1. bookVolume 6 (2020): Issue 1 (January 2020)
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The Impact of Garrick Braide's Revival on the Growth of Methodism in Eastern Nigeria between 1910 and 1932

Published Online: 14 Apr 2021
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Journal Details
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Journal
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20 Sep 2020
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2 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

The missionaries of the Primitive Methodist Mission pioneered into Igboland in 1910 and encountered opposition and difficulties. Efforts to become established were hindered by several factors. However, starting from 1914, a religious awakening led by Garrick Braide, an African convert of Niger Delta Pastorate Church (i.e. Anglican Church in the Niger Delta), spread throughout Igboland causing widespread religious revival. Using original source material, this article examines how the Primitive Methodist Mission benefitted greatly from this religious awakening, and subsequently witnessed phenomenal growth and consolidation in Igboland.

Keywords

Introduction

This article will draw attention to the role played by African agents in the growth of Methodism in Eastern Nigeria. It explores the origin of the Primitive Methodist Mission to Nigeria, describes some of the obstacles that were initially faced and gives an analysis of the way in which Nigerians themselves, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, facilitated the breakthrough that finally enabled the Primitive Methodist Mission to become firmly established in Igboland.

The Beginnings of the Mission

The Primitive Methodist Missionary Society (PMM) started Methodism in Eastern Nigeria. After a difficult beginning on the island of Fernando Po, administered by Spain, in 1890 the Mission Committee decided to move the work to a British controlled territory and began a new mission station in Archibong, in the land of the Efik, on the Agua Effey River (1893).

Roe, 26.

By this point in time the Church Missionary Society, United Free Church of Scotland Mission and the Qua Iboe Church had already established missions in this part of Nigeria. Thus, as the PMM spread into Igboland these missions saw the Primitive Methodists as intruders.

Ibid.

This feeling of encroachment necessitated a conference with the various stakeholders on 2 June 1909. This conference carefully divided and shared the whole of the Igbo hinterland among the Protestant missions with the aim of preventing friction in the course of each mission's expansion. It was agreed:

That the Primitive Methodist Mission shall extend along the line between Ikot Ekpene and Bende, developing mainly in the Bende District. The United Presbyterian Mission shall develop in the Ikot Ekpene District with freedom of development in and around Ikpe where that is within the Bende District. The Primitive Methodist Mission to work to the West and North; the United Presbyterian Mission to the East and North.

Archives, Enugu, RIV PROF. 3/4/104.

Providentially, this demarcation positioned the PMM within the area that would witness a great revival led by a local evangelist by the name of Garrick Braide. However, before this there were many failed attempts to establish the PMM in Igboland.

Obstacles Faced by the PMM

The PMM experienced a number of what can only be described as false starts during this early phase. For example, in 1909 Rev William Christie made a poor start at Arriam in Ikwuano. ‘He was still there at later 1910 [but] no impression could be made on the people.’

Archives, PMM, L3/23/NT/567/1843.

Having failed at Arriam, he tried at Ndioro, also in Ikwuano. There he was given a better welcome and managed to obtain land to build a school.

There was ample land for his purpose. Moreover, there was a spring at the foot of a hill, which promised a regular water supply. Food was in abundance. So ideal for a mission station did the town appear that Christie immediately set up a building to serve as a school and missionary quarters.

However, opposition to the mission from local residents soon grew to be significant. The chiefs even gave the warning that ‘nobody must attend school and no man must accept a job even as a laborer.’

Archives, PMM, L3/23/NT/567/1843.

This forced students and the small number of believers that had been converted to boycott the mission and the school.

The difficulties experienced by Christie at Ndoro did not go unnoticed and the District Officer at Bende, Major W.A.E. Cockburn, invited him to consider Bende as an alternative. It was hoped that the colonial presence there might facilitate the mission's establishment. Nevertheless, at Bende he was overwhelmed and it was observed by Frederick Dodds that ‘Christie's reception was no better here, but settle somewhere we must, and, seeing that all the country appeared to be alike, Bende was as good as anywhere else”

Dodds, ND, 8.

Other difficulties included a general shortage of finance and personnel.

Ogbu Kalu has also noted: ‘Beside, the mission did not pay well...the major source of funding the mission was the Africa fund which was not devoted to Nigeria mission alone. Even then, the fund dwindled drastically’. Kalu, 1996, 163.

The PMM ‘purse was slim and foreign missions were being run on borrowed money.’

Unknown, 1910, 134.

Moreover, the insufficient number of staff was a major handicap for the mission.

Christie in his first annual report complained that ‘we are going to dissipate our inheritance if you merely send out men to fill up the present stations as men go on furlough. This has been our policy for years. We can hope for no conquests with a staff so limited as ours. The staff must be doubled, otherwise it will be better to acknowledge our inability and let another society take up the work’. Christie, 1911, lvii.

These two factors combined to slow the pace of the PMM, which failed to evangelise the territory allotted to it or even to develop visible structures such as schools. This led some denominations with more staff and resources to consider encroachment into the PMM area.

Rev J.K. Macgregor, the Acting Secretary to the UFCS Nigerian Mission Council, appealed to Ingles, the new District Colonial Officer at Bende around this time, for permission to enter Bende district. Macgregor stated that his mission proposed to station an experienced European missionary in the eastern portion of the district, most probably in one of the towns near to Ebem where it would carry on the usual evangelistic, educational and medical work which it had carried on at all its stations. Ingles drew Macgregor's attention to the fact that Primitive Mission had already established at Bende and wondered whether it was not advisable for his mission to extend its influence in some other direction. Archives, Enugu, RIV PROF., 3/4/77.

In a letter from Christie to the executives of the Primitive Methodist Mission in London dated 10 September 1910, Christie contemplated a new mission methodology:

The Igbos were living on virgin soil. They had but some faint glimmerings that I had come with a new brand of religion which if accepted would alter every custom and strip them of the assistance emanating from the invisible forces. That help they were not prepared to lose. Hence, it was no use trying to win them over by preaching to them about the existence of one and only interminable God and His commandments. Rather, a different strategy portraying him as having come basically to render material assistance to the needy should be devised. Such tactics usually opens the door.

Archives, PMM, Box no. 1162.

From this it seems that Christie's failure led to the discovery of a significant truth: the importance of contextualising the gospel message. Unfortunately Christie did not stay to implement this strategy and the Rev Frederick W. Dodds was posted to Bende from Adadia to replace him (1911). With little success, Dodds tried to evangelise the surrounding areas and by 1912 he was relieved by W. Norcross who encountered similar difficulties (which he attributed to the poor financing of the mission).

In that year's annual report Norcross reported, ‘Bende is our advance post in the Ibo Country. In the town of Bende itself we cannot tabulate any marked success as yet. Our energies are, in the main, still spent among the boys in the school. The men and women refused to respond to our sympathies. This is the great problem here which we constantly seek to solve.’ Norcross, 1912, Ixv.

By 1913, when Dodds returned, he concluded that ‘Bende itself is a most troublesome place. So far, mission effort seems to have been utterly wasted.’

Archives, PMM, Box no. 1164.

Having illustrated the difficulties encountered by the PMM in its early years it is clear that the poor financial state of the mission, which hindered expansion and infrastructure developments, coupled with the strong antecedent religious identity of the Igbos themselves prevented the mission from getting off the ground. However, this sorry state of affairs would soon change dramatically. An external source, G.T. Basden of the Church Missionary Society, noted in 1918 that ‘a new element has appeared in the midst of these missions, namely the Primitive Methodist Missionary Society. The society established itself in the “seventies” at Oron, near the mouth of the Calabar River, but for a long time showed no appreciable tendency to expand. During the last ten years, however, the mission has manifested signs of new life and activity.’

Basden, 33.

The question is, what accounts for this change of fortune?

The Ministry of Garrick Braide

Garrick Braide

For a detailed examination of Garrick Braide and his Movement, see Ekebuisi.

(c. 1882–1918) was converted to the Christian faith around 1905 and enrolled himself into the enquirer's class of the Niger Delta Pastorate Church in Bakana. Eager to grow in faith, he closely attached himself to his catechist, Moses Kemmer, and arranged private lessons with him. At this point Braide began to show a vigorous interest in Christianity, spending hours during the week in prayer in the chapel, prostrating himself on the ground. Sometimes he would ask his catechist to allow him to spend the whole night in prayer at the church.

Growing in grace he also began to display miraculous powers by performing astonishing deeds through incessant and fervent prayers. Many joined the church as a result of his activities. Braide was baptized with his wife and first daughter in 1910 and was later confirmed by Bishop James Johnson in 1912. This confirmation and its impact on his life gave potency to his ministry and his activities subsequently attracted a great following.

Healing and other miraculous activities around this time made Garrick Braide's name famous beyond the Niger Delta region where he became known as a gifted charismatic religious leader. He started hosting open-air crusades in the front of his house with crowds in their hundreds. He appealed to the masses through the use of choruses and encouraged them to destroy all instruments of traditional religion, to stop drinking and selling gin and to develop an absolute faith in the God of Jesus Christ who favours, blesses and delivers all from the powers of evil. This new spirituality and missiological strategy created a popular mass movement. Braide presented his Christian message in a way that related convincingly, immediately and intimately to the experiences and understandings of his audience.

Garrick Braide's ministry developed further when he commissioned assistants anointed with charismatic gifts. He understood his ministry as complementing the ministry of the Niger Delta Pastorate Church, and he instructed converts to regularly attend Sunday services and read their Bibles. Banfield, 137.

Prior to his imprisonment (for disturbing the peace and disrupting the alcohol tax revenues)

The loss of tax revenue as a result of the decline in alcohol consumption following Braide's mission led to his arrest under trumped up charges of disturbing the peace. See, for example, Ekebuisi, 1–3: Oldham, 46: Johnson, 455; Pilter, 142.

and early death, the revival he spearheaded spread throughout Igboland.

Ogbu Kalu has argued that Braide's revival indicates that spiritual revivals quicken the pace of Christianization far more than the most ingenuous and planned evangelistic strategies. Kalu, 1977, 90.

From 1914 onwards, Braide led a revival movement that caused tremendous religious excitement. W.T. Groves, a Primitive Methodist Missionary working in Eastern Nigeria, observed in 1916: ‘beginning in this area and spreading through the various districts of the Ibo speaking people, strange things have been seen and heard. Recent happenings in such a short space of time that so vitally affected the lives of the people have never before been known.’

Groves, 84–87.

Braide was used by God to bring about a spiritual awakening and the people who came into contact with his movement became channels of grace to their own villages. As Kalu argued, ‘the movement spread by labour of local people who came into contact with the [spiritual] wave.’

Kalu, 1977, 89–100.

Some of these were people who visited Braide at Bakana who returned ‘with a determination to leave our idol worship and serve the true God.’

Ekebuisi, p.139. National Archives Enugu RIVPROF 8/5/571, Oguta Church people's petition to Resident Owerri Province 13 August 1917.

Characteristics of the Revival

To illustrate the way in which the gospel was spread, it is helpful to look at the example of Nwaigbe Achilefu. She visited her in-laws in 1916 at Umuokahia (Aba), a town which was already affected by the revival. There she had a life-changing experience and, on her return to her village of Umuobiakwa, she persuaded the elders to burn their gods just as their neighbours had done.

Kalu, 1977, 98

The whole village burnt their idols and opted instead for Christianity. This kind of mass identification and change of loyalty without the presence of any white European agents is a clear indication of how the revival was effected by Igbos themselves who were enthralled by the power of God.

When A.W. Banfield, the secretary of the British and Foreign Bible Society, visited in March 1916, he noted that, ‘One of the good effects of this revival is that very many villages have publicly burned their idols, and are asking for Christian teachers – for the prophet is not starting any new religion or sect. Archdeacon Dennis told me that the churches in his district were crowded with enquirers... It may safely be said that the movement is shaking the Ibo country’. Banfield, 137–38.

Examining these accounts, certain features and characteristics of the revival emerge. First, there was a lack of central organisation and a lack of interest by Garrick Braide in organising the converts of the revival into a church. Secondly, there was the rapid building of chapels and the observance of morning and evening prayers in these hastily built chapels:

As we neared Aba (a station on the new railway from Port Harcourt to the Udi coalfield), we noticed at intervals of about a mile large, hastily-built huts, evidently intended for public gatherings. Many of them consisted merely of a thatched roof with branches of trees for seats; others had walls also. At one of these a meeting was in progress, so we dismounted and asked the people what they were doing. They told us that they were ndi amuma (Prophets) and that they were at Morning Prayer

Pilter, 142–45.

The third and most prominent feature of the revival was the openness of the converts, their passion to own and read the Bible, to keep the Sabbath and their desire to associate with other Christians.

Pilter, 145.

The readiness of these people to become disciples helps account for the rapid growth that was experienced. It is these factors that created the soil into which the PMM was able to plant in Igboland.

The Growth of the PMM

The PMM benefitted immeasurably from the fruit of Garrick Braide's ministry. This, when combined with other factors, helped to effect its growth. First of all it should be emphasized that as a result of the boundary delineation made by the various Protestant missions, the area allotted to the PMM providentially coincided with where much of Braide's ministry had been effected in Igboland.

Kalu, 1978, 308–22.

Secondly, the PMM wisely accepted Braide's movement as a work of the Holy Spirit and built upon the foundation he had laid.

Another important factor was the construction of the eastern railway line which also facilitated the PMM advance.

Thirdly, the construction of the Eastern railway line also facilitated the PMM advance in that it facilitated economic prosperity and produced an interest in European culture.

With regard to the latter, Dodds notes that because the railway line brought Western culture into more direct contact with Igbo people, local communities identified more with some of the benefits of engaging with European culture:

So far the work had been carried on among Ibos utterly out of touch with civilization ... But in 1914 they were to come into sudden contact with that civilization in somewhat extreme form. The discovery of a coal field at Enugu resulted in the construction of a railway from Port Harcourt on the Niger Delta, right along the centre of our Ibo field, and out beyond. Trade followed, and the local Negro suddenly found himself handling money beyond his wildest dreams, and seeing coloured men in positions of affluence and power that he had never thought possible. The secret, it seemed, lay in the white man's culture, and a demand for school began to be felt. Coincidentally, and happily, a strong spiritual movement far to the south spread northward, and a mass movement towards Christianity took violent hold of certain districts. In scores of towns churches sprang up, while heathen shrines went out in flames. There was no coping with the rush.

Dodds, N.D, 9.

Hence, increasing contact with European culture instilled a desire for European modes of education. This trend coupled with the economic prosperity that occurred at this time brought about major changes in the lives of ordinary Igbo people.

Basden, 25–37; Chuta, 172.

This suggests that converts may have been motivated by a wide variety of reasons to join the church.

As J.D.Y. Peel notes, ‘the interplay of motivation that produce conversion can only be apprehended through individual case histories’. Peel, 226.

Nevertheless, while it would be impossible to delineate precisely what material or spiritual factors caused individuals to come to faith, this combination of factors was clearly pivotal in the spread of PMM in the Igbo area.

From 1914 onwards, Mission reports indicate that the effects of Garrick Braide's revival were tangibly felt within the PMM.

According to Dodds, ‘Braide had stirred up towns from Bonny to Aba to destroy their jujus and build churches. The movement swept up the railway line and ... and a great number of the churches now belonging to Uzuakoli Circuit began in those days’. Dodds 1964, 92–102.

The former reality, in which Igbo people did not respond to the gospel, was transformed into a situation in which there were so many new believers that the Mission did not know how to shepherd them all.

Chuta has argued that between 1914 and 1918 the people of Southern Igboland reconceived Christianity as that which had come to replace the old, the only genuine channel to attain their religious longings. Chuta, 185.

According to Dodds, ‘A mass movement … swept up a new railway to the fringes of our field. From then onward it was difficult for missionary society to keep pace with development. By the score, villages were destroying fetishes and building churches.’

Dodds, 1944, 61–62.

Kalu likewise notes that ‘as it spreads like waves from the rivers of the Delta into Igboland, 1910–1939, shrines and cultic symbols of traditional religion were consigned to bonfires as votaries abandoned the gods of their fathers for the healing miracles of the holy water’.

Kalu, 2010, 57.

This abandonment of the ‘gods of the fathers’ was demonstrated by one of the reports of the Bende Circuit: ‘We had perforce to hold the services in the shade of the huge trees surrounding the old ju-ju site. The great ju-ju chief himself sat on the very spot where a few weeks ago was a powerful spirit's shrine.’

Dodds, 1916, xli.

The rejections of the gods were so severe that even the chief custodians of the religion abandoned them for the Christian faith.

As the Primitive Methodist Church came into contact with the revival it started to grow like a wildfire:

This last year has been a year of amazing advance. Records have been utterly smashed in every department of work. A great movement towards Christianity broke out with great energy in a series of town on the southern edge of this circuit about one year ago. As a result, seven new churches have been opened there alone, at which thousands are hearing God's gospel each Sunday. In another direction there was a similar movement, resulting in six churches. Thus we have thirteen new churches as the result of the movement. Other churches have been opened elsewhere.

Dodds, 1917, 33.

By this time the Primitive Methodist Church had opened circuits at Uzuakoli, Ovim, Ihube, Umuahia, Ndoro in present Abia State and also northward into Enugu and Benue states outside of Igboland. The staggering growth is indicated in the Primitive Methodist Missionary Report:

In one week Dodds opened a new church every day of the week save one, all of which were paid for by the people themselves. Every Sunday 10,000 people listen to the gospel preached by Mr Dodds and his native Evangelists. The people last year raised over £800 for the maintenance of the work, while practices deeply entrenched in the life of the natives are being uprooted. When we remember that Mr. Dodds has not yet been there nine years, and that he was the first missionary, we can only say “it is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.”

Dodds, 1919, 30.

The correspondence between PMM staff during this period offers an insight into the way in which the mission perceived the developments in Igboland. On 13 November 1918, Horton, the honorable Secretary of the PMM, wrote to Dodds, ‘God is wonderfully blessing the labour of your hands and I rejoice exceedingly. You must yourself feel greatly delighted as you witness such a remarkable manifestation of divine blessing. I hope and pray that you continue to see such signs and wonders’.

Ekebuisi, 263.

Soon after this he wrote again, in quick succession, responding to the 1917 annual report of Bende Circuit, ‘Your report of great success deeply stirred the executives so much so that we had one of the finest meetings known, indeed we converted it into a prayer meeting to thank God for the success he had given you and to pray for continuance of it.’

Ekebuisi, 263.

The inspired response of the PMM committee also facilitated the growth of the church as it immediately decided to flood the district with missionaries. Horton wrote to communicate this decision: ‘I earnestly hope and pray that this success will continue and that with better staffing of the field which I hope will take place in comparatively near future you may witness still greater triumphs’.

Ekebuisi, 263.

In December 1919, Dodds was in an envious position in that he was able to report that the preceding year had seen old records broken and new ones established in the Bende circuit: ‘What is more abundantly proved than anything else is that a great mass movement towards Christianity is now in progress in a part of West Africa which ten years ago was solidly pagan.’

Dodds, 1920, 34.

He continued, ‘thousands on thousands have been served with books of all kinds, including over three thousand Ibo Bibles, seven thousand Ibo hymnals and twenty thousand Ibo readers, besides hundreds of English Bibles. Scarcely any week has passed without an application to open a new church… the greater joy is seeing a whole population of 251,000 souls turning in ever-increasing number to the Master.’

Dodds, 1918, 34.

Primitive Methodist Mission's Efforts to Build on the Legacies of Garrick Braide

By the year 1924, the Primitive Methodist Mission had planted churches as far as Nara, Agbani, Udi in Enugu state, Igumale, Oturkpo, Egede, Idoma and Lafia in the northern part of the Nigeria.

Fenby, 63.

These advancements resulted from the early discovery that the PMM should ensure that the new converts were provided with proper scriptural instruction so as to delineate those who had a genuine interest from those who simply wanted access to European methods of education. This had a filtering effect, which is captured in the following extract from A.W. Banfield, who visited the mission in 1916: ‘I think the missionaries are doing their best to pick out the good and reject the bad. I shall watch the movement with great interest.’

Banfield, 137–38.

In the midst of phenomenal church growth and urgent pleas to send more labourers and teachers, the PMM needed to distinguish between genuine desire for faith and the converts who were motivated by a desire for European education. As Dodds explains, ‘In the other corner of the field, close on forty miles away, there is also an outbreak of a kind. Here the desire seems to be not for a new faith, but for education pure and simple.’

Dodds, 1916, xli.

With this observation, the PMM adopted a system of keeping the converts waiting until they came to an intelligent knowledge of Jesus: ‘the people, many of them, have now been receiving teachings for several years, and are ready for baptism and church membership’.

Dodds, 1918, 34.

The missionaries were not carried away with the mass conversion of the people; rather, they resolved to produce mature Christians who would stand the test of time. As R. Cawthorn reported, ‘It has been our aim to strengthen the church, not so much by the numbers, but by the quality of those received.’

Cawthorne, 37.

Testimonies of many converts, preserved at the PMM Archives, buttress this claim.

Otikiri, 102–03.

R.F. Skinner, a missionary at Ovim Circuit, revealed some of the strategies adopted by the PMM designed to keep the converts from rushing into faith: ‘The admission is public, involving a procession of faith and a definite separation from pagan customs. This publicity has a great influence on the people, for afterwards they are known as those who attend the church, any lapse on their part is communicated to the other members, by those who witness them’.

Skinner, 47.

The following citation indicates how the admission process was made very rigorous: ‘Every week-end in January I sat for two or three hours on Saturday night examining; for the same length of time from dawn on Sunday, I preached at three churches, held another examination until far into the close of day, and again another examination at dawn on Monday. It was arduous but joyful labour, for while I sadly had to reject those who came forward, I was yet able to admit a goodly number to church membership’.

Dodds, 1924, 43.

Finally, these converts at every stage of their examination were made to confess their desire to follow Jesus publicly. The PMM at this time developed a baptismal Promise Card, which reflected the nature of the revival:

Dodds, 1945, 69.

Believing in Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and trusting in God alone for strength. I PROMISE that I will keep His Commandment and try every day to do His will I PROMISE to be diligent in prayer and read my Bible everyday I PROMISE to honour my place in church by being regular in attending the Sunday services and the weekly class meetings and by paying my fees. I will also obey the law of the church. I PROMISE to abstain from intoxicating liquor, and to take no part either in buying or selling strong drink. I PROMISE to be loyal to Jesus Christ in thought and word and deed, and to use all my powers to build up the church on earth. In the name of the father and the of the Son and of the Holy Spirit I now pledge myself to keep my promises Name........................... Church.................................... Date.............................. Minister.................................

However, rather than being deterred by these strict measures, more and more crowded services were witnessed: ‘The attendance at the services has greatly increased, and several churches have been enlarged. It is a real inspiration to attend the crowded services of some of the churches.’

Richardson, 39.

Dodds reported, ‘on the Ndoro side, I was glad to take part in a very fine service welcoming no fewer than 370 new enquirers into catechumen class, and hearing their confession of desire to follow Jesus’.

Dodds, 1924, 43.

By 1922, these efforts began to bear fruit, as many missionaries reported on the growing desires by the natives to serve their Christian God wholeheartedly and with their resources: ‘a growing interest in the other sides of the church life is happily noticeable throughout the district ... they are also learning to love the very building in which they worship, and are honouring God, the church, and themselves, by providing more beautiful buildings, and equipping them with benches instead of earth seats, etc.’

Dodds, 1922, 37.

To the Primitive Methodist Mission, which had suffered from poor funding, the revival and its character of building churches became a real blessing. The editor of the Primitive Annual Missionary Report noted, ‘we find also that practically every church has paid its way locally during the last year, completely supporting its own teacher, providing its own building down to the very last nail and paying rent for school materials, such as blackboards, etc.’

Dodds, 1919, 32.

On the self-supporting nature of the churches, Dodds notes how ‘one church is actually building a brick and iron structure, to seat 450 people, which, if all signs may be trusted, will be opened during the coming year, quite free of debt and every penny contributed by the people themselves.’

Dodds, 1922, 37.

In respect to all these very encouraging developments, the Primitive Methodist Synod of 1930 decided to celebrate the triumph of the gospel in Igboland with thanksgiving and rejoicing. The synod encouraged week long celebrations in all Igbo Circuits, stretching from 29 December 1930 to 2 February 1931.

Among the highlights of the celebrations was the launching of an interesting book in vernacular titled Akuko Oke Onu (A tale of immense joy). The book as its title suggests, focuses on the triumph of the Gospel in Igboland. Indeed it was most appropriate to mark the occasion with a lot of celebrations and rejoicing because of the phenomenal success which PMM had recorded in the territory. For instance, from a handful of inquirers who could be counted on the fingers of the hand in 1910, the sacred returns for all the stations put together in 1931 stood stupendously at 250 Churches, 200 Schools, and well over 300 teachers and other religious workers.

Ekebuisi, 270; Fenby, 63.

Moreover, a key factor which helped preserve converts in the church was the decision by the PMM to establish a literate congregation in Igboland.

While wanting to ensure that converts had a genuine desire to follow Christ, there is no question that the missionaries considered it absolutely necessary that church members, regardless of age or sex, should be enabled to participate intelligently in religious exercises by singing hymns and reading devotional works in the vernacular. Thus, religious works, like the Bible, were prepared in their mother tongue. Sunday Schools were established to be reading schools because the ordinary day schools were not sufficient for the realization of this objective, and a great deal of time was spent by instructors in the membership classes in teaching converts how to read:

Anyika, 164.

Primitive Methodism produced its own translations and encouraged young members to author books in the Igbo Language. Among these Igbo authors was Peter Nwana who won a prize for his scintillating Igbo book titled Omenuko. Another Igbo author, David Achara also won a prize for his thrilling Igbo book titled Ala Bingo. Before unkind fate circumvented him while he was still a youth, Dick Ogan, one of the most brilliant ex-students of Uzuakoli Methodist Boys’ Institute, had completed his translation of Grimms’ Fairy Tales to Igbo. By the close of 1928, the Igbo Staff of Uzuakoli Methodist Boys’ Institute had prepared various Igbo Readers. Of European authors, the Rev R. Ladlay must be mentioned. He was the man who translated to Igbo Pilgrim's Progress. Working together with Rev Brewer and Mrs. Ladlay produced several sets of Igbo Sunday School lesson Notes. The two authors with a third person, Miss. Brazier, produced in Igbo a Sunday School Hymn book. Mrs. Brewer working single handedly, translated to Igbo The Three Bears for use in infant schools. She went on to translate into Igbo another book titled The Light that Shineth in Darkness. Thirdly, she put out in Igbo several studies of the parables of Jesus titled Ihe-mmuta Nke Ala-eze Chineke.

Anyika, 168.

Hence a variety of publications were produced in order to establish truly literate congregations. To ensure the widespread circulation of these texts, a bookshop was established in every Circuit. By 1919, owing to the phenomenal growth of Christian work in Igbo country, a central book depot was established at Umuahia. This depot was designed both to supply materials to Methodist Circuit bookshops and even to bookshops of other missionary societies. Rev H.G. Brewer organised all the Methodist bookshops into a single scheme and made this organisation one of the most important centres of book circulation in the territory.

Anyika, 168.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is apparent that, following the difficulties encountered by PMM in its early efforts to establish a mission in Igboland, the Mission's embrace of the revival of Garrick Braide enabled it to become an established church in the country. Specifically, the PMM was not only fortunate to be operating in the area where Braide's revival had seen its most significant gains, but it was also able to capitalise upon this by successfully building upon the foundation laid by his ministry, ensuring that converts became literate and were properly discipled. In sum, three major factors enabled the Primitive Methodist Mission's success in Igboland: the demarcation of Igboland as the area in which the PMM should operate, Garrick Braide's revival and the PMM's enthusiastic acceptance of Braide's religious awakening as an initiative inspired by the Spirit of God. This, it seems, can in part explain the phenomenal growth of Methodism from 1912 to 1940 in Eastern Nigeria.

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