- PA CHARLES ADINTU – From slavery to becoming a fisher of men, in God’s vineyard
Pa Charles Adintu was a renown Missionary, Prominent Crusader, Freed Slave and founder of Anglican Church in Omabala area. He was born as Omatam Adintu at Umuatuolu Umueri in the early part of the Nineteen Century. He has been variously described as the “Father of Anglican Church in Anambra Valley” and also ” One of the Boys of Ajayi Crowther” in the Anglican Church Missionary Society (CMS).
Early in his life, he was captured and sold into Slavery.He was later resold to Portuguese slave Merchants and put on board a slave ship for transportation across the Atlantic to the New World. Fortunately, the slave ship was captured by the British War Ship traversing International territorial Sea Waters in search of slave merchants who were bent on carrying on with the trade on human beings despite the fact that the slave trade had been legally and unequivocally abolished. They were taken to Sierra-Leone- being the depot of freed slaves as liberated persons and so joined the recaptured.
In Freetown, the capital of Siera Leone, they were taught the Bible and Missionary work. He got baptized and therefore took the name Charles. Thereafter, his vision was how to undertake a mission to his country-home Umueri to evangelize his people. He pursued that vision until it materialized in the early part of the year Twentieth Century.
Having prayed fervently for the success of this mission, Charles Adintu and his party set out for the Missionary work to his country-home, Umueri.
The party comprised mostly freed slaves who could no longer trace their ancestral homestead as well as white missionary workers who were prepared to go to the remotest parts of the African continent in the bid to spread the gospel.
The party arrived at Umueri with great zeal and zest. But then, the general mood of the people was that of resentment. The resentment stemmed from the fact that the Catholic Mission under Rev. Father Joseph Shanahan had earlier established a mission at neighboring Ndiuka Aguleri. From there, several incursions were made into Umueri. But these incursions were stoutly rebuffed by the pessimistic natives who felt that their old ways of life [Traditional African Religion] should not be abolished or modified on the pretense of an exotic culture. The first mission ended in an unmitigated disaster. The repulsive natives used their black science maximally forcing the evangelical mission to retreat.
He was not deterred or demoralized by the failure of the failed mission. He embarked on the Second Missionary Journey in his bid to evangelize his Town. The second Missionary Journey was better organized and more spiritually formidable. Thus vibrant, resilient and power-packed and structured to stand the test of time. The party compromised mostly of black missionaries. When they came, they settled at a piece of land that was uninhabited and built a thatched house as a base and then another for their Sunday worship.
As they preached the Gospel, from one Village Square to another, small children who of course heard the Gospel for the first time followed them. As they went about, they shared the ‘Blue Diamond’ T-Shirts, pencils, slates, etc to the people. They equally established a small school and encouraged little children to attend the school.
Determined to make the monumental accomplishment of this enterprise, the Mission headed by reinvigorated church-teacher Charles Adintu, and strengthened by the visible great success, established the Church on a parcel of land that belonged to his ancestors, in the year 1904.
Having Successfully established the first Anglican Church in the area (St. Immanuel Church Umuatuolu Umueri) in 1904. He proceeded to establish the following Anglican Churches: St. Gabriel’s Church Otuocha Umueri in 1912, then the Holy Trinity Church Igboezulu Aguleri in 1918. Those that learned the trade of evangelism under him went ahead to establish St. Philip’s Church Aguleri Otu in 1948, St. John’s Ugume Umueri in 1954, St. Peter’s Aguleri in 1967, St. Philip’s Mgbede Umueri, St. Michael’s and All Angels Ifite Aguleri, St. Paul’s Umunkiti Aguleri, All Saints Nneyi Umueri, St. Christopher’s Church Enugwu-Aguleri, Church of Pentecost Umuoba Anam and St. Barnabas Mmiata Anam.
Before his demise to the world beyond, he had worked as Resident Church teacher variously at Nnobi, Obosi, Umunya and other places. He died on the 24th day of February 1930 having fulfilled his vision of establishing a church in his part of Igboland.