Preface of Pentecost
[Common of a Missionary]
[Common of a Pastor]
[For the Ministry II]
[For the Mission of the Church]
PRAYER (traditional language)
Almighty God, who didst rescue Samuel Ajayi Crowther from slavery, sent him to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to his people in Nigeria, and made him the first bishop from the people of West Africa: Grant that those who follow in his steps may reap what he has sown and find abundant help for the harvest; through him who took upon himself the form of a slave that we might be free, the same Jesus Christ; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
PRAYER (contemporary language)
Almighty God, you rescued Samuel Ajayi Crowther from slavery, sent him to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to his people in Nigeria, and made him the first bishop from the people of West Africa: Grant that those who follow in his steps may reap what he has sown and find abundant help for the harvest; through him who took upon himself the form of a slave that we might be free, the same Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Thei commemoration adopted provisionally at General Convention 2009
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Last updated: 1 November 2015
SAMUEL AJAYI CROWTHER
BISHOP IN THE NIGER TERRITORIES, 1891
Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther (c. 1809 – 31 December 1891) was a linguist and the first African Anglican bishop in Nigeria. He was born in Osogun, Yorubaland (in today's Oyo State, Nigeria).
Ajayi was in his 12th year when he was captured, along with his entire village, by Muslim Fulani slave raiders in 1821 and sold to Portuguese slave traders. Before leaving port, his ship was boarded by a Royal Navy ship under the command of Captain Henry Leeke, and Crowther was taken to Freetown, Sierra Leone and released. While there, Crowther was cared for by the Anglican Church Missionary Society, who taught him English. He converted to Christianity, was baptized by Rev. John Raban, and took the name Samuel Crowther in 1825.
In 1841 Crowther was selected to accompany the missionary James Frederick Schön on an expedition along the Niger River. The goal of the expedition was to spread commerce, teach agricultural techniques, spread Christianity, and help end the slave trade. Following the expedition, Crowther was recalled to England, where he was trained as a minister and ordained by the bishop of London. He returned to Africa in 1843 and with Henry Townsend, opened a mission in Abeokuta, in today's Ogun State, Nigeria.
Rev. Dr. Crowther began translating the Bible into the Yoruba language and compiling a Yoruba dictionary. A Yoruba version of the Book of Common Prayer followed later.
In 1864, Crowther was ordained as the first African bishop of the Anglican Church. That same year he also received a Doctor of Divinity from Oxford University.
Bishop Dr. Crowther's attention was directed more and more to languages other than Yoruba, but he continued to supervise the translation of the Yoruba Bible, which was completed in the mid-1880s, a few years before his death. In 1891, Crowther suffered a stroke and died on the last day of that year.
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A biography written just after his death is online, thanks to Project Canterbury.