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2016 BISHOP'S ADDRESS

BISHOP'S PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS

 

PRESENTED TO THE

 

SECOND SESSION OF THE

 

THIRD SYNOD OF DIOCESE OF

 

AMICHI [ANGLICAN COMMUNION]

 

 

HOLDING AT

 

ST. PHILIP'S CHURCH, EZIAMA-AMICHI

 

ON

 

SATURDAY 11TH JUNE, 2016.

 

AT

 

11.00AM

 

 

 

 

SYNOD PRAYER

 

Almighty and Most Gracious God, the Defender and Sustainer of all who put their trust in You, we humbly and sincerely thank You for Mercifully preserving our lives to witness the Second Session of the Third Synod of our Diocese. Be present with us in Your full power, and holiness at this very important serene and Solemn moment. Guide us by Your Holy Spirit that all we say and reflect on at this hour will bring full Glory to You and righteous blessings to Your people who hear in the Name of the Most Blessed and Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

 

GREETINGS/COURTESIES:

Our unbriddled gratitude, appreciation, worship and thanks go to the Immortal, Invisible, and Most Powerful and Loving God for giving us the Grace to be alive in the land of the living, to be present in this Second Session of the Third Synod of our Diocese. Indeed, it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows Mercy. The Mercy and Grace of God have kept us, and brought us this far. To Him alone be all the Praise, Glory, Worship, Thanksgiving, and Exaltation both now and always in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

We appreciate and welcome to the Synod, His Excellency, Chief Dr. Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano, the Executive Governor of Anambra State. Also in our midst worthy of special recognition is our Father in the Lord, the Dean of the Church of Nigeria [Anglican Communion] and the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of the Niger, His Grace, The Most Revd. Christian Ogochukwu Efobi. Your Grace, you are heartily welcome. We are highly enthused to welcome all Archbishops, Bishops, Venerable Archdeacons, and other servants of the Most High God to this august Assembly. At the appropriate time, we shall introduce them adequately. May I at this point welcome all the Synod delegates and Bishop's Nominees, Royal Fathers, and other dignitaries to the Synod. The President of the Mothers' Union, Women's Guild, and Girls' Guild, who is also my one and only wife, Dame Nkem Ikeakor deserves special recognition and welcome from me for all her overt and covert supports and encouragements in our family life, and Ministry. We welcome the Diocesan Council of Knights, The Diocesan Legal Team ably led by His Lordship, Hon. Justice Gloria C. Anulude, The Academia, Businessmen and Women, Gentlemen of the Press, the highly revered clergy and their amiable wives, and indeed everyone present here now and today. The great and wonderful people of St. Philip's Church, Eziama-Amichi in particular, and Amichi Archdeaconry in general need special commendation and appreciation for the rare display of hospitality, and commitment they have manifested in hosting this Synod.

 

The Good Lord in whose name you have done and are still doing these great works will ceaselessly and abundantly bless, replenish and reward all of you accordingly in Jesus Christ Name. Amen.

 

 SYNOD RESOURCE PERSONS:

(a)   SYNOD MAIN SPEAKER:

The Synod main speaker for this Second Session of the Third Synod is our father in the Lord, The Rt. Revd Ken Sandy Edozie Okeke. He is the retired Bishop of the Diocese On the Niger. Bishop Ken comes from a missionary family background. His father was a Catechist for forty-seven(47) years, much of which was spent planting Churches in areas which are now in Nsukka, Udi and Oji River Dioceses.  He is a graduate of Accountancy from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Bishop Ken gave his life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1966, just before finishing from the University.  Convinced of the Lord's call to His Ministry, he had his Theological training and formation both in Nigeria, and subsequently, some years later, at Ridley Hall Cambridge, United Kingdom.  He started his ministry in 1972 at Victory Commercial College, Edidi, Kwara State, where he went to assist the expatriate Principal, to provide a Christian presence in the School.  He later moved on to Anglican College of Commerce, Offa, Kwara State, where he began as teacher of Christian Religious Knowledge, and Principles of Accounts. 

 

He became Vice Principal of the College in January 1976. He was made a Deacon in June 1976, and was priested in December of the same year.  He took over as the Principal of the School in January 1977 and in 1979, Church of Nigeria [Anglican Communion] appointed him to travel to England as the first Chaplain to Nigerians in the United Kingdom in partnership with CMS, UK.    He served as Chaplain to Nigerians in the U.K from 1980 to 1987.  He became the International Chaplain at Manchester University Chaplaincy, from 1989-1995. He was appointed to the post of  CMS Regional Secretary in charge of Missionary Work in West Africa at Church Mission Society Headquarters in London from 1995-1996. He became CMS Regional Director for all of Africa from 1997-2000.  He was elected the Bishop On the Niger on 6th June, 2000, consecrated on 30th July, 2000 and enthroned on 4th August, 2000. 

 

Bishop Ken intensified the Mission work in the Diocese On The Niger and to the glory of God, three Missionary Dioceses – Ogbaru, Niger West and Mbamili – were created out of the Diocese On the Niger during his episcopacy.  He was the Chairman of the Church of Nigeria Missionary Society (CNMS) till he retired in March, 2011.  He is married to Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Okeke, a theologian, with PhD from King's College, London.  Since their retirement in 2011, they together currently run the Church of Nigeria Bishops' Training School for new bishops as well as Training/Workshops for the House of Bishops. They offer leadership training/workshops wherever they are invited to do so. They are blessed with four children, a son and three daughters. We gladly and officially welcome our Father and Mother to this Synod. We cannot thank God enough for what He has used them to impact on us since their arrival here.

 

 

(b)   OUR SYNOD BIBLE STUDY LEADER/FACILITATOR:

The Synod Bible Study leader in this year's Synod is The Rt. Revd. Samuel Amamchukwu Chukuka. Bishop Samuel Chukuka was born after twelve (12) months of pregnancy to Lazarus and Edna Chukuka of Umuru, Ebenesi Nnobi in Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State. He had his West African School Certificate in 1964, and taught in his school as a Hostel Master for one year where he had been the senior prefect. In 1966, he joined Nigerian Tobacco Company Ltd as a Salesman. He became born again in January, 1970, and resigned years later from the company as he grew in Faith because he could not reconcile his faith with his profession of promoting the sale and smoking of Cigarette. Bishop Samuel then floated a company - CAS Chukuka Enterprise. The Company advanced progressively until God called him into Full- time Ministry in 1984 at the age of Forty(40). He then started reading after receiving the call and secured Dip. Theology, B A in Theology, and MA Missiology.

   

He served as a Curate at St. Bartholomew's Church, Asata, Enugu for Seven(7)years. He served as Vicar in Emmanuel Church, Achara Layout, Enugu, St Mathew's Church, Amechi, Awkananaw Enugu, and Archdeacon of All Saints' Cathedral Onitsha from where he was elected the pioneer bishop of the Missionary Diocese of Isuikwuato/Umunneochi in 2005. Bishop Samuel retired in December, 2012 having left a positive landmark. He now occupies his major time with training leaders and fighting for the abrogation of Osu caste system in Igboland.                       

 

He served in many top leadership capacities in Scripture Union, and EFAC Ministries. He attended many International Christian Conferences both as a participant, and as a resource person. Bishop Chukuka is married to Cecilia Uzoamaka (B.Sc). They are blessed with Six children, out of which two are Anglican Clergymen. One is an Archdeacon in Canada, while the other is a Canon in London. We also heartily welcome Rt. Revd. Samuel .C.A. Chukuka, and his wife to our Synod.

 

 

THE VENUE OF THE SYNOD:

 

HISTORY OF ST. PHILIP'S ANGLICAN CHURCH, EZIAMA-AMICHI.

 

Eziama is one of the villages in Okpala quarter in Amichi town which has common boundary with Osummenyi. Before the advent of Christianity in Amichi, Eziama people were involved in worshipping two main deities which were generally worshipped in Amichi. They were “Ezemewu ochiogu” [god of war], and Eke goddess which he established in honour of his wife. Each of these deities had its own traditional priest or priestess who the Eziama people treated with very high regard. In the year 1909, some Amichi people made a move to join the C.M.S. headquarters at St. Simon's C.M.S. Nnobi where they embraced Christianity, and consequently brought this new Faith to Amichi. The first converts from Eziama who were baptized included:-

 

Okeke Okonkwo  -       Christened -       James Okonkwo.

Onuoha Ezike     -       Christened -       Emmanuel Ezike

Elijah Ezikeume  -

Okonkwo Okoliocha-    Christened -       Solomon Okoliocha

Okafor Nnabude -       Christened -       Elisha Nnabude

Nwike Onyeorie  -       Christened -       Joseph Onyeorie

John Ezinwa       -

Jeremiah Ezenwosu

 

At that time, those brave pioneer converts had to trek to and fro St. Simon's CMS Nnobi for Church Services because there was no Church closer to them. The new converts slept together, laboured together with one mind in spite of all the persecutions meted out to them by the then pagan ruling authorities. They continued and sustained the great fight of Faith. Some of them even paid the supreme price for the propagation of the Gospel in Amichi. Because of their doggedness and resilience in the Faith, more indigenes of Eziama joined them, and were baptized also. Mr. Josiah Anumba was one of the earliest Church teachers from Eziama. The first CMS Church was established in Amichi named St. Andrew's Church, Amichi. The people of Eziama were fully involved in the building of this first Church in Amichi.

 

Some Eziama indigenes who were members of the Parochial Church Committee of St. Andrew's CMS Church, Amichi were:

i.      Elisha Nnabude

ii.      Timothy Okoli

iii.     Ben Okoliocha

iv.     Ebenezer Obiagwu

v.      Japheth Ofiaeli

vi.     Joseph Onyeagwu.

 

The first CMS School that was established in Eziama was built in 1952. The school started in the compound of Chief Umeonyilioha Ezenwosu through the supportive efforts of Joseph Onyeagulu, and Ben Okoliocha before it was moved to Eziama village hall. Mr. Eugene Uzuegbu volunteered himself to teach the pupils free of charge for the Church. In 1954, Bishop C.J. Patterson visited the school, and supplied powdered milk to them. This visit, and provision of milk which the pupils drank every morning greatly encouraged the people of Eziama, and it also boosted the attendance figure. The teachers in the school were paid out of proceed from “Mmirioma”. Due to the rapid growth of the School, the then supervisor of School of the Diocese On the Niger, Revd. E.O. Enemuo visited the school, and approved it to be recognized by the Diocese On the Niger. Subsequently, the school was used for holding Children Church Service.

 

In 1955, the first headmaster in the person of Mr Ogbonnaya was posted to the school. Mr. Eugene Uzuegbu was posted back as a trained teacher to the school in 1956 after his training. He started evening Church Service which involved adults. St. Andrew's Church, Amichi through the able and visionary leadership of the then Canon G.A.C. Nwangwu who saw the need to have feeder Churches in Amichi approved the establishment of St. Philip's Church, Eziama, Amichi. In 1985, Canon G.A.C. Nwangwu drew the building plan for St. Philip's Church, Eziama free of charge, and the women of St. Philip's Church under the leadership of Mrs Bessy Obigwu, and her executive members sponsored the building project to roofing level. The then chairman of Men's General Meeting, Mr Ephraim Obi mobilized men from all branches and they contributed immensely for the erection of the Church building and parsonage.

 

In 1989, the first Church teacher, Mr. Kingsley Chukwukama was posted to the Church. The foundation stone of the Church was laid by the Rt. Revd Jonathan A. Onyemelukwe, the then Bishop On the Niger in 1989. In 1997, Revd Stanley Awuzie (now Ven.) inaugurated the Lagos branch of the Church, and conducted the first Church service for them. The pioneer officers of the Church included:

(a)    Mr. Michael Ofoma              -       First Pastor's Warden.

(b)    Mr. Joseph Onyeaguru Snr  -       First People's Warden.

(c)    Mr. Bertram Umeononihu     -       First Treasurer.

(d)    Mr. Eugene Uzuegbu          -       First Secretary and Co-ordinator

                                                        of Children Service.

(e)    Mr. Ebenezer Obiagwu                -       First Lay Reader.

 

St. Philip's Church was inaugurated as a Parish in 1996 with Revd S.E.O. Emelumadu from Oba as the first Vicar. The Church hall was started by Women Home and Abroad General Meeting. In the year 2002, this Church building was dedicated during the pastorate of Revd Daniel Azodo (now Ven.) by His Lordship, The Rt. Revd. G.I.N. Okpala, Bishop, Diocese of Nnewi [Anglican Communion]. St Philip's Church was inaugurated an Archdeaconry headquarter for Amichi Archdeaconry on 17th July, 2011 by His Lordship, The Rt. Revd. Ephraim O. Ikeakor, Bishop of the Diocese of Amichi with Ven. Anthony Uchemereole as the pioneer Archdeacon. St. Philip's Church Eziama gave birth to St. Bartholomew's Church, Amichi in 2008 with Mr. Johnson Onuchukwu as the first Church teacher. This Church is growing in leaps and bounds with a very big Church building under construction now. The current priest in charge of the Church is Revd. Chidozie Madu. All the organizations in St. Philip's Church are waxing very strong, and have contributed immensely to the all round growth of the Church. The Boys and Girls Brigade of the Church is one of the most functional and productive in the Diocese. The first Choir master of the Choir was Mr. Emmanuel Ajuokwu now a Knight of St. Christopher. The choir has won very many trophies. The first Chancellor of the Diocese of Amichi, and the only Female Chancellor in the whole Province of the Niger is from St. Philip's Church, Eziama, Amichi in the Person of Hon. Justice Gloria .C. Anulude.

 

The following clergymen have served God in this Church:

1.     Revd S.E.O. Emelumadu              -       1996

2.     Revd Stanley Awuzie (Now Ven.)  -       1997

3.     Revd Brown Ofoeme (Now Ven.)   -       1998 – 2000

4.     Revd Dan Azodo (Now Ven.)                -       2001 – 2005

5.     Revd Jidekene Ojukwu                -       2006 – 2007

6.     Revd Canon Abadnego Igbokwe   -       2008 – 2010

7.     Revd Richard Ibeto                     -       2009 – 2012

8.     Revd Festus Ewewnike                -       2012 – 2013

9.     Revd Chuka Nwosu                     -       2012

10.    Revd Chidi Enemo                       -       2013

11.    Revd Ifeanyi Chukwuka               -       2014 – 2016

12.    Ven. Anthony Uchemereole          -       2011 – date

 

The Church has about Thirteen indigenous priests, some of whom are:

1.     Ven. Wilson Igboanugo (late)

2.     Ven. Emeka Onwuakpa

3.     Ven. Joseph Anulude, and others.

 

St. Philip's Church has nineteen Knights, and twelve Lay Readers.

 


 

 

CHURCH OF NIGERIA NEWS/EVENTS:

 

[a]   STANDING COMMITTEE MEETINGS:

The September Church of Nigeria Standing Committee and Mothers' Union Meeting were held at the Cathedral Church of St. David, Ijomu, Akure from 21st to 25th of September, 2015. The Theme of the Meeting was,”Look and Live.” In February, the Meetings were held at the Cathedral Church of St. Bartholomew, Kubwa, Abuja from 1st to 5th February, 2016. The Theme was “Maranath: Come, Lord Jesus.” (I Cor. 16:22). We congratulate the Dioceses of Akure, and Kubwa for successfully hosting those great meetings.

 

 

[b]   BISHOP'S ANNUAL RETREAT:

The 2016 edition of this special gathering of Bishops of Church of Nigeria [Anglican Communion] for their Spiritual revival, realignment, and rejuvenation took place at the Ibru Retreat Centre, Agbarha-Otor from 4th to 7th January, 2016. The Theme for the Retreat was, “The Bishop and his Episcopal Work”. Seasoned resource persons were chosen to handle very crucial and essential topics that border on the Bishops and their episcopacy.

 

 

[c]   RETIREMENTS, ELECTIONS, TRANSLATIONS AND CONSECRATION:

The two Bishops that retired from active Church service were:

The Rt. Revd James .O. Akinola    - the Bishop of Igbomina Diocese, and

The Rt. Revd. Oluranti Odubogun - the Bishop of Diocese of Ife.

Our prayer is that the Almighty and Gracious God whom they served meritoriously will bless them with joyful, healthy and regretless post retirement lives in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

The Rt. Revd. Timothy Yahaya was translated from Diocese of Jalingo, to Diocese of Kaduna following the re-location of Rt. Revd Josiah Idowu Fearon to London. In another development, The Rt. Revd Prof. Dapo Asaju was redeployed from Crowther Graduate Theological Seminary, Abeokuta, to Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo as the Vice Chancellor.

 

The following bishops were elected and consecrated within the period under review:

The Rt. Revd Olajide Adebayo              -Diocese of Igbomina-West

The Rt. Revd Olubunmi A. Akinlade       -Diocese of Ife

The Revd Foreman Nedison                -Diocese of Jalingo

The Rt. Revd Prof. Andrew Igenoza      -Dean, Crowther Graduate        Theological Seminary, Abeokuta.

The Rt. Revd Marcus D. Yohanna         -Diocese of Dutse.

 

His Grace, The Most Revd Christian .O. Efobi was re-elected for a second tenure as archbishop on Thursday 12th November, 2015. We pray for him for more Grace for impactful and purposeful leadership and tenure.

 

 

[d]   DIVCCON- DIVINE COMMONWEALTH CONFERENCE:

The 2015 edition of this great convocation of the people of God took place at the National Christian Centre, Abuja from Monday 9th to Friday 13th November, 2015. As we promised in our Presidential Address last year, ten(10) young people were fully sponsored by our Diocese to the Conference. They testified that it was indeed an unforgettable experience for all of them that attended. Our clergymen and their wives, and some Church teachers also were in attendance. We must appreciate some of our lay members who were in attendance too. The theme for 2015 DIVCCON was “Dare to be a Daniel.” It is because of the aptness and relevance of this theme to the present day church and Christians that we prayerfully adopted it as our Synod Theme this year. The 2016 DIVCCON will take place from Monday 7th to Friday 11th November, 2016 at the same venue. We encourage our members for more participation.

 

 

[e]   ST. MATHIAS DAY COLLECTION:

This special collection was held in February this year throughout the Church of Nigeria [Anglican Communion]. Our Diocese as expected participated actively in the exercise. In spite of our pure rural setting, the Diocese was able to painstakingly raise about two million naira (N2m) in this year's fund collection. We must as a matter of sincerity commend most of our Church workers who have demonstrated very high level of commitment, and honesty in the pursuit of this sacrificial Vision. We also thank and commend the laity of our Churches for their support. May the Merciful God in whose Name and for whose sake you are making these sacrifices reward and bless you all abundantly in Jesus Christ Name.

 

 

[f]    2015 ANGLICAN RELIEF FUND:

As a result of the greater devastating effects of the activities of Terrorists in the North-East of Nigeria, the terrible aftermath of flood and flooding, the unexplainable outbreak of fire incidents on our members' and non-members businesses in addition to other natural disasters on Nigerians generally, and our Church members in particular, the Church of Nigeria [Anglican Communion] created the special fund to compliment what St. Mathias Fund was meant for. A special collection and fund raising was organized through-out the nation in November 2015, and our Diocese as usual participated actively and meaningfully. All the monies realized were promptly and faithfully remitted to Church of Nigeria Relief Fund Account. Once more, we sincerely appreciate all the Church workers in the Diocese, and our members for their support, enthusiasm, and sacrifices in participating in this welfare Evangelism outreach packaged by our Church through our Primate.

 

 

 

 

PROVINCE OF THE NIGER MATTERS:

 

i.      RE-ELECTION OF OUR ARCHBISHOP:

On Thursday 12th November, 2015 at Abuja, His Grace, The Most Revd (Dr.) Christian Ogochukwu Efobi, was re-elected as the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of the Niger for a second tenure. We sincerely congratulate him, and passionately pray for more fruitful, impactful, and purposeful leadership as he leads the Province for a second tenure.

 

 

 

ii.     ALL ANGLICANS PRAYER RALLY:

The second edition of this great convocation of all Anglicans in prayer and Fellowship took place at Dr. Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka on Saturday, 7th November, 2015. All the Dioceses in the Province of the Niger participated actively and were adequately represented. The Archbishop, The Most Revd C.O. Efobi, other bishops and wives, and the Clergy and their wives were in attendance. It was indeed a special prayer time for homes, the Church, State, and the Nation at large. We bless the Name of the Almighty for the visible impacts this laudable Spiritual initiative is making in our dear state, Anambra, and our Nation, Nigeria. The zeal and commitment which the laity of our Church is demonstrating in this Prayer Rally deserves special commendation. The Preacher in the last edition was The Rt. Revd. Dr. Samuel .C. Ezeofor, the bishop of Anglican Diocese of Ogbaru. We are zealously looking forward for the 2016 edition, and we encourage all Anglicans in Anambra State to be part of this great move of God in our Province.

 

 

iii.    PROVINCIAL EPISCOPAL SYNOD, COUNCIL MEETING, AND MOTHER'S UNION MEETING:

The September meeting was hosted by Nnewi Diocese at the Diocesan Church Centre, (DCC) Nnewi on Wednesday 16th and Thursday 17th September, 2015. The February edition of the above meeting was held at the Emmaus House, Diocese of Awka from Wednesday 13th to Thursday 14th January, 2016. We commend the Dioceses of Nnewi, and Awka for the success of the meeting, and for their wonderful hospitality to the delegates.

 

 

iv.    PAUL UNIVERSITY, AWKA.

May I begin this column by heartily congratulating the new Vice Chancellor of the University, Ven. Prof. Uche C. Isiugo Abanihe for taking the bull by the horns by making himself available for this onerous, challenging and cumbersome job. I say this because I am quite abreast with the praxis and pragmatics of managing an Institution theoretically owned by fifty-five Anglican Dioceses, but practically and financially sponsored by very few of the Dioceses. There is no gain saying the fact that a lot of commendable, visible, and encouraging developments have taken place since he took over the mantle of leadership of this promising University. The full accreditation of eleven departments out of the twelve presented to them by the National Universities Commission is an eloquent testimony. The installation of His Grace, the Most Revd Nicholas D. Oko, The Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria as the Chancellor of the University on Friday 4th December, 2015 is no doubt an added advantage to the University.

 

At this time, when the National Universities Commission has issued a permanent License to the University to operate as a private University fully recognized, may I on very personal grounds and conviction state that for this University to make the desired headway and breakthrough in all ramifications, the issue of this non-cohesive, porous and doubtful confessional ownership of the University by fifty five Dioceses of East of the Niger needs to, and must be re-visited and re-decided on. There is nothing absolutely wrong if we handover both the ownership, the sponsorship and management of this great Institution to one, two or three financially Capable Dioceses who will throw in their full financial weight behind the University knowing that it fully belongs to them. Take away “Owner Mentality Syndrome” in the running and management of any business, parastatal or venture, you have inadvertently killed the venture. Any goat that is owned by and catered for by the public must as a matter of reality die of starvation. No University is run successfully through contribution of financial peanuts. Paul University has very great potential to be one of the best Private Universities in Nigeria. Whatever technical tinkering that needs to be done to make this suggestion workable, should be pursued vigorously and urgently.

 

In another development, there is nothing wrong with Anglican Communion having two to three Universities in Anambra State. The Roman Catholics already have two, and they are now building the third one. Why can't we make sacrifices and concessions, and move forward? Selfish and self-centered ambitions have been our great impediments in climbing the mountain of progress, productivity and Excellence. A stitch in time, we all know saves nine. What are we Anglicans actually doing? Let me encourage all of us to support, publicize and encourage Paul University by sending our children and wards to the School.

DIOCESE OF AMICHI:   NOTABLE EVENTS, PROGRAMMES AND PROJECTS:

 

[a]   CLERGY AND WIVES RETREAT:

The first clergy and Wives Retreat for the period under review was held on September 18, 2015 at All Saints' Church, Ekwulumili. The topic handled in the retreat by the Bishop was, “The Deformity in our Christian Identity”. He took his Bible texts from John 13:31-35; I John 2:8-11, and I John 4:7-12. The Bishop vehemently stressed that the only identity of true believers in Christ is Love. He copiously lamented that hatred among the clergy and their wives has grossly deformed our Christian Confession and profession. He wondered why mudslinging, backstabbing, and pull-him-down syndrome have characterized the priestly vocation for decades and generations. According the Bishop, Christian love is not based on one's goodness, rather true Christian love is manifested in being able to love in the midst of offences, ingratitude and gross misrepresentation from beneficiaries of your goodwill, and offences. He opined that some of the attributes of true Christian Love include:

 

i.      Doing Good for people without expecting gain and gratitude.

ii.      Being patient with others.

iii.     Love tolerates the weakness and mistakes of others.

iv.     Love is ever ready to believe the good aspects of everybody.

 

He concluded by saying that if believers in Christ especially Church workers are to manifest true Christian love, they must remain and abide in Christ, choose and move with friends who possess the necessary Biblical Christian qualities, and allow the Holy Spirit to guide and assess their actions.

 

The second clergy and wives Retreat took place on 3rd October, 2015 at St. James' Church, Azigbo. The opening devotion was conducted by Ven. Godwin Okafor. He titled his sermon “A Church worker as a written epistle.” (2 Cor. 3:1-6). In his exhortation, he called on Church workers and their wives to strive to live to the highest ideals of their vocation as they are always in the eyes of the public. This according to him demands extreme carefulness in order not to become a stumbling block to others. The major talk of the day was taken by Ven. David Nonyelum which was titled, “The Abomination of a Lying   Tongue.” He outlined seven things that make lying and lying tongue abominable.

 

They are:

a.     A lying tongue is an anti progressive force.

b.     It is anti God.

c.      Lying tongues weaken the force of every group.

d.     Lying tongue produces distrust.

e.     A lying tongue cannot pray effectively.

f.      A lying tongue is an agent of demonic possession.

g.     Every Christian who lies should as a matter of urgency seek deliverance.

 

Ven. Chika Mbeyi led the Bible Study on the topic “By this shall all men know that you are My Disciples”. In the same retreat, Ven. Chukwuebuka Chukwuemeka presented a Paper titled, “Coping with 21st Century Spiritual, Social and Technological Challenges in our Pastorate as Anglican Priests, Church workers and wives”. He explained the grave dimensions of the post modern Era describing it as an organized conspiracy against God, the Church, and Christianity generally.

 

The third Retreat was held on 18th March, 2016 at Immanuel Church, Ekwulumili. After the opening Devotion by the Bishop, Ven. P.C. Chukwuemeka, and Mrs Esther Maduka presented individual papers on pre-marital, and Marriage Counselling in our Church.

 

 

        DIOCESAN VIGILS:

The members of our Diocese gather for special all night prayers once every quarter of the year at designated parishes. Within the period under review, the Vigil prayer took place in the following Churches:

 

i.      Immanuel Church, Akwaihedi:  26th June, 2015. Revd Pascal Umeaoduagu preached on “Why He Came”.

ii.      St. Philip's Church, Eziama-Amichi – 25th September, 2015 with Revd Canon Franklin Chukwudozie preaching on “Take it by Force”.

iii.     St. Andrew's Church, Ebenenator - 27th November, 2015. Ven. Chika Mbeyi preached on, “Prepare to Meet your God.”

iv.     St. James Church, Azigbo – 18th March, 2016.  Revd Canon Kenechukwu Anyakoha spoke on “The Weapon of Prayer”.

 

We want to appreciate the efforts of the Diocesan Prayer Co-ordinator, Revd Canon Franklin Chukwudozie for making this programme very vibrant and consistent. We encourage our members to take this programme very serious, and participate very actively. This is because God still answers prayers.

 

 

        PRAYER BREAKFAST:

This great Prayer venture which takes place on the first day of every month at the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi has been growing in leaps and bounds. People come from different parts of the country especially from the South-East to participate in this Spiritual Prayer exercise. It starts every year with a special edition tagged “Prophetic Prayer Breakfast” on January 1. Those who are residing very faraway places both in Nigeria, and Diaspora who don't have the opportunity of participating in the programme every month, make maximum use of the January edition. God has been visiting His people through this programme. Another special edition takes place on October 1, which is known as “Freedom Prayer Breakfast”. It is usually a time to fervently pray for our dear country, Nigeria, and also celebrate the Grace and Mercy of God to our Country. Every year, the Prayer Breakfast Prayer Meeting is concluded through organized special Thanksgiving by families, individuals, Churches, Archdeaconries on December 1, which is known as Prayer Breakfast of Thanksgiving. It has been very awesome, impactful and Memorable. It is not just an Anglican event. Various Church denominations participate in that gracious move of God. To God alone belong all the Praise and Adoration.

 

 

        TRUMPET AND TRIUMPHANT NIGHT:

This is our annual Diocesan Praise and Worship night with which we usually wind up each year. The 2015 edition of this Glorious Programme took place on Friday 11th December, 2015 at the Cathedral field, Amichi. The Theme was, “Holy Praise, Holistic Miracles”. The attendance to the event grows greatly as year succeeds to year. In the sermon that night, the Bishop made the enthusiastic congregants to know that Righteous Living; Sacrificial Giving; and singing of Praises to God are three things that specially draw God's attention to a man's life, and circumstances. According to him, Praise is singing God's Graciousness, Greatness, Providence, Compassion, Forgiveness, Testimony, and Kindness. The event featured notable Gospel singers like Bro. Israel Anyanele, Sis. Amara Ezeihesie, Bro. Ugochukwu Igwebuike, and Bro. Ebere Ezeani. The Destiny Fulfillers Mass Choir of our Diocese also featured wonderfully.

 

 

        FIRST BORNS' NIGHT:

On Friday 6th November, 2015, this special group of people gathered again from all walks of life at the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi for 2015 edition of the Firstborns' Night. The sermon topic that night was “Recovering Your Birthright.” The programme which started at 9.00pm witnessed a massive turn out of first sons and daughters from various states of the federation. The Preacher in his sermon emphasized that every firstborn has a wonderful destiny, and a pride of place in life. According to him, any family whose firstborn is focused and organized cannot be disorganized by the devil. Citing the instances of Esau, and Reuben, he warned firstborns to be very careful how they handle their privileged position, because when this position with its attendant blessings are lost through carelessness and sinfulness, it is always a costly error too difficult to correct and recover.

 

He maintained that the only roadmaps to recovery are Repentance, Righteousness, and fervent prayers. Many participants surrendered their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bishop drilled the people through aggressive, fervent and meaningful prayer sessions for the Recovery of their Birthright for those who might have lost theirs, and prayer of sustenance for those who haven't lost theirs. The 2016 edition comes up on Friday 4th November, 2016.

 

 

 

        2015 ADVENT ORDINATION:

Last year's Advent Ordination Service took place on Sunday 13th December, 2015 at St. Stephen's Anglican Church, Osumenyi. Three new deacons that were made are:

i.      Revd Francisco Agbasionwe

ii.      Revd Chukwudi Daniel Chetachukwu

iii.     Revd Chinedu Nelson Mbabie.

 

The following deacons were ordained Priests:

 

i.      Revd. Ugonna Ifeanyichukwu Nwagu.

ii.      Revd. Chukwunosno Nobert Okafor.

iii.     Revd. Chinaza Nnamdi Unozor.

 

The Retreatant was Rt. Revd. Samuel C.A. Chukwuka. We pray the Almighty God to give these young and dynamic servants of His the Divine enablement to be faithful to their calling, and oath of office.

 

 

        WIDOW'S CHRISTMAS PARTY:

This exercise which we have consistently pursued with great vigour as part of our Welfare Evangelism Outreach has in no small measure brought succor to the concerned group. The 2015 edition of the Diocesan Widow's Christmas Party was celebrated on 21st December, 2015 at the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi. Over eight hundred widows were in attendance. The Bishop in the company of other priests in our Diocese ministered to the widows and prayed for them. It has always been an inspiring and encouraging experience to witness the relief and joy brought to the lives of the downtrodden through this simple and singular exercise. The party witnessed a better organization this time as widows from all the parishes were methodically attended to without much challenges as had been the case in the previous year. The priority focus in the last edition of the party was on Anglican widows from all parishes in our Diocese. Let me at this point thank and appreciate all the individuals and Churches who willingly supported the exercise through the Freewill donations. As usual, the widows were sumptuously fed, and they went home with a half bag of rice each, and some tins of tomatoes. The Women Organisation through the President, Dame Nkem Ikeakor need special commendation for their sacrificial commitment financially towards the success of the exercise.

 

I still want to passionately appeal to our members to cue into this soul enriching and hope restoring outreach. People are in very pitiable circumstances, and your one bag of Rice, and a carton of tomatoes, or wrapper can save a lot of lives this year.

 

 

CHURCH WORKERS' AND WIVES' END OF THE YEAR PARTY:

This event for 2015 took place in the Bishopscourt on 22nd December, 2015. It is always a time when Church workers and their wives share various testimonies of God's goodness upon their lives, families, and ministries. The Bishop decided to graciously restore the exercise through the appeal of Mama Amichi Diocese, after it was suspended in 2014. This was to the much delight and relief of Church workers and their families. As usual, Church workers went home with assorted Christmas gift items including bags of rice, cartons of tomatoes and groundnut oil. We are anxiously looking forward to that time when members of our Diocese will see the need to provide for, and take care of their priests, and Church workers. There are great rewards and blessings in taking care of God's Priests, and Ministers.

 

 

 

2016 CHURCH WORKERS AND WIVES SET-APART:

It has become a traditional practice in our Diocese for Church workers and their wives to begin the year by seeking the face of God for Inspiration and Direction in their lives, Families matters, and Ministries. This year's set apart took from Thursday 21st to Saturday 23rd, 2016 at St. Peter's Anglican Church, Umudim, Amichi. The theme of the Retreat was, “Dare to be a Daniel.” The theme talk was handled by Ven. Arinze Anene. He ministered to us for three days of the programme. The Retreat was preceded each day by a Eucharistic Service. Ven. Prof. Samuel Ike spoke on “Avoiding the Bandwagon Spirit in Ministry, and Overcoming Ministerial Harzards and Pitfalls.” The Bible Study facilitator was Revd Canon Goddy Iloka. This year's retreat was deeply Spiritual, Challenging, and rewarding. It also gave the workers and wives the opportunity to pray for their personal lives, Ministry, and the Diocese in general.

 

2016 COVENANT SUNDAY:

The 2016 edition of our Diocesan Covenant Sunday was held on Sunday 31st January, 2016 at the cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi. The theme was “GO FORWARD.” Exploring the theme, the bishop gave ten different meanings of ‘Go Forward' thus:

(a)    Be Progressive.

(b)    Continue to advance.

(c)    Be in the lead (in all things).

(d)    Go ahead of others.

(e)    Be futuristic and Proactive.

(f)     Don't be stagnant.

(g)    Don't limit yourself where you are.

(h)    Refuse intimidations, and distractions.

(i)     Resolve to excel.

 

The Bishop charged Christians to fight against the six monsters that inhibit them from Going Forward in life by doing the following:

i.      Always make sure that it is God who is leading you.

ii.      Always be determined, and discover the source of your problem.

iii.     Make sure you replace fear with faith.

iv.     Detach your attention from your problem.

v.      Act always on the Word and Instruction of God.

vi.     Be very sure to return all the Praise and Glory to God.

 

Many Testimonies were given from God's visitations in last year's edition of the programme. Large number of people attended the programme from within and outside the Diocese. By the special Grace of God, many attendees gave their lives to Christ Jesus by answering Altar Call.

 

 

DIOCESAN COMBINED LENTEN MEDITATION:

Every Lenten season is an opportunity for joint fellowship in our Diocese. It provides us with the opportunity for corporate Prayers and meditations on the key lessons of the season, and other relevant issues as God directs. This year, the combined Lenten Meditations were held at the following Church Locations:

 

a.     17th February, 2016 – St. Stephen's Church, Osumenyi, Ven. David Nonyelum preached on “The Cost of Discipleship”.

 

b.     24th  February, 2016 – Immanuel Church, Akwaihedi. Ven. Chukwuebuka Chukwuemeka spoke on, “Resisting every wind of Doctrine”.

 

c.      2nd March, 2016 – St. Simon's Church, Ezinifite. Ven. Chika Mbeyi preached on, “Beware of False Prophets”.

 

d.     9th March, 2016 – Christ Church, Amichi. Revd Canon Franklin Chukwudozie's sermon was on “Take heed what you hear.”

 

e.     16th March, 2016 – Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi. His Lordship, The Rt. Revd Ephraim O. Ikeakor preached on “First Thing First”. The Bishop maintained in his sermon that God is God of Order and Principles. According to him, seeking the Kingdom of God, and His Righteousness remains the first thing every child of God must pursue as God's first and major priority. The Bishop regretted that today, majority of the people in the Church are only interested in Miracles, Prosperity, Protection and Provisions at the expense of God's righteous demand and Will. He said that God will ordinarily bring the good things of life to His Children who seek Him whole heartedly. The Bishop as his tradition has been in every last edition of the Lenten Meditation took the opportunity to pronounce Episcopal Blessings on the congregation.

 

 

 

SPECIAL VALENTINE BANQUET:

This year's Valentine Banquet was organized specifically for young people between the ages of twelve and forty (12-40). It took place on Saturday 13th February, 2016 at the Cathedral field, Amichi. It was massively attended as over one thousand two hundred youths from different states converged for the event. The Bishop spoke on “Eating Your Dinner at Breakfast.” He seriously Challenged and charged the Youths to set their Priorities right if they are going to actualize their potentials and destinies in life. It was actually mind blowing and very fulfilling to see multitude of young people who gave their lives to Christ Jesus. We continue to appeal sincerely to parents, and adults of our Church to join us in this crusade of rescuing our Youths by being part of the sponsorship of the programme. The Diocese spends not less than two million naira (N2m) each year in organizing this banquet. The Bishop has promised the Youths that next year's Valentine Banquet will be more superb and grand. This means more financial involvement. That of next year will take place on Saturday 11th February, 2017. There will be drama presentation, special feature of Gospel Singers, a lot of eating and drinking, great venue decoration.

 

 

 

SPECIAL COUPLES BANQUET:

 

On Sunday 14th February, 2016, the Diocese organized a special Valentine Couples Banquet for the married only. This attracted another massive gathering of couples from all walks of life. The Bishop preached on the topic, “What Really went Wrong?” The occasion witnessed the healing and restoration of many marriages and homes. All the participants were fed through buffet. It was an enthralling experience for all who attended. Other highlights of the occasion include the Couples' Intimacy test, and Life transforming drama presentation. The 2017 Special Couples' Banquet comes up on Sunday 12th February. You are highly invited and expected.

 

 

 

SPECIAL PALM SUNDAY OUTREACH WITH KNIGHTS, LADIES, AND LAY READERS:

The Bishop worshipped at St. Jude's Church, Akala Ezinifte with the Diocesan Council of Knights/Ladies, and Diocesan Lay readers on Sunday 20th March, 2016. This is one of our very small feeder Churches which still worships in a member's private residence. Let me specially thank and appreciate the few Knights that attended the service. Our Lay readers deserve very wonderful commendation for turning up en mass. May the good Lord continue to bless all of you who deemed it very fit to answer the bishop's Macedonian call. I must confess that the Knights that came really encouraged us through their sacrificial donation to support the Church building Project which will commence before the end of the year. In the sermon, the bishop examined the various roles played by the Palm Sunday congregation. The title of the sermon was, “Characters around the Palm Sunday”. These characters included, Jesus Himself, Christ's disciples; the owners of the Colt; the multitude; and then the Pharisees. The Bishop pointed out that apart from the Pharisees and Chief Priests, the rest of the characters played very supportive and positive roles. He challenged the congregation to examine their contributions towards the expansion of God's Kingdom. May I appeal passionately to our Knights and their ladies to rise up to the Oath they took on their Investiture service. We are not encouraged at all by the non-challant and non- committed attitude of many of our Knights. Our patience and pastoral disposition should not be mistaken for weakness.

 

 

2016 NIGHT OF EVIDENCE:

The Night of Evidence Programme for 2016 took place as usual on Good Friday 25th March, 2016 at the Cathedral Church of St.  Andrew's field, Amichi. As expected. It attracted an over whelming crowd who thronged the arena seeking God, and His Mercy. The theme for this year's programme was, “Whosoever and Whatsoever”, taken from John 5:4. In his sermon, the Bishop maintained that Salvation is open to whoever is willing to forsake his/her sins and come to Jesus. He also echoed that God through our Lord Jesus Christ is able to solve whatever problem anyone will bring to him in Faith. According to the Bishop, all men have equal opportunity of receiving God's Mercy and Grace at all times so far we do that by obeying the word and voice of God. Many people gave testimonies of God's great Visitations and Miracles to them as a result of last year's edition. The programme featured powerful prayer sessions addressing different cases of people in the programme. The greatest highlight of the programme was the great crowd of participants who willingly surrendered their lives to Christ Jesus. We continue to bless the Lord for all His wonderful works among His people.

 

 

WAILING WOMEN PRAYER SUMMIT:

The 2016 edition of this special gathering of Women, Ladies, and Young girls in copious prayer and intercessions took place from Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th May, 2016 at the Cathedral. This year's Wailing Women Prayer Summit witnessed monumental upsurge in attendance. As usual, women and ladies came from different states of the federation to attend the programme. The theme for this year's programme was, “The Time to Pray is Now”. Indeed the women poured out their hearts in ceaseless prayers throughout the duration of the programme. Sundry issues concerning Families, Marriages, Careers, Health, Finances of people, Destinies of our Youths, Employment, etc were meaningfully handled in Prayers. Seasoned Priests within and outside our Diocese ministered to the women alongside the Bishop. They include –Ven. Chika Mbeyi, Ven. Prosper Amah, Ven. Chukwuebuka Chukwuemeka.

 

A great number of the attendees surrendered and re-dedicated their lives to our Lord Jesus Christ. When the number of testifiers became too numerous on the last day being Sunday of God's wonderful Miracles and visitations from 2015 edition, only thirty-two (32) were allowed to come out and give their testimonies, while others were asked to dance to the Altar to prove that God still answers prayers, and does Miracles in a very simple way. It was indeed a glorious time of Spiritual encounter.

 

 

 

KNIGHTHOOD INVESTITURE:

It can be recalled that the last Knighthood Investiture done in this Diocese was in 2010. The Diocese did the second Investiture into the Knighthood order of St. Christopher, and Lady of Bethany on the 29th March, 2016 [Tuesday of Easter] at The Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi. A total of Thirty (30) persons were investitured in the Service comprising of twenty-seven (27) as Knights of St. Christopher, with their auxiliary ladies, while three(3) persons were invested Dames in the same service. It was actually a joyous and colourful occasion. The new Knights, their families and friends donated generously towards the Development Projects of the Diocese. Our earnest expectation and Prayer for the new Knights is that God will grant them the Grace to live up to the Oaths and Vows they took in Jesus Christ Name. May we also remind those who made pledges to try very hard to redeem same before the expiration of the deadline in December this year.

 

 

DIOCESAN ENDOWMENT FUND LAUNCHING:

The Bishop, his wife, Dame Nkem Ikeakor, and all the Archdeacons worshipped with members of Amichi Diocese in Lagos on Sunday 8th November, 2015 to raise funds to endow the Diocese. The Service took place at the Trade Fair Complex Lagos, and witnessed a large turnout of our members who gave willingly and sacrificially for the sustenance of the Diocese. As we thank all our members in Lagos generally who partook in the exercise, let me specially appreciate and laud the efforts of the Planning Committee who passed through waters, and fire to see to the success of the exercise. The Almighty and Gracious God will never forget your labour of Love towards Him and His Church. All of you in Lagos who made that day worthwhile, the Omniscient God who is also Jehovah Jireh must surely bless and replenish you immensely in Jesus Christ Name. Amen. Please let us softly remind all who made pledges that our deadline for redemption in November, 2016.

 

 

 

BISHOP'S 50TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION:

By the special Mercy of our Merciful God, the Bishop turned fifty (50) on 4th May, 2016 which is his actual birthday, but the major celebration took place on Saturday 7th May, 2016. That day will ever remain indelible in our memories because of the flambouyant show of love, appreciation and solidarity from all and sundry. Distinguished guests and dignitaries came from across the Country to grace the occasion. May I personally and specially thank the executive governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Chief Dr. Willies Obiano for his rare show of love and friendship he demonstrated that day. Your Excellency, all we can say is that you really made our day. May the good God continue to bless, direct and protect you. The Chairman of the occasion, who was the former Minister of Power, and former Vice Chancellor of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Ven. Prof. Chinedu Nebo deserves very special thanks from us. The galaxy of our Archbishops, Bishops, and their wives present on that day was both intimidating and encouraging. We were simply overwhelmed by what we saw during and even after the event. I cannot afford to forget thanking their Excellencies, Dame Virgy Etiaba, and Chief Sir Peter Gregory Obi, former governor of our State for their solidarity and attendance. The Deputy Governor, Dr. Nkem Okeke and his dear wife deserve our recognition. The royal fathers also surprised us with their presence. The occasion also witnessed the Presentation, and Launching of our book, “THE CARELESS CHILDREN OF A CAREFUL GOD”. We don't know how to thank all the dignitaries and personalities that came and encouraged us on that day, but the God we serve will unfailingly bless all of you mightily in Jesus Christ, Name.

 

The presentation of a KIA SORENTO Jeep to us by the Diocese is yet another mind blowing encouragement especially as it was done without any undue influence and duress. Thank you all! Thank you all!! and Thank you all!!! May our celebrations be consummated in God's Kingdom on that great day of our ultimate Redemption. The Planning Committee is highly appreciated.

 

 

 

WOMEN ORGANISATIONS:

We shall continue to thank the Women Organisations ably led by Dame Nkem Ikeakor. They have been great pillars of support, motivation and encouragement to the Churches, Parishes, Archdeaconries, and the Diocese. Their weekly prayer gathering known as “Kneeling in His Presence” is going on actively in many Churches in the Diocese every Saturday. This one year, they have organized some Spiritual Rertreats and Seminar among themselves. Their 2015 Diocesan Women Conference was a huge success, not just because of the volume of money realized in the event, but also by the level of sound and ardent spiritual activities and fervent prayer sessions that engendered testimonies among them. The women spent very large sum of money in sponsoring the feeding of all the widows in last year's Diocesan Widow's Christmas Party. They also bought all the tin tomatoes shared to the widows. They have been very prompt and faithful in the payment of their assessment to the Diocese.

 

During the Wailing Women Prayer Summit, the women were responsible for the wide and virile publicity given for the Programme. They took the Publicity Rally to Nnewi, Nnobi, Igboukwu, Uga, and all the towns in the Diocese. The climax of their project is their courageous embarking of building a Table Water, and sachet water Factory at Unubi. This is a very gigantic State-of-the-art factory which as at the time of writing this address has gulped over Seventy-five Million naira (N75m). All the machines for the Table and Sachet Water production have been procured waiting for installation. The borehole and two giant stachion tanks have been completed. One Water Tanker, one Truck, and one Industrial Cabin Lorry Van have been bought. A storey building for key staff members is also being built simultaneously with the factory building. Hopefully the water will be used during the Diocesan Women Conference. The amount quoted above is less the cost of the five plots of land wherein the factory is located.

 

 

 

CONFIRMATION AND ADMISSIONS:

Below are the statistics for Confirmation, and Admissions into Mothers' Union, Women's Guild, Girls' Guild, and Men's Christian Fellowship within the one year under review:

 

 

 


2015/2016 STATISTICS OF CONFIRMATION AND ADMISSIONS

S/N

 

NAME OF CHURCHES

 

DATES

CONFIRMATION

GIRLS'

GUILD

WOMEN'S

GUILD

MOTHERS'

UNION

 

AMCF

 

OFFERING

1.

HOLY TRINITY CHURCH, UTUH.

 

31/5/2015

 

19

 

4

 

3

 

1

 

----

 

 9,860.00

2.

CHRIST CHURCH, AMICHI.

19/7/2015

21

5

2

---

---

13,445.00

3.

ST. JAMES CHURCH, AZIGBO.

26/7/2015

10

4

3

3

---

27,780.00

4.

ST. PETER'S CHURCH, AMICHI.

6/9/2015

19

4

3

2

2

25,340.00

5.

CHRIST ANGLICAN CHURCH, OSUMENYI.

20/9/2015

9

6

2

4

---

  8,955.00

6.

ST. PHILIP'S CHURCH, EZIAMA AMICHI.

15/11/2015

 

20

9

3

1

3

17,855.00

7.

MASTER'S VESSEL SEMINARY, OSUMENYI.

18/11/2015

 

67

---

---

---

---

31,260.00

8.

CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF ST. ANDREW, AMICHI.

29/11/2015

 

21

4

5

---

---

26,095.00

9.

HOLY CHILD CONVENT, AMICHI.

2/12/2015

 

60

34

---

---

---

25,430.00

10.

ST. ANDREW'S CHURCH, EBENATOR.

7/2/2016

 

19

---

6

3

---

  8,130.00

11.

ALL SAINTS' CHURCH, EKWULUMILI.

28/2/2016

 

8

5

6

2

---

  7,400.00

12.

ST. SIMON'S CHURCH, EZINIFITE.

13/3/2016

 

31

12

10

4

---

11,205.00

13.

IMMANUEL CHURCH, EKWULUMILI.

10/4/2016

 

19

---

5

---

---

13,370.00

14.

ST. ANDREW'S CHURCH, UNUBI.

17/4/2016

 

11

5

1

1

---

7,850.00

15.

CHURCH OF DIVINE COMPASSION, AMICHI.

24/4/2016

11

4

4

2

---

15,365.00

16.

CHRIST CHURCH, AMICHI.

05/06/2016

19

5

3

3

4

12,910.00

 

TOTAL                        =

 

369

101

56

26

9

N262,250.00


PROJECTS:

 

A.     SURE-ANCHOR MICROFINANCE BANK LTD:

In our Presidential Address last year, we did inform this august assembly that the Central Bank of Nigeria had given us Approval In Principle (AIP) to established a Microfinance bank known as Sure Anchor Microfinance Bank LTD. To the Glory of the Almighty God, the much dreamt-about Sure Anchor Microfinance Bank has finally come to be. The Diocese by the Special Grace of God has established a Microfinance Bank that is fully operational now. The Microfinance Bank establishment Steering Committee under the Chairmanship of Sir Dr. Ugochukwu Nzewi worked assiduously to pursue and complete all the official demands and procedures in record time, and obtained the CBN's final approval. The Bank officially opened for business on Monday 13th October, 2015. The official commissioning ceremony was performed by His Lordship, The Rt. Revd. Ephraim Okechukwu Ikeakor, Bishop, Diocese of Amichi [Anglican Communion] on Friday 23rd October, 2015. Ours is a Microfinance bank you must trust. We implore all and Sundry who are from Nnewi South L.G.A., both at home and in diaspora to patronize the bank. The bank is also here in the Synod to assist people in opening accounts with them, and also to intimate us on their products and business opportunities. At the appropriate time in this Synod, we shall allow them to address and educate us.

 

 

B.     HOLY CHILD CONVENT, AMICHI:

We continue to give all praise and adoration to God for the great things He has continued to do in this Convent which has remained one of the priceless legacies of the Diocese. The Principal of the Institution, Ijeoma Ndoeche. JP deserves special commendation from us for her tireless and fruitful efforts in keeping the Convent on a very high pedestal, morally and academically. Last year, the Anambra State Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) Result released by Examination Development Centre, Awka showed that Miss Egeonu Ijeoma from Holy Child Convent, Amichi was the best overall student in Anambra State, and she was crowned at Awka as (BECE Queen). Miss Ezenworah Faith from our Convent was the Second overall best Student.

 

This year 2015/2016, Miss Izuehie Ebube Brenda from Holy Child Convent, Amichi has been declared the best overall students in the same examination by Examination Development Centre, Awka with a total score of one thousand and sixty-four (1,064). She was crowned the BECE Queen on Wednesday 8th June, 2016 at Awka. It is very pertinent for me to once again state here that by the Grace of God, we have a complete zero tolerance principle to examination malpractice of all sorts in our Convent, and Seminary. Last year, we made a very passionate appeal to Good-spirited members of our Diocese, and other philanthropists to come to our aid in our Convent by helping us to erect a befitting Chapel in the School. We are still repeating the appeal here and now. These wonderful girls need a place of worship. Even if you cannot build the Chapel single-handedly, your sacrificial donation and commitment can help us realize our dream of providing a place of worship for the School.

 

May I at this juncture thank the former Governor of Anambra State, Chief Sir Peter Obi. CON, for making a donation of one million (N1m) towards this project when he visited us during my 50th Birthday celebration.

The UTME result for this year has also shown an excellent performance by our students.

 

 

C.     MASTER'S VESSEL SEMINARY, OSUMENYI:

Through the Mercy of God, this School is growing and developing greatly in all ramifications. The multimillion naira ultra-modern hostel building at the Master's Vessel Seminary, Osumenyi has been completed.    The dedication of the Three Storey Building was done on 18th November, 2015. The Bishop in company of clergymen, and other lay members of the Diocese, Board of Governors of the School, and some PTA members convened at the School to dedicate and celebrate this wonderful act of God for the furtherance of God's work in the Seminary. With the dedication of this edifice, the students have conveniently moved into their permanent hostel accommodation.

As the School is preparing to take her maiden WAEC, and NECO examinations next year, all the laboratories for Physics, Chemistry, Biology practicals have been fully built and equipped to standard.

 

The School took their first Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) popularly known as Junior WAEC this year. The second overall best Student in Anambra State came from Master's Vessel Seminary, Osumenyi. His name is Master Ohia Christopher Nwachukwu.                                  You should recall that the overall best is from Holy Child Convent, Amichi. To God alone be all the Glory. Let me heartily thank and appreciate the Parents-Teachers Association of the Seminary under the Chairmanship of Sir Jeff Okeke for voluntarily resolving to sponsor fully the inter locking of all the Seminary Premises which they have fully completed. The project actually gulped millions of naira. May God bless them abundantly in Jesus Christ Name. If you have not been to the premises of this Seminary, I advise that you just pay a casual visit there. It is my pleasure to inform this Synod, and members of the public that from September this year, both the Holy Child Convent, and Master's Vessel Seminary, will no longer admit students from other Schools into the Schools. All the admissions will be in Jss1 only.

The two major pressing needs we have in this Seminary now are; School Chapel, and befitting Principal's/Staff quarters.

 

 

 

D.     DIOCESAN HOSPITAL; AND DIOCESAN SCHOOL OF NURSING:

The Diocesan hospital is growing and improving in multi dimensions. The services provided in the hospital are diversifying steadily. We thank the Hospital Management Board led by Sir Dr. Eddy Agbasimelo, the hospital administrator, Revd Isaiah Chibuikem, and the team of doctors and workers in the hospital. The relentless efforts and sacrifices of Sir Dr. Onyekwelu Nzewi in donating on yearly basis many expensive hospital equipment to the hospital need to be acknowledged and appreciated. He has brought some medical equipment early this year, and promised to bring more before the end of July, 2016. During the Knighthood Investiture, he announced that each year, he will be bringing equipment worth not less than two million naira (N2m) for the hospital. God will ceaselessly bless him abundantly always. The official Foundation Stone Laying Ceremony of the Administrative/Classrooms block of Amichi Diocesan School of Nursing was performed by the Bishop, The Rt. Revd. Ephraim O. Ikeakor on Saturday 12th March, 2016. The Clergy, Hospital Management Board members, Hospital Staff and other members of our Diocese witnessed the event. The Bishop announced to the delight of the gathering that one of his friends, Mr. & Barr. Mrs Chinedu Okeke donated a clean 30-seater capacity Coaster bus which he bought for nearly Eleven million naira (N11m) for the School. This is one of the conditions given to us for the take off of the School. May God bless his generosity and labour of Love in God's Vineyard.

 

The Diocese is now erecting a three storey hostel building for the school. The building is at the leveling stage of the last floor preparatory for roofing. This is the second hostel block being erected for a solid and vibrant take off of the Nursing School. Chief Sir Peter Obi donated One million naira (N1m) for this project during our birthday.

 

We are still hopeful that the School of Nursing will take off in October this year. Almost all the structures and facilities required for the School are on ground. The major issue now is the final Inspection by Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria. According to the letter the body wrote to me in April, they stated that the delay in their coming is as a result of non-constitution of the Board that oversees their affairs. They said that once a board is in place by the President, they will treat our matter.

 

 

E.     LEGACY BUILDING AT TRINITY THEOLOGICAL COLLEGE, UMUAHIA:

Our Diocese by the Grace of God undertook the building of a 4-bedroom staff apartment at Trinity Theological College, Umuahia following an appeal from our Primate, the Most Revd Nicholas D. Okoh. The Foundation Stone Laying Ceremony was done by us on 29th February, 2016 in the company of Canons, Archdeacons, and some Diocesan Board Members. To the Glory of God, that building was one of the Legacy Projects dedicated by the Primate on 17th March, 2016 at Umuahia. The project cost the Diocese the sum of Eight million naira (N8m) only.

 

 

F.     CLERGY HOUSING SCHEME:

In order to encourage faithfulness, productivity and loyalty among our clergy, we started this housing scheme support initiative in 2014 at Immanuel Church, Ekwulumili. Let me categorically state here again that this scheme is not for all the Clergymen in the Diocese, but only those Clergymen who are faithful, sincere, loyal, productive and committed to their work, and to the Diocese. Last year by dint of Emotion the gesture was extended to one of the clergymen who did not merit it following the provisions of the condition for the exercise.  Such by the Grace of God will not repeat itself. Even though it is not easy for us to cope with enormous financial burden confronting the Diocese this year, yet we have wholly resolved and given ourselves to this venture.

 

On that note, the following clergymen should come up and collect their Housing Scheme Support cheques of One million naira (N1m) each:

(a)    Ven. Chukwuma Akam

(b)    Revd Canon Franklin Chukwudozie

(c)    Revd Canon Kenechukwu Anyakoha

In the same vein, we intend to encourage one of the faithful drivers in the Bishopscourt, Mr. Ikechukwu Ugwu with the sum of Five hundred thousand naira (N500,000) for his own house project. Remember again brothers that this money is meant for your house project only, and nothing else. The major reason why we are taking this sacrificial venture is because ours is a pure rural Diocese in which it is almost impossible for faithful clergymen to build their own houses. Many of our members are not interested in the clergy welfare.

 

 

G.     OUR SORROWS:

Within the period under review, many of our members were called back home by God the giver and sustainer of life. Some of whom are:

i.      Chief         Ntomchukwu      Atuchukwu

ii.      Sir            Fredrick             Mkparu

iii.     Sir            Sydney              Ukwandu

iv.     Sir            James               Okonkwo

v.      Madam      Caroline             Umeigbo

vi.     Prof. Mrs    Nonye               Aniebue

vii.    Madam      Florence            Ezekwere

viii.    Mrs           Grace                        Nwosu

ix.     Madam      Juliana              Umechiedo

x.      Mrs           Stella                Ibeh

xi.     Ezinne       Bridget              Anyaegbu

xii.    Madam      Juliana              Nnubia

xiii.    Mrs           Mary                 Oguchi

xiv.   Miss          Ekwutosi            Agazie

xv.    Master       Obichukwu         Udogu

May we please rise for a minute silence in their honour.

 

 

 

H.     OUR JOY:

Some of our members celebrated in various ways and manners for God's visitation and blessings. They include:

1.     Dame Nkem Ikeakor            -Healing and Deliverance.

2.     Hon. Benjamin Aniagaoso    -80th Birthday.

3.     Chief Dr. Simon N. Okeke    -80th Birthday.

4.     Rt. Revd Ephraim O. Ikeakor        -50th Birthday.

5.     Mr. Elias Ukachukwu           -Miraculous Deliverance from deadly

                                                 Kidnappers.

6.     Revd & Mrs Francisco Agbasionwe        -Wedding.

7.     Mr & Mrs Okechukwu Okeke         -Wedding.

8.     Revd & Mrs Nnamdi Unozor         -Wedding.

9.     Revd & Mrs Chidi Enemuo            -New Baby.

10.    Revd & Mrs ThankGod Agu          -New Baby.

11.    Revd & Mrs Chidozie Madu           -New Baby.

12.    Revd & Mrs Festus Ewenike          -New Baby.

13.    Ord. & Mrs Ekene Ilobi                        -New Baby.

 

We know that there are very many celebrations we did not capture here, but we use these ones to pray that more joyful events and celebrations will come our ways in this Diocese in Jesus Christ, Name.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OUR NATION NIGERIA:

 

ANAMBRA STATE:

We want to specially appreciate the dogged resilience and commitment of the governor of our dear State, Anambra, Chief Dr. Willie Obiano in making Anambra State better than he met it. The enormous and giant strides you have taken in giving Awka a remarkable facelift, thereby having an outlook of a Capital City is no mean feat. His Excellency's commitment in Agriculture, and Industrialization are steps in the right direction. Your prompt payment of workers' Salary every month, and making Anambra State the second State in Nigeria that pay Salary of Workers constantly deserves commendation and applause. We heartily congratulate the governor on his award as the best the governor of the year by the SUN Newspaper.

 

Nevertheless, we in this part of Anambra State are still wondering whether we are part of Anambra State. Your Excellency, it is an obvious fact and truth that there is no government presence in all the towns and communities that make up Diocese of Amichi, and by extension Nnewi-South Local Government Area. There is no Road at all, No Tertiary Institutions, No Industry, No Standard Market, No Commercial Banks, No Hospital. The only Federal road that links Amichi to other neighboring States is grossly impassable. Even though it is a Federal Road, I am aware that the State can do something meaningful and tangible on the road through the Road Maintenance Agency of the State, and State Ministry of Works. It may interest, and surprise the governor that for four consecutive years now, it is our Diocese that has undertaken the repair and maintainance of this road with her meagre resources. Secondly, our Diocesan Hospital happens to be the only meaningful and functional Hospital in this area too. We are in dire need of fund to properly run the hospital and provide the health care need of the rural populace of these rural communities. Yes, the Federal allocation accruing to the State must have obviously dwindled, but basic needs remain basic needs.

 

I am passionately appealing to the governor to urgently do something tangible in helping the state realize her dream of providing sound and reliable healthcare to the rural people through the Diocese by releasing funds to us for the completion of our Diocesan School of Nursing, and Hospital project. We thank His Excellence for the Customary Court located in Amichi now, but the truth remains that this is not a major need of the people of this area. I believe that this being the first Synod you are attending, and by extension your first official visit to this Diocese, we are expecting you to put a bogus smile on our faces by actively addressing the infrastructural, and Institutional need we are in need of.  The Church will not disappoint you if you commit any fund to our charge. We quite agree that “WILLIE IS WORKING” but this side of your State is not happy. God bless our Governor and our State Anambra.

 

 

 

NIGERIA AT A GLANCE:

 

i.      SECURITY SITUATION:

We must commend the Present administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari for the remarkable improvement and impact in addressing and fighting the terrorist religious group known as Boko Haram. There is no doubt that the security situation in the North east of Nigeria in particular is getting better, and in Nigeria generally. But it is very apt and logical to state here that the Boko Haram activities have assumed new and more deadly dimension. No one should be kept in doubt any longer that the Boko Haram Sect has translated and metamorphosed into the Dreaded Fulani's herdsmen. The senseless manner in which this unofficially trained terror group is slaughtering and wasting resourceful human lives is not just mind boggling but very traumatic. The unexplainable coldness, and silence being exhibited by the Federal Government in the face of these atrocities should give every right thinking Nigerian sleepless nights. The unremorseful audacity with which this herdsmen destroy farm lands and crops in different parts of the country without the intervention of our security agencies calls for concern. Apart from the indifference of many governors especially from the South East, what exactly are the duties of our traditional rulers, and Presidents-General of Town Unions? Are we people in the South East becoming more gentlemanly or more cowardly?

 

The grazing Reserve Bill being proposed or sponsored in the National Assembly is out rightly uncalled for, and should never be accepted by any Nigerian. The Fulani's should graze their Cattle in their locality and then transport them for sale, just the way Igbo businessmen do their business. The type of sophisticated guns these agents of death and destruction are using in executing their heinous crimes should concern all and sundry. The question remains, “Are the Fulani herdsmen untouchable and special specie and breed of Nigerians? How many of them have been arrested, arraigned or prosecuted?” The time for the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari to save Nigeria from total anarchy is now.

 

 

ii.     CORRUPTION AND GOVERNANCE:

We appreciate the Federal Government for the orchestrated shout and advertisement they have given to their anti-Corruption Crusade. It is a well known truth that the bane of this great nation is corruption both in low and high places. But can it be sensible for the Kettle to call the pot black? How sincere is the war against Corruption? How objective is this war against the monster called Corruption? If the present administration is very serious in this fight, I should suggest that our dear President, and the National Assembly ought to urgently look in the allegation raised by a Senator from the South-South that about eighty per cent (80%) of the Oil Wells in the Niger Delta are owned by Northerners. This is the highest level of economic and political Corruption if it is found to be true. So the share of the region from where this major source of resources of the Nation has is environmental devastation and degradation. Can such a scenario play out in the North if these wells are located there?

 

We are not whipping up ethnic or tribal sentiments rather we are calling for equity, Justice, and fair play. Again, may we humbly advise our dear president to drastically trim down his overseas trips, and settle down for business of governance. By these incessant trips for whatever reasons, we are getting the feelers from the President's body language that Nigeria cannot solve her internal problems from within. Secondly, it is suggesting that we want to recline on the table of Neo-Colonialism where the Western world solely determines how we will govern ourselves. Thirdly, it could mean that the present government does not have any reliable blue print with which to execute her much orchestrated CHANGE Mantra. Whichever is the case, the bottom line is, “Let the President settle down in his Country for governance”. Western Ideologies no matter how brilliant without concrete domestication and contextualization must always be a hoarse to our nation.

iii.    RESCUEING OUR ECONOMY:

The economy of this country is dwindling and even nose-diving on daily basis. The current exchange rate of Naira to other foreign currencies is not just terrible, but very embarrassing, and there seems to be no solution in site. No matter what approach or slogan the government introduces to salvage the economy, nothing meaningful will ever happen without enhancing industrialization. No concrete industrialization can take place in the absence of reliable and stable power supply. Why has it become almost impossible to fix the Power sector in this country? Is it not time for the President to unmask this heartless and monstrous cabals that have held our nation to ransom?

 

On the other hand, I have said this before, and still feel compelled to say it again here. The economy of this nation can improve more if the Federal and State Government can set up a platform in which membership to the National Assembly and State Assembly will no longer be a full time job, with very unjustifiable jumbo salaries and allowances. Let the principal officers of the hallowed chambers be on fulltime capacity while the rest of the members be on part time basis with sitting allowance payable to them. This I believe will save a lot of Costs on our economy, and the money saved from this arrangement moved to other critical sectors of our economy.

 

Furthermore, the bailout fund the Federal Government is giving to States is uncalled for. What are the governors doing that they cannot sit down and develop strong Economic based to boast their Internally Generated Revenue?

       

 

iv.    THE BIAFRA AGITATION:

There is this Igbo proverb which says that “You cannot beat a Child, and at the same time ask him not to cry.” There is no more hiding the truth in the fact that the Igbo race is grossly, consciously, and systematically excluded from the polity called Nigeria. The present Federal Government has unrepentantly and audaciously demonstrated her copious hatred of the Igbo race. The South East Geopolitical Zone in Nigeria has remained the least developed, highest exploited and completely neglected Zone in all its ramifications and judgements. Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), and Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) are the byproducts of the oppressive policies of the Federal government against the region. One important and interesting thing about these two groups is their non-violent approach in their agitation. We highly commend them for this and advise them to refuse to be provoked to the point of violence, and confrontation with constituted authority. Remember, when you want to kill a dog, the only thing you need to do is to give it a bad name. Do not do anything that will give the Federal Government an opportunity to give you justifiable bad name.

 

My candid stand and opinion is that the time to consider the egalitarian cohesion and oneness of this country is now. To my mind, three nations or countries should be created from the present Nigeria. The rampant and senseless killing of the Igbos, and the destruction of their properties all over the country at no provocation at all is a very convincing truth and signal. The IPOB and MASSOB are meant to be shot and killed, while Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen, and Niger Delta Avengers are called for negotiation. Who is actually fooling who? Why should anyone force anyone to happily remain and belong to where is not needed?

 

 

 

 

 

THE THEME OF THE SYNOD:

By the Grace of God, during the First Session of the Third Synod of our Diocese last year, we considered the Theme, “I know Your Works … Letters to the Churches in Smyrna; Pergamos; Sardis; and Laodecea.” [Revelation Chapters 2 and 3]. From the Talks, Sermons, and Bible Studies, we were able to indebtly and painstakingly examine the different Spiritual states of the Churches we studied their letters, compared them with the spiritual states of Churches,  and individual Christians, and then applied the theme practically to actual Spiritual scenario playing out in the lives of Christians in our Diocese. Indeed the theme for last Synod has produced very noticeable and appreciable positive results in the Diocese.

 

This year, and in this Synod, we are looking at the theme: “DARE TO BE A DANIEL” (Daniel 1:8; and Daniel 6:4 & 5).

 

THE BACKGROUND:

Daniel who was almost the chief character and anchor personality in the book of Daniel was a contemporary of Prophets Jeremiah, and his fellow exile Ezekiel. Daniel which literary means, “God is my Judge” is unquestionably  the author of this book which bears his name Daniel, and his three compatriots, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, were forced into exile in 605 B.C. when Nechadnezzar descended for the first time upon Jehoikim's Kingdom of Judah. Daniel was of royal seed. He and his friends were made eunuchs at the time of Daniel's deportation. (2Kings 20:18). This can be established when he was mentioned as the Chief of the eunuchs (1:3);  and the master of the eunuchs (1:7-11). Also the absence of any mention of family life or offspring for Daniel is another eloquent testimony in that direction.

 

Conceivably, Daniel was in his late teens or early twenties when this calamity befell him. The Jewish Canon listed the book of Daniel in the Hagiographa i.e. “The holy writings” rather than among the prophets, but the Church historian Josephus considered him a prophet. Daniel's principal role as a statesman rather than a prophet is hereby acknowledged. This does not in any way reduce the prophetic power and outlook of the book. It bears testimony to the mixture in Daniel's book of biography, history and prophecy.

 

The book divides into two parts, a set of six court tales in chapters 1-6, followed by four apocalyptic visions in chapters 7-12. The literary structure of the book of Daniel is marked by three prominent features. The most fundamental is a genre division between the court tales of chapters 1-6, and the apocalyptic visions of 7-12. The second is a language division between the Hebrew of chapters 1, and 8-12, and the Aramaic of Chapters 7-12. It should also be noted that the time settings of chapters 1-6 show a progression from Babylonian to Median times. 597 B.C. marked the awesome destruction of the temple and nation. Events contained in Daniels prophecy span the time Period from 605 B.C. to the Third year of the reign of Cyprus in 536 B.C.

 

The major thrust and theme of the book of Daniel is the providence of God among His faithful people even in the most difficult and humanly hopeless situations and times. This  theme of God's providence is revealed; in Daniel's rise to power and prominence in Nebuchanezzar's court (Chapter 2); In the dramatic intervention of one “like the Son of God” in the fiery furnace trial (chapter 3:25); in Nebuchanezzar's temporary insanity (Chapter 4); In Daniel's role as interpreter during Babylon's “last night of glory”. (chapter 5); and in the marvelous delivery of Daniel from the ravenous lions under Dairus (Chapter 6). The book of Daniel is obviously designated by Bible and Theology Scholars as a book of commitment, Unequalled sacrifice in the worship of God, and Faithfulness of God to His faithful people. It is also known as the book of challenge of purity and devotion in most difficult and dangerous circumstances and environment. The segment of the book from which the Theme of our Synod is culled from is chapter 1:8-21. It is appropriately labeled, “The Determined Purity of Daniel and his friends in an overt idolatrous environment”.

 

 

DARE TO BE A DANIEL:

 

THE COMPREHENSIVE CHALLENGE.

“ But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not

defile himself with the King's delicacies, nor with the

wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the

chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” [NKJV].

 

“But Daniel determined in his heart that he would not

defile himself by eating his portion of the King's rich and

dainty food or by drinking the wine which he drank;

therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that

he might be allowed not to defile himself”. [AMPV].

 

“But Daniel made up his mind that he would not

defile himself with the royal delicacies or the

 royal wine. He therefore asked the overseer of

the court officials for permission not to defile

himself.” [TOUCH BIBLE].

 

“But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by

eating the food and wine given to them by the King.

He asked the Chief of Staff for permission not

to eat these unacceptable food.” [NLT].

 

It is as a result of the comprehensive and unarguable challenge posed by Daniel's lifestyle, devotion to his duty, faithfulness to the worship of his God, and the consequent costly price he had to pay that made us to read the above Bible text from four different versions of the Holy Bible. There are very basic and outstanding issues we all need to highlight and take note of in looking at this challenging personality called Daniel.

They include:

i.      Daniel was a fragile and inexperienced young man.

ii.      Daniel was a Jew living in Babylon.

iii.     He was not just a Jew in Babylon, but a captive and a slave.

iv.     He was taken to a land where their religion, value system and general lifestyle are totally different from, and opposed to his own religion, value system, and lifestyle.

v.      Daniel was operating under the direct watchful eyes of King Nebuchadnezzar.

vi.     He had a very rare opportunity and priviledge of becoming stupendously rich at the expense of his Spirituality, Morality, and faithfulness to his God.

vii.    Daniel clearly knew that the only option of punishment available to him if he defied the King's instruction was death.

viii.    Daniel had no citizens' right to do what he desired and preferred to do.

ix.     He had an ample opportunity of changing his religion conveniently and decently.

x.      Daniel was obviously an odd man out in the whole King Nebuchadnezzar's Royal and Presidential training school.

xi.     Daniel was grossly subjected to a systematic and calculated indoctrination, intimidation, and re-orientation.

 

Let us carefully read our second Bible text in considering our Synod theme, so as to decipher the enormity of the challenge posed by the young man called Daniel to the present day worshippers of God, and Christians.

 

“so the governors and Satraps sought to find some charge

against Daniel concerning the Kingdom; but they could find

no charge or fault because he was faithful; nor was there any

error or fault found in him. Then these men said, “We shall

not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it

against him concerning the Law of his God”.

 

xii.    Daniel was working in an environment where corruption, and eye service were the stock in trade.

xiii.    Daniel was working among Sycophants, aggressive antagonists, and unfriendly friends.

xiv.   Daniel demonstrated such a superb Godly character that even false accusation could not be formatted successfully against him.

xv.    His main concern always was how to please His God, and remain faithful in his duty post irrespective of the dangers associated there with.

xvi.   Daniel's transparent godliness and integrity were attested to by his ungodly colleagues.

xvii.   Daniel was not only godly, but was also an epitome of excellent performance in his work place and duty post.

 

Daniel could have tried merely to survive his experience as a pitiable captive in a  foreign land. Instead he upheld continuously his disciplined life of character and personal commitment. His lifestyle continues to emphasize to us that sound character is the foundation on which a true Christian, and leader builds his or her life.

 

According to John Maxwell, “Crisis does not necessarily make character, but it certainly does reveal it”. Adversity makes a Christian choose one of two paths: Character or Compromise. Every time a Christian or a leader chooses character instead of compromise, he or she grows stronger. Character communicates credibility, harnesses respect, creates consistency, and earns trust. It was only Daniel's character that earned him the transgenerational trust he enjoyed from four different Babylonian Kings. From the life of Daniel, we can deduce the following:

 

[A]   CHARACTER IS MORE THAN TALK:

We live in a generation where eloquence and very high oratory power are the major tools that Christians and leaders possess. Anyone can say that he or she has integrity, but action is the real indicator of Character. Your character determines who you really are, and what you do. No Christian's character can be separated from his actions. If a person's actions and intentions continually work against each other, look to his character to find out why.

 

[B]   TALENT IS A GIFT BUT CHARACTER IS A CHOICE:

Daniel chose his character when he purposed in his heart not to defile himself by eating the King's food and delicacies. We have no control over a lot of things in life, but we do choose our character. We create character each time we make choices. Daniel had to choose between character, and compromise. The same choice is facing us every day in every facet of life's endeavour: Charisma, and Talent are temporal, but character is eternal. Talent can endear one to the admiration and applause of the public, but character endears one to the heart of God, and His blessings.

 

[C]   CHARACTER ATTRACTS BOTH SUCCESS, AND FOLLOWERSHIP:

Followers don't trust leaders with flawed character. The Apostle Paul was able to say to the Corinthians boldly, “Imitate me just as I also imitate Christ”. (1 Corinthians 11:1) because he had character. It was Daniel's character that brought him into great prominence and positions in the land of Babylon. True character is derived from the fear of God, and in keeping His word. True success is neither accidental nor coincidental. It is a product of consistent Godly character anchored on the word of God. This is why God told Joshua ab nitio in Joshua chapter 1:8, This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your ways prosperous, and then you will have good success”.

 

[D]   NO LEADER OR CHRISTIAN CAN RISE ABOVE THE LIMITATIONS OF HIS OR HER CHARACTER:

Some people right from birth have been destined for greatness, but lack of character, or impaired character truncated that destiny. Samson no doubt was destined for success and greatness as can be seen in the prophecy concerning his birth in Judges chapter 13. We read in part, “And the Angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “indeed now you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and bear a son; And no razor shall come supon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines”. (Judges 13:3-5). The absence of character made Samson not to end as a deliverer of Israel but as a sportsman and comedian for the Philistines in the temple of their god. Painfully and regrettably, we read in Judges 16:19-21,”

 

Then she lulled him to sleep on her knees, and called

For a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his

head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength

left him. And she said, the Philistines are upon

you, Samson! So he awoke from his sleep, and said,

I will go out as before at other times, and shake

myself free”. But he did not know that the

LORD had departed from him. Then the Philistines

took him and put out his eyes and brought him

down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze

fetters, and he became a grinder in the Prison.”

 

This is nothing but monumental disaster and calamity. This is exactly what the absence of character has done to a lot of people. Many supposed deliverers in our generation have become prisoners. Dare to be a Daniel. Today is still very early.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE SYNOD THEME:

 

.a.    TO PRIESTS, PREACHERS, AND CHURCH WORKERS:

Ours is now a generation of subjective and personal interpretation of Christianity, Christian Doctrine, Christian Principles, and standard. We also live in a time of extreme liberalism, secular humanism, and social relativism. The alarming rate with which the present day preachers and church leaders are dangerously adjusting the church's spiritual boundary with idolatory and worldliness is detrimentally worrisome. Daniel resolved that no matter the pressure on him, and the practices around him, he will never compromise God's standard on the altar of popular and cheap material prosperity. How many of the preachers nowadays can confidently declare before our followers, listeners and congregation like Paul as seen in 1Thesalonians 2:10, “You are witness, and God also, how holily and justly, and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe.” The same challenge of Godly character was thrown to the Israelites by Samuel who was their Priest and prophet thus, “I have walked before you from my childhood to this day. Here I am.  Witness against me before the Lord and before his anointed: whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I received any bribe with which to blind my eyes? I will restore it to you. And they said. “You have not cheated us or oppressed us, nor have you taken anything from any man's hand”.

 

The he said to them, “The LORD is witness against you, and His anointed is witness. This day you have not found anything in my hand.” And they answered, He is witness”. (I Samuel 12:1-5).The governors and satraps who were Daniel's colleagues could not find anything with which to indict him in his place of work. Can that be the case with you as a Christian, and a church leader, or Preacher?

 

.b.    TO CIVIL OR PUBLIC SERVANTS:

Daniel's promotion in his place of work was as a result of his excellent, faithful and productive performance and service as a public servant. According to Daniel 6:3, “Then this Daniel distinguished himself above all the governors and satraps, because an excellent Spirit was in him; and the King gave thought of setting him over the whole realm.” He was undauntedly faithful and impeccable in character to the extent that it was impossible to ignore him at the time of promotion. He refused to follow short cut in the public service work. No fault was found in him in his place of work. A total of highly positioned one hundred and twenty Satraps, and three governors spent sleepless nights trying to find at least one error or fault with which to nail  Daniel, but it was impossible to find it. As a civil servant, what is your attitude to your office work? Can we not find some government property you stole or illegally took from the office in your hands? The funds allocated to your office under your control, can it be truthfully and transparently be accounted for? At what time do you go to work in your office? Does the official age you submitted in the office you are working a true reflection of your real age? The Word of God says that we are the light of the world. Do you show the light or are you a beacon of darkness? Did you earn your promotion through faithful and sacrificial commitment to your work or did you get it through bribery, cheating, connection, immoral lifestyle or maneuvering? God is still looking for Daniels in our Public Service.

 

.c.    TO TRADITONAL RULERS, AND POLITICAL LEADERS:

The Holy scripture tells us that when the righteous are in the authority, the people rejoice, but when the ungodly and the wicked rule, the people mourn. Babylon as it were, was a citadel of idolatory. The story was the same from the Presidential lodge to the lowest level of political leadership. This accounted for when King Nebuchadnezzar moulded the gigantic idol and image, and invited all the people of the nation for its worship, nobody raised any objection to it (Daniel 3). Everybody was part of the satanic conspiracy of idolatory. Today, there is a very dogged and concerted effort by many of our traditional, and political leaders in reviving idolatory. Can we have a traditional ruler or political leader who will dare to be a Daniel in our nation? A traditional ruler who will honestly and sincerely draw a very sharp line of demarcation between idolatroy and sound customs, traditions, and culture? When can we have trustworthy Christian politicians in our Country? The nation, Nigeria is in dire need of Christian politicians who will walk their talks. I have always said and maintained that politics in itself is not dirty but the players of politics in Nigeria are not only dirty, but they are stinking. Daniel in his political appointments left no one in doubt that he was sincerely godly. It is never an easy thing to dare to be a Daniel in a crooked and perverse generation as ours. Daniel impacted his generation positively. Daniel damned the consequences of hatred, conspiracy, misrepresentation, jealousy, imprisonment and even death just because he determined to please God. True character is developed out of solid conviction. Courage, Character, and Conviction are three tripod virtues that our political leaders have in a very deficient supply. The courage to be unpopular yet very purposeful is the need of the time among leaders.

 

.d.    TO YOUTHS, AND STUDENTS:

Incidentally, Daniel was both a teenager, and a student in Babylon. (Daniel 1:3-4). Daniel was also handsome and good-looking. Daniel was very wise. He possessed wonderful knowledge, and was extremely intelligent. But instead of allowing heathen youths of Babylon to dictate and direct his life and lifestyle, he channeled all his youthful energy towards pleasing God, doing His Will, and impacting his generation positively. To me, Daniel was a purpose driven, visionary and diligent student and Youth. He was a workaholic. Laziness and loitering found no place in his pattern and principle of living. The young man knew what he needed in life. Unlike so many youths and students of our time, whose lives are characterized by Purposelessness, Prodigality, Laziness, Godlessness and Distractions. Let me specifically challenge our Youths to resolve to be like Daniel. Every short cut produces short destiny, short success, short celebration, and short life span. There is no argument about the Biblical assertion that Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.

 

The foundation of life, excellence and success are laid only on the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord Jesus said in John 15:5 that, without Him we can do nothing”. There is no true success outside God and Godliness. Where are you channeling your beauty as a young girl? Where are you focusing the knowledge of the internet, and the social media you have? To whom do you yield your singing or dancing skills – God, or Satan? No youth has the right to fail in life either as a student, apprentice, young graduate or even unemployed graduate. It is all about character and choice. The primary concern of Daniel as a young man was how to avoid defilement of all sorts, and serving his God committedly. Definitely, it was not easy at all for him. The fear of rejection, ridicule and refusal confronted him, but he resolved to pay the price of true Greatness.

 

Nothing is qualified to be called success if it did not originate from God, born out of Godly character, and pursues the Glory and honour of God. That means, if a young girl mortgages her morality in order to pass exams, or wear good and gorgeous dresses, that can never be called success or blessing. In Mathew 6:33 we read, “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Daniel as a young boy did not pray for material prosperity, rather he worked for Godly character. No young person throughout the history of human existence who has sought to devoutly please God, and worked diligently ever failed in life. The devil is destroying our youths with the triple barrel weapon of Immorality, Godlessness and Laziness. The Spirit of Excellence is dying on daily basis in the lives and dictionary of our Youths. Daniel pursued God, Godliness, and Excellence, and he eventually excelled. You can do same today.

 

 

CONCLUSION:

Our families, churches, and society are sick because Daniels are nowhere to be found again. Our worship of God is only confessional and ceremonial. Nobody wants to pay the price of true Christian life and Godliness. Compromise and conformity have replaced conviction and character. Holiness of life, and Holiness preaching are now anathema in the lips of preachers of our time. The reason is very clear – The fear of persecution, rejection by the world, ridicule and exclusion. Christians are praying for prosperity, yet no one is ready to pay the price of doctrinal persistence and unpopularity. Daniel risked death, but he did not die. He risked imprisonment and torture but God stood by him. He honoured God first, and God honoured him. He promoted Godliness, and God promoted him all round. For anyone to be a Daniel in our generation, he or she must have a compelling purpose; a clear perspective of his purpose; a continual prayer life; and a courageous persistence in his convictions: If you dare to be a Daniel, there must be a robust combination of the six qualities of Character, Competence, Convictions, Courage, Charisma, Commitment, and Compassion. Though to be a Daniel is never easy, it is still possible, and has no credible alternative. The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is still readily available to all sincere deciders today to be a Daniel.

 

I implore you to rise with me as we sing Ancient and Modern 304.

 

 

A&M 304

1.     FIGHT the good fight with all thy might!

        Christ is thy strength, and Christ thy right;

        Lay hold on life, and it shall be~

        Thy joy and crown eternally.

 

2.     Run the straight race through God's good grace,

        Lift up thine eyes, and seek his face;

        Life with its way before us lies;

        Christ is the path, and Christ the prize.

 

3.     Cast care aside, lean on thy guide;

        His boundless mercy will provide;

        Trust, and thy trusting soul shall prove

        Christ is its life, and Christ its love.

 

4.     Faint not nor fear, his arms are near;

        He changeth not, and thou are dear;

        Only believe, and thou shall see

        That Christ is all in all to thee.   Amen.

 

 

Thank you immensely for listening patiently.

 

 

 

Your Bishop, and friend,

 

 

 

 

+EPHRAIM AMICHI

11th June, 2016.

 

APPENDIX I

 

CHURCH OF NIGERIA

(Anglican Communion)

 

THE MOST REVD NICHOLAS D. OKOH, MA, FSS, MSS,LLD

Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria

 

THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA: OUR PERSPECTIVE

 

The Church of Nigeria was one of the Provinces that protested against the consecration of Gene Robinson (an active homosexual clergyman in New Hampshire), by the Episcopal Church USA, and the promulgation of a liturgy for blessing of same sex union; boycotted the Lambeth Conference 2008, and organized the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON 2008), in Jerusalem. A remarkable legacy of that conference is the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration. Since then, the theological position of the Church of Nigeria on the human sexuality palaver raging in the Anglican Communion is by no means ambiguous. In pursuance of its position, it has had to amend its constitution to emphasize the basis of our relationship with any other Province or Church namely.

 

The Church of Nigeria shall be in full communion with all Anglican Churches, Dioceses and Provinces that hold and maintain the Historic Faith, Doctrine, Sacrament and Discipline of the one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church as the Lord has commanded in His Holy Word and as the same are received as taught in the Book of Common Prayer and Ordinal of 1662 and in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion.

 

In other words, the amendment places emphasis on the “Historic Faurh, Doctrine, Sacrament … The word of God rather than, and instead of, historical institutions. It was intended to save the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) from derailment in the context of challenges engendered by theological ambivalence such as the present human sexual controversy illustrates.

 

In further pursuance of the same amendment, the Church of Nigeria resolved to break communion with the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada (not on account of redefinition), but on the practice, promotion and advocacy of homosexuality and its allied practices. As part of the stance of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), it resolved not to attend any future conference or meeting where the above named two Provinces will sit and participate in discussion.

 

However, the January 2016 Primate meeting in Canterbury was considered an exception. Thus, the GAFCON and Global South resolved to attend.

 

In spite of the hollow restrictions placed on the Episcopal Church, the Presiding Bishop of TEC and the Chairman, Anglican Consultative Council, have avowed that the Primates had no authority to take that decision. During the Canterbury meeting itself, the way and manner in which those who hold the orthodox view of human sexuality and marriage were spoken of by the authorities, and denounced as ‘homophobic', left no one in doubt that we were in the wrong place. In fact, the authorities believe that patience was being exercised to enable the communion to bring up the scripture-believers gradually to embrace the homosexual doctrine. Thus, the Anglican Communion's journal is very uncertain for the orthodox. They are walking into a well-rehearsal scheme to gradually apply persuasion, subtle blackmail, coercion on any group still standing with the Scriptural Provision as know it, to join the straight jacket of the revisionists and be politically correct. Somehow, they are succeeding.

 

At this point, we find great wisdom in the attitude of the British Government in relation to the European Union. It has not joined the Euro Zone; it did not join the Shengen conglomerate. Now the British Prime Minister is asking for a “Special Status” in the European Union of the United Kingdom.

 

The Anglican Communion should begin to think in the direction for those Provinces that may never, for obvious reasons, embrace the sexual culture being promoted by some Provinces of the Church over and against the Bible as we received it. We need  “Special Status”.

 

In summary, as long as we are now candidates for whom every opportunity in the Anglican Communion should be explored to gradually teach us to embrace the new sex culture, it will be unwise to deliberately walk into a well-prepared camp of recruitment, blackmail, Indoctrination and toxic relationship.

 

Therefore, we regret our inability to attend the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Lusaka, Zambia. We continue to pray for God's Church to return to the Holy Bible, for its faith and practice.

 

The Most Revd. Nicholas D. OKoh

Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria

 

 

 

APPENDIX II

 

CHURCH OF NIGERIA

(Anglican Communion)

 

THE MOST REVD NICHOLAS D. OKOH, MA, FSS, MSS,LLD

Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria

 

 

THE COMMUNIQUE ISSUED

AT THE END OF

THE STANDING COMMITTEE MEETING

OF THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA, (ANGLICAN COMMUION)

HELD FROM 21ST TO 25TH SEPTEMBER, 2015

AT THE CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF ST. DAVID, IJOMU, AKURE, ONDO STATE.

 

INTRODUCTION:

The Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) under the guidance of Holy Spirit and the leadership of the Most Revd Nicholas D. Okoh, Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria with his wife, Mrs Nkasiobi Okoh, President of the Women's Organizations in attendance, met at the Cathedral Church of St. David, Ijomu, Akure Ondo State, from 21 -25 September, 2015. One hundred and forty-seven Bishops, One Hundred and Fifty-two clergymen and Sixty-eight members of the House of laity were present. At the opening ceremony, the Standing Committee welcomed His Excellency, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, Governor of Ondo State who gave a goodwill message. The opening session was also graced with the presence of our Guest Speaker, Prof. Jerry Gana, who presented a paper titled: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.

 

At the end, the Standing Committee issued this communiqué:

 

THE THEME OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE:

The theme of the Standing Committee was “Look and Live” (Numbers 21:8).

Considering the challenges we face as a result of our experiences during trials and temptations in the world, the Standing Committee calls upon

 

-       All Christians to exercise simple faith and obedience to God for victory by living lives that are characterized by honesty, truth and integrity and calls the Church to faithfulness in her message to uphold the holiness and righteousness of the Living God.

 

-       All Nigerians to pray to God for a quick end to insecurity of all types, insurgency, kidnapping, armed robbery etc.

 

-       Government at all levels to look up to God and forsake all vices and corrupt tendencies, so that there can be true development in our country.

 

CONGRATULATIONS:

The Standing Committee congratulates His Excellency Muhamadu Buhari and the Vice President, His Excellency Prof. Yemi Osibanjo on their victory at the March 28, 2015 Elections and assures them of the church's continued prayers and willingness to partner with the government. The Standing Committee urges the President to endeavour to harness the vast resources which God has blessed then nation with, to transform it from a mono-economic to a diversified one.

 

SECURITY CHALLENGES:

The Standing Committee expresses its gratitude to the Federal Government on the successes achieved so far in the fight against insecurity and insurgency. It commends the Nigerian military for its gallantry and calls on the Federal Government to redouble its efforts towards putting an end to this menace and ensuring the safe return of the Chibok Girls as promised.

 

THE CHALLENGES OF KIDNAPPING:

The continued kidnapping of prominent religious and national leaders as well as other citizens of the country is still a major security threat and a national embarrassment. Therefore, the Standing committee, urges the Federal Government to extend strong security presence to all areas where kidnapping is thriving in order to completely arrest the menace and ensure security which is necessary for peace, free movement and development.

 

POWER SECTOR:

Of recent there has been an improvement on power supply across the country. It is on this note that the Standing Committee wishes to encourage the Federal Government to ensure that the promise to provide sustainable power be increasingly pursued so that the gains of privatization of the power sector are not only improved upon but also sustained as this is key to industrialization and creation of job opportunities.

 

UNEMPLOYMENT AND POVERTY:

The Standing Committee notes with pain the very ugly challenge of poverty and unemployment and calls on Government at all levels to be more proactive in providing an enabling environment for the private sector to also assist in the area of job creation for the teeming population of our youths.

 

NATIONAL ECONOMY:

The Standing Committee observed with delight the efforts that are being made towards revamping the economy of our nation and call for intensified efforts to forestall the looming economic recession.

 

CORRUPTION AND INDISCIPLINE:

We welcome the renewed zeal in the fight against corruption in this country. Accordingly, the Standing Committee urges all Nigerians to bury their differences- political, religious, ethnic etc in the face of this common enemy that has held the country down since independence. We call on Government and all Nigerians to embark on a total war against indiscipline in our public and private lives. Those with the mandate to facilitate this process should ensure that his fight is total, comprehensive and successful.

 

THE STATES OF OUR ROADS:

The Standing Committee recognizes the work of the Federal Government on the roads through FERMA. Ease of movements being a basic necessity, a lot more needs to be done to deliver good roads to Nigerians.

 

 

CLIMATE CHANGE AND FLOODING:

 Climate change has become a world-wide subject for detailed debate and attention but human practices have continued to worsen the situation. The impending release of excess water from Lagdo Dam in Cameroon and the heavy rains expected in the remaining months of the year are a cause for serious concern. The Federal Government is consequently called upon to expedite action in ensuring that the effects of flooding are mitigated. People living on water ways are called upon to heed timely warnings and relocate to uplands.

 

 

ISSUE OF SAME SEX MARRIAGE:

The Standing Committee unanimously resolved to continue to maintain the orthodox biblical stand on this matter. It also calls on her members to defend the orthodox biblical teaching on marriage and family. On its part, the Federal Government is further enjoined to continue to resist foreign pressure to make it rescind its stand to uplands.

 

THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION WORLD

While the Anglican Communion continues to be impaired by revisionist theologies of some Anglican Province, the Standing Committee calls the leadership of the Anglican Communion to repentance and renewed faith in Christ as expressed in the Bible, the articles of religion and the Jerusalem Declaration, and further reaffirms our commitment on these as the basis of our relationship with other parts of the communion.

 

DEMIS OF CHIEF DR. (MRS) HANNAH I. D. AWOLOWO

The Standing Committee received the news of the home call of Chief Dr. (Mrs) Hannah I.D. Awolowo with gratitude to God for a life well spent. As a member of our Church, we testify that she lived an exemplary Christian life both in family and public. Apart from being a political icon, she was at different times a member of the General Synod and Standing Committee of our Church. May her gentle soul rest in peace.

 

CONLUSION:

The outward peace the world seeks can only come when men obediently embrace the inward peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ to whom the bronze replica of the poisonous serpent points. In all circumstances, therefore, let us as Christians and a nation, in obedience and faith look up to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. He is the Lamb of Calvary and the conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah. “Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces”.

 

 

 

THE MOST REVD NICHOLAS D. OKOH

Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria

 

 

APPENDIX III

 

CHURCH OF NIGERIA

(Anglican Communion)

 

THE MOST REVD NICHOLAS D. OKOH, MA, FSS, MSS,LLD

Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria

 

PASTORAL LETTER

FROM THE STANDING COMMITTEE MEETING

OF THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA ANGLICAN COMMUION

HELD FROM 21ST TO 25TH SEPTEMBER, 2015

AT THE CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF ST. DAVID, IJOMU, AKURE, ONDO STATE.

 

Beloved people of God,

 

May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always.

 

This Standing Committee of our Church was held under the protection and guidance of the Holy Spirit at St. David‘s Cathedral Ijoma Akure, Diocese of Akure Ondo State, Nigeria from 21st to 25th September, 2015. The theme of the meeting was “LOOK and LIVE”.

 

The wilderness experience of the people of Israel on their way to the promised land reminds us of the danger of man receiving the grace of God in vain or treating God's patience with disdain. Their problem was a failure to acknowledge God's faithfulness. The resource to murmuring and bitter complaints in the face of a new challenge displeased God who unleashed fiery serpents that killed many of them. Please learn always to live a life of contentment and no matter how tough the situation may be you should never consider rebellion and compromise as viable option in times of distress.

 

May we remind you that there are many poisonous serpents in both the church and the society today. There is a new culture that is trying to foist a new humanity on our world. A culture that promotes moral relativism, denies the sense of sin and guilt, encourage same sex union, practices homosexuality, lesbianism, transgender and bi-sexuality is obviously sponsored from the pits of hell. Again the growing level of insecurity in our world brings pain of poverty and unemployment and stress occasioned by high costs of living are no doubt very unsettling.

 

We are grateful to our kind and Merciful God for providing solution. As Moses was instructed to raise a bronze serpent on the pole to the effect that anyone bitten by the serpent and who looked at it received healing, so also God has given us our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who was lifted up on the cross of Calvary. He is the solution to all our problems. You are, therefore, encouraged to look up to him that you may live. Accepting Him as Lord and Savior, believing in his word and living by the values He taught us will give us sure ways of life and well-being. Repentance, prayer, faith, positive confession, encouragement and thanksgiving should remain the attitude of a person who is looking up to Jesus.

 

We recognize the fact the society has not been fair to our youths. To remain unemployed, many years after ones education is not the experience. May we remind you that neither taking to crime nor migrating abroad nor joining terror organizations as a godly or profitable option, no matter how attractive it may be. That same God, who saw you through your studies and has reserved your life till today, will always sustain you. Let this faith inspire you to keep looking unto Jesus.

 

We ask you to take serious the warning that there will be heavy flooding this year. You should keep your surroundings clean and obey advice from experts so as to stay alive and well.

 

Brethren, we are very grateful for the support you continue to give in collection of St. Mathias fund and the relief fund. May you be richly blessed for this display of Christian charity. We remind those who are yet to see the need for this Christian obligation to please reconsider their position and enlist their support in these laudable programmes. Our annual spiritual convocation, DIVCCON comes up from 19th – 13th November, 2105 at the Christian Centre Abuja. It promises to be a good and refreshing time in the presence of the Lord. Please come.

 

The devotional publication (Daily Fountain, Bible Study Outline and Sunday School Manual) of our Church will soon be available for year 2016. These are sent out annually to help us grow and develop our spirituality. We strongly recommend them to you and encourage you to obtain copies for yourself, family and friends as soon as they are available.

 

We praise God for the steady growth of mission and evangelism across the length and breadth of Nigeria and encourage you also to sustain the zeal and enthusiasm in this direction. You will recall that at the inception of our Primacy, a moratorium was placed on the creation of new Dioceses for five (5) years. It was the pleasure of the Standing Committee to further extends the period of this moratorium. This is to ensure stability and healthy growth.

 

The need for a befitting secretariat has become very urgent and compelling. It was the decision of the Standing Committee that this need be addressed urgently. Consequently, the first Sunday in Advent of every year has been set aside to raise funds for this project. Monies realized in every Church congregation in Nigeria shall be remitted to the national office, as in the case of St. Mathias Contribution. Also, it was resolved that henceforth the Primates Address to the Standing Committee meeting and General Synods shall be launched to raise money for this same purpose. We trust that you will give these initiatives your usual support.

 

Brethren, we are distressed by the growing rate of indiscipline being witnessed in our Church today. A situation where people resort to violence and brigandage in the face of misunderstanding that should be amicably resolved in the spirit of Christ is not only unfair but also uncharitably and ungodly. We call on those promoting this strange culture in the Church of God to retrace their steps. Please pray that brotherly love, peace and unity will prevail in our Churches.

 

With faith in God and hope in the resurrection of the dead, we inform you of the translation to the Church Triumphant, the following:

1.     Rt. Revd Samuel Ebo Retired Bishop of Jos, Okigwe Orlu and Orlu.

2.     Rt. Revd Simon Adebola Retired Bishop of Yewa.

3.     Mrs. Sarah Nyam wife of the Bishop of Kano.

4.     Mama Hanna Isown Dideolu Awolowo wife of the late sage and Premier of former Western region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

5.     Mrs Florence Rodiya Akintayo wife of late Bishop of Egba.

6.     Mrs Felicia Aderin wife of the Retired Bishop of Ondo.

7.     Hon. Justice C.O.C. Izima Chancellor of Aba Ngwa North Diocese.

 

We ask you to remember to pray for God's grace and the comfort of the Holy Spirit upon their families and loved ones. Join us also to thank God for the miraculous release of the Chairman of the Diocesan Planning Committee of this Holy Convocation, Chief Olu Lalae, who was kidnapped shortly before our arrival to Akure. Our God is indeed a prayer answering God. May His name be forever glorified. We advise you all to be security conscious in the face of the challenging insecurity problem in the society today.

 

Beloved in the Lord, we gratefully report that the people of Akure Diocese and Ondo State gave us great hospitality. Rt. Rev. Simeon Borokini, his wife, Clergy and good people of the Diocese all gave us their best. So did the Archbishop of Ondo Ecclesiastical Province. Most Rev George Lesebikan with his wife. The Governor of Ondo State Dr. Olugun Mimiko was with us in person at the ceremony. We pray the good Lord to bless them all.

 

Finally, we ask that no matter your experience on your earthly pilgrimage, no matter the situation and circumstance, be assured that:

Life is offered unto you

Eternal life your soul shall have

If you only look at Him

Look to Jesus who alone can save.

 

Your Most Beloved Father in God,

 

 

 

 

THE MOST REVD NICHOLAS D. OKOH

Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APPENDIX IV

 

CHURCH OF NIGERIA

(Anglican Communion)

 

THE MOST REVD NICHOLAS D. OKOH, MA, FSS, MSS,LLD

Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria

 

 

COMMUNIQUE FROM

THE STANDING COMMITTEE MEETING

OF THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA ANGLICAN COMMUION

HELD FROM FEBRUARY 1ST TO 5TH, 2016,

AT ST. ANDREW'S CHURCH, KUBWA, ABUJA FCT.

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

The Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the leadership of the Most Revd Nicholas D. Okoh, Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria with his wife, Mrs Nkasiobi Okoh, President of the Women's Organizations in attendance, met at the St. Andrew's Church, Kubwa, Abuja FCT, from 1st to 5th February, 2016. One Hundred and forty-five Bishops, One hundred and fifty-four clergymen and Seventy (70) members of the House of Laity were present. At the opening ceremony, the Standing Committee also welcomed His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinabajo, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who gave a goodwill message. The Honourable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Alhaji Mohammed Bello, was represented by Mr. Daniel Selka, who delivered the Minister's goodwill message. The opening session was also graced with the presence of our Guest speaker, Engr. Paul Erinne, who presented a paper titled, “Frank talk on the State of the Church of Nigeria”.

 

THE THEME OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE:

The theme of the Standing Committee was, “Maranatha: Come, Lord Jesus” (1Corinthians 16:22).

 

At the end, the Standing Committee meeting issued this communiqué:

In view of the challenging situation in the world today vis a vis the theme of the meeting, the Standing committee reaffirms and also calls upon all Christians:

 

-       To always remember that we are pilgrims on earth and our eternal destination is the heavenly city (Hebrews 13:14).

 

-       That no amount of suffering, hardship, deprivation or challenges should make us lose focus of this eternal hope.

 

-       That only the coming of Jesus can put an end to all human sufferings. Christian should, therefore, earnestly pray like the early church that the Lord comes. While we await His coming, we should be committed to the mission mandate, prayer and effectively occupy the jurisdiction assigned to us.

 

 

FIGHT AGAINST CORRUTPION:

The Standing Committee, while appreciating the Federal Government's efforts towards fighting corruption, calls on the anti-corruption agencies to adopt a strategy that would cut across all arms and tiers of government, agencies and departments, with a more carefully thought out long term institutionalized frame work. In furtherance of the foregoing, all well meaning Nigerians are hereby enjoined to partner with the Federal, State and Local Government for effective results.

 

THE TERROR OF RUSTLING:

The issue of rustling of flocks: cattle, sheep and goats, by heavily armed men masquerading as cattle rearers, has increased with alarming proportion in many parts of the country. Consequently, the Standing Committee urges the Federal, State and Local Governments to develop a synergy to urgently and ally to armed robbery and Kidnapping in the nation. The need to ascertain the sources of arms and ammunitions borne by these bandits is urgent and compelling.

 

NATIONAL ECONOMY:

In the face of dwindling price of oil in the world market, the Standing Committee encourages government at all levels to, by way of policies and concrete actions, promote and provide an enabling environment for the participation of everyone in agriculture, allied industries and other local income generating ventures to increase the economic base of the nation. This will also go a long way to employment opportunities for our youths.

 

MASSIVE FOOD PRODUCTION:

The Standing Committee notes with great joy the laudable steps being taken by the present administration in the area of improving the economy and enjoins the government to pursue this cause with vigour; while every citizen should immediately embark on massive food production for the teeming population of our nation as a major step to achieve for security.

 

THE CHALLENGE OF UNEMPLOYMENT:

While acknowledging the damage occasioned by the falling price of oil, it is, however, believed that the way out of this economic quagmire should not be the retrenchment of workers as being currently contemplated in some States. For this reason, the Standing Committee calls for caution as this trend could further worsen the hardship being experienced by Nigerians. The committee further recommends that reduction in the cost of governance curbing financial excesses by public officers as well as blocking all sources of leakages of the national revenues are some of the effective strategies to be adopted by government at all levels.

 

 

FREEDOM OF WORSHIP:

While the Churches is still trying to recover from the effect of the massive destruction of lives and properties in the North East by Boko Haram insurgents; and while lamenting over the recent demolition of St. Stephen's Anglican Church Gasau, it is most worrisome to not that plans are underway to demolish the 108-yaers old Cathedral of St. George's, Zaria, by the Kaduna State Government. Consequently, the standing committee appeals to the President, the National Assembly and all well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the government of Kaduna State to guide and guard the constitution provision for freedom of worship and association enshrines in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to spare the church under-reference.

 

 

 

BUY NIGERIA:

The Standing Committee calls on all Nigerians to encourage the patronage of made-in-Nigeria products a way to stimulate local production and employment. By doing so, the country will earn foreign exchange rather than depend on importation of even the simplest commodities.

 

 

ELECTORAL OFFENCES:

In spite of dear cases of electoral offences and malpractices across the country, there is so far no evidence of people that have been punished. According, the Standing Committee implores the Federal Government and National Assembly to take necessary steps towards the reformation of the Electoral Laws. It calls upon the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Law enforcement agencies to enforce our electoral laws strictly.

 

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS:

The Standing Committee notes that with dismay that Religious Knowledge is not taught in schools in some parts of the country and calls on the Federal Government to ensure that Religious Knowledge is taught in all schools, while churches are enjoined to do so on their part, establish schools where pupils are taught the subject, based on well grounded curriculum.

 

ENDING TERRORISM AND RETURN OF THE INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS (IDPS):

The Standing Committee, while commending and identifying the present administration on the successes so far recorded on the war against terrorism, urges the government not to relent on the tempo of the battle against terrorism. Furthermore, in view of the Federal Government's plan to return the IDPs to their homes in the first quarter of this year, the Standing Committee urges the government to ensure that adequate arrangements are made for their security and rehabilitation.

 

THE ANGLICAN GLOBAL COMMUNION:

The Standing Committee notes that the January 11-15, 2016, meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion in Canterbury has reiterated the commitment of the Communion to the proclamation of the gospel and teaching sound marriage between a man and a woman. It notes that, the restriction placed on The Episcopal Church (TEC) undergoes a step towards eliminating erroneous teachings and practices in the Communion. The Standing Committee calls upon all Provinces in the Anglican Communion to uphold and maintain the faith of the church as expressed in the Holy Bible, the Anglican Formularies and the Jerusalem Declaration. It unanimously supports the faithful and courageous leadership of the Primate of All Nigeria, The Most Revd Nicholas D. Okoh, and the GAFCON Primates in their resolved to uphold the Anglican Communion in the historic faith.

 

CONCLUSION:  ‘MARANATHA: COME, LORD JESUS'

And behold, I come quickly and my reward is with me to give every man according to hid work shall be. He which testified these things saith, surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus  (Rev. 22:12, 20).

 

 

 

The Most Revd Nicholas D. Okoh,

Primate of All Nigeria.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APPENDIX V

 

CHURCH OF NIGERIA

(Anglican Communion)

 

THE MOST REVD NICHOLAS D. OKOH, MA, FSS, MSS,LLD

Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria

 

 

PASTORAL LETTER

THE STANDING COMMITTEE MEETING

OF THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA ANGLICAN COMMUION

HELD FROM FEBRUARY 1ST TO 5TH, 2016,

AT ST. ANDREW'S CHURCH, KUBWA, ABUJA FCT.

 

 

Beloved people of God,

 

May the peace and love of God that passes all understanding be with you now and evermore, Amen.

 

The Standing Committee of our church was held under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit from 1st to 5th February, 2016 at St. Andrew's Church, kubwa, Abuja, FCT. The theme of the meeting was Maranatha “Come, Lord Jesus” 1 Corinthians 16:22.

 

“Maranatha” is an important proclamation in the Christian, though it remains unpopular and misunderstood; the belief of a Christian dwelling with the Lord in eternity is the climax of our hope. The prayer, Maranatha, come, Lord Jesus, became imperative due to the travail of the Christians of the first century AD. They faced much persecution under the Roman Empire because the Christians refused to worship Caesar as god. Hence the Romance looked upon them as traitors, and for that reason persecuted them, and put them to death, living under those adverse conditions, the believers faith could only be sustained by the hope of the coming of the Lord.

 

This theme reminds us that sudden and outright persecution of different forms against the church is apparent today. It could be from within the Church, or from without, especially from postmodern philosophies, or other religious like militant Islam. In the face of trial and persecutions, we, like Apostle Paul, enjoin you to endure hardship without complaining as good soldiers of Christ. (2Timothy 2:5). We urge you to deepen your faith to enable you attain maturity in the areas of knowledge of the word of God, morality, Integrity and strength of character. As we wait for the coming of the Lord Jesus, we implore you to develop the courage to be different from the world and detach yourselves from materialism and carnal living.

 

There is so much doctrinal and practical heresy in Christianity today. Some self-acclaimed preachers are using lies coated with similitude of truth to exploit the ignorant. These men twist the word of God for their selfish end. We remind you the words of Jesus; “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves, Ye shall know them by their fruits…” Matthew 7:15&16. The only way to discern false doctrine is to be well acquainted with the truth. We must continue to effectively abound in the work of the Lord while waiting for His glorious appearing. The pleasures of the world must not be allowed to neutralize the expectations and blessedness of the fullness of God's presence in our lives.

 

Brethren, you might have heard that Primates of the Anglican Communion met in Canterbury to discuss issue affecting our Communion. The main highlights of the meeting was the decision to place some restriction on the Episcopal Church (TEC) for a period of three years for the part they played in promoting unbiblical doctrine in the Anglican Communion. The Archbishop of Canterbury was asked to appoint a Task Group to maintain conversation among ourselves with the intension of restoration of relationship and building of mutual trust. However, we should understand that the state of broken communion with TEC and the Church in Canada and those provinces that are following their bad examples remains in place until they repent.

 

Beloved, once again, we wish to thank you for your continue participation and support for DIVCCON, our annual spiritual convocation and St. Mathias Day Collection. We are also glad for the unanimous decision taken during Standing Committee at Akure to channel all the Advent Sunday Collections towards the development of the Church of Nigeria Secretariat at Gudu, Abuja for the next three years. The response was encouraging. The foundation stone of the secretariat was laid on Friday 13, November, 2015  also, as agreed. The Primate's Address was launched in this meeting and will be also launched in subsequent Standing Committee meetings and General Synod for the same purpose.

 

In view of the fall in oil revenue and the high rate of unemployment still prevalent in the country; we encourage individuals, groups and organizations in our churches to embark on food production. We also encourage our young men and women to learn a trade or acquire a skill to enable them become self-reliant in order to contribute their quota to the spread of the gospel and national development. We urge everyone to patronize made-in-Nigeria products as a way to stimulate local production and employment.  Brethren, remember that the foremost task we have as Christians is to preach the gospel and win converts for Christ. Although building of structures and monuments in the Church is important; we need to restate the urgent need for our dioceses and churches to establish schools and clinics; these were some of the avenues the early missionaries used to make impact in our land. We must sustain this good idea in our time.

 

The increasing display of immorality and obscenities in the society, especially on our streets, in the electronic, social and print media has reached very disturbing proportions. We call on all, especially the youths, to imbibe the virtues of moral discipline, patriotism and fear of the Lord, to save the society from total decay.

 

We have observed that some of our churches jettison the Church of Nigeria devotional- the Daily Fountain, for devotional books from other denominations or groups. This is most unfortunate development. The daily Fountain and other literature from the Church of Nigeria are well prepared for our spiritual growth and development. We urge the Bishops with their clergy to enforce the use of our Daily Fountain, Bible Study and Sunday School Manuals in our churches schools and colleges.

 

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we sincerely commend the Rt. Revd Duke and Mrs Sara Akamisoko and the good people of Kubwa Diocese for creditably hosting the Standing Committee- We also thank the Bishops of Abuja Province and Local Organizing Committee for their labour of love out of His abundance riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Amen.

 

Finally, in the face of discouragement, worries, anxiety, grief and other challenges of life, let us continue with the time honoured prayer of our forebears. “Come, Lord Jesus!” Maranatha! May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

 

 

Your Most Reverend Father in God.

 

The Most Revd Nicholas D. Okoh