Interview with Regent Adeola Ajakaiye Okarevu
posted by: Joan Vine | on: Wednesday, 23 September 2020, 13:07
Hello Chelmsford Mothers’ Union members, I am ., (known in my branch as Jackie Okarevu) and my MU branch is of Emmanuel Parish Church Leyton E17., and I am the MU Branch Secretary. I am delighted to say that I am a foundation member of the now 11 years revived Mothers’ Union of my Church. I was happy to share my MU life experiences with Olukemi Ademola. Many blessings from Regent Adeola Ajakaiye Okarevu
I grew up in Nigeria where part of the Anglican Church Christian wedding practises includes inducting new brides into the MU at the Thanksgiving which takes place during morning service on Sunday. Weddings usually take place on Saturdays. We would be excused from Sunday School to attend adult service for the thanksgiving if either of the newlyweds is a relative. I remember looking on with delight and in awe of how the older MU members - the mums and the aunts would welcome the new bride into their fold with joy, songs and prayers. I looked forward to getting inducted in the same way when I grew up. At that time, I just assumed the induction was automatic, you get married, you get inducted! The seed of being a member of the Mothers Union was sowed in my heart since. The older I became, I began to understand the MU mantra - the good works being carried out especially in the rural communities under the MU umbrella. There were always different activities organised - church programmes, dramas, comedies and singing, fetes, empowerment training and a variety of sumptuous dishes were always available. Oh, how we used to look forward to the Menu session. It was always a joy to go with mum to the activities. I also began to have the understanding of the group being a praying one.
Mothers’ Union to me has always been about prayers, fellowship, good works, supporting the needy and the less privileged in the society and since I have been young, I’ve always wanted to be part of that. When the MU in my church in Leyton was revived by my Vicar Rev Canon Ade Ademola and his Wife Kemi, it brought back memories of when I was a young girl and I joyfully supported the revival.
One of my favourite MU stories is this: One Sunday 13th February 2020, I had to attend a ceremony outside my home town which I could not turn down and it happened to clash with the Mothers Union registration of the whole of the Ekiti Diocese and this was taking place at my local church. Members from all over the Diocese were coming and as a Member of the MU here in London, I did not want to miss the programme since I had never witnessed the Registration ceremony before. I went for the out of town program and made my way back to my hometown as quickly as possible. I arrived in time for the beginning of the registration. Members of every Deanery were called and acknowledged. It actually has some similarities with our Diocesan meet. The whole programme was anchored by the Bishop of Ekitis wife and her team of Vicars’ wives. The Bishops wife by virtue of who she is, oversees the MU of the Diocese. The wife of the Ekiti state governor was invited to the ceremony and she got inducted as a member of the Mothers Union too.
As a current Regent and for cultural awareness: My late father was a retired High court judge who became the King of my home town Iyin Ekiti, Ekiti State Western Nigeria. He was on the throne for almost 14 years before his demise, Ekiti people are of Yoruba extract. It is the culture and custom of the Ekiti people to install a Regent to the throne after the demise of the King until such a time as a new King is selected and installed. In most cases Regents are princesses though they could be princes too but that is not very common. I was installed as the King’s Regent the next day after the burial of my father. Regency automatically fell on me as I am the first child and daughter of my late father. If for any reasons I could not have taken the regency up, then it will go to my sister. I was able to get a year sabbatical leave from my workplace and was therefore able to take the regency up. I now wear my late Dads’ traditional robes, shoes, corals, crowns and use all the royal regalia. I am greeted and paid homage to by all and sundry including the High Chiefs as they would my late father. I am given all recognition and attributes as any other King in the society. I oversee the affairs of the community with the support and guidance of the High Chiefs and palace staff. I am able to travel during such times, the town's interest is looked after by the High Chiefs whilst giving me regular updates.
At the installation of the new King, I will hand over the administration of the town formally as our culture demands and I will take my bow. I will be a Regent for life and the respect and honour accorded to the King will still be given to me.
My journey in the MU has definitely helped in preparing me for my current role. I am one of the founding members of my branch who prayed and worked alongside our MU Lead in reviving MU in our church. Being part of that and holding a significant role - Branch Secretary as well as my roles in other organisations, groups and job helped to prepare me for this new challenge in my life. For me, my faith, home church and being a member of the MU that prays made me focus on the fact it has to be prayers all the way for wisdom, knowledge, understanding, diligence, patience and other attributes to undertake the huge role I was stepping into. My prayer life and fellowship in the MU has greatly helped in making me firmly believe all things are possible through Christ who strengthens me. To God be the glory all has been going on well since my installation.
Am I concerned about the future of the MU? I would reply Yes and No. I say this as my life straddles both Nigeria and the UK. I am not worried at all about the future of the MU in Nigeria where I grew up. There is no problem with Membership over there at all - the problem is with adequate resources and provisions to help alleviate poverty, support and empower the women in rural areas where sometimes logistically, it’s difficult to get help too. Also, women there do see the benefits in being members in their being empowered and/or provision of support/empowerment.
However, in the UK, I believe we need to put in more efforts to attract the younger generation whilst at the same time not losing our core value which is prayer, support for marriage and family life. We have to because, whether we like it or not at some point, the MU banner will have to be passed on to the next generation for them to forge ahead with. We must never forget faith and work goes hand in hand and to be able to carry on doing the good works MU is known worldwide for, we must keep praying and be able to raise funds to support causes dear to us.
If you want my advice regarding this problem I would recommend: Inclusion - Meetings in any particular Deanery could be looked at and made more favourable for working mums who may have to bring young children to meetings for lack of child care especially in the evening when most meetings take place. Meeting venues could be sourced also on the basis of being child friendly. Where this is not the case, support could be looked at, as this can encourage mums to join the union and to participate more. This will also boost the dwindling numbers hopefully.
I am most passionate about prayers and practical help and support tailored to a community's needs even if such help is happening on a low scale but more spread out and reaching more people. For example, MU activity(ies)/ outreach(es) at the local, Deanery or Diocesan levels.
I love the prayer and fellowship sessions at my church. Now that we have a WhatsApp platform, it has made sharing the Word and praying together even much better. We have had testimonies of people feeling burdened on an issue and an appropriate text of the word of God or songs will just come in and would minister to their spirit and alleviate the burden. Also, we do celebrate our anniversary nicely. I also love it when we sing during service at celebrations in our church and at Deanery and Diocesan levels. We are blessed to have a MU Lead who is gifted in that department and she can make us sing in notes we do not even know we possess. And my favourite Bible verse? ‘Some trust in chariots some trust in horses but we will trust the name of our God’ Psalm 20:7.
And my favourite quote or saying is: ‘To God be the glory’ quoted times without number as I am constantly thanking God for his grace, mercy and favour at all times.
Blessings and many thanks to: Regent Adeola Ajakaiye Okarevu - Regent of Iyin Ekiti, Ekiti State. Nigeria and to Olukemi Ademola for conducting the interview.
Posted: 23 Sep 2020 | There are 0 comments
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