Scope and Contents
The collection consists of: correspondence (with Andrew Walls), papers and reports relating to Epelle's research (1966-1973); church histories (written by church history committees or Epelle) of Anglican churches in the Niger Delta Diocese (1966), unorthodox and Seventh Day Adventist churches in Aba and Opobo (1966, 1971), Methodist churches in Ikot Ekpene (1971), and Qua Iboe churches in East Central and South East states (1972); and some completed questionnaires on African tribal and traditional religions (1972).
Biographical / Historical
E. M. T. Epelle was a research assistant in the Department of Religion, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He was involved in a project, initiated by Professor Andrew Walls and partially funded by the Theological Education Fund, to document church histories in Eastern Nigeria. His aim was to collect church histories and, where possible, acquire historical materials for all denominations in each district. The author of Writing a Local Church History (University of Nigeria, 1965), Epelle visited each area, gathered together church leaders and workers, and lectured them on the methods of writing the history of their church. He encouraged the formation of local History Committees who were charged with the responsibility of writing the histories which were then checked by Epelle. The final versions were deposited in the University and a copy was usually sent to Professor Andrew Walls at Aberdeen University. At the same time Epelle attempted to document African traditional religions by meeting with tribes and leaders in each area. The material that Epelle collected between 1965 and 1967, including early church records, was lost during the civil war but some of the copies in Aberdeen survived. Epelle resumed his gathering of information as soon as he could and also frequently lectured on church history and traditional religions. He continued his research until his sudden death on 10 May 1973.