The Rev. Otolorin Griffin at the Adult Education Class

The Rev. Otolorin Griffin at the Adult Education Class
By Helen Tucker
Posted February 6, 2014

The Rev. Otolorin Griffin with Phyllis Hiers, one of the organizers of the adult education classes.

A map showing the location of the country of Sierra Leone on the western coast of Africa.

The Rev. Griffin speaking in the parish hall.

The Rev. Otolorin Griffin from Sierra Leone was our guest speaker at the adult education class on February 2, 2014. She is in Valdosta for a few months visiting her son, who is a faculty member at Wiregrass Technical College, and during this visit she has been attending Christ Church. As did the others in the class, I found her to be very interesting. The Rev. Griffin started by showing us a map of West Africa and showing us where Sierra Leone was located. Missionary work began in Ghana in 1752. The Province of West Africa was established in 1951 by the bishops of five West African dioceses, with the consent of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Rev. Griffin’s ministry is in the Diocese of Freetown, one of the 16 dioceses in the Province of West Africa.

The Rev. Griffin speaking in the parish hall.

The church of the Province of West Africa embraces 3 orders of ministry as we do in our country; deacon, priest and bishop. A local variant of the Book of Common prayer is also used. She talked about the recent death of their beloved Archbishop Tilewa Johnson of Gambia who died unexpectedly January 21, 2014, and who will be buried February 22th. The center of the Church of the Province of West Africa’s teaching is the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ and that our role in the body of Christ is to love one another no matter what. We are all God’s children.

She explained where her name came from: “Otolorin” means “one who is different.” As an adult, she asked her mother why she had given her such a name, and her mother told her that name seemed very appropriate since she was born with a broken arm.

She also talked about how difficult it was to get the youth to come to church and how a lot of Christians only come to church for a baptism, wedding, or funerals. A former civil servant, she spoke about how corrupt the government was and how politicians worked for their own interest and not that of the people in general. We learned that things may not be so different no matter country you are in.