By Sam & Ruby Ibekwe
African Christian Fellowship (ACF) Baton Rouge is one of the enduring African Diaspora group in Baton Rouge metropolitan that embraces all African immigrants, African American, and other ethnic groups in its membership. It is primarily a Christian community whose members are committed to submitting to the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and serving him with all their heart according to the dictates of the Bible.
In 1992, a few brothers and sisters attending Bethany World Prayer Center in Baker, LA met one another and decided to start a regular weekly bible study and prayer meeting in order to uphold one another spiritually, emotionally and physically. It therefore started as a house fellowship that rotated from house to house every Saturday. While the spiritual needs were met, the social needs and social network support system desire for members were equally met with bonds that were strongly interwoven into the fabric of their lives and those of their children. During one of the house fellowship celebration of Christmas at Bro. Victor & Sis Rica Kwentua then Heather Street home in December 1993, their pastor, the late Dr. J.D. Brown ministered to us. This compassionate and godly man realized how large our number has grown, and how cramped we were, and therefore graciously offered us the use of Faith Chapel Church of God sanctuary for our weekly fellowship. Since 1994, the ACF Baton Rouge has been meeting at 995 Starring Lane, Baton Rouge, location of
Faith Chapel Church of God, with intermittent house fellowships at members’ homes. Early in 1993, Sis Ruby Ibekwe attended ACF Fellowship in Tulsa, OK while she was completing her residency there. She shared about a vibrant house fellowship her family was part of in Baton Rouge, LA. By God’s providence, Bro. Elijah Adeoye who was then the ACF South Region president was present and followed up on this information. He visited ACF Baton Rouge sometime in the same year with another brother from ACF New Orleans chapter that has just been inaugurated earlier in the same year. He expounded African Christian Fellowship to us, explaining the numerous benefits of affiliating with a national body. After a time of prayers, discussion and contemplation, the house fellowship became African Christian Fellowship, Baton Rouge later in 1993 with Bro. Chibuike
Azuoru as the president, and Dr. Wumi Iledare as the secretary. The 1994 African Christian Fellowship, South Region Voice magazine listed ACF Baton Rouge as one the 10 chapters comprising the South Region of the ACF.
African Christian Fellowship (USA) originated in 1977 when a group of African students studying in the United States decided to form a Christian organization called the African Christian Students Fellowship that will reinforce their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, keep them focused and growing in their walk with God, as well as provide avenue for social activities and networking. This organization later transformed to African Christian Fellowship as the students graduated, started working and raising families, and yet desiring the same close fellowship and relationship that fostered their friendships. Today, “African Christian Fellowship (ACF) USA Inc. is a thriving Christian
Community of more than 3000 members world-wide that models integrity, excellence, and compassion to mobilize and empower Africans to impact their community and Africa.” It comprises Christians who are mostly immigrants from different African nations, and are mostly resident in the USA, who have come together from diverse background, native languages, affiliations, professions, etc. with the sole purpose of fellowshipping and serving the Lord Jesus Christ together. They boldly profess Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and as the foundation and cornerstone of their belief, and as the One who dissolves all barriers and binds them together from various Christian denominations, native countries and languages. More information about ACF can be found at www.acfusa.org.
ACF (USA) Inc. has four core strategic focuses that shape its vision. They are:
- Building the ACF Family & Community
- Reconnecting with The Continent
- Passing the Legacy, and
- Building Bridges
Through its four administrative regions: East, West, Midwest, and South, and the chapters that comprise the regions it seeks to fulfill these strategic initiatives. Since the inception of ACF Baton Rouge, as one of the chapters that comprise ACF South Region, it has actively contributed in this effort. The body has successfully, to the glory of God, addressed the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of the members, and has additionally reached out to several in the community outside its membership. When ACF Baton Rouge started, Robert Iledare, Benjamin Azuoru, and Kelechi Anyanwu were the babies (less than a year old) of the fellowship. Now these and their siblings are young adults, men and women who have graduated from universities, acquired different skills or are in the process of doing so, and are young professionals who are contributing to the building up of their communities. Through its weekly fellowships, spiritual needs of the members have been addressed. Some members have gone on to found their churches and ministries that address different needs in the society. ACF Baton Rouge has intervened in several family situations bringing a peaceful resolution and healing to the distressed families. It has comforted and assisted the bereaved,
provided succor for the sick and afflicted, assisted those whose homes were flooded, help those moving house or to another city do that with less stress. It has built a community where the love of God is amply shared and demonstrated. ACF Baton Rouge has celebrated weddings, child births, and baby
Car & trailer used by Bro. Sam to carry musical equipment and move things at the early years of ACF Baton Rouge.
dedications, birthdays, graduations, marriages, etc. Through this ACF body, our children have been imbued with the appreciation of our rich Christian and cultural heritage, thereby passing on to them an enduring legacy that has heavenly and earthly values. Many now participate in mission outreaches to the continent of Africa where they share their Christian faith and professional skills in improving the quality of life of various communities.
ACF Baton Rouge has reached out to various agencies and communities in Baton Rouge, sharing the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, serving the underprivileged, and meeting other areas of need in the community. In 2007, it started an outreach to Gardere Lane community, making efforts to help the community that has been plagued with crime and other social malaise. In the process, it got connected with other churches and agencies that share the same burden. Today, ACF Baton Rouge member, Attorney Rica Kwentua heads the non-profit organization called the Gardere Initiative which consists of several area churches, civil and community groups that are addressing the needs of the Gardere community. Through ACF Baton Rouge support of missions, it has sent out its members, Brother Gabriel Aluko, Brother Sam & Sister Ruby Ibekwe to reconnect with the African continent via mission work in Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. Presently, two members of the chapter chair respectively, the Agricultural and Engineering subcommittees of the ACF South Region mission effort, which is ongoing in Sierra Leone.
As one of the most diverse organization of Africans in Diaspora, ACF Baton Rouge consisted of members from Angola, Congo Republic, Ghana, Nigeria, African Americans, etc. It is still nurturing this diversity today through its successive leadership that started with the founding president, Pastor Chibuike Azuoru, followed by Dr. Sam Ibekwe, Bro. Victor Kwentua, Dr. Gabriel Aluko, Dr. Emmanuel Nzewi, and currently Bro. Nick Anyanwu. Faith Chapel Church of God has been very gracious and kind in accommodating this body for its fellowship and other activities. However, it became obvious to the members as time progressed that it needs to have its own place of fellowship that will include a community hall where spiritual, cultural, social values, etc. will be taught and inculcated. This will also be an anchor that will connect our children as they mature, move out, start work and raise their own families. In 2005, ACF Baton Rouge produced a musical CD titled “The Fruit of our Lips,” with which it launched the start of its “Building Fund.” The current ACF Baton Rouge executive consisting of Mr. Nick Anyanwu, President, Mr. Johnny Monu, Secretary, Mrs. Florence Aluko, Treasurer, Dr. Sam Ibekwe, Financial Secretary, Dr. Gabriel Aluko, Ex-officio member, Mrs. Funke Talabi, Prayer Coordinator, Dr. Felicia Adebamiji, Sisters’ Fellowship leader, Mr. Victor Kwentua, Brothers’ Fellowship leader, Mrs. Gloria Monu, and Mrs. Funmi Kwentua,
Youth and Children coordinators, Dr. Wumi and Mrs. Joyce Iledare, Care & Support leaders, and Dr. Sam Ibekwe, musical director and Building committee chair, have taken up the gauntlet, fired up by its immediate past president, Dr. Emmanuel Nzewi to raise the $300,000 needed to bring the building project to fruition.
African Christian Fellowship shall be a thriving Christian Community that models integrity, excellence, and compassion to mobilize and empower Africans worldwide to impact their generation and Africa.
Strategic Core Areas:
- Building the ACF Family & Community,
- Reconnecting with The Continent,
- Passing the Legacy and
- Building Bridges