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Women Ministry » Women's Conference Presidential Address

Diocese of Amichi

Anglican Communion

Province of the Niger

 

Presidential Address Delivered By

Mrs. Nkem Ikeakor

 

On the first Diocesan Women Conference.

 

Theme: Jesus Christ – Our Sure Anchor

Venue: St. Philips Church, Amichi

Date: 30th July – 2nd August 2009

 

PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS PRESENTED AT THE FIRST AMICHI DIOCESAN WOMEN'S CONFERENCE HOLDEN AT ST. PHILIP'S ANGLICAN CHURCH, EZIAMA FROM THE 30TH DAY OF JULY TO THE 2ND DAY OF AUGUST 2009.

My Lord Bishop, The Rt. Rev'd. Ephraim O. Ikeakor (JP), The Bishop of Amichi Diocese,
The Provincial President, Mama Blessing Anikwenwa (Nnediogo),
The Diocesan Presidents,
Your Excellency, the wife of the Executive Governor of Anambra state, Mrs. Margeret Obi,
Your Excellency, the Deputy Governor of Anambra state, Dame Virgy Etiaba,
The Hon. Chancellor and other legal personalities here present,
The Archdeacons, Canons and other clergymen,
Gallant knights and Ladies,
The Nominees, friends of the Bishop's wife, Delegates, my co-workers in the vineyard of the Lord,
Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity, it is like a precious oil of gladness upon the head running down the beard, the beard of Aaron.
It is with a heart full of gratitude and joy that I do stand here to acknowledge the supremacy of the almighty, all knowing, all surpassing God and the one who is the Alpha and the only Omega for His goodness, mercies, faithfulness and grace because He has been our refuge and the preserver of our lives
May I welcome our beloved father, brother, friend, priest, pastor and my very dear husband the Rt. Rev'd. E. O. Ikeakor (JP) who made it a point of duty to grace this great and wonderful gathering of the daughters of Zion.

I also want to welcome and at the same time thank all who have made it a point of duty to be here present. May God bless you immensely. It is well.
I count it a blessing to stand before this great and solemn assembly to present the very first of it's kind the first presidential address in this first Amichi Diocesan Women's Conference. I also believe that each and every one of you will also count it a great blessing to be part of the wind of change which the Lord has blown on our side.

VENUE OF THE CONFERENCE
What we have today as St. Philip's Anglican Church parish is as a result of missionary thrust of the St. Andrew's Church, Amichi. It was during such time that the late Venerable G. A. C Nwangwu (then Canon) was the vicar of Amichi parish. It was the vicar who initiated the idea of having feeder churches in the parish. By 1982, this idea has been debated and agreed upon by both home and abroad general meeting and the parochial church committee respectively. After some seating and approval, the vicar zoned the parish feeder locations as follows- Eziama/Ebenasa, Afube/Okpokolo/Obiofia, Umudim/Ebenator Udene. However, the merger did not augur well as Ebenasa could not merge with Eziama while Obiofia and Ebenator Udene also withdrew from their respective zones.

Nevertheless, the vicar in his resolve to have these churches called on people to donate lands which the result was encouraging. To make effective exercise, there was an election for the common foundation building committee of these respective zones, which had their members as follows: Mr. Daniel .C Okonkwo of Umudim as chairman, Mr. Joseph Onyeaghulu (the people's warden) Eziama zone·- Secretary, Mr. Francis Okonkwo of Afube- treasurer and Mr. Marcus Egbume of Ebenasa.
To the glory of God and the extension of his kingdom, the families of Ifionu Nnabude and Umennakaenyi donated some portions of their respective lands on which what we enjoy today as St. Philip's parish Eziama was built on. May the almighty God continue to bless these families in Jesus name Amen.

By 1985, on the 23rd day of December, a general harvest was held at St. Andrew's church Amichi (the mother church) where a lot of financial support was raised for the task of funding these feeder churches. The vicar then, the Rev. Canon G. A. C Nwangwu who was also an architect drew the plan of St. Philip's church building (free of charge) and presented same for the take off.

Due to the gigantic and lively faith of the congregation of St. Philip's church Eziama, they did not continue with the size of the church edifice. Instead, a larger one was built.
The women of St. Philip's zone were determined to score the goal by funding the church building project up to the roofing stage through the able leader of the women mover, Mrs. Bassy Obiagwu and her executives: Mrs. Sabina Umeononihu –Secretry, Mrs. Sussan Umeononihu – Treasurer, Mama Lucy Okoliocha, Mrs. Dinah Uzuegbu, Mrs. Uche Ezikennakaenyi, Lady Charity Omezue, Mrs. Chinwe Igboanugo and branch leaders. Actually, space will not allow me to state in ink what God used the women of St. Philip's zone to accomplish in this direction.

Furthermore, the men were not left out in this goal of evangelization of the zone and putting up a place of worship. The then president of the Men's general meeting Mr. Ephraim .U Obi, now a knight of St. Christopher, mobilized the men through their branches: Sir. Simon Omezue contributed a lot both in the erection of the church building and parsonage.

By January l989, the first church teacher was posted to Eziama. He was Kingsley E. N Chukwuma, now a clergyman with the Diocese of Awka, Anglican Communion. His coming sharpened the view of the natives who began to take giant steps unto greater heights. The foundation stone of the church building was laid in 1989 by the Bishop on the Niger The Rt. Rev. J. A Onyemelukwe (now Archbishop Emeritus)

THE FOLLOWING PERSONS WERE THE PIONEER OFFICIALS OF THE CHURCH:
Mr. Michael Ofoma (Late)- First pastor's warden.
Mr. Joseph Onyeaghulu- First people's warden.
Mr. Bertram Umeononihu (Late)- First treasurer.
Mr. Eugene Uzuegbu (Late headmaster)- Secretary, and coordinator children's service.

CHURCH GROWTH
The St. Philip's Church is truly alive to the glory of God. The choir under the able leadership of the choirmaster Lay reader Emmanuel Ajuokwu went to places and won trophies till date. The boys and girls Brigade became a force to reckon with in the archdeaconry. The first chancellor of the Diocese of Amichi and the only female chancellor in the province of the Niger for now is from this church, St. Philip Eziama.

The following workers were used in their spiritual abilities to work for the growth of this parish:

CHURCH TEACHERS
Mr. Kingsley Chukwukanma - Amamputu Uli  - 13th Jan. 1989 - 31st Dec. 1989
Mr. Ezike                                 - Uli                  -   1990-1991
Mr: J.C Nneamaka                  - Nkpologwu    -   1992 -1995
Mr. Silas Odumegwe              - Ihiala -   1996 -1997
Mr. Obinna                                                      -   1998
Mr. Ikechukwu Nzewi              - Nnewi            -    2000 - 2001
Mr. Ikenna Ekwegbalu             - Okija              -    2002
Mr. Johnson Okoli                   - Lilu                -    2003 -2004
Mr.Nnamdi Orizu                     – Unubi            -    2004 -2006

PRIESTS
Rev. S.E.O Emelummadu                    -  Oba     - First Priest. 1996
Rev. Stanley A wuzie (now venerable) – Azia    - 1997
Rev. Brown Ofoeme                              - Nnewi   -1998 - 2000
Rev. Dan Azodo (now venerable)          - Umuchu 2001- 2005
Rev. Jidekene Ojukwu                            - Ideani  - 2006 - 2007
Rev. Canon .A. Igbokwe                         - Isuochi   2008 till date

THE INDIGENOUS CLERGYMEN OF ST. PHILIP'S CHURCH EZIAMA INCLUDE
Ven. Wilson Igboanugo (rtd)
Ven. Emeka Onwuakpa
Rev. Okechukwu Onuchukwu
Rev. Dan Okoli
Rev. Anulude
Rev. Emeka Okoli
Rev. Arinze Asuzu
Rev. Okechukwu Ezike
Rev. Asuzu
Rev. Daniel Oguezue

THE CHURCH IS ALSO BLESSED WITH THE FOLLOWING KNIGHTS AND LADIES:
Sir & Lady Geoffrey Oguezue
Sir & Lady Simon Omezue
Sir & Lady Ebele Umejiaku
Sir & Lady Marcus Ajuokwu
Sir & Lady Ephraim U. Obi
Sir & Hon. Justice Jonathan Anulude
Sir & Lady Chuks Ebo
Sir & Lady Ben Oyeka
Sir & Lady Bernard Aforka
Sir & Lady Emma Ajokwu

LAY READERS
Lay reader Emmanuel Ajuokwu
Lay reader Ifeanyi Anumba
Lay reader Ebenezer Obiajulu (Late)
Lay reader Odidika

St. Philip's Church was inaugurated a parish in 1996 with Rev. S.E.O Emelummadu  as the first vicar. In the year 2002 the church building was completed during the pastorate of Rev. Dan Azodo, (now Venerable) and was dedicated by Rt. Rev. G. I. N Okpala, Bishop of the Diocese of Nnewi.

St. Philip's Church Eziama is one, united and eventful church. To the glory of God and for the expansion of His kingdom, the church has given birth to a young dynamic church named St. Bartholomew's Church Amichi. This Church is waxing strong with Mr. Godwin Okeke as it's church teacher.

NEWS FROM THE DIOCESE
Our new Diocese was inaugurated on the 13th of January 2009 at the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi by His Grace The Most Rev. Peter Jasper Akinola, The Primate and Metropolitan of Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, in the presence of 36 other Bishops. Also, the Pioneer Bishop in the person of Rt. Rev. E. O. Ikeakor (JP) was enthroned.

Our young Diocese also conducted her first session of the first synod at St. Stephen's Anglican Church Osumenyi between Thursday 11th - Sunday 14th June 2009. The theme of the synod was Choose you this day whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15). We congratulate our father for the successful execution of this great event. We are very optimistic that since the first session of the first synod was such a resounding success then the future holds great things for Amichi Diocese.
The synod provided a suitable platform for our Lord Bishop, Rt. Rev. E. O Ikeakor (JP). To put in black and white the visions of the Diocese. Some of these visions include.

  • To build a Diocese where God and the word of God (Bible) take preeminence and precedence over and above every other practice and tradition.
  • To build a Diocese where the Bishop and wife, clergy and their wives, and other church workers and leaders teach and lead our parishioners by practical examples of genuine Christian living.
  • To have a Diocese where Christian discipleship, bible based doctrines and dogmas are emphasized as against the utility gospel and lotto Christianity that is very prevalent now.
  • To build a Diocese where the welfare of our members especially the youths, widows and orphans are given adequate attention and youth ministry highly developed to ensure youth participation in our church worship.
  • To build a Diocese where some rich Anglican heritages and tradition which have been lost because of unnecessary and unwarranted emulation of other denominations will be recovered.
  • To have a Diocese that preaches the holistic gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ through education and healthcare services.
  • To build a Diocese where the zeal and commitment to evangelism and soul winning is reawakened and sustained in both clergy and laity.
  • To have a Diocese that will be self sustaining financially through meaningful and concrete investments.

May I also use this occasion to highlight some of the very crucial issues arising from the just concluded Synod.

(A) MARRIAGES AND WEDDINGS
The church should be the last bus stop for any marriage involving our members. Therefore no clergyman should be involved in conducting wedding before traditional marriage. Again, the practice of wedding pregnant ladies is not only unchristian but un­Anglican. Therefore, such will no more be tolerated. Instead, blessing of marriage should be conducted for such individuals.

(B) SINGLE PARENTS
By the reckoning of the Diocese, the practice of single parenthood is immoral, terrible, obnoxious and unscriptural. As a result, parents and individuals who indulge in such practices automatically lose their rights as communicants.

(C) BURIAL CEREMONIES AND FUNERAL RITES
The Diocese has outlawed the practice of shooting den gun at the funeral of her members. The act of wearing mourning garments and shaving of hair is left at the discretion of the individuals concerned. No member of the church will henceforth be compelled to do so.

RESTRUCTURING OF THE DIOCESE AND APPOINTMENTS
In furtherance of evangelism and enhanced administration of the Diocese, His Lordship, Rt. Rev. E. O. Ikeakor JP announced the following adjustments:

ARCHDEACONRY/HEADQUATER                 ARCHDEACON/ ADMINISTRATOR
(1) Cathedral Deanery
Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi                   Ven.David Nonyelu

(2)   Amichi Achdeaconry
St. Philip's Church Eziama, Amichi                         Rev. Canon A. Igbokwe

(3)   Amichi West Archdeaconry
St. Peters Church Amichi                                         Rev. Canon J. Maduka

 
(4)   Osumenyi Archdeaconry
St. Stephen's Church, Osumenyi                             Ven. E. C Nnoli

  • Ebenator Archdeaconry

St. Andrews Church Ebenator                                     Rev. Jonathan Umeasiegbu

       (6)   Ezinifite Archdeaconry
St. Simon's Church, Ezinifite                                   Ven. E. N. Umeh

       (7)  Ekwulumili Archdeaconry
Emmanuel Church, Ekwulumili                                Rev. Godwin Okafor

       (8) Unubi Archdeaconry
Ebenezer Church, Unubi                                         Rev. Berthram Muogbo              


PASTORAL VISIT TO CHURCHES
Within the period under review, the Bishop and the wife undertook visit to the under listed churches:

  • Holy Trinity Church Utuh                                       25th January 2009
  • St. Stephen's Church, Osumenyi                                     8th  February 2009
  • St. Peter's Church, Akabo Osumenyi                   15th  February 2009
  • St. Philip's Church, Eziama Amichi                      22nd  February 2009
  • Ebenezer Anglican Church, Unubi                        8th  March 2009
  • St. Peter's Church, Amichi                                   15th  March 2009
  • Cathedral Church or St. Andrew, Amichi     22nd  March 2009
  • Immanuel Anglican Church, Ekwulumili                    29th March 2009
  • Immanuel Church, Akwaihedi                               5th April 2009
  • St. Simon's Church, Ezinifite                                12th April 2009
  • St James Church, Azigbo                                     7th June 2009
  • Christ Church, Amichi                                           21st June 2009
  • All Saints' Church, Obiofia Osumenyi                   5th July 2009

WOMEN ACTIVITIES
The most outstanding activity carried out by the women ministry is the Wailing Women Prayer Summit 2009. The programme held between 23rd and 26th of April 2009. The theme of the programme was "I will do a new thing". The programme was a great gathering of women from all walks of life drawn from across the many states of the federation. It was a time of great visitation.

The rest of the activities were the annual programmes of the women department which are already reported. (Ref. conference report).

UNIFORM
To the glory of God, the Women department within the first 6months of our inauguration has been able to produce the Women's Guild uniform for the Diocese of Amichi. We have also been able to change our first inauguration uniform.

NEWS FROM CHURCH OF NIGERIA
On 12th of November, 2008, fourteen Priests were elected Bishops at Lagos by the house of Bishops. And on the 11th January, 2009 at the Cathedral church of All Saints, Ughelli, Delta State, thirteen of them were consecrated by His Grace, The Most Revd Peter J. AKinola, CON, Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria; assisted by one hundred and twenty five Bishops. Those consecrated were:-

  • Rt. Revd. Chijioke Augustine Aneke - Udi Diocese
  • Rt. Revd. Ephraim Okechukwu Ikeakor - Amichi Diocese
  • Rt. Revd. Samuel Egbeunmi - Ilesa South Diocese
  • Rt. Revd. Edward Osuegbu - Okigwe Diocese
  • Rt. Revd. Blessing Erifeta - Sapele
  • Rt. Revd. Daniel Olinya -Eha-Amufu (M) Diocese
  • Rt. Revd. Felix Akinbuluma - Irele (M) Diocese
  • Rt. Revd. Frederick Orogbemi - Ilaje (M) Diocese
  • Rt. Revd. Emmanuel Nyittsse -Gboko (M) Diocese
  • Rt. Revd. Festus Davies -Ogori Magongo (M) Diocese
  • Rt. Revd. Yufus Janfalan -Ikara (M) Diocese
  • Rt. Revd. Benjamin Vanger - Zaki-Biam (M) Diocese
  • Rt. Revd. Titus Fajemorikum - Ilesa North Central (M) Diocese

On the 8th of March, 2009 at Bida two other Bishops were consecrated. They are:

  • Rt. Revd. Christopher Omotunde Suffragan - Bishop of Ondo
  • Rt. Revd. Godson Ukanwa  - Bishop of Okigwe North Diocese.

The Rt. Revd. Alfred I. Nwaizuzu, and his wife Mrs. Esther Nwaizuzu joyfully retired from active church service in April, 2009.

NEW ECCLESIASTICAL PROVINCES; AND ELECTION OF ARCHBISHOPS
On the 14th  March, 2009, four new archbishops were elected to oversee the four new ecclesiastical provinces created. They include:

  • The Most Revd. Emmanuel Egbunu - Lokoja Province
  • The Most Revd. Michael Akiyemi - Kwara Province
  • The Most Revd. Amos Madu - Enugu Province
  • The Most Revd. Ignatius Kattey - Niger Delta Province (old province)
  • The Most Revd. Ugochukwu Ezuoke - Aba Province (new province)

On the same date, two new bishops were elected in the persons of:

  • Rt. Revd. Nathan Kanu  - Aba-Ngwa North Diocese.
  • Rt. Revd. Praise Omelekun  - Zonkwa Diocese.

The Archbishops have been presented, and their provinces inaugurated, while the Bishops have also been consecrated. We implore all of you to please continue to pray for the church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) as she grows.

MOTHERS' UNION EXECUTIVE MEETING:
The meeting was held at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife from 11th - 14th March 2009. The meeting which was presided over by the President of the mothers' Union in Nigeria, Mrs. Susan Akinola had the theme: “The Youth of our Church”.
The meeting featured bible studies, seminars, group discussions and lectures by seasoned resource persons. Some of the topics treated at the meeting include: Marriage failures and remedies, self employment and skills, coping effectively at home and church as church leaders, Anglican youths moving out; how to bring them back etc.
The meeting adopted some far reaching resolutions such as: The youths should be seen as functional members of the church today as well as leaders of tomorrow. Therefore, they should be given necessary encouragement, support and opportunity to discover and maximize their potentials in order to sustain their interest and also benefit the church so that they will not become “the disconnected generation". The Church needs the youth as the youths need the church.
The union decries the wanton and incessant kidnapping and abduction even among ministers of God. She fore warns that the perpetrators of such act should desist from the ungodly act.
The Union encourages everyone to go for regular medical checkups so as to reduce untimely death rate sequel to hypertension, kidney failure and other ailments. The habit of visiting herbal homes for healthcare is detrimental to human health and development. For the full text of the communiqué, refer to appendix 1
THE CONFERENCE THEME: “JESUS CHRIST OUR SURE ANCHOR”. HEB 6:19.

(1)  BACKGROUND OF THE THEME AND THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREW'S:
The epistle to the Hebrews can be referred to as the most technical, classified, and difficult among all the epistles in the Bible. But the same epistle can also be regarded as a gold mine for those who want to dig deeply. Hebrews is an orderly and systematic treatment of the person and work of Jesus Christ. The artistic and masterly manner the write employed in blending both the Old Testament and New Testament in presenting the centrality of our salvation in Christ Jesus is another unique feature of this epistle. This epistle was written primarily to the Jewish Christians which maintains that Christ is the perfect sacrifice and the true High Priest (Hebrews 5:5-11). It also established and emphasized the role of Christ as the mediator between God and humanity (Heb. 7:20-28). The style and manner of presentation of the epistle which is quite different from other epistles has made biblical scholars and theologians to argue about the Pauline authorship of the epistle. But as far as we are concerned, and the theme of our conference is involved, we are more interested in the message and content of the epistle as the word of God than intellectual and humanistic argument and exercise.

The readers and recipients of the epistle had been Christians for quite some time (Heb. 5: 12) and had undergone and experienced a notable and persistent period of persecution and deprivation, (Heb. 10:32-34). Also some of their key leaders and fathers in the faith had died (Heb. 13:7) but Timothy was still alive at that time (Heb. 13:23). As a result of the persecution which to some of the Jewish Christians was becoming unbearable, some of them were in danger of abandoning their Christian faith or drifting away from the gospel and the salvation it offers. Furthermore, they were in danger of hardening their hearts in unbelief, turning away from the living God, and missing out on the Heavenly rest promised by God (Heb. 3:7- 4:11). Another very serious problem faced by these Christians was their unwillingness to progress to a deeper understanding of the Christian message and its implication; together with an unwillingness to share that understanding with others (Heb. 5: 11-14). This brief background of the epistle to the Hebrews from where we took our conference theme clearly revealed that the Christian were in spiritual apathy, Luke-warmness, stagnation, uncertainty and redundancy. This situation I can say without fear of contradiction is the state of many Christians today, and that is why we deemed it both fit and necessary to take as our theme in this first Conference of the Women Ministry of the Diocese of Amichi (Anglican Communion) "Jesus Christ - Our Sure Anchor".

(2) JESUS CHRIST- OUR SURE ANCHOR
Hebrews 6: 19 "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the Veil".
God in His infinite mercy and love sent his only son to come into the world and suffer great humiliation, denial, torture, and injustice in order to save mankind from sin, Satan, and destruction. He achieve this salvation through His crucifixion, death, burial, and glorious resurrection. The name Jesus simply means “Saviour”, "Redeemer”, or “Rescuer”. Christ means "Messiah” or the "Anointed one." The full meaning of JESUS CHRIST then is" The Redeemer and Saviour who is anointed by God to reign as King." His reign starts from individual lives to families, communities, states and nations of the world. The recurrent question I would like us to continuously answer in this conference is "Has this King Jesus started reigning in my life as a person."

You practically know as I also do that once a king or ruler starts reigning in a community, state or nation, no other king reigns alongside with him in the same community. If that  happens, your guess is as good as mine - confusion and anarchy will be the order of the day. The reason why so many people are in confusion, crisis, anarchy and trouble today even in the Church is because two kings are reigning at the same time in their lives. The only authentic KING is Jesus Christ.

SURE ANCHOR:- An anchor according to Oxford Advanced Learning Dictionary is "A heavy metal object that is attached to a rope or chain and dropped over the side of a ship or boat in order to keep the ship or boat in one place. "The functions of the anchor to the sailor, captain or ship itself includes the following:

  • To keep the ship from being carried away by the sea waves or sea pirates who may want to take away the ship.
  • To keep the ship steady, stationary, and focused.
  • To keep the ship from sinking, and thereby making it safe.
  • To build up the confidence of the sailors and captain that the ship is still safe, and there for them for use.

When we describe Jesus Christ as our sure anchor, what we are emphasizing here concretely is that He is strong enough to hold us firm in the midst of the trials, troubles, tribulations and temptations of this life. This accounts for why the scripture' says in Proverbs 18: I 0 "The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe". From this Bible verse also we should know that not everyone who runs to God in the time of trouble is safe, but only THE RIGHTEOUS.

None of us can claim that we don't have one kind of Problem or the other as far as we are here on earth. But if we have made Jesus Christ our sure anchor, there is nothing to fear. Every problem of life has an expiring date. Many are tossed to and fro today especially women because we have not made Jesus Christ our sure anchor. If not, why are so many women today running from one prayer house to the other; one prophet or prophetess to the other, one pastors, preacher, miracle-worker to the other? The reason is not far­fetched. It is because you don't have Jesus Christ as your sure anchor. The greatest achievement every woman will have in this life is to anchor her life, and that of her family on Christ Jesus.

It is also very disheartening that so many women who had their lives anchored on Christ are now decamping in order to either look for cheaper miracle, or to be beat and meet up with the challenges of the current world economic crisis and melt down. Remember that in the background of the Epistle to the Hebrews, we did say that one of the problems of the Jewish Christians to whom the epistle was addressed was that owing to the persecution and hardships they were going through, many were contemplating abandoning the faith once delivered to them. They were weighed down by the harsh environment in which they found themselves. Are we not experiencing the same thing today? I am passionately appealing to the women in particular, and everyone in general to rekindle and renew our faith, hope, and confidence in Jesus Christ who will never fail us.
Just as the sea wave cannot carry away a well-anchored ship, so will no problem or circumstance of life carry you away as far as Jesus Christ remains our sure anchor.

(3) PEOPLE WHO MADE JESUS CHRIST HEIR SURE ANCHOR

  • THE SAMARITAN WOMAN (John 4: 1-29):-

Before the Samaritan woman met Jesus Christ, she was a very religious, but ordinary religious activities did not change her life style. Her life before making Jesus Christ her sure anchor was characterized by UNFORGIVENESS AND KEEPING OF PROLONGED ENEMITY (Vs 9). She was also a NOTORIOUS ADULTERESS AND IMMORAL WOMAN (V 18). No matter how religious we are, it will amount to social activity only, unless we like the Samaritan allow the gospel of the kingdom to permeate and change our lives. In vs28, the woman after hearing the Gospel from Jesus Christ responded and reacted thus: "Then woman then left her water pot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, come, see a man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ"? The implication of this woman's statement is that the sermons she was hearing in their synagogue were not addressing her sinful life style. By her going back to her men-sin partners is also very remarkable of the genuineness of her conversion.-Have you had this experience in life? If not, why not today?

  • THE WOMAN WITH THE ISSUE OF BLOOD (Luke 8:43 – 48):-.

The health situation of this woman was humanity hopeless. Her medical report was nothing to give anyone joy. To medical science, her case was a closed one, and as such become a terminal disease. But the kind of challenging faith that this woman mustered and exhibited can never leave anyone in doubt that she took Jesus Christ as her sure anchor who will do for her what medical doctors could not do for her. She removed her eyes from her disease, medical reports, and peoples' opinion, and fixed them on her sure anchor - Jesus Christ. Of course she was not disappointed. Because of her faith in the sure Anchor of our soul, she went home with concrete and provable miracle; Why can't we emulate such a woman, and refrain from gyrating from one prayer house to the other which is a clear mark of faithlessness and unbelief. Jesus Christ is where you are. Only mobilize your faith and anchor it on Him. There is hope in your situation. Cheer up! Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

  • TABITHA OR DORCAS (Acts 9:36 – 43):-.

Let us look at how this woman was described," At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of Good works and charitable deeds which she did".

The only way to describe what the scripture said about this woman is that she is an epitome of Christ's disciple. None of us can claim having made Jesus Christ his/her sure anchor if there are no fruits of good deeds, charitable works and positively imparting on the lives of the people around her, and people who come in contact with her. This ranges from our house helps, fathers-in-law, mothers-in-law, husbands, brothers and sisters-in­-laws, our priests and church members.

When untimely death wanted to snatch Dorcas away, the tears and agony of widows she affected when she was alive could not allow untimely death to achieve its aim. Heaven was disturbed and bombarded with cries of anguish and despondency of helpless widows. As we are all claiming to be Christians, how often do we put smiles on the faces of people around us by offering the needed assistance no matter how small.

If Jesus Christ is our sure Anchor, the challenge is before us to show the light by touching people's lives with our material possessions. A lot of people are very lonely even in the midst of uncaring multitudes in our churches. Women of this great Diocese let us arise and show the widows, orphans, destitute, and poor, the light of the gospel we believe. The time to do it is now!

CONCLUSION:
The issue of making Jesus Christ our sure Anchor has no alternative and as such becomes an inevitable challenge to the individual families, government, and the nation at large. Just as the word of God said in Colossians 1 :27 "To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory", no individual life can be meaningful and fruitful without that life being anchored concretely on Christ Jesus. The world and the system of the world are biting so hard on every facet of endeavour that we need what can be called spiritual collateral and guarantee to stay afloat in the midst of pressures.

The multitude of family problems besieging various families today which range from Marriage break-ups and divorce; infidelity of spouses to their partners, misbehavior of children, sickness, poverty and frustrations, drug and alcoholic addictions are traceable to the fact that the foundation of so many families are not built and anchored on Christ. This conference through the theme appeals to both individuals and families to take shield and refuge in Jesus Christ who is the only hope and answer to our questions of life.
To the government, may I state categorically here that no amount of wonderful policies and grammatical coinage can move this nation forward until our leaders and the led resolve sincerely to go back to the author of life - Jesus Christ our Saviour, and sure anchor.

This scripture cannot be broken or side tracked "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit, for WITHOUT ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING. "(John 15:5). Jesus Christ Himself concretely said it and it still holds. No matter how we struggle as a nation; and no matter how we rebuild, the bottom line remains -- Jesus Christ the only son of God is all we need in the governance of our states and nation for things to work. The great nations of the world started with God and Christ, and they prospered. As these same nations are now scheming God out of their policies and governments, crises, economic recession, Terrorism and social confusion are becoming their gain and reward.

Our churches and church leaders, Christians and believers in Christ are therefore enjoined to hold fast the faith that was once delivered to us by our predecessors. Exchanging the message of the kingdom with the gospel of materialism and traditions of men in the Church is a gross departure from the sure anchor of the Church; and that anchor is Jesus Christ our Lord. The problems of life are making Christians to forget the essence of our salvation today. The church seems to be in the middle of the sea and ocean as far as demonstrating steadfastness in following Jesus Christ is concerned. May I join the great apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:58 to plead with us to continue to make Jesus Christ our sure anchor which states "Therefore my beloved brethren, BE STEADFAST; IMMOVABLE, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord".

FINALLY
I appreciate and thank all who contributed to the success of this Conference, especially St. Philips parish, Sir Ephraim Obi, the chairman local organizing committee and all the committee members, Rev. Canon and Mrs. A Igbokwe and the Church workers. May the good Lord bless you, and  your family accordingly as we make Jesus Christ our Anchor.

Thank you immensely for your patient listening.