THE EVALUATION OF METHODIST MISSIONARY ACTIVITIES IN NKANULAND (1910-2000).

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ISIALA CHUKWUEMEKA

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  • Name: THE EVALUATION OF METHODIST MISSIONARY ACTIVITIES IN NKANULAND (1910-2000).
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ABSTRACT

Since 1843, when Methodist church came to Nigeria from
England, it has spread to many areas of this country. It has
created much influence in many areas and the church has
contributed immensely in shaping the history of Nkanuland
in a especially way. Understandably it has influenced
positively on the lives of people. Nkanuland was formerly
replete with evil practices and idolatrous traditions such as
ritual killings, murder, idol worship, killing of twins and
molestation of innocent citizens. With the coming of
Christianity, a new history has emerged. However, that is not
without the tireless efforts of the missionaries who paid
great prices to ensure that the dignity of the Nkanu people
was restored. Some of them were exposed to some terrible
unfavourable climate which was characterized with mosquito
bite which resulted in death. In spite of all these, they
pressed forward to make an indelible mark in the history of
Nkanuland and left lasting legacies as they were instrumental
in stopping of killing of twins establishing of schools, hospital
and above all the gospel. The data collection for this work
was through participatory observations, books, journals and
records in many churches.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Cover Page: … … … … … … … … i
Fly Page: … … … … … … … … … ii
Title Page: … … … … … … … … … iii
Certification: … … … … … … … … iv
Approval: … … … … … … … … … vi
Dedication: … … … … … … … … … vii
Acknowledgement: … … … … … … … viii
Table of content… … … … … … … … x
Abstract: … … … … … … … … … xi

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study: … … … 1
1.2 Statement of the Problem:… … … 2
1.3 Purpose of the Study: … … … … … 3
1.4 Scope of the Study: … … … … … 4
1.5 Significance of the study: … … … … 4
1.6 Methodology: … … … … … … 5
1.7 Definition of Terms: … … … … … 6

xi

CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Nkanu at Dawn: … … … … … 7
2.2 The advent of missionary enterprise
in Nkanu: … … … … … 10
2.3 Pitfalls and challenges: … … … … 11
2.4 Strategies for Evangelism: … … … 15

CHAPTER THREE: NKANULAND IN PERSPECTIVE
3.1.1 The Nkanu people: … … … … … 15
3.1.2 Background to Nkanu, Beliefs and Practices: 18
3.1.3 Social Structure: … … … … … 20
3.1.4 Major Institutions: … … … … … 22

CHAPTER FOUR: MISSIONARY ENDEAVOURS IN
NKANULAND
4.1 The Coming of Methodist Missionaries: … 24
4.2 Encounter with Traditional life: … … 25
4.3 The Evangelistic Outreach: … … … 27
4.4 Strengths: … … … … … … 28
4.5 Problems: … … … … … … 30

xii CHAPTER FIVE: EVALUATION OF MISSIONARY ACTIVITIES
5.1 The Growth and Development
of the Church: … … … … … 32
5.2 Outstanding Personalities
of the Church : … … … … … 42
5.3 Lasting Legacies of the Missionaries: … 44
5.4 The future of Christianity
in Nkanuland: … … … … … 47

CHAPTER SIX: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
5.4.1 Summary: … … … … … … 50
5.4.2 Conclusion: … … … … … … 51
5.4.3 Recommendations: … … … … … 51
5.4.4 Suggestion for further research: … … 60
References: … … … … … … … … 61

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION
1. Background to the Study
From creation humanity has been an extension of God’s aims to
reach out to the lost generations and to shape up the spiritual, political
and economic landscape of any nation. A Nation’s existence can be
meaningful only when God is involved purposefully in the affairs and
plans, organizations of human life. In spite of the fact that Nkanu is a
land endowed with varied and abundant human and natural resources,
it still suffers from economic, social and developmental quagmire,
imbued with the backward inclinations which have stalled its
progress for years.
This has also given rise to undue suffering. Howbeit with the
coming of Christianity things began to change through the efforts of
the missionaries. It made the people’s existence meaningful and
worthwhile. Rev. Brewer, was the first Methodist missionary to arrive
Agbani in Nkanu from Nara in the year 1910. He lived between 1916
and 1925.
According to Chief Nnamani Nwa- Ugboachi (personal
communication 13/6/2010), one of the prominent chiefs who served as
a teacher and interpreter to the white-man, Agbani had three warrant
chiefs who were instrumental to the white man’s positive reception. It
was however, the warrant chief Nnaji Onakporoko who actually

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received the missionary first and helped him to establish the first
school and church at Akpoeke.
Due to the hospitality of the Agbani people which was made
possible by the then warrant chief, the missionaries decided to settle
there with their mission of evangelizing the community area and its
environs. They first established a Methodist church directly opposite
the railway line quite adjacent to the road that presently leads to Dr.
Chimaroke Nnamani’s residence from the rail line which was equally
used for the purpose of education.

1.1 Statement of the Problem
The values of the Methodist missionary activities in Nkanuland
were devoid of corruption, and nepotism. The gospel was preached
unadulterated. The missionaries rendered selfless services in the
course of discharging their responsibilities. They maintained an
unbroken focus as in those days they met from time to time to discus
the common goal. But today those values are no longer there; rather
egocentrism has taken over. Nkanu Christians now do not want to
leave lasting legacies. Rather they are keen on self-ego and personal
aggrandizement rather than towing the steps of the missionaries.
The researcher wants to unearth the factors that have
contributed to this breakdown in the values of Nkanu people and why
the standard of Christianity has depreciated and has fallen short of

3
expected standards. He attributed this to modernization, effect of
learning Globalization, and take over of school by the government.

1.2 Purpose of the Study
The advent of the missionaries was a watershed in the history of
Nkanuland in view of the deplorable circumstances in which the
Nkanu people were submerged in.
Therefore, this study is aimed at exploring the activities of the
missionaries who brought the good news to Nkanuland through the
instrumentality of Methodist Church.. It also aims at probing into the
factors that generated their exploits, their pitfalls and what they
encountered as a way of checkmating the current negative trend of
materialism that is associated with the propagation of the gospel.
This study will, however, not be complete without doing justice
to the nature of Nkanuland before the advent of those missionaries. In
doing this we resort to picture the customs and practices that
characterized their existence before the advent of Christianity. It
embraces also the responses of the people toward the missionaries
and their good intentions. It is also of great interest to know that
alongside with the gospel there were other packages such as building
of hospitals and schools and the abolition of evil practices such as
killing of twins, albinos etc.
Above all, this study also throws a lot of challenges to both the
present and future generation not to rest on their oars but to ensure
that the legacy left behind by those ardent missionaries are not
throw into the dust- bin of history.

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1.3 Scope of the Study
The study is the evaluation of Methodist missionary activities
with particular reference to Nkanuland in Enugu State. This study will
be restricted to Nkanu, however it will bringing highlight the exploits
of those missionaries and how it influenced both the people and the
communities.
1.4 Significance of the Study
Sadly enough there is a gross negligence of the rightful
approach and motive to the spread of the gospel by Christians and
ministers in Nkanuland, taking cognizance of the method employed by
the Methodist missionaries for the successful adventure of gospel
propagation earlier on.
This work is therefore an attempt a significance of the study to
take a critical look at the extent of the work of the missionaries, their
methods and positive impacts in shaping the destiny of Nkanu people
as a way of establishing a solid foundation and creating a landmark for
the preaching of the gospel for future generation.
Furthermore, this study is both a historical research and
empirical research. It is to serve as a base for further researches on
this subject or related ones to this generation and generations yet
unborn both of Nkanu and the country at large.

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The significant of this study is that the consciousness of the
believers in Nkanuland who have went in their shelves for fear of
persecution will be aroused thought the knowledge of the boldness
the Methodist missionaries exhibited.
However, it will provide materials through which believers will
be equipped enough to carry out the propagation of the gospel.

1.5 Methodology
The study embraces the history, cultures and traditions of
Nkanu People. Primary sources will be valuable and authentic in the
write – up.

The methodology, will include oral interviews with some elders
and religious officials to get at the crux of the missionary endeavors in
the course of assiduous work in mm Nkanuland. The researcher will
also make reference to tools or resource materials from National and
State museums, or activities.

1.6 Definition of Terms
Evaluation: Elaborating on the values, bring out the germs in a
substance. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary described
evaluation as to asses or form an idea of the amount, quality or value of
something or somebody. The effect of the significance of something.

6
Methodists: They are a group of Christians who believed in the
teaching of John Wesley. They began their work in Nigeria in 1842. It
is that part of world Methodism founded by John Wesley. They began
their work in Nigeria in 1842. It is an autonomous church and preaches
Jesus Christ in Spirit and in truth. It also exercises the Lords priestly
and prophetic function.
Missionary: A person who tries to spread knowledge of his
belief and of his religious practices especially among people who are
ignorance of it. Oxford Advanced learners described is as a person
sent to teach the Christian religion to people who are ignorant of it.
The sixth edition defined it as a person who is sent to a foreign
country to teach people about Christianity.