By Manny Ita
Chances are, one way or another the name Iya Adura, Esther Ajayi rings a bell, and the odds are 99 to 1 that the tones of the bell are sonorous.
Well, that aptly tells volumes of the stuff that word-packed, faith-filled, beautiful and charming woman of God, Reverend Esther Abimbola Ajayi is made of.
Unassuming, compassionate with an unbridled love for God and everything about Him, Reverend Esther Ajayi is the spiritual leader of Love of Christ Generation C&S Church, in Clapham, London. She also founder of the Esther Ajayi Foundation; mediums through which countless souls have been profoundly touched to the glory of God.
Enchanting, stylish with a zest for life, Reverend Esther’s intellectual depth and engaging personality distinguishes her many miles away from many of her contemporaries. Her life is a reflection of excellence and God’s glory in abounding measure and quite deserving too
For a world of people, being Christian compels a life of denial on a range of things silently prayed for, which more often than not connotes hypocrisy. Not for a charming God-lover like Rev Ajayi who knows that Christianity is never evil and should not make anyone lose their sense of beauty or aestheticism. As someone always looking resplendent in any thing she wears (which are quite something), Rev Esther’s fashion sense and glamour, balances with her fiery faith, dedication to God and compassion in such a way that renders her strongly irresistible and profoundly likable; a fact attested to by those who have been fortunate to meet with her.
Indeed the erudite woman of God is today a woman of influence and inspiration, an icon of spiritual tenacity, inspiring humanity and winning souls for Christ.
But she has had her fair share of the cold part of life, growing up to battle poverty and much of the situations many face but which few succeed at overcoming.
Like most men or women called into the ministry, Rev Esther’s story pops the eyebrows. She bumped into the confirmation of her calling while pursuing a debt. Rev Esther was prior to her ministerial calling a businesswoman who did jobs for NEPA.
In the course of pursuing the debt NEPA owed her, she was introduced to a woman of God for prayers. On getting there however, to her surprise the one she came to meet for prayers, turned around and asked Esther to pray for her.
As it turned out, she prayed for the woman who after that revealed to her that God wanted her to do His work and told her a proof to that was the payment of her debt within 7 days. On day 5 after that prayer meeting, the debt was paid and her spiritual mission confirmed.
In 2007 she kicked off her ministry and even though the road was tough, because she is a person of strong faith in God, every challenge along the way was seen as another opportunity to excel; and ably supported by her husband, Esther has grown the church in leaps and bounds with signs and wonders following.
According to her, “alongside starting the church, my husband was seriously sick, we became homeless, my husband went back to Nigeria; there were so many ups and downs, tribulations but I was comforted by the book of John 16: 33, which says we should be of good cheer that he had conquered the world. And here we are today.
From that humble beginning, Reverend Esther has today, her own church based in the UK, while her constituency remains the globe around which she has been trotting, impacting lives for God.
In 2017, Rev. Esther started a programme titled, “Celebrate The Comforter”, a mega Christian crusade held in a different country every year.
Last year, the event was held at the United Palace in New York, in the US. The United Palace is New York Manhattan’s 4th largest theater. It is home to United Palace of Spiritual Arts, which fuses spirituality, art, culture, and entertainment.
The event designed to glorify God and to also act as a bonding agent between all white garment churches and the celebration of the biblical fact that the body of Christ is indivisible; was attended by prominent people including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Ooni of Ife, HRM Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Evangelist Ebenezer Obey-Fabiyi and the Chairman of Ovation Media Group, Bashorun Dele Momodu, Otunba Abiodun Olufowobi, Prince Iyiola Ayoade to mention a few. The event recorded a massive turnout of faithfuls from both the Celestial Church of Christ and Cherubim and Seraphim.
The blissful experience was lifted off with the rendition of soul-stirring hymns and spiritual songs by the mass choir which was an assemblage of the choirs of the churches. Prominent among the artists who performed at the event were; Lanre Teriba, Sinach, Sir Shina Peters among others.
This year which marks the 3rd edition of the programme would see the event hosted in Nigeria and it promises to be mind-blowing and gracious.
.In 2017, she was granted the Freedom of the City of London, as a distinguished member of the UK Diaspora African Community, at the Chamberlain’s Court of the City of London at Guildhall.
The Freedom of the City of London is the most established Borough Freedom that is conferred in England and was first recorded in 1239.
In medieval times, the Freedom of the City of London meant someone who was not the property of a feudal lord but enjoyed privileges such as the right to earn money and own land in the City of London (The Square Mile).
From the Middle Ages and the Victorian era, the Freedom was the right to trade, enabling members of a Guild or Livery to carry out their trade or craft in the Square Mile – ensuring that the goods and services provided were of the highest possible standards.
In 1835, the Freedom was widened to incorporate not just members of Livery Companies but also people living or working in the City or those with a strong London connection.
Today, the Freedom of the City remains as a unique part of London’s history to which many people who have lived or worked in the City have been proud to be admitted, with special privileges attached.
A compassionate giver, Reverend Esther has given hope to the hopeless, put smiles on many faces and uplifted many families with her generosity. Recently it was reported widely how she doled out N10m for the treatment of popular actor Baba Suwe abroad, and so has the story of her kindness streamed. But she puts it clearly in biblical terms;
“Luke 6:38 admonishes us to give and it shall be given back to you in good measures pressed down, shaken together and running over. Giving attracts God who gives back more. Currently, we are building our church in Victoria Island, Lagos and when the church is commissioned, I am going to narrate the story that people will be in awe. Nobody can believe how God used people to help me, how I got a church of 5.2million pounds in London. It’s a story that inspires you. God owes no man anything. In the book of Hebrew 11:6 says, ‘God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.’ I don’t believe in hoarding money. Why not give it to those who need it and will pray for you”.
On the issue of incessant marital challenges and breakups, the woman of virtue puts it succinctly.
” Humility comes before honour. A woman needs to exhibit humility as a wife. Ego is in every male—black or white. Grace has gotten me this far, but humility also takes you far in ministry as a woman. Whenever I am ministering and my husband is present, I would kneel down and greet him first. Who doesn’t love honour? That I am a woman of God doesn’t stop the scripture in Ephesians chapter 5 which admonishes women to submit to their husbands. It doesn’t stop you from cooking. It doesn’t change my name as Esther. It doesn’t change me as the Esther the world sees. As long as it gives me peace in my marriage, why won’t I do it? I understand the fact that some women have terrible husbands but, you cannot use darkness to chase out darkness. Remain humble and God will intervene.”
Rev Esther Ajayi is a fulfilled person in the Lord, a happy married woman with lovely children and grandchildren. She is bursting with renewed energy and enthusiasm every other day in loving service to God. Reverend Esther is a queen by her own right; a woman of honor and virtue, a citadel of inspiration and hope, by all means worthy of emulation, tutelage and celebration.