a way of life empowered by the Holy Spirit, which ensured fruitfulness in more souls won for Christ and discipled pilgrims that grew to Christian maturity. Other characteristics of these pioneer workers in SU (Nigeria) include the enhanced staff team; the very good and cordial relationship that existed between the voluntary workers (pilgrims) and staff; the simple structure put in place; the involvement of local people or indigenes; the viral advisory committee and the standing (executive) committee (and later known as Council); the clear Mission Statement, Beliefs and Working Principles. All these gave SU good will with the public. THE MAIN ERAS OF SU WORK IN NIGERIA This History of the origin land development of Scripture Union in Nigeria is presented under the three main periods thus: (a) The Early Beginning in Nigeria (from about 1884 to 1949) (b) The Expatriate Era (from 1950 – 1965) (c) The Indigenization Era (from 1966 to Date) THE EARLY BEGINNING IN NIGERIA This period of SU (Nigeria) history span about 1884 to 1949 A. D. The main source of labor for the work at this period was the missionaries (both Foreign and National). Scripture Union came into Nigeria (as it did the other part of Africa) in the first wave of its expansion beyond the continent of Europe through its literatures, the SU reading cards and notes sent to English Missionaries working abroad. The Children’s Scripture Union (as it was then called) was introduced to Nigeria in about 1884 by one of the missionaries of the CMS in the Yoruba Mission field. The notable missionary that brought SU to Nigeria was Rev. Charles Henry Vidal Gollmer. He was the son of Rev. Charles Andrew Gollmer, who accompanied Revd Henry Townsend as one of the missionaries that established the Yoruba Mission Field of CMS in January 1845 at Badagry. He was born in Lagos on 9th October 1854. After his trainings both at King’s College School Canterbury and the Church Missionary College Islington, London, he was ordained a Deacon on 16th June 1878 and sent to the Yoruba Mission Field as a Missionary (thus following the footsteps of the father). After his priesthood ordination in 1879 at Sierra Leone, he settled to work in Lagos. After his contact with CSSM and CSU in London in 1882, he returned to Lagos in 1883 to establish CSU in the Yoruba Mission Field. From this young beginning, the work continued to grow and by 1st January 1885, SU was inaugurated in Lagos. Rev. G.H.V Gollmer continued to co-ordinate the work by making other missionaries to embrace the meeting of SU to study their Bible through the Reading Cards. Other people that featured prominently in the pioneering work at this stage include Mr. Oluwole (in Lagos), Revd D. Olubi (Native minister at Ibadan), Revd S. Pearse (of a place called Leks, near Lagos), Revd Charles S. Phillips (a native minister in Ondo), Revd D. Coker (a native minister at Badagry), Mrs. Makaman. The spread of the work to the Niger Mission Field of C M S was reported by Revd H.S. Macaulay (of Asaba) that SU work has started by 1889 at Asaba. Other Missionaries who worked at this Field include Dr. Charles HarfordBattersby who arrived at Lokoja in April 1890 (He was the medical student that introduced the idea of Notes to the Bible Portion For Children in 1886), Revd Sidney Smith and Revd A.C. Onyeabo (both of Egbu, near Owerri). The work in the Niger Delta Field included the Northern Nigeria. In 1923, Revd Daintree gave interesting report of gospel talks, Scripture text competition and hymns among the children in Lokoja. In 1927, SU cards were first issued in Nupe. This pattern of SU work continued into the thirties, though diminishing in vitality, and by the late thirties no frequent and regular reports were received again from Nigeria. The decline was partly due to lack of Missionaries showing enthusiasm in the work or taking on the additional responsibility of distributing SU cards and arranging meetings. The other reasons for the decline include the lack of permanent structure in place (i.e. no staff members and no permanent Voluntary Workers – pilgrims in place). The decline continued in the 1940s. The decline in the 1940s was due to the effects of the Second World War which curtailed many other activities not directly related to the war. THE EXPATRIATE ERA: The next phase of SU work in Nigeria is called the Expatriate Era. This period ranged from 1950 to 1965. The main source of manpower for the work at this period was the Expatriate Teachers and other professionals who were Christians from their home countries before coming to work in Nigeria. Few indigenous elites, who were Christians, also featured at this stage. Also, at this stage of the work, there existed some form of structure put in place. There was a simple structure in place which had few staff employed (who served as catalysts), recruiting many voluntary workers who were Expatriates and few indigenous elites. The first and second committees were formed at this era of the work. The clear Mission statement, Beliefs and Working Principles of the Inter-national Family of SU was available for use at this period. The name, Scripture Union, was already concluded at the International Conference held at Old Jordans, North West of London, in 1960, and was available for use by any National movement. The Expatriate Teachers took over SU work from Missionaries in the early fifties. By 1953 an SU group has been organized in one of the Nigerian Secondary Schools by one Mr. Peter Johnson who was a teacher in the school. The growth of the work in Nigeria and Ghana led to the appointment of the first full time worker to West Africa in June 1955. He was Mr. Nigel Sylvester, a Cambridge graduate, who was based at Ghana and coordinated the work in West Africa. The need for more staff led Mr. Nigel Sylvester to embark on training Africans for leadership positions as Camp Officers and Leaders of SU groups, while looking to London office for more staff appointment. The visit of Mr. Nigel Sylvester to Nigeria in the mid 1956 led to the formation of the first ever Nigerian SU Committee. The first sitting was comprised of about nine Expatriate who were teachers and lecturers in the Western and Northern Schools in Nigeria. The Committee was advisory in nature. They held their first meeting on 11th May 1957. A second committee, called the standing committee, emerged from this first committee with Mr. IshayaAudu, as Chairman. They held their first meeting on 18th June 1957, where the appointment of Dr. Joe Akingba as prayer secretary was made. The first staff worker finally appointed for the SU work in Nigeria was Mr. John Dean. Although he was appointed at the first SU Advisory Committee meeting held on 11th May 1957, he could only resume work in late 1958. Other staff added to the staff team that ensured the growth of the work included Mr. Peter Edwards (September 1961), Miss Jane Sutton (early 1963), and Mr. Bill Roberts (November 1964). THE INDIGENIZATION ERA: The next phase or SU work in Nigeria is called the Indigenization Era. This period spans from 1966 to date. The main feature of the work at this stage was the autonomy of SU (Nigeria). This autonomy fully included all the essentials of indigenization which are Self Governing, Self Propagating and Self Supporting (financing). SU became autonomous in Nigeria in the year 1966. The service to mark the status was held on 5th November 1966, at Immanuel College, Ibadan. Mr. Nigel Sylvester, the African Regional Secretary declared the Nigerian Scripture Union autonomous. Over 200 students and supporters attended the service. From then, the name became Scripture Union (Nigeria). In the evening of the same day (5th Nov. 1966) the SU house, containing the SU Headquarters was dedicated at the current site at Ibadan by Rt. Revd I.O.S. Okunsanya, Bishop of Ondo Diocese. In the same year the first Nigerian Travelling Secretary was appointed. He was Mr. (now Revd) Mike Oye, who resumed duty on August 1966. SU (Nigeria) was registered with the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs on 9th October, 1967. The Nigerian Council was established and at the date of declaration of autonomy the council was chaired by Rev (now Bishop) G.I.D. Olajide. The Secretary of Council was Mr. (now Dr) Dan Onwukwe and the Treasurer was Mr. OluAdeyemi. The Nigerian council was established with full powers to run the affairs of the Union in Nigeria. It may be good to point out that the indigenization process commenced early in the organization of the work. Soon a god number of dedicated Nigerians came on the committee. These over a period included Dr. (now Prof) IshayaAudu, Rev (now Bishop) G.I.D Olajide, Mr. Mathias Eluwa, Mr. (now Ven.) M. Soyanwo, Mr. S. Nnamuah, Mr. A. Akanni, Mr. S.O. Adeyemi, Mrs. D. Adesogan, Dr (now Prof) E.K. Adesogan, Dr. I.S.G. Madugu, and Dr. Dan Onwukwe. Other staff that served at this period of the work include Mr. MuyiwaOlamijulo (Sept. 1969), Revd Olagundoye (January 1970 as the first General Secretary), Mr. (now Venerable) M.O. Soyanwo (he served as 2nd General Secretary), Mr. Now Venerable) Okafor (He served as the 3rd General Secretary), Mr. (now Revd. Canon) C.I. Okeke (the current General Director), Miss Comfort Essien, Engr Ezekiel Izuogu, Miss Beatrice Nwogunuwe, Mr. Chris. Nwanebo (late) Mr. (now Revd) Julius Eda, Mr. (now Bishop) Ajetumobi, Mr. (now Revd) Francis Uduma, Rev (Dr.) Blessing Eyinda, Mr. (Now Rev) MosyMadugba, Rev (now Bishop) Tope Babajide and Rev (Dr.) UsipUsip. Over forty are currently in the staff list of the Union. The developmental stages of the work in this era are reflected under the seven chairmen of the National Council within this period under review. These were: (1) Rev (now Bishop) G.I.D. Olajide’a Tenure (1966-1968) (2) Dr. (now late) P, T. Odumosu’ Tenure (1968-1974) (3) Mr. S. O. Adeyemi’s Tenure (1974-1981) (4) Prof. E. K. Adesogan’s Tenure (1981- 1987) (5) Prof. F. A. Onofeghara’s Tenure (1987-1993) (6) Prof. E. W. Mbipom’s Tenure (1993-1999) (7) Dr. (Sir) A. U. Mbanaso’s Tenure (1999-Date) We shall run through these tenures only stopping to note the important events and dates. Rev (Now Bishop) G.I.D. OLAJIDE’S TENURE (1966 – 1968) – Scripture Union became autonomous in Nigeria in the year 1966. The service to mark the status was held on 5th November, 1966, at Emmanuel College, Ibadan. Mr. Nigel Sylvester, the African Regional Secretary, declared the Nigerian Scripture Union autonomous. Over 200 students and supporters attended the service. – From then the name became Scripture Union (Nigeria). – In the evening of the same day (5th November, 1966) the SU house, containing the SU Headquarters (the center of administration of SU activities in Nigeria), the Literature center (bookshop) and others, was dedicated at the site (the same current place) at Ibadan by the Rt. Rev. I.O.S. Okunsanya, Bishop of Ondo. – In the same year, the first Nigerian Travelling Secretary was appointed. He was Mr (Now Rev) Mike Oye; he assumed duty on August 1966. – SU (Nigeria) was registered with the Federal Ministry of internal Affairs, as a Voluntary, non-profit making Christian Organisation on 9th October, 1967. – Thee Nigerian Council was established and at the date of declaration of autonomy, the Council was chaired by Rev (now Bishop) G.I.D. Olajide. The Secretary was Mr (now Dr) Dan Onwukwe and the Treasurer was Mr OluAdeyemi. – It should be noted that, in 1963, Daily Power, the first English Notes written to be used among SU families in Africa, was produced. It was produced by SU Nigeria and was edited by Rev. Francis Foulkes. The usage was among the junior students and new converts. About 12,000 copies were produced in 1963 and by 1965, 27,000 copies were produced. – Also, in 1965, another note was produced for the African SU families. This was called Daily Guide and was geared towards the senior students and adults in African setting. – The Pilgrims Work in SU (Nigeria) was started by the approval given by the Council sitting of late 1966 and early 1967. The Pilgrims Groups within SU (Nigeria) were fellowship of School Leavers. Since they were inaugurated shortly after the autonomy of 5th November 1966, the Pilgrims Groups prominently carried out the ideas of Nigerianization, and within a short time, members of the Pilgrims Groups were assuming Leadership roles in the national movement. – The National Council under the Chairmanship of Rt. Revd Gideon Olajide asked Bill Roberts, SU Travelling Secretary in Eastern Nigeria, to set up a committee to look into ways of helping school leavers to continue their Christian growth after leaving school. The committee set up by Bill Roberts met at Methodist college, Uzuakoli and recommended the starting of a fellowship which was called “Scripture Union Pilgrims.” The Council approved the recommendation with the modification of the name of the Fellowship to “Pilgrims of Scripture Union.” – In Eastern Nigeria, a Launching Ceremony was held in early 1967, but before the Pilgrims Groups could start regular Fellowship, the Civil War started and all plans were seeming aborted. God in his own way used Bill Roberts during the war to train young school leavers who became strong Nigerian leaders after the war. Many Pilgrims Groups sprang up after the war in former Eastern Nigeria. – In Western Nigeria the Pilgrims Groups were established in the major towns of Lagos, Ibadan and others. The groups continued through the war period. DR P.T. ODUMOSU’S TENURE (1968 – 1974) The following are noted: – At the fifth meeting of Council on 1st October 1969, she decided to: (i) Set up a Literature Sub-Committee (ii) Have a Day of Prayer and Gifts (iii) Appoint the first General Secretary of SU (Nigeria). He was the Revd M.O. Olagundoye. The appointment was with effect from 1st January 1970. (iv) The appointment of Mr. (now Revd) JideMabadeje as the first Pilgrims Secretary. – Area sub-committees were set up in various states of the country. Council simply adopted the principle that sub-committees located in various states should become Area sub-committees. Sub-committees were to be made up of minimum of 8 members or a maximum of 15 members, one-third of whom shall form a quorum. They were to be meeting at least quarterly. – In 1969 Council decided that Gratuity scheme should be for all regular staff. While SU contribute 10%, the staff concerned should contribute 5%. – In October 1971, it was decided that a piece of land could be acquired only in Lagos, Enugu and Uyo by the respective state sub-committees. – In November 1972 it was decided that properties like boats or cars cannot be owned by sub-committees but legal ownership of such properties resided in SU Nigeria irrespective of where the money for them were raised. – In May 1972 Council decided that a National SU Conference be held where various sub-committees would come near the Council for effective communication and consultation within its fold. A Council meeting should immediately follow the Conference to make executive decisions. In his tenure, Revd M.O. Olagundoye was General Secretary (1970 – 1973). He died in active service by accident. Mr. A.O. Olamijulo acted as General Secretary up to July 31, 1977. MR. S.O. ADEYEMI’S TENURE (1974 – 1981) The following are noted: – In April 1974 Council decided that the 7 acre of land bought by the Western State committee at Ogbomosho be developed into an SU Campsite. – In April 1974 meeting, the following were decided. A separate SU Literature Business was considered. Finally a literature committee to work out the details was set up. – Also, Council decided that state Pilgrims’ Coordinator be appointed by the state committee in all our formation. – In October 1974 Council decided that parents, pastors and principals (PPP) Day be organized in each Area by the Area sub-committee. Also an Editorial Board for SU notes was formed. Each Editorial Board was to review the Note after they had been edited by the Editor. The Board was also to do the proof-reading to ensure there were no errors in the production. – From 5th April 1975 a Literature division came into effect in SU (Nigeria), by the decision of Council. – In April 1976 it was decided that for our SU Organizational set-up, the town names should be used instead of state names, e.g. Enugu Area for former east Central State. – The designation of Area Committee replaced sub-committees previously used. Also the membership of the Area committee was increased from 15 to 20 for all Areas. – The Tenure of Area chairmen and secretaries was resolved by Council to be for 3 years in the first instance and another tenure of 3 years before going on Sabbatical Leave from the post. This took effect from 2nd April, 1977. – In August 1978 meeting, Council decided that career development provision be made for our staff to avoid prolonged vacancies occurring in the future. – The position of an assistant Council secretary was created at the Council session held on March 1979. – In August 1980, the Council accepted the establishment of a Printing Press. – In March 1981, Council decided that all her subsequent March meetings would continue to be residential. In this period, Mr (now Ven.) M.O. Sayanwo was the General Secretary (1974 – 1997) . Mr A.O. Olamijulo stood in from 1977 to 1988 in the position and resigned. From 1978 to January 31, 1980, the post of General Secretary was not substantially occupied. PROF. E.K. ADESOGAN’S TENURE (1981 – 1987) The following are noted: – Review of the constitution was between 1982 and august 1986. The final printed copies were distributed at March 1987 Council meeting. – The birth of the Scripture Union Press and Books Ltd. The meeting that started since 1979 finally gave birth to this company on 1stt September, 1986. The Board was finally inaugurated on 15th November, 1986 in Benin City, while Ibadan was eventually chosen as the location for the Press. – The Birth of Children’s Ministry came into effect in this period. – The establishment of Schools’ Department. – Extending SU Ministry to the North. The discussion for the movement started on 5th March 1983 and by March 1987 Council meeting, the decision had been taken for SU to move to the North primarily for Pilgrims, Children, Literature Sales and Publication Ministries. – Policies on staff matters. During this period (1981-1987), Council made Policy decisions on staff matters ranging from recruitment, to staff training, discipline, and staff welfare that led to the establishment of a career structure – In August 1984, the first ever SU Camp site was commissioned for use. It was the Camp of Faith at Okigwe. The annual National Conference was held there and it comfortably hosted over a thousand Campers. – The Five years Development programme that covered the period of June 1985 to May 1990 was put in place in council meeting of 9 – 10th august 1985. – In the meeting of August 1985, the Council also decided to institute SU Convention. This was to afford all her members the opportunity of fellowship together once every three years, to begin after the next two delegate Conference at the Camp of Faith, Okigwe. – In the same meeting of august 1985, the council accepted the idea of appointment of a full time staff for the position of the National Pilgrims Coordinator. The details was referred to Exco Meting which appointed the first staff in 1986. Arc. Chris I. Okeke was the first full time National Pilgrims Coordinator. – In the meeting of august 1987, the Council approved the tenure of General Secretary to be term of Five years renewable for another term of five years after which he should take a one-year-Sabbatical Leave. If he come back, he would be redeployed to another position, but his last salary (as GD) should remain personal to him. In this period Mr (now Ven) Ralph Okafor was General Secretary. He acted from February 1, 1980 – January 31st 1981, and become substantive General Secretary from February 1, 1981 to December 31st 1993, beyond the tenure of Prof. E. Adesogan. PROF. F.A. ONOFEGHARA’S TENURE (1987 – 1993) The following are noted: – The Sister’s Wing of the SU Pilgrims Ministry was adopted by Council within this period. – The National Bible Quiz Competition for youths was accepted by Council within this period. It was to be highly rewarded. – In her sitting of March 1990, Council, in an effort to further stimulate schools work, the Council adopted the guidelines recommended by Exco on the decentralization issue, especially approving the criteria for creating new Areas, the functions and composition of Regional Committees, the resultant composition of the National Exco and Council. – FCS affiliation with Africa Region was endorsed by Council in her meeting of August 1990. – In her August 1992 sitting, Council approved the establishment of Data Base in our formations. – In the same meeting the Council accepted the formation of Mission directorate which should take off from January 1993. – In her March 1993 sitting, Council approved in principles the establishment of Primary Schools Department as separate from Children’s and School’s Departments. Council also approved in principle the constitution of National Primary advisory committee as a separate body from Children’s and Schools’ Advisory Committees. – Plumbline Journal, a Pilgrim publication was in circulation late in 1992. PROF. E.W. MBIPOM’S TENURE (1993 – 1999) The following are noted: – Mobilized Council. In this period, there was a high response and participation in Council meetings shown in attendance to meetings. – There was restructuring of SU Ministries bringing it back to its proactive core programmes of youth work, children work, Bible reading promotion ministry, training/discipleship, camping, etc. The boarder line management model was applied to our work. – This tenure put a stop to high staff turnover by putting in place a good career structure and welfare policies that encouraged the staff’s long term service. – The long-term decision for growth made the work grow from the structure of 3 Regions and 19 Areas to that of 6 Regions and 25 Areas. The National Exco meeting was reduced from 4 to 2 annually, and more powers were developed to regions. – The Scripture Union Campus Fellowship was created within this period under reviewed, to take care of our members going into the higher institution. It started in 1995. – There was a good staff ad voluntary leaders relationship developed within this tenure also. – The development of central West Sub-Region was very obvious within this period. – From January 1, 1994, Mr. Chris I. Okeke became the General Secretary and supported the tenure of both Professor E.W. Mbipom and Dr (Sir) A.U. Mbanaso. DR (SIR) A.U. MBANASO’S TENURE (1999 – DATE) The development within this tenure include the following: – Restructuring of Scripture Union Nigeria in order to find relevance in this 21st century. It is in his tenure that the designation of General Secretary was changed to General director in line with changes in various movements in international community of Scripture Union. – Further Regionalisation took place in his time, the Regions increased from 6 to 7 (Abuja Regions was created) and further decentralization increased the Areas from 26 to 31; Warri, Auchi, IkotEkpene, Ekiti and Jos Areas were created in this period. – Management by objective became a philosophy of our Administration. Ten years Strategic Programme for the Union was put in place, and the Union had a clear vision of the Mission. – Mission into Central West sub-Region was further boosted by Union’s pledge to fund appointment of Full time Sub Regional Secretary to the Sub-Region. – A decision to be concerned with events that occur in our society was taken at this period. A Social Action Committee was formed. In this tenure, Rev. Canon Chris I. Okeke was the General Director. The current General Director is Engr. YomiOladeji STATISTICAL DATA AND SUPPORT BASE OF S.U. NIGERIA  No of Regions – 8  No of Areas – 33  No of Zones – (178)  No of Pilgrims Groups – (1,207)  No of Secondary School Groups – 2,450 (2003 Data)  No of Groups in higher institution – 100  Students population in schools – over 134,599  Pilgrims Support – About (28,000) (1999 Data) SOME LESSONS FROM THESE PIONEERS (a) Refusal to erect buildings and refusal to collect offering Scripture Union came to Nigeria about 1885. Those who brought the ministry to this nation were conscious of what it meant to walk in His steps. So Scripture Union Nigeria was founded and developed on this unique principle. Scripture Union bluntly refused to erect a structure of her own but decided to meet in schools and churches that accepted her. They also refused to collect offering during fellowships including Sundays. (b) Refusal to give bribe In Nigeria every policeman knows that Scripture Union members do not give bribe. It would appear that this is part of their orientation in the police college. A Policeman stopped one of the drivers of Scripture Union and said to him “I know that you don’t give bribe but I want you to give me something. Pray for me.” The Policeman removed his cap and bent his head and the driver prayed for him. He was very happy to receive prayers from a Scripture Union member. (c) Use of Evangelistic Equipment Scripture Union made available her evangelistic equipment and vehicles free of charge to any Church or Christian organization that needed them. They even provided drivers and operators to drive the vehicles and man the equipment. (d) Revival in the Churches Scripture Union brought School’s visitation, Camping, Retreats, Leadership Training, Rallies, Night Vigil and Conferences to Nigeria and is happy that Churches and other Christian Organisations are now copying them, and that many churches are being revived by imbibing them. Scripture Union is working with the Churches so that the churches may learn from her and that she may also learn from the churches. (e) Zealousness in Evangelism Scripture Union members preached everywhere – the vehicles, hospitals, leper colonies, prisons, and at police barracks. Some trekked from Enugu to Port Harcourt preaching the gospel. Evangelism was the number one focus. CONCLUSION: For a good conclusion of this paper, a comparative analysis of the “then: and “now” is imperative. The good and cordial relationship between the few staff and the pilgrims (voluntary workers) reflected good human relations. The high integrity of the staff and members of SU made her to have a very good public image and good will. These high moral and Ethical values that SU (Nigeria) maintained made the Churches and other Agencies disposed to do business with SU (Nigeria). This Networking and good partnership portrayed SU in the good Light. The sacrificial services offered by staff and pilgrims were understood as “Missionary Spirit”. But what do we see in today’s SU (Nigeria) Ministry? Can those “Old days” come back? From the divine warnings coming at the recent Exco and Council Meetings, what can we foresee and do? May God depend on us, Amen. As Pioneers in His steps, it is time we stop allowing the world to influence us adversely. We should rather become pacesetter for other to emulate. It is time we show the world and the church what it means to walk in His steps, to be a genuine disciple of Jesus Christ. People would call us names; they would hate us. But we should remember that our Lord Jesus Christ also suffered leaving us example that we should follow in His steps. REFERENCES 1. Sheldon, Charles M., In His Steps, Zondervan publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A. 16th Ed. 1979. 2. Holy Bible (NIV) Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, M149530, U.S.A. 1995. 3. Webster’s New Dictionary of Synonyms, G. & C. Merriam Co., Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.A, 1942. 4. Carnegie, D. How To Win Friends And Influence People. Benin City Rhema Publishers, Inc, 1940. 5. Cho, Y.P. More Than Numbers. Lagos: Marantha Foundation books, 1984 6. “Christian Loyalty” Plumbline Journal, August Vol. 2: No 2, 2002. 7. Dyer, O. The Power of Personal Integrity. USA: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1997. 8. Edomwonyi, I.O.F. “Financing Indigenous Mission Work: A case study of Scripture Union (Nigeria)’. Master of Divinity Dissertation. Ogbomoso: Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, 2002. 9. Hanks, G. 60 Great Founders. Kaduna: Evangel Publication, 2001. 10. Hews,M. A Tale of Two Vision. England: Scripture Union, 2000. 11. Liardon, R. God’s Generals.. Kaduna: Evangel Publications, 1998 12. Meeks, 5. Relational Christianity. Texas: Calvary Publication, 1991. 13. Ojo,M.A. “The Growth of Campus Christianity And Charismatic Movements In Western Nigeria.” Ph.D Dissertation. London: King’s College London University of London, 1986. 14. Okafor, R.C. Like A Mustard Seed. Ibadan: Kola Johnson Press, 1985. 15. Pierce, T.B. Ministerial Ethics. USA: Logion Press, 1996. 16. Scott, J. Evangelical Truth. Leicester: Intervarsity Press, 2001.