2017 BISHOP'S PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS

 

CHURCH OF NIGERIA

[Anglican communion]

 

PROVINCE OF THE NIGER

 

DIOCESE OF AMICHI

 

 PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS

 

PRESENTED BY

 

HIS LORDSHIP

THE RT. REVD. EPHRAIM .O. IKEAKOR

BISHOP, DIOCESE OF AMICHI

 

TO THE

THIRD SESSION OF THE THIRD SYNOD

 

THEME: “CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH, AND

   MAINTAINING BIBLE STANDARD IN A

   PERVERSE AND ANTI-CHRISTIAN

                 GENERATION”. [jude 1:1-4].

 

Date:         Saturday, 10th june, 2017.

 

Venue:       st. james' church, azigbo.

 

 

DIOCESAN ANTHEM

 

 

        1.     AMICHI DIOCESE, PEOPLE OF GOD,

                THE SHEEP OF HIS FLOCK LIFT UP YOUR VOICES,

                REJOICE, REJOICE, REJOICE,

                FOR JESUS CHRIST IS OUR SURE ANCHOR,

                WE SHALL STAND FOR HIM.

 

        2.     AMICHI DIOCESE,

                GOD'S OWN DIOCESE,

                WHOSOEVER LIVES AND LABOURS

                IN CHRIST JESUS,

                DIVINE CROWN IS WON,

                ARISE, MARCH ON, MARCH ON,

                MARCH ON, PEOPLE OF GOD SOULS

                TO WIN- THE HOLY SCRIPTURES UPHOLD,

                AND RECEIVE E-TER-NAL CROWN.

 

        3.     AMICHI DIOCESE,

                “JESUS CHRIST OUR SURE ANCHOR!!”

                IESUS CHRISTUS NOSTRA!

                FUNDAMENTA-FIRMA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SYNOD PRAYER:

 

Almighty God, and Everlasting Father, you have promised through Your Son Jesus Christ to be with Your church to the end of the age. We thank You for bringing us together for the 3rd Session of the 3rd Synod of the Diocese of Amichi (Anglican Communion), meeting now in Your name. 

 

We humbly ask for Your Power of the Holy Spirit upon us as we deliberate and reflect in this Synod. Grant us a right judgment in all things.

 

Deliver us from all error, ignorance, pride, selfishness, and prejudices.

Grant us the hunger to always pray and read the Holy Bible. Strengthen our faith in You; grant us the grace and boldness to earnestly contend for the Faith, to shun all practices that are contrary to what we profess as Christians, and to be faithful until death. Enable us in this perverse and anti-Christian generation to stand out, and maintain Bible standard both in word and deed, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COURTESIES AND PLEASANTRIES:

 

My Soul still remembers and sinks within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the LORD'S Mercies we are not consumed, because His Compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him. The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. [Lamentation 3:20-25]. Beloved people of God, this is the song and meditation of my heart as I remember that it has been another year since we assembled for our last Synod which was the Second Session of the Third Synod. The Almighty God has indeed been very Merciful, Faithful, and Gracious to us all at family, Church, and Diocese levels. To Him alone belong all the Glory, Honour, Praise and Adoration both now and always in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

We welcome with great joy, The Dean Emeritus of Church of Nigeria, and the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of the Niger, His Grace, The Most Revd Christian Ogochukwu Efobi to this Synod. Your Grace, thank you for coming. We also joyfully and heartily welcome the Executive Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Chief Dr. Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano to the Synod. Permit me to further welcome all the Bishops of our Church, both serving and retired who have graced this auspicious occasion with their revered presence. At the end of the Address, we shall introduce them adequately. It is also with a gladsome heart that we appreciate and welcome all the Royal Fathers; The Chancellor of our Diocese, Hon. Justice G.C. Anulude, The Registrar, Lady Barr. Amaka Udogu, other members of the Diocesan Legal Team, The Gallant Knights and Ladies of our Diocese, Synod Delegates, and other dignitaries here present. We cannot in any way forget to appreciate the President of the Mothers' Union, Women's Guild and Girls' Guild of our Diocese, Dame Nkem Ikeakor, who is also my very wife.

 

We thank and welcome the Clergy of the Diocese and their wives, the Academia, the Business Community, and indeed the fourth realm of the estate- the Gentlemen of the Press. You are all highly welcome to the Third Session of the Third Synod of our Diocese. The Almighty God in whose Name we have gathered will surely bless, preserve, and prosper your lives spiritually and physically in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

SYNOD RESOURCE PERSONS:

 

a]     THE SYNOD CHIEF EXPOSITOR:

Our main Speaker and Bible Expositor in this Third Session of the Third Synod is Ven. Prof. Pic. Charles Onwochei. Pic Charles Onwochei is a priest and Venerable in the Anglican Diocese of Jos. He is the Cathedral Archdeacon. He is a teacher of the Word of God and has been priviledged to teach God's word around the world. He is a worship leader and by God's Grace Leads the Jos Worship Assembly which is an Interdenominational hour of deep, spiritual and appreciative Worship. He is also a song writer and has many published songs. Pic is a member of International Faculty of Haggai Institute, and facilitates the Advanced Leadership Training of the Institute both Locally and Internationally.

 

Besides, Ven. Pic Charles Onwochei is a professor of Ethics and Philosophy in the University of Jos, and has taught Ethics and related courses for many years. He has keen research interest in social ethics related issues with a Christian reflective and evaluative response. He has researched extensively in this area, and has presented and published many scholarly papers both locally and internationally. He has also authored books including: “Music, Morality, and Church Growth: The Nigerian Experience”, “The Effective Music Minister: The Spiritual and Moral Demands”, and “They Go about Naked: A Moral, Social and Biblical Reflection on Today's Dressing Patterns”.

 

He is married to Sister Modupe Pic-Onwochei and together they have four biological children. Ven. Pic is a grateful person, always mindful of the fact that he does not qualify for God's work. Only by Grace and Mercy has he been allowed to touch God's work. We gladly welcome Ven. Prof. Pic Onwochei to the Diocese of Amichi as the main Synod Speaker and Bible expositor. Those of us who have listened to him since Thursday will bear me witness that we have not made a wrong choice.

 

 

b]     THE BIBLE STUDY LEADER/FACILITATOR:

This year we have chosen prayerfully, The Ven. Azubike Mbadiwe Innocent Ugoha to be our Synod Bible Study facilitator. Ven. Azubuike was born to the family of Chief and Mrs Patrick Okwuanasoanya and Agnes .P. Ugoha on June 15, 1967. He was ordained a Deacon by the late Rt. Revd Y.A. Fubara in the Diocese of Niger Delta. He was Priested by the Rt. Revd Samuel Onyeuku Elenwo in the Diocese of Niger Delta North. He was preferred and collated Canon, and Archdeacon respectively by The Most Revd Dr. Ignatius Kattey in 1999, and 2003 respectively. He is currently serving in the Diocese of Evo which was created out of Niger Delta North Diocese.

 

The Ven. Azubuike Ugoha is an astute Theologian and an Evangelical scholar with special interest both in Biblical studies and studies in African Traditional Religion. He attended Trinity Theological College, Umuahia where he graduated with diploma in Theology; and Diploma in Religious Studies in Distinction. He attended Abia State University, Uturu where he got a Bachelor's Degree in Education and Religious Studies. He recently successfully defended his Master's Degree Thesis in Religious Studies at the University of Calabar. Ven. Azubuike is currently doing his second Master's Degree programme in Christian Theology with the National Open University, Nigeria. He is a full-time committed Anglican Clergyman. He is an Evangelist, and a Revivalist by Divine calling and Mandate. He is well graced in Prayer, Healing and Deliverance Ministries. The Gospel message has taken him to some countries outside the shores of Nigeria.

 

He is a Conference and Seminar Speaker. He has held various leadership positions such as: President, Scripture Union Nigeria, Trinity Theological College, Umuahia; Zonal Schools Co-ordinator and Sub-Zonal leader of Scripture Union (SU) Nigeria; Secretary of Anglican Youth Fellowship (AYF), and EFAC, Nigeria etc. He was the Chaplain of prayer and Hospital Ministries of the Diocese of the Niger Delta North; and Industrial Chaplaincy of the Diocese of Evo where in they organize fellowships in Industries, Banks, Supermarkets, motor parks, and security companies. Ven. Azubuike Ugoha is a gifted Church planter. He planted seven (7) Churches out of the popular St. Andrew's Church Mile 1 Diobu, Port Harcourt. During his period of ministry at Eleme in Rivers State, 2004 – 2008, he planted a total of twelve (12) churches which gave birth to a new archdeaconry named Odido Archdeaconry.

 

As an intercessor and Prayer warrior,  a burden bearer with passion for Anglican and worldwide Revival, he founded The Underground Anglican Intercessors; Revival Intercessory Ministry in Anglican Church [RIMAC], and Revival Intercessory Squad in Anglican Communion [RISAC] which was committed to praying for Anglican Revival till date.

 

The Venerable Azubuike Ugoha is married to Princess Precious and the marriage is blessed with four children namely; Testimony, Nobleman, Majesty and Evidence. They are all boys. We heartily welcome Ven. Azubuike to our Synod this year.

THE VENUE OF THE SYNOD:

St. James' Church, Azigbo where this Third Session of the Third Synod is holding today is the product of the spiritual interplay among four contemporary indigenous earlier Christian converts namely; Mr Joseph Nwosu, Mr. John Udenkwo, Mr James Olisakwe, and Mr Godfrey Egbosimba. These men proved themselves as vessels of vision, Honour, and Spiritual procreation which eventually led to the planting and growth of this Church. It is worthy of note that before they succeeded in their endeavour to plant the Church, they passed through several imaginable and unimaginable hurdles which include family abandonment, Economic hardship and deprivations, Poisoning and other life threatening ordeals, land scarcity and several environmental challenges more especially the dominant negative effect of the then more popular Traditional Religion. Amidst all these, they excelled and triumphed tremendously knowing and trusting in the Almighty God who has called them through the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

It started in 1917 when Mr Joseph Nwosu was converted to the Anglican Christian Faith at Nnewi. He was a grandson of a popular Nnewi Chief [Eze Ugbo anyamba], and as a standard III pupil then, he assembled the other three converts into a Christian army. They embarked on intermittent home returns from their various locations for an in-house fellowship which was usually conducted by Joseph himself with his wife, Grace Nwosu. Bible teaching, Counselling and Prayers were their optimal Fellowship activities with vocational and minor education on how to read and write A.B.C.D…… They also embarked on house to house evangelism during which prayers were offered for the sick and demon-afflicted. As a result of their prayers, signs, wonders and testimonies accompanied their prayers as a result and manifestation of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in them. This gave rise to the numerical growth of the young Church as many souls were won to the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

The numerical growth gave rise to the need for a more spacious Church building, and also a Church teacher. As a temporal solution, the Nnewi District Board of C.M.S. in 1920 commissioned Mr. Joseph Nwosu as a Local Helper for the local young congregation. In 1918, the founding fathers put up a building structure. It was a twelve seated mud building which gave the earlier converts a momentary accommodation relief. Under Joseph Nwosu's leadership, another Church building was erected between 1919 and 1922. They sourced land for these church buildings from various land owners to whom they paid relevant values, costs and considerations. In 1923, Mr Moses Emebo from Oba was posted as the first resident Church Teacher. In 1924, the first baptism was conducted by the District superintendent, Revd Ekpunobi. Mr Isaiah Enechukwu, Aaron Okika, Josiah Ozoemena and Peter Egbosimba were the first set of converts to be baptized in the Church. In 1927, the first wedding ceremony was held and conducted in the church between Mr. Joseph Nwosu and his wife, Grace Nwosu. John Udenkwo wedded in 1928, and in 1929 James Olisakwe also wedded. At different times, the Church lost some of her members due to persecutions, intimidation, and molestation. The most notable incident was the death of Okeke Akakpalu fondly called “Okeke Pem” in 1927. The Church was subjected to very unpleasant and expensive blackmail with an allegation that Okeke was buried standing. This was aimed at portraying the church as a congregation of the abominable; “Ndi N'eme aru” and hence potential victims of Udo's Wrath. Some of the new converts were not ready for such wrath, and even if they were, their kiths and kins so much pressurized them that they slacked back to Traditional Religion thereby giving up their Christian Faith.

 

The founding fathers triumphed with patience, prayers and Evangelism. In 1940, circumstances made the church to be attached to St. Simon's District Church, Nnobi. In November 1985, the first confirmation service was held in this Church presided over by Rt. Revd J.A. Onyemelukwe, the then Bishop of the Diocese On the Niger. In his post confirmation speech to the congregation, being so much impressed with what he saw, the bishop said, “Azigbo unu malu asu unu asua n'ikwe”. This statement triggered off the quest for District status by the Church. A three man delegation of Mr. Clifford Okechukwu, Emmanuel Okonkwo and Joseph Umeileka was sent to Nnobi District Superintendent, Revd Canon Benneth Okeke with the application for a District Status. In 1985, a District Board meeting was held at St. Paul's Church, Nnobi and the application was considered and approved. On 14th June, 1986, St. James' Church was inaugurated a District, and the Revd I.C. Nwaka was instituted and inducted as the first District superintendent under Onitsha Archdeaconry in the Diocese on the Niger. On 14th November, 1992, Amichi Archdeaconry was created out of Onitsha Archdeaconry with St. James' Church, Azigbo as part of the Archdeaconry. With the creation of Amichi Diocese in 2009, St. James' Church, Azigbo became part of Amichi West Archdeaconry. Thereafter, on 24th July, 2011, she was inaugurated a one Church Archdeaconry by His Lordship, The Rt. Revd Ephraim .O. Ikeakor. Ven. Augustine Ojukwu was installed as the first Archdeacon of Azigbo Archdeaconry.

 

SOME NOTABLE EVENTS IN THE CHURCH:

-       The dedication of the second Church building was done by Rt. Revd J.A. Onyemelukwe in December, 1981.

-       Mr Okechukwu Clifford was ordained a Priest in 1992.

-       Mr. Joel Enechukwu was also ordained a priest in 1994.

-       The Foundation Stone Laying of this present Church building was done by His Lordship, The Rt. Revd E.O. Ikeakor on 26th October, 2010.

-       The Second Diocesan Women Conference of Amichi Diocese was hosted by St. James' Church, Azigbo in July, 2010.

-       Mr. Chidiebere Ifechukwu was ordained a Priest in the Diocese on the Niger in July, 2016.

-       This Church hosted the 8th Diocesan Girls' Guild Conference in September, 2016.

-       The Church is hosting the Third Session of the Third Synod of the Diocese of Amichi this year which coincidentally and historically is the Centenary year of the Church.

 

CHRONOLOGY OF CHURCH WORKERS WHO HAVE SERVED IN THE CHURCH:

S/N

NAME

DATE

1

Joseph              Nwosu

1920 – 1923

2

Moses               Emebo

1923 – 1930

3

Peter                Adieme

1930 – 1938

4

Daniel               Ibo

1938 – 1945

5

Thomas             Madusolumuo

1945 – 1948

6

Isaiah               Okeke

1948 – 1953

7

Jeremiah           Okoye

1953 – 1957

8

Samuel              Ekeokwu

1957 – 1961

9

Mark                 Chukwudolue

1961 – 1966

10

Alfred                Uzoagu

1966 – 1972

11.

Nathan              Anyiam

1972 – 1981

12

G. C.                 Okolo

1981 – 1984

13

Revd I. C.           Nwaka

1984 – 1992

14

Revd Stephen      Nzekwe

1992 – 1994

15.

Revd Benneth      Anene

1994 – 1997

16

Revd Alphonsus   Ireoba

1997 – 1999

17

Revd G.I.            Okpala

1999 – 2001

18

Revd Joseph Iyke  Okafor

2001 – 2005

19

Revd W.O.                   Chukwuma

2005 – 2007

20

Ven. A.U.                     Ojukwu

2007 – 2011

21

Ven. Dr. J.O.                Maduka

2011 – 2013

22

Revd Robinson             Oguchi

2011 [Curate]

23

Revd Paulinus              Ndukwu

2013 [Curate]

24.

Ven. Jonathan             Umeasiegbu

2013 – 2015

25

Revd Chukwunonso      Chijindu

2014 [Curate]

26

Revd Samuel               Iwuorah

2014 [Curate]

27

Ven. Chika                  Mbeyi

2015 – Date

28

Revd Chidi                  Enemo

2015 – 2017 [Curate]

29

Canon Promise            Okoroafor

2017 [Curate]

30

Revd Promise              Alor

2017

 

 

The Church is blessed with some committed and supportive Lay Readers, and Knights and Ladies. It is worthy of note that the current chancellor of Aba Diocese, Sir Donald Ibezim Udogu (SAN) is from this Church, while the current Registrar of Amichi Diocese, Lady Barr Amaka Udogu is also from St. James' Church, Azigbo. To God be all the Glory, Praise and Adoration for the great height He has taken this mustard seed which was sown one hundred years ago by God's faithful, zealous and committed children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHURCH OF NIGERIA: news/events:

 

A.     STANDING COMMITTEE MEETINGS:

Two Standing Committee meetings have been held after our last Synod. The September edition of the Standing Committee was held in the Province of the Niger, and hosted by the Province, and Awka Diocese from Monday 19th to Thursday 22nd September, 2016. The theme of that meeting was “Who is on the Lord's Side”. Egba Diocese hosted the February edition from Monday 20th to Thursday 24th February, 2017 at Abeokuta. The theme of the meeting was “I am that I am”. We give all thanks to the Almighty God for granting all the delegates traveling Mercy.

 

 

B.     BISHOPS' ANNUAL RETREAT:

The 2017 Bishops' Annual Retreat was held at Ibru Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State from 9th to 14th January, 2017. The theme of the Retreat was “Sundry Issues of Episcopal Concern”. It was as usual a very spiritually enriching and reinvigorating experience for bishops.

 

 

C.     RETIREMENTS, ELECTIONS AND CONSECRATION OF BISHOPS:

Within the Synod year under review, the following bishops retired from active service:

i.      The Most Revd Prof. Adebayo Akinde – Diocese of Lagos Mainland.

ii.      The Rt. Revd Raphael Okafor – Diocese of Ihiala.

iii.     The Rt. Revd S.O. Adekunle – Diocese of Ile-Oluji.

iv.     The Rt. Revd Prof. Cornelius Bello – Diocese of Zaria.

 

The following new bishops were elected and subsequently consecrated:

i.      The Rt. Revd Pelu Johnson – Diocese of Lagos Mainland.

ii.      The Rt. Revd Prof. Israel Okoye – Diocese of Ihiala

iii.     The Rt. Revd Abel Ajibolu – Diocese of Ile-Oluji.

iv.     The Rt. Revd Temple Nwaogu – Diocese of IsialaNgwa.

v.     The Rt. Revd Yohanna Audu – Diocese of Damaturu.

vi.     The Rt. Revd Godwin Robinson – Diocese of Lafia.

vii.    The Rt. Revd Rufus Adepoju – Diocese of Ekiti West

viii.   The Rt. Revd Augustine Ehinbo – Diocese of Sabongida Ora.

The Rt. Revd Abiodun Ogunyemi of Damaturu Diocese was translated to Zaria Diocese.

Most Revd Dr. George .L. Lasebikan was re-elected the Archbishop of Ondo Province.

 

Rt. Revd Dr. Michael .O. Fape was elected and presented as the Archbishop of Lagos Province on 24th July, 2016.

 

In the same vein, The Most Revd G.I. Lasebikan, the bishop of Ondo Diocese, and the Archbishop of Ondo Province has been elected as the new Dean for Church of Nigeria [Anglican Communion].

 

 

D.     TRANSITIONS TO THE CHURCH TRIUMPHANT:

It really pleased the Almighty God, who is the giver and sustainer of life to call some of the Church fathers, and mothers to eternal rest. The following members of our Church joined the Church triumphant:

 

1.     The Rt. Revd Owen Azubuike who until his Death was the Bishop of IsialaNgwa Diocese.

2.     The Most Revd Emmanuel Mani. He was the Bishop of Maiduguri Diocese.

3.     Mrs Egbebunmi, the wife of the Bishop of Ilesa South West Diocese.

4.     Mrs Ruda Yisa, the wife of the retired Bishop of Minna.

 

 

E.     ST. MATHIAS DAY COLLECTION:

This year's edition of this fund collection was held throughout Church of Nigeria on Sunday 24th February, 2017. As usual, our Diocese observed and participated very actively in the all-important exercise. Because of the special importance our Diocese attach to this vision and mission of our Primate, we have made our Convent, Seminary, and Hospital chaplaincy to participate and contribute meaningfully. All the money raised to that effect was faithfully remitted to Church of Nigeria account. May I at this point appreciate and commend all the clergy, Church workers, principals of our schools and of course the entire laity for supporting this laudable humanitarian venture. May God reward and bless you all accordingly in Jesus Christ Name. Amen.

 

 

F.     DIVINE COMMONWEALTH CONFERENCE [DIVCCON]

The 2016 Divine Commonwealth Conference took place at the National Christian Centre, Abuja from Monday 7th – Friday 11th November, 2016. The theme of the Conference was “Fear Not”. It was a very apt and seasoned theme going by the myriads of very challenging and frustrating occurrences confronting the entire Nigeria populace. Our Diocese mobilized all the clergy and their wives to be in attendance. Various Youth delegates were also sponsored fully by the Diocese to the conference. Many inspiring Talks, Seminars, papers, and Prayers featured in the Conference. This year's DIVCCON comes up from Monday 13th to Friday 17th November, 2017 at the same venue. We pray and encourage all our members to endeavour to attend.

 

 

G.     PRIMATE'S MEETING WITH EMINENT ANGLICANS:

As a practical follow up to the burning hunger and desire of our Primate to harness and galvanize very adequately, the huge human resources that God has endowed the Church of Nigeria with, the Primate convened and held a special meeting with Eminent Anglicans from all Dioceses on Thursday 4th May, 2017 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. The attendees and conferees really applauded the move by the Primate. We pray that this project will yield the expected dividend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PROVINCE OF THE NIGER MATTERS/NEWS:

 

A.     CONGRATULATIONS:

To the Glory and praise of the Almighty God from whom all Blessings flow, we heartily congratulate the following:

1.     Our Archbishop, the Most Revd Christian and Dame Jane Efobi on his 26th Consecration Anniversary.

2.     The Most Revd M.S.C. and Mrs Blessing Anikwenwa on their Golden Jubilee Ordination Anniversary, and 30th Pearl Episcopal Anniversary.

3.     The Rt. Revd Dr. Owen Nwokolo on his election as the Chairman of Christian Council of Nigeria, Anambra State.

4.     The Rt. Revd Prof. Israel and Dr. Mrs Faith Okoye on his election and enthronement as the bishop of Ihiala Diocese.

5.     The Rt. Revd Johnson and Ijeoma Ekwe on the wonderful gift of twin boys.

6.     The Rt. Revd Dr. Samuel and Mrs Chinyere Ezeofor and the entire members of Ogbaru Diocese on the Dedication of their Cathedral, the 50th Birthday of the Bishop, and 10th year anniversary of Ogbaru Diocese/Bishop's episcopacy.

7.     The President, and members of Aguata Diocesan Council of Knights on the successful hosting of Joint Council of Knights delegates Conference at Ekwulobia from 16th-20th November, 2016, and the emergence of Sir Isaiah Ezezika as the new President of the Joint Council of Knights.

 

 

B.     ALL ANGLICANS PRAYER RALLY:

The third edition of this all-important Prayer Rally took place at Dr. Alex Ekwueme Square Awka on Saturday 5th November, 2016. The theme of the Rally was, “The Church in Prayer and Power”. [Acts 12:5-11]. We thank God that it was a very huge success, and God's people were resoundly blessed through Prayers moderated by clergymen from various Dioceses of our Province, and very powerful Word ministration by The Rt. Revd Henry .O. Okeke, the Bishop of Mbamili Diocese. My earnest and passionate prayer is for us in this province not to allow this great, impactful, unifying and laudable vision to die.

 

 

C.     PROVINCIAL COUNCIL MEETING:

The 2016 September Provincial Council Meeting and Mothers' Union meeting was hosted by the Diocese On the Niger on 7th and 8th September, 2016. While the Episcopal meeting held at Calvary Chapel on 7th, the Council meeting held at All Saints' Cathedral, Onitsha. The February edition of the Council meeting was hosted by Diocese of Aguata on 8th and 9th February, 2017 at the Chapel of Grace, and the Cathedral Church of St. John, Ekwulobia respectively. Both meetings engaged in very useful and practical deliberations on issues affecting the Province.

 

 

D.     HOSTING OF CHURCH OF NIGERIA STANDING COMMITTEE:

The Province of the Niger hosted the September Church of Nigeria Standing Committee meeting which took place at St. Faith's Cathedral, Awka from Monday 19th to Thursday 22nd September, 2016. The theme of the Standing Committee was, “Who is on the Lord's side”. [Exodus 32:26]. We thank God for a very successful meeting, and congratulate both our Province and Awka Diocese for a wonderful hosting.

 

 

E.     JOINT PROVINCIAL COUNCIL MEETING:

Bishops, their wives and delegates from all the fifty five Dioceses that make up the Joint Council of the Provinces, East of the Niger met at Diocese of Nike on 15th and 16 of February, 2017. It was a well attended meeting. We commend the Bishop of Nike Diocese and his wife, The Rt. Revd Prof. & Prof. Mrs Evans Ibeagha and the entire members of their Diocese for a very compact and organized hosting and great hospitality.

 

 

F.     JOINT COUNCIL OF KNIGHTS DELEGATES CONFERENCE:

The 20th delegates conference of Joint Council of Knights was held in our Province at the Cathedral Church of St. John, Ekwulobia from Wednesday 16th to Sunday 20th November, 2016. We thank our Archbishop, and bishops in our Province for rallying round the Knights in our Province to make sure that the Delegates Conference was hosted rightly and accordingly.

DIOCESE OF AMICHI: NOTABLE EVENTS, PROGRAMMES, AND PROJECTS.

 

1.     DIOCESAN PRAYER CONVOCATION:

The 2016 Diocesan Prayer Convocation was held at Christ's Church, Amichi from Thursday 8th – Saturday 10th September, 2016. The theme was “Hear my Cry Oh Lord”. The Programme witnessed a large turnout of Prayer warriors from across the Diocese who spent the weekend in fervent intercession. They took time to pray for the Diocese, the members of the Diocese, and other personal needs. The traditional prayer journey which is usually part and parcel of the prayer convocation each year took the participants to various locations within the Diocese for prophetic actions and declarations was also embarked on. We commend the Diocesan Prayer Co-ordinator, Revd Canon Franklin Chukwudozie for his doggedness, commitment and resilience to the prayer project.

 

 

2.     DIOCESAN VIGIL:

Every quarter of the year members of our Diocese gather for an all night prayer vigils at designated churches and Parishes. It is usually a night of the Word and Warfare. Within the period under review, the Diocesan Vigil took place on the following dates and in the following locations:

i.      19th August, 2016 at Ebenezer Church, Unubi.

ii.      18th November, 2016 at St. Mary's Church, Ezinifite.

iii.     17th February, 2017 at St. Stephen's Church, Osumenyi.

 

We really give God the Glory for the effect and result of these prayer gatherings on His people and needs. We encourage those who have not been attending to start.

 

 

3.     CLERGY AND WIVES RETREAT:

The first Clergy and wives Retreat after our last Synod took place at the Church of Divine Compassion, Amichi on 30th September, 2016. Revd Canon Samson Ikedinma conducted the opening devotion with the topic he titled “Overcoming Ministerial Challenges: Daniel a Case Study”. Among other things, he outlined some of the things that enabled Daniel to overcome his challenges and obstacles to include:

a.     Daniel took a definite stand on his Faith and commitment to God. Daniel 1:8.

b.     He stood on and maintained his final decision Dan. 6:10.

c.      He was a man of Prayer.  Dan. 6:10

d.     Daniel relied on God completely. Daniel 1:12-13

e.     Daniel was very useful to his masters, and applied wisdom in all he did. Daniel 6:1-3.

f.      He was a righteous man. Daniel 6:4-5.

 

The Canon concluded his opening devotion with a brief session of prayer.

After the opening Devotion, the Bishop delivered the major talk for the day. The topic of his talk was “Becoming a Successful Priest or Pastor”. The Bishop vehemently posited that one of the greatest errors of this generation is anchoring ministerial success on wealth, Reputation, and elevation in rank or hierarchy. He stressed that true success in Ministry is fully anchored on purpose, and God's purpose for that matter. According to him, for a priest to be considered successful, he must sincerely and determinedly pursue and accomplish the purpose for which God called him. The bishop went on to list about twelve (12) principles of a successful minister and ministry thus:

 

a.     The Priest must have a super-clear vision of his ministry/call.

 

b.     He must set very challenging and ambitious Goals. These are real goals that will keep him on his toes.

 

c.      He must constantly ask the following questions: Am I ready to sacrifice everything that is on my way to becoming a successful Priest? Can I pay the Price?

 

d.     He must carve out practical road maps for achieving his ministerial goals.

 

e.     He must talk to, talk with and walk with people of like vision. This is because there is nothing that kills purpose in life and ministry like association with the wrong people.

 

f.      The Priest must develop a very strong and irresistible conviction that your goal is achievable irrespective of your challenges.

 

g.     He should not be dissuaded, discouraged, and distracted by initial road blocks and failures. According to him, failure to an achiever is a decent call to restrategise for better results.

 

h.     He must be ready to work, work and work if you must be successful in ministry. You cannot come across any priest who succeeded in his vocation who was never a workaholic.

 

i.      He should never expect an overnight success or magical result. True success has principles and procedures pivoted on time and timing.

 

j.      He must resolve to leave a legacy behind especially in the lives of men or people. Unfortunately many priests in this age are struggling to leave properties behind instead of legacies.

 

k.     The Priest who wants to succeed in ministry must resolve to change his behavior, change lifestyle and it is only then that you can change your world.

 

The next edition of Clergy and Wives Retreat took place on 22nd November, 2016 at St. Andrew's Church, Ebenator. Ven. Chukwuma Akam conducted the opening devotion. He spoke on. “Escaping the Persecution of the Devil”.

 

His Lordship, The Rt. Revd Ephraim .O. Ikeakor in his characteristic manner of teaching and equipping the priests for end time ministry spoke on the topic, “The Law of Purpose in Life and Ministry”. In his presentation, he highlighted the under mentioned points as the nuggets of the law of purpose in life and ministry:

 

a.     Purpose is a law in life and ministry, not a suggestion. Break that law, you have broken success and fulfillment.

 

b.     Life and Ministry are neither accidents, incidents, nor coincidence. They are divine projects anchored on purpose.

 

c.      Success in Life and Ministry thrive and prosper on purpose.

 

d.     Every meaningful purpose has guiding principles and governing policies.

 

e.     Your purpose is your focus; Your Focus is your drive, and your Drive is your Destination.

 

f.      Every genuine purpose is refined in the crucible of opposition, distraction, and discouragement. He cited Moses, and the Lord Jesus Christ as typical examples.

 

The Bishop concluded his teaching by presenting the following food for thoughts to the clergy and their wives:

i.      To have purpose in life and ministry is a guiding and steadying influence.

ii.      Those who live on purpose do not give up at all.

iii.     People who live on purpose are most of the time lone-rangers.

iv.     Purpose-pursuers are very bad pleasure seekers.

v.     They are always dogged and rugged.

vi.     Purposeful priests/wives believe in succeeding where others had failed.

vii.    Purposeful men are Travellers, and not Tourists.

 

He maintained that successful men and women in life and ministry are not just people of great material possession, rather they are people of purpose who desire enduring accomplishments and Legacy.

 

 

4.     FREEDOM PRAYER BREAKFAST:

The first day of every month is always special in this Diocese because of the special Prayer gathering known as “Prayer Breakfast”. The October edition is always unique, and it is called Freedom Prayer Breakfast because of Nigeria's Independence. It is usually dedicated to fervent prayers and prophetic declarations on our nation, Nigeria as well as individuals and families. This edition usually witnessed a very massive turnout of people from various states and walks of life. During this year's Freedom Prayer Breakfast on October 1, 2016, the bishop preached on, “Freedom Indeed”. In his sermon, he outlined different types of bondages peoples and nations find themselves in which include:

a.     Political Bondage.

b.     Mental/Intellectual Bondage.

c.      Health Bondage.

d.     Habit Bondage.

e.     Sinful Bondage, and

f.      Demonic Bondage.

 

The bishop declared that no matter the type and gravity of the bondage people find themselves in, Jesus Christ remains the only answer and solution to their bondages and enslavements. He encouraged all to run to Jesus Christ for Salvation and deliverance. He later led the mammoth congregants in fervent prayers and prophetic/Episcopal declarations for individuals, families, and the nation at large.

 

 

5.     2016 FIRSTBORNS NIGHT:

This programme took place on Friday 4th November, 2016 at The Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi. The sermon topic for that night was, “The First Borns' Divine Possession”. The Bishop categorized the life of every firstborn into three stages:

a.     The First Stage: This is the beginning of their lives which is usually robust, secure, and enviable. At this stage, they do not struggle to get their position and possession because they are divinely given by God. He maintained that by divine agenda, every firstborn is a king, and they are divinely positioned for prosperity.

 

b.     The Second Stage: The activities of their lives at this stage determine how far they will go in their lives and fulfillment of their destinies. This according to the bishop is the most critical and most important stage of their lives in relation to their destinies. He warned that every first born should be very careful at this stage especially in their marriage decisions, and the things they put their hands into because without controversy their decisions and lifestyle affect their destinies, children, families, and generations either positively or negatively.

 

c.     The Third Stage:  This is the last lap of their lives. The way the end of every first born's life goes is concretely determined by what they did at the second stage of their lives. It takes special God's Grace for them to recover from the damages done as a result of their actions, activities and lifestyles at the second stage. When first borns end badly, they complicate issues for the people coming behind them. Finally, the Bishop made an altar call for those who might have made some mistakes in the way they live; and many surrendered their lives to Christ Jesus the Lord through genuine repentance. Others came up and renewed their firstborn covenant with the Almighty God. There was a massive turn out of firstborns form various states of the federation. The 2017 FIRST BORNS' NIGHT comes up on Friday 3rd November, 2017 at the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi at 10.00pm. God bless the first borns as they converge again this year.

6.     PRAYER BREAKFAST OF THANKSGIVING:

Our celebration of God's goodness at the end of the year during Prayer Breakfast is called “Prayer Breakfast of Thanksgiving”. The 2016 edition took place on December 1, 2016 at the usual venue, Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi. Enthusiastic worshippers thronged the Cathedral to express their gratitude and thanks to God for preserving, and blessing their lives, families, businesses, and careers from January to December. The bishop preached on “The Power of Thanksgiving”. He took his Bible Text from Psalm 103:1-5. He established that a thankful heart never forgets God's faithfulness, and mercy to him/her both presently and in the past. He further explained what happens whenever any child of God thanks and appreciates God. According to the Preacher;

a.     Thanksgiving assuages the anger of God over His children or any nation.

b.     Thanksgiving saves us from destruction and calamity.

c.      Thanksgiving brings and sustains prosperity.

d.     Thanksgiving provides us with ceaseless blessings.

e.     Thanksgiving gives open cheques of miracle from God to thanks giver.

 

He concluded by warning that not being thankful shuts one up from God's blessings and at the same time prolongs Curses.

 

The bishop pronounced Episcopal blessings on the people and congregation who joyfully, sacrificially and enthusiastically presented their thanks offering to God both in cash and materials. About eighteen cows were given by Churches, families and individuals apart from other great gift items. The event can simply be described as a Glorious time in the presence of the Almighty God. We implore you to be present in this year's Prayer Breakfast of Thanksgiving on 1st December, 2017 at the Cathedral at 6.00am.

 

 

7.     THE 2016 ADVENT ORDINATION:

The 8th Advent Ordination of Deacons, Priests, and Collation of one Canon of the Diocese took place on Sunday 4th December, 2016 at Immanuel Anglican Church, Ekwulumili.

 

Those ordinands who were made deacons are:

a.     Revd Chinedu    Chukwujekwu.

b.     Revd Ncheghariamaka          Iloabueke.

c.      Revd Christian    Obiesie.

d.       Rev'd. Gregory Obiejemba

 

The deacons that were ordained Priests are:

a.     Revd Francisco   Agbasionwe.

b.     Revd Daniel       Chetachukwu

c.      Revd Nelson      Mbabie

d.     Revd Nnamdi     Unozor

 

The Retreatant and Preacher was Ven. Chika Mbeyi. The topic of his ordination retreat and sermon was “The Purposeful Priestly Ministry”. He used the Biblical Ezra to challenge those in the ordained ministry to be purposeful, focused, and determined.

 

 

8.     2016 TRUMPET AND TRIUMPHANT NIGHT:

This great programme of Praise was held on Friday 16th December, 2016 at the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, field, Amichi from 9.00pm till dawn. It as usual attracted a massive crowd from many states across the nation. Notable Gospel singers like Bro. Israel Anyanele, and Sis. Joy Okam Lazarus were on hand to lead the people in sessions of praise. A group of three juvenile professional trumpeters also featured in the praise festival. They were very awesome. The theme of the programme was “The Power of Praise”. While expounding the theme, the bishop outlined eight (8) things that usually happen whenever we praise God heartily. They are:

 

a.     Praise makes God to set ambush against our enemies.

b.     God fights against, and defeats our enemies when we praise Him.

c.      Praise makes God to create confusion in the camp of the enemies.

d.     Praise moves God to utterly destroy our destroyers, attacks our attackers and oppress our oppressors.

e.     God comprehensively overcomes all our enemies because of praise.

f.      God prospers the praise singer abundantly and consistently.

g.     God creates joyful and rejoicing environments in our homes, and work place when we praise Him.

h.     Praise makes God to give us all-round rest from all our challenges and problems.

 

After the message, many souls were harvested for Christ Jesus into His Kingdom through Altar call. This was followed by hilarious and glorious praises to God, and pronouncement of God's Blessings on the people by the Bishop as they step into the Christmas week. We enjoin you to be part of this great praise night of Trumpet and Triumphant Night as this year's version takes place on Friday 15th December, 2017.

 

 

9.     WIDOWS CHRISTMAS PARTY:

The 2016 edition of the Diocesan Widows Christmas Party was held at the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi on Thursday 22nd December, 2016. About eight hundred (800) widows from various churches in the Diocese gathered for the annual joyful occasion. The bishop encouraged the widows to hold on to God despite the serious challenges that they might be having especially this period of Economic Recession. The widows were assured that God will never forsake them especially those who are widows indeed. He blessed them as usual, and distributed half bag of rice each to them. The President of Mothers' Union, Women's Guild and Girls' Guild of the Diocese, Dame Nkem Ikeakor with the assistance of the wives of the clergy served sumptuous lunch to all the widows in attendance. The widows sang and danced lavishly as they were going home with their goodies. May I use this medium to heartily thank and appreciate all our members who have been assisting the Diocese to make this laudable benevolence an annual ritual. Many thanks to all the clergy, churches, and the women organizations for being very supportive. God bless all of you beyond your imagination and expectations now and always in Jesus Christ Name.

 

 

10.   2017 PROPHETIC PRAYER BREAKFAST:

People from all walks of life and from different locations within and outside Anambra State have made it a tradition to attend the very first Prayer Breakfast of the year tagged “Prophetic Prayer Breakfast”. This year's edition on 1st January, 2017 was not different, and the worshippers were not disappointed either. The Bishop by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit gave the following prophetic messages and utterances:

a.     Christians and Churches should be very ready for more organized attacks from Muslims and the Islamic world.

 

b.     God has named 2017 as IMMANUEL YEAR. There will be disturbing occurrences but God said that He will be with His people.

 

c.      Christians should make 2017 as the year of Stubborn, Radical, and Functional Faith in God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

d.     God will jealously defend His Name among the heathens, and the Gentiles all over the world this year.

 

e.     The Almighty God said, “In 2017, I the Lord will recover my children's bread from the little dogs that have been eating them, and give them back to my trustworthy children.”

 

f.      Men will audaciously revive and promote idolatry and immorality, godlessness, and anti-goddism.

 

g.     God will openly and greatly honour all who will honour Him through their lifestyles, and sacrificial giving.

 

h.     It is a year I will begin to disgrace all my disgracers, from the Altar to the Pulpit, and to the pews says the Lord.

 

The bishop's sermon that morning was titled “Stubborn and Functional Faith”. He ardently encouraged God's people never to give up no matter what happens in the causes of the year. He took his Bible text from Mark 2:1-12. According to him, the friends of the paralytic had every reason to be discouraged, and even give up, but they developed a very stubborn and functional faith which fetched them the needed miracle which those who were comfortably seated directly in front of Jesus Christ could not get. As a result of their stubborn and functional faith, they did the unusual. They refused to give up against all odds. They were neither intimidated nor discouraged. The bishop motivated the people to develop this kind of faith this year. Things may seem too hard, and even hopeless this year, but at the end there will be great testimonies for those with stubborn and functional faith. He finally pronounced very buoyant Episcopal Blessing on the mammoth crowd, and gave the New Year Victorious Benediction.

 

 

11.   2017 CHURCH WORKERS AND WIVES SET APART:

The annual set apart for Church workers and their wives for 2017 took place at Christ Church, Amichi from Thursday 19th to Saturday 21st January, 2017. The programme commenced daily with Holy Communion Service. The guest Preacher this year was Ven. Prof. Pic. Charles Onwochei. He spoke and exegeted extensively the theme: “Behold, I am Coming Quickly”, which is the Diocesan Theme for this year. He spoke on three sub-themes thus:

 

i)      The certainty of His coming, and its implications on pastors, and Church workers.

ii)      Living as strangers and Pilgrims for His second Coming.

iii)     The Pastor and the Souls committed to his charge in relation to His second coming.

 

The set apart actually revitalized the spirituality of all the participants, and made very lasting positive impression on the Church workers and their wives. It is the experience and impact of that set apart through the ministry and teachings of Ven. Prof. Pic Onwochei that compelled us to bring him to this Synod as our main speaker and expositor. Our sincere prayer is for God to make the impact created in all the Church workers and their wives to remain indelible in Jesus Christ Name.

       

 

12.   RETREAT FOR ALL PCC MEMBERS, AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEES OF ALL ARMS AND ORGANISATIONS:

This Retreat took place at St. Stephen's Church, Osumenyi on Friday 27th January, 2017. The Retreat began with a Eucharistic Service. The guest Resource person was Ven. Prosper Amah who delivered two talks during the event. The first talk was on, “Behold, I am Coming Quickly”, and the second was, “Every Man's Work shall be Tested by Fire”. He stressed that God in His Graciousness does not want any of His children to be caught unawares concerning the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, hence, He always signals to His children before it becomes too late. He further called workers in the Church, both the ordained and lay to focus on doing the Will of God and pleasing Him in their lifestyles and Characters, and not just concentrating on signs and wonders.

 

 

13.   DIOCESAN COVENANT SUNDAY:

The 2017 Covenant Sunday took place on Sunday 29th January, 2017 at Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi. The theme for this year's Covenant Sunday was, “THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA”. While speaking on the theme, His Lordship, The Rt. Revd E.O. Ikeakor using Revelation 1:8, 11, 22:13 as his Bible texts explained that when God introduces Himself and says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega”, He is saying:

i.      I am everything you need in this life.

ii.      I am the sole controller and Ultimate Determinant of all things.

iii.     I am the extreme and final Power and Authority.

iv.     I am the only one that possesses the Power to do everything.

v.     I am unquestionable, Unstoppable and Irresistible.

vi.     I am the only true source of Knowledge, Wealth, and Wisdom.

vii.    I control Time, Season, and Eternity.

viii.   Everything in existence was created by me and they are all at my pleasure.

ix.     He is saying, with me there is no limitations and impossibilities.

x.      I am your only sure and reliable protector.

 

It was indeed a time for rekindled Faith and Hope in the lives of the participants. People came from within and outside the Diocese. After the sermon, people were inspired to renew their covenants with God. As usual, Churches, Families, and individuals gave their willful covenant sacrifice and commitment to the Almighty God who remains the Alpha and the Omega at all times. The bishop declared and pronounced Episcopal Blessings on God's people for all round Blessing throughout the year.

 

 

14.   2017 SPECIAL VALENTINE BANQUET:   

The special event for young people of fifteen to forty years old was held on Saturday 11th February, 2017 at the Cathedral field. This year's edition which was very colourful brought in attendance one thousand eight hundred and seventy-five youths from various places. The feeding pattern this year was buffet. Suya, snacks, Drinks and bottled water were served the young people. The topic of exhortation that day was, “You will Get There”. The Bishop maintained that every young person is created by God to succeed irrespective of family background, and other human limitations. He challenged the youths with the outline of young investors from across the globe who printed their feet on the sand of time and posterity through their discoveries and inventions. He reminded the youths that the greatest problems that African Youths have are; Mismanagement of time, Careless Living, Laziness, Wrong and bad friendship and Associations, and above all Godlessness, and Ungodliness. He concluded the exhortation with an Altar call, to which many youths responded positively and surrendered their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Kingdom Life Drama Team presented a very challenging drama piece on how the devil distracts and destroys the lives and destinies of the youths. It was indeed an unforgettable experience and encounter.

 

 

15.   SPECIAL COUPLES BANQUET:

This annual gathering of married men and women has been a source of healing and reinvigoration for many homes and marriages. The 2017 edition took place at the Cathedral field on Sunday 12th February, 2007. As early as 12.00noon, elegantly dressed couples from various places and states were already seated at the arena for the grand occasion. The theme of deliberation during 2017 special Couples Banquet was “The Price of a Healthy Marriage”. The Bishop anchored his teaching on Matthew 1:18-2:14. He said that everything in life, both virtues and vices have price tags on them. The Bishop said that the greatest challenge confronting marriages is that spouses expect healthy and enjoyable marriages without resolving to pay the price.

 

He highlighted though regrettably the unhealthy nature of churches, society, and nations as a product of unhealthy marriages and homes. He further emphasized that some prices each couple should pay to have a healthy marriage include:

a.     Unconditional and unedited obedience to God and the word of God.

 

b.     Unrestricted resolve of the spouses to respect, honour and dignify one another.

 

c.      Unconditional forgiveness, no matter the offense committed by the husband or wife.

 

d.     Bearing of inconveniences, discomfort, and risks ungrudgingly for your wife or husband.

 

As usual, souls were won for the Lord Jesus Christ. The Kingdom Life Drama team was also on hand to present a drama piece which made couples to weep before God, and renew their marriage Vows and commitment. The couples were treated to a Buffet. It was a refreshing outing for couples from all walks of life.

 

 

16.   BISHOP'S SPECIAL RETREAT WITH ALL THE PARENTS OF HOLY CHILD CONVENT, AND MASTER'S VESSEL SEMINARY STUDENTS:

The maiden edition of this Retreat was held on Saturday 18th February, 2017 at St. Stephen's Church, Osumenyi. Parents of these students from far and near gathered to learn what to do, and how to pray so as to make the destinies of their children and wards come to fruition. Ven. Chika Mbeyi presented a wonderful Seminar Paper on “Godly Parenting”. According to him, parenting is a full time job that must be taken seriously if parents hope to reap the full benefits of the gift of children. The bishop spoke extensively on the topic, “The Havoc and Harvest of Failed Parenting”. He said that the greatest disaster and challenge facing families, Churches, and the society at large is failed parenting. He maintained that parenting is a very critical and grave responsibility because it has to do with the Life, Destiny and Eternity of children. The bishop challenged the parents to realize that they are their children's Pastors, Coaches, Trainers and Disciplers. There was a very serious Session of Intercessory Prayers by all the Parents for their Children and wards led by Ven. P.C. Chukwuemeka. This Retreat has been made an annual event, and it is very compulsory for all the parents and guardians who have students in the two schools. We have tagged it, “Bishop-Parents Partnership Retreat [BPPR]”. Because of the importance attached to this Retreat by the bishop, any parents who fail to attend the retreat whenever it is scheduled has automatically secured expulsion of their child or ward from the school. The CD tapes of the teachings in the Retreat are available at “In Touch with God” stand. They are very helpful materials for parents.

 

 

18.   LENTEN MEDITATION:

The period of Lent is usually taken very serious in this Diocese. The 2017 Lenten Meditation took us round various Parishes in the Diocese in what we call Combined Lenten Meditations. It has been a season of refreshing and renewal for the people of God in the Diocese as we gathered to share fellowship and meditation on essence and importance of Christ's suffering and passion. 2017 Combined Lenten Meditation took place in these Churches this year:

i.      St. Andrew's Church, Unubi         -       8th March, 2017.

ii.      Immanuel Church, Ekwulumili      -       15th March, 2017.

iii.     St. Peter's Church, Osumenyi               -       22nd March, 2017.

iv.     St. Philip's Church, Amichi           -       29th March, 2017

v.     St. Simon's Church, Ezinifite         -       5th April, 2017.

We pray that the Blessings of such Godly Solemn Fellowship will remain indelible in the lives of God's people in Jesus Christ Name.

 

 

17.   2017 NIGHT OF EVIDENCE:

This Good Friday special programme took place on Friday 14th April, 2017 at the Cathedral field from 9.00pm till dawn. The theme was, “The Healing Cross”. [John 3:14-15]. It was another great gathering of Jubilant and expectant multitudes from various places to seek God's Mercies and Visitations. According to the bishop during his exposition on the theme, the fiery serpent was on the ground destroying the Israelites, but God asked Moses to raise a brazen fiery serpent and put it on a pole. That act provided the antidote to the people from the poisonous venom of the serpent. Sin, rebellion, and ingratitude brought the fiery serpent on the people. The same thing is replicated in our time and generation. In the same way, Jesus was lifted on the Cross for the healing of humanity. He said that there is no doubting the fact that many fiery serpents are biting man in our nation, and the world as a result of sin, rebellion against God and His word. The Cross of Jesus on Calvary provides solutions to all the problems of humanity. He challenged all and sundry to run to Christ Jesus for salvation, Deliverance, and Restoration. So many people gave their lives to Christ Jesus that night. It was really a night of bountiful Blessings, Restoration and rejoicing in God's Presence.

 

 

19.   WAILING WOMEN PRAYER SUMMIT:

The 2017 Wailing Women Prayer Summit took place from Thursday 11th to Sunday 14th May, 2017 with the theme, “The Power of a Praying Woman”. It took place at the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi. The programme is really growing in leaps and bounds as years roll by. This pure prayer event saw women both high and low in status from all walks of life converge for four days in coupious and agonizing prayer in the presence of God. The Guest Preacher for this year was Evang. Nnamdi Ezeh. Indeed God used this servant of His to motivate the women and ladies to pray meaningfully and correctly. Our own clergymen and some clergy wives who also moderated and ministered include: Ven. Chika Mbeyi, Ven. P.C. Chukwuemeka, Canon Franklin Chukwudozie, Revd ThankGod Agu, Revd Pascal Umeoduagu, Mrs Faith Agu and Mrs Rejoice Elochukwu.

 

The Bishop also ministered on Thursday evening and Sunday morning. God indeed visited His people. Souls were saved. Answers to prayers were received. Testimonies of great things God did in last year's edition were given by many women. We thank and appreciate all who in one way or the other made the Programme a huge success that it was.

 

 

 

PROJECTS:

 

20.   DEDICATION AND COMMISSIONING OF SURE ANCHOR WATER FACTORY:

To the Glory of God, our Diocese recorded another major milestone in her quest for self sustenance, and Economic empowerment. It was a joyful occasion which took place on 28th July 2016 which saw members of our Diocese gather at Akwuchukwu Village, Unubi for the dedication of the multi-million naira Sure Anchor Water Factory sponsored and powered by the Women Organisations of the Diocese. The host community, Unubi was well represented at the occasion by the President General of the town, and some members of Igwe's Cabinet. They expressed their gratitude to the Diocese, and the bishop of Amichi Diocese for citing the gigantic project in their Community. They promised to ensure the safety of the investment. The Factory has now gone into full blown production because NAFDAC have inspected the Factory premises, Machineries, and man power available there, and has issued us with NAFDAC Number both for the Bottled water and Sachet water. NAFDAC Number for the Bottled water is D1-1740, and that of Sachet water is D1-1658L. We thank God for the new manager who has brought a revolutionary turn around to the Venture. The problem now is meeting up with the market demand for our water. Thank God also for the visionary leadership of the President of Mothers' Union, Women's Guild, and Girls' Guild who was not afraid to venture into such a very capital Intensive business which has gulped not less than one Hundred, and twenty million naira from inception till now including a one storey building as staff quarters. May God's name be praised.

 

 

21.   DIOCESAN HOSPITAL/SCHOOL OF NURSING:

Our hospital is growing from strength to strength in all ramifications. Almost all the departments, wards and sections of the hospital have been fully equipped to established and modern standard. On the part of our proposed School of Nursing, the Diocese is gradually coming to the official commencement of our long awaited School of Nursing at the Diocesan Hospital, Amichi. From 13th – 16th March, 2017, the Diocese played host to a four man team of inspectors from the Nigerian Council of Nurses and Midwives from Abuja who were on advisory visit to asses our readiness for the commencement of Academic activities of the school come October this year. They inspected facilities such as the Administrative/Classroom blocks housing offices, Classroom, Computer terminal Demonstration Room, Science laboratory, students auditorium, Library etc. They also inspected the male and female Hostels and Refectory. They also carried out staff audit and inspected facilities available at the Diocesan Hospital. At the end of the exercise, they were more than satisfied with our level of preparedness. During that period, Sir Dr. Eddy Agbasimelo led a powerful team of experienced doctors and performed very many major surgeries in the hospital free of charge. Dr. Osita Ononihu was among the surgeons that came. They had not less than fourteen surgeries without collecting a dime from the Diocese, and the patients. In the same vein, the Anambra State House of Assembly has also passed the Enabling Law Establishing Mission School of Nursing and Midwifery, and the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Chief Dr. Willie Obiano has assented to it of which our School is among those approved. This enabling Law is one of the major requirements of the Nigeria Council of Nurses and Midwives.

 

So far, the Diocese has spent over Seven Hundred Million naira (N700m) in erecting structures and acquiring equipments for the school. The official report of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria is being awaited any moment from now. We have also gone ahead to provide and put in place almost all the things they pointed out that we should provide. The whole Hospital, the two Hostels, and the Administrative blocks have been fully painted. You will see these structures from the screen after this address, and also at the back of this Presidential Address. We urgently need a utility car for the Principal of the School. We need a 150KVA Power Generating Set to be able to carter for the Hospital and School Community. We are in dire need of a befitting Chapel in the Hospital premises for the worship and spiritual life of the School and Hospital. The cost given to us by road Construction Company for tarring the entire premises with asphalt is twenty-nine million naira only (N29m). In fact, a very conservative estimate of fifty million naira (N50m) is urgently needed to get the facility ready in expectation of the main Accreditation visit soonest. I am prayerfully and passionately appealing to all of our members especially those of you in this Synod to make themselves available to be used by God to make themselves available to be used by God to make this a reality.

 

 

22.   HOLY CHILD CONVENT, AMICHI:

This Convent has remained one of the major prides of our Diocese. Their results in both WAEC, and NECO exams last year were great sources of joy and encouragement. Almost all the students who graduated from the Convent last year secured admission in different Universities and Higher Institutions. Our greatest joy has been, and still is, that there is a zero tolerance of any form of examination malpractice. All our students will comfortably defend any result they come out with from that school anywhere and any day. By the special Grace of God, the persistent problem of having a befitting chapel, and administrative blocks is nearly coming to an end. In August 2016, we took the bull by the horn by embarking on the construction of a three storey edifice to house the above mentioned facilities. At this point of presenting this address, that building is eighty five per cent (85%) completed. No small thanks to the P.T.A. of the school who heeded our appeal, and accepted to pay for all the rods needed for the structure which costed them Ten million naira (N10m) only, though the total cost of the rods later rose to twelve million naira (N12m). At completion, the building will house the School Chapel [Ground floor], all the science laboratories, Computer terminal/laboratory, Modern Library, Principal's office, vice-principal's office, Accounts/Bursars' offices, Chaplain's office etc.

 

Just last month, the PTA again provided the sum of eleven million naira (N11m) for the purchase and procurement of a 100KVA Generator which can carry all the facilities in the school comfortably. The money will also take care of repairing the 50KVA generator that broke down. We want to appeal to all and sundry to help the Diocese to give these young girls befitting structure for worship. We intend to dedicate the Chapel and building in December this year. The total cost of the one hundred and fifteen pews needed in the Chapel is Seven million, nine Hundred and fifty thousand naira (N7.95m). You can take up as many pews as you can sponsor. The company constructing the pews has started work, which they promised to deliver by December. We are in need of one marble Lectern, One Marble Prayer/Reader's Desk, one marble Altar table, Altar/Chancel rail, and a complete set of musical equipment. You can do it. The recent Entrance examination into Seminaries, and Convents shows that the number of pupils who are seeking for admission into the Convent by September this year into JSS1 is three hundred and nine (309), whereas we only need one hundred and sixty (160) for JSS1. Series of trimming exams are ongoing. We thank the Principal of the Convent, and her team of both tutorial and non-tutorial. Our promise and commitment is to make this Convent not only the pride of the Anglican Church, but a centre for producing Godly and highly proficient academic young girls for this Nation and this Generation.

 

 

23.   MASTER'S VESSEL SEMINARY, OSUMENYI:

This is a Seminary with broad uniqueness and specialty. The first/pioneer set of students of the Seminary are taking their first WAEC and NECO examination. On 12th of April, 2017, the NECO examination body gave the School NECO Centre Number- 0040588 for their NECO exam having visited the school for formal accreditation earlier on for the exercise.

 

This was in addition to the WAEC approval the school had secured earlier. On April 1, 2017, the 2017/2018 Entrance Examination into the Seminary was conducted. A total of two hundred and ninety six (296) candidates passed for admission into JSS1, but the School only need one hundred and sixty (160). In the recent UTME/JAMB conducted, one of the students of the Seminary, Master Kenechukwu Oli scored Three hundred and eleven marks (311). To God be all the Glory. A student in SS2 was expelled from school for gross misconduct and behavior. The seminary is in need of a chapel for their worship and spirituality.

 

 

24.   SURE ANCHOR MICROFINANCE BANK:

This Bank is a proud creation of the Diocese since 2015. To the Glory of the Almighty God, despite the Economic Recession ravaging our country and economy, the Bank is making steady progress as evidenced by the level of patronage from different categories of customers. The Bank's loan portfolio has started growing as customers are beginning to take advantage of the lending opportunities provided by the Bank. The Bank has also attracted commendable volume of deposits in less than twenty months of operation. The Bank is trying its best to operate in line with the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), and the directives of our regulators, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC). Recently, the external auditors of the Bank have carried out their first statutory audit of the accounts and operations of the Bank and have submitted their audit report to the Central Bank of Nigeria. As soon as the Central Bank approves the audited annual report and accounts as submitted by the external auditors, an Annual General Meeting (AGM) of all the shareholders of the Bank will take place. We implore you to patronize the Bank because it is sure and safe.

 

25.   LAND ACQUISITION/FENCING WORK:

By the special Grace of God, within the year under review, the Diocese purchased and acquired about twenty-two (22) plots of land at Ojiezeka village, Amichi at the cost of twenty four million, five hundred and ten thousand naira only (N24.5m) survey cost, and traditional rites cost inclusive. The deed of Conveyance has been duly signed, sealed, and delivered by the parties involved, and full payment made by the Diocese.

 

Also two plots of land were given as free gift to the Diocese by Ezinifite Town Union. We want to specially appreciate the Igwe of Ezinifite, His Royal Highness, Igwe Anayo Obika, the Onowu, and President General for their magnanimity in donating such land to the Diocese. The Diocese succeeded in fencing her large expanse of land at Akwaihedi within this period which gulped some millions of naira.

 

 

26.   WELFARE/CHARITY/MISSION SUPPORT:

The Diocese has not taken lightly the issue of welfare of her members especially the Youths, widows, and the indigent. Currently, the Diocese is sponsoring fully the education of ten youths in Universities, and other institutions of higher learning. She has also paid large sums of money as hospital bills for some of her indigent members. This is in addition to the fourteen major surgeries carried out at our Diocesan Hospital which the Diocese took full responsibility of. This one year, we have spent about five million naira (N5m) in rendering Mission assistance to many Dioceses as part of our Great Commission Partnership Programme. This includes Dioceses in the Northern, and Eastern parts of the country.

 

27.   2016/2017 STATISTICS OF CONFIRMATION AND ADMISSIONS:


2016/2017 STATISTICS OF CONFIRMATION AND

ADMISSIONS

S/N

 

NAME OF CHURCHES

 

DATES

CONFIRMATION

GIRLS'

GUILD

WOMEN'S

GUILD

MOTHERS'

UNION

 

AMCF

 

OFFERING

MALE

FEMALE

1.

Immanuel Church, Akwaihedi

 

24/7/2016

 

8

 

16

 

11

 

2

 

7

 

3

 

7,415.00

2.

St. Peter's Church, Osumenyi

 

14/7/2016

 

12

 

10

 

5

 

3

 

1

 

4

 

10,145.00

3.

All Saints Church, Osumenyi

 

9/10/2016

 

6

 

4

 

2

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

6,965.00

4.

Ebenezer Church, Unubi

6/11/2016

13

17

7

3

3

-

7,890.00

5.

Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi.

 

20/11/2016

 

14

 

17

 

3

 

7

 

6

 

4

 

33,125.00

6.

St. Stephen's Church, Osumenyi

27/11/2016

 

12

 

14

 

3

 

16

 

2

 

5

 

62,940.00

7.

Holy Child Convent, Amichi

2/12/2016

-

68

55

-

-

-

27,265.00

8.

Masters Vessel Seminary, Osumenyi

 

7/12/2016

 

88

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

25,445.00

9.

St. Mary's Church, Ezinifite

14/12/2016

17

7

7

6

3

-

4,465.000

10.

St. James Church, Azigbo

26/2/2017

4

5

1

2

1

9

8,660.00

 

TOTAL                        =

 

174

158

94

39

23

25

185,655.00


In addition to confirmation and admissions carried out by the bishop, other Episcopal functions performed by the Bishop include:

 

1.     Baptism of Revd & Mrs ThankGod Agu's and Revd & Mrs Chukwunonso Chijindu's Children at Shalom Chapel -24/06/2016.

2.     Baptism of Revd & Mrs Pascal Umeoduagu's Child – 15/08/2016

3.     Baptism of Revd & Mrs Nnamdi Unozor's Child -     03/11/2016

4.     Baptism of Revd & Mrs Francisco Agbasionwe's Child – 26/04/2017

5.     Dedication of Dr. Obichi's Private family house – 30/12/2016

6.     Foundation Stone Laying of St. Andrew's Church, Unubi, new Church building – 16/10/2016.

7.     Foundation Stone Laying of St. Bartholomew's Church, Amichi New Church building – 05/10/2016

8.     Inauguration of Diocesan Youths' Church on Sunday 21st May, 2017.

 

28.   EXTENSION OF ENDOWMENT FUND DURATION:

By the original proposal, the Diocesan Endowment Fund contribution was meant to last for three years, 2014-2016. At the expiration of the date, we discovered that the fund was a far cry from what we anticipated. The bishop with the approval of the Diocesan Board therefore saw the unarguable need to extend the duration of the contribution to 2019 when our Diocese will celebrate her tenth year anniversary.

We appeal to all our members to gladly make this sacrifice and see that something substantial is realized. The Diocese as a matter of fact and necessity needs a befitting secretariat with which to celebrate her 10th year anniversary. The fencing of the Secretariat premises has been completed. Architectural drawing for the Secretariat is ready. Work is expected to commence on the multi-million naira project immediately in preparation for our Tenth anniversary celebration.

 

28.   OUR JOYS/SORROWS:

Within the Synod year, we really had some events that calls for joy and celebration. Praise to God from whom all Blessings flow. These servants of God were blessed with new born babies:

1.     Revd & Mrs Patrick Onwuzuruike          -       Baby Girl

2.     Revd & Mrs Nnamdi Unozor                 -       Baby Boy

3.     Revd & Mrs Godson Ugochukwu          -       Baby Girl

4.     Revd & Mrs Paulinus Ndukwu              -       Baby Boy

5.     Revd & Mrs Francisco Agbasionwe                -       Baby Girl

6.     Mr & Mrs Peter Ezejiaku                      -       Baby Girl

7.     Mr. & Mrs Ekene Ilobi                         -       Baby Boy

8.     Mr & Mrs Chiemeka Okpara                 -       Baby Boy

9.     Barr. & Mrs Arinze Umeakuana             -       Baby Girl

10.    Mr. & Mrs Chukwuemeka Akunazobi     -       Baby Girl

11.    Mr & Mrs Okechukwu Okeke                        -       Baby Girl

12.    Mr & Mrs Tochukwu Ezenduka             -       Baby Boy

 

The following Church workers Wedded:

a.     Mr & Mrs Ifeanyi Obiefula.

b.     Barr. & Mrs Arinze Umeakuana

c.      Engr. & Mrs Chidiebere Nwagbo

 

We also rejoice with:

Ven. Oliver Chigbo who received a National Award as Member Federal Security (MFS) at Abuja on 23rd March, 2017 for effective Community Policing.

a.     Sir Dr. A.B. & Lady Atuchukwu – Daughter's wedding.

b.     Sir & Lady Levi Chidolue    - Daughter's Wedding

c.      Sir & Lady Ernest Eriobu – Son's Traditional Marriage.

d.     Ven. Dr. & Matron Johnson Maduka – Son's Traditional Marriage.

 

We heartily commiserate with all our members who lost their loved ones through death. The reason we don't usually mention names here is to avoid omission which may not go down well with those whose cases are omitted. May God console and comfort all of you through His Holy Spirit in Jesus Christ Name.

 

But special mention must be made of the death of our Lay Synod Secretary, and a member of this Synod Sir Ephraim. M.C. Okeke. May the Soul of the Faithful who departed rest in the bosom of the Lord. His burial has been fixed for 18th August, 2017.

 

 

29.   CRITICAL ISSUE OF CONCERN IN THE DIOCESE:

The Anglican Church is a solemnly and Divinely inspired Church denomination with well laid out Constitution, Liturgy, Principles and procedures of worship and administration. This Church is Episcopally led, and Synodically governed. A situation where a lay member of our Diocese will rise up overnight and decide to unilaterally and rebelliously change our established orthodoxy and decent way of administering our Church will never be tolerated in the Diocese. A new rebellion where a group of men have decided that the Mother's Union, and Women's Guild of the Church will no longer be allowed to accord their deceased member their funeral rites the next morning after the burial service is not only a strange development, but also a gross confrontation to the constituted Church authority, and rebellion against God. May I direct the man that locked the Archdeacon's wife, and members of Mothers' Union, and Women's Guild out in his compound during the burial of his late wife at Unubi to write full letter of apology to the Diocese between today and end of August this year. If one feels that the system of worship or the liturgy of the Church where you worship is not suitable and acceptable to you any longer, the most honourable and Christian approach to adopt is to sever your membership and join another denomination. As long as we remain the Bishop of this Diocese by Divine permission and Grace of God, no individual member or group of members shall be allowed to institute any form of rebellion in this Diocese.

 

Furthermore, may I hereby direct all the Clergymen, and other Church workers in this Diocese not to allow any family of our member who hired pastors from other denominations to officiate at the burial of their family member who were not up-to-date in membership of our church to come for outing service. Membership to any Church denomination is not by compulsion or coercion. This is the time for decisive and committed membership in this Diocese. It is either you are in fully or you are out completely. Let me humbly appeal passionately to our Fathers in God, and the bishops of our Church to advise their Clergymen properly on the issue of attending and officiating in services in another Diocese where the host Diocese or Church is not involved. This is why we are Anglican Communion, and our collegiality should not be rubbished at all.

THE NIGERIAN NATION

 

We will continue to give the Almighty and Gracious God thanks and Praise for all His Mercy, Blessing and Benevolence to us a nation. Despite the terrible and excruciating effects of Economic Recession, He is still sustaining the citizens of the country. While we are praying for our dear President, Muhammadu Buhari for quick recovery from ill health, I want to remind the President that life has no duplicate. There is no doubting the fact that the enormity of governance will surely be aggravating his state of fragile health condition. Is it not better for the president to travel the route of honour and safety by resigning as President in order to save both himself, and the nation at large. To my mind, you have had your fair share of leadership in the country since 1983. At Seventy three (73), the President can function more efficiently as an elder statesman. After all, Emmanuel Macron who was only six years old when you were military head of State in 1983 is now the President of France.

 

On the security in our nation, let me also join others to commend the president on the release of another batch of abducted chibok girls. The notable progress though fluctuating at times in the war against the Islamic insurgent known as Boko Haram should also be appreciated and commended. But aside that, the greatest security question beckoning for answers in this country include:

 

³     Who are the perpetrators of the mindless killings of Christians in Southern

        Kaduna?

 

³     How many of them have been arrested, prosecuted and sentenced accordingly?

 

³     Did the security agencies play their expected and established constitutional role in handling the situation?

 

³     Why is it almost impossible for the federal Government to curb the activities of, and tame the voracious “Almighty Fulani Herdsmen?

 

³     Who are the suppliers of the AK47 guns, and pump action revolvers being carried by the Herdsmen?

 

³     When was arms carrying legalized for this “baptized” Boko Haram group?

 

I urge all the governors from the South East, and all traditional rulers in the region to rise to the challenge of senseless destruction of farm lands, and killing of people by the Fulani Herdsmen without further delay.

 

 

 

 

ANAMBRA STATE:

 

We commend our state governor, His Excellency, Chief Dr. Willie M. Obiano for various awards he has garnered recently from various groups and bodies. Let me appreciate him for maintaining the regular and timely payment of salaries of workers in the State despite the Economic down turn. The level of security in the state needs to be applauded. May I at this time remind and encourage the State government to pursue aggressively and pragmatically her four pillars of Development which according to her include:

1.     Aggressive Mechanised Agriculture.

2.     Oil and Gas.

3.     Trade and Commerce

4.     Industrialization.

 

The major problem of our country has never been lack of wonderful policies and ideas, rather it has been and still remains implementation and pragmatic domestication of the policies. The dogged determination of the governor and the State Government in rice production is very wonderful.

 

Anambra State is in her election year this year. We appeal to all Anambrarians to make sure that they do their voter registration, and get your voters card. It is a known fact that your vote is your power. The era of political apathy or sitting on the fence in electoral matters is over. We implore the candidates and political parties to avoid the politics of do or die. Everybody will not be governor at the same time. Church leaders should demonstrate in all ramifications that they are the custodians of truth, honesty, and integrity. Let us not sacrifice good governance on the altar of selfish material gains, or denominational marshallism.

 

We pray that come November 2017, the election will be contested fairly with the spirit of sportsmanship among the contestants. Money politics, and thuggery should be jettisoned.

THE THEME OF THE SYNOD:

 

By the special Grace of God, we considered as our Synod Theme last year, “DARE TO BE A DANIEL” [Daniel 1:8; 6:4-5]. The Almighty God through the resource persons that treated the theme challenged us in various aspects of Daniel's life and activities which included: His Life of Integrity; His Life of Excellence in Performance; His Life of purity and absolute devotion to righteousness and Godliness; His habitual and efficient prayer Life; His impeccable character among the heathens in their heathen land; His readiness to suffer not only deprivation, but also even death for his Faith and Conviction, His promotion and prosperity as a result of his faithfulness to his God, and the Kings of Babylon he served.

 

This year, the theme of this Third Session of the Third Synod is:

“CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH, AND MAINTAINING BIBLE STANDARD IN A PERVERSE AND ANTI-CHRISTIAN GENERATION”.

 

The discussion of and exposition on the theme is anchored on Jude 1-4 thus:

                “Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother

of James, To those who are called, sanctified by

God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:

                Mercy, Peace and Love be multiplied to you.

                Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to

you concerning our common salvation, I found

it necessary to write to you exhorting you to

contend earnestly for the Faith which was once for

 all delivered to the Saints. For certain men have crept

 in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this

condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the Grace of

our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and

our Lord Jesus Christ”.

 

 

BACKGROUND OF THE EPISTLE OF JUDE:

Jude simply identifies himself in the epistle as a servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James. The determination of his identity rests principally upon the process of elimination. The half brothers of Jesus are mentioned in Matthew 13:55, and Mark 6:3. Jude, who was not as widely known as James, does not use an apostolic title. The assignment of date and location for the epistle is difficult, if not impossible. Jude actually struggled early on with Jesus' ministry, but after the Lord's resurrection he became a radical spokesman for the Kingdom of God.

 

He wrote this epistle to correct error in the early Church. There is no obscurity in Jude's purpose of writing the epistle. He had wanted to discuss facets of Salvation, but the threat of subversive teachers and preachers compelled him to write and exhort his readers “To contend earnestly for the Faith” V3. An early form of Gnosticism had begun to trouble God's people, and many unstable believers had drifted from their original faith in Jesus Christ. Jude confronts the issue head-on and uses no fewer than three powerful illustrations to remind the people that God cannot put up with those who depart from their original mission, Faith, and Doctrine; and adopt some alien and contradicting lifestyle and belief system.

 

In his epistle, Jude teaches Church leaders how to confront those who meander from the truth and vision. He is direct, yet rational. He is convictional, yet compassionate. He reminds his readers of past incidents and the outcome of such drifting. Thus, the entire epistle is an assessment of false teachers and a strong warning to the recipients of this epistle. Having critically looked at the background of our anchor Bible Text, let us turn our attention now to the very component words and phrases that constitute our theme.

 

A.     CONTEND FOR THE FAITH:

To contend means:

(i)     To strive for something.

(ii)    To struggle in defense or in opposition.

(iii)    To dispute or debate against or for.

(iv)   It also means to contest, challenge, fight, combat or vie. To further understand the meaning of the word ‘contend', the Greek word, “agonizomai” illuminates it more, which means to conflict or struggle, which is the root of the English term “agonize”. Therefore, to contend for the Faith is to struggle eagerly like engaged in an intense contest or warfare. According to Thayer's Greek Lexicon, it means to struggle with difficulties and dangers antagonistic to the Gospel. [Col. 1:29; and 1Tim. 4:10].

 

The Faith in question here is the Faith of our Salvation, Justification, Redemption, Resurrection and the second coming of Jesus Christ. This faith is what we summarize when we proclaim the mystery of our Faith during the Eucharistic service thus; Christ has died; Christ is risen; and Christ will come again. This faith is sacrosanct as it is wholly established on the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed on the believer at his/her repentance through the Grace of the same Jesus Christ. Therefore, contending for the Faith entails resisting ardently and consistently any teaching or doctrine that undermines totally, or contaminates in any guise the sanctity and sacredness of this Faith, anywhere, and anytime.   

 

 

B.     MAINTAINING BIBLE STANDARD:

This is another critical aspect of our theme under consideration. Let me remind us here again that throughout the whole book of the Holy Bible, God has revealed Himself as God of order, Principles, precepts, and statutes. Anyone who had ever worked for God, and walked with God had followed strictly and distinctly laid down procedures by God. When God instructed Noah to build an ark in Genesis 6, he gave him a blueprint he must follow. That is standard. When God called Abram in Genesis chapter 12:1, God gave him the standard of the movement. To the Israelites, God gave them the standard of life and living that they must maintain if they would remain His Covenant People. In Joshua chapter 1:8, God said to Joshua, “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 way prosperous, and then you will have good success. This is the standard that must be maintained by Joshua, and all God's people who desire God's Blessings. In the New Testament, precisely Matthew 7: 13-14, Jesus gave us the standard we must maintain if we must enter into the Kingdom of God, and Heaven when He explicitly said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

 

A standard is an established or accepted model. People of God, Christianity has an established model of life irrespective of Race, Status, Era or Age. A standard is a criterion. It is also a definite level of excellence or adequacy required or aimed at. The Magna Carta of the Christian Faith is the Holy Bible. Any doctrine, teaching or liturgy that cannot be established and substantiated therewith should be unrepentantly rejected no matter who propagates it. This is why the Apostle Paul by the unction of the Holy Spirit said in Galatians 1:6-9, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the Grace of Christ, to a different Gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the Gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an Angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other Gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed”. No matter the level of intellectualism, scientific and technological development, and advancement, the Bible Standard must be maintained by the Church and Christians in anything we do. The Holy Scripture says, follow peace with all men, and Holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. There is no shortcut in serving the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Bible remains the only plumb line for Christian doctrine, and lifestyle.

 

 

C.     PERVERSE AND ANTI-CHRISTIAN GENERATION:

Ours is a generation that is unarguably known as perverse in all ramifications, and shades of opinions. No doubt this is becoming the most difficult time to practice genuine Christianity that is acceptable to God, and by God. The simple meanings of the word perverse sends very disturbing signals to the spine of any God-fearing, and Heaven conscious Christian. Let us look at some dictionary meanings of the word, “Perverse”. It means:

 

=>   To be turned aside from what is right, or what is truth. Is our generation not gorgeously celebrating vices, and disdaining virtues now? What do you say when nakedness and nudity have become fashionable, and provocative beauty pageants highly rewarded, while decent and proper dress code are tagged naive, obsolete, and uncivilized attire?

 

=>   It also means to be obstinately determined when in the wrong.

 

=>   It means also to be capricious and unreasonable in opposition.

 

=>   To be perverse is to be wrong-headed and stubborn.

=>   It is to be wayward.

 

=>   It means to be deliberately wicked.

 

Dear people of God, this is environment we find ourselves, and we are inexcusably required to not only contend for the faith, but also to maintain Bible standard. It is this perversion that the Holy Bible encapsulates in 2Timothy 3:1-5 thus:

                “But know this, that in the last days perilous times

will come. For men will be lovers of themselves,

lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers,

disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving,

unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal,

despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers

of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of

Godliness but denying its power. And from such people

turn away”.

 

In the midst of this spiritual and moral quagmire, we are enjoined in verse 14 of the same chapter, “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them”. The anti-Christian era is here with us. Yes, and all who desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. Furthermore, Jesus reminds us of the anti-Christian generation in John 16:1-2 “These things I have spoken to you that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he is offering service to God”.

 

The Holy Bible remains God's ever green infallible Word of Life. The much orchestrated Islamic Fundamentalism, Radicalism, and Terrorism are enough signals to the true Christian that we have a Faith to contend for, and defend. All over the world now, there is gross sponsorship and promotion of unprecedented Anti-Christianity, and Anti-Semitism. The time to take a stand is now. Joshua boldly challenged his generation to choose for themselves this day whom they would serve. Elijah also challenged his own generation by asking and prompting them, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him”. The perversiveness of this generation demands decisive resolution anchored on a very clear understanding of one's Christian Faith, its meaning, and its demands.

 

Howbeit, we need to discuss six broad areas that the twenty first century Christians need to contend for the faith, and maintain Bible standard in this perverse and anti-Christian generation.

 

 

1].    CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH IN THE MIDST OF EXTREME LIBERALISM, POST-MODERNISM, AND SECULARISM:

The doctrine of Christian liberty has been terribly misinterpreted, misapplied, and misguided. The Holy Bible said in Galatians 5:13, “For you, brethren have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh but through love serve one another”. Christian liberty is liberty from sin, and liberty from using the works of the law to secure our salvation. It is not liberty to indulge our flesh, and our carnal cravings. In liberal Christian teaching, which is not Christian at all in the first place, man's reason is stressed and is treated as the final authority. Liberal theologians seek to reconcile Christianity with secular science and modern thinking. In doing so, they treat science as all-knowing, and the Bible as fable-laden and false. Some of the basic and major teachings of the liberal theologians and preachers include:

 

i)      The Bible is not God-breathed and has errors.

ii)      The virgin birth of Christ is a mythological false teaching.

iii)     Jesus did not rise again from the grave in bodily form.

iv)     Hell is not real. Here they maintain that man can help himself and so no sacrificial death by Christ is necessary since a loving God would not send people to such a place as hell.

 

These are very dangerous teachings confronting the individual Christian, and the church at such a time like this.

 

Likewise, postmodernism is a philosophy that says that absolute truth does not exist in anything. Post-modernism has led to relativism which teaches the idea that all truth is relative. This means that what is right for a group of Christians somewhere is not necessarily right or true for another group in another place or denomination. Is this not the main dangerous point the Church in this generation has found herself? Post-modernism's rejection of absolute truth has caused many people even in the Church to reject the Bible as the truth of God to guide our lives. But in the presence of these demonic confusions, the Almighty God declares in Psalm 119:89, “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in Heaven”. The modern pastors and teachers have upheld the view of post-modernism that the Bible is just an opinion, and not a standard for living. Brethren, it is a very challenging period for the church, and Christians. Secularism on its part is the ideology and belief that religion should not play any role in government, Education, or other public parts of the society. This is why God is being rejected and “driven away” in government, and Educational Institutions. How then can we make progress when we reject Him who said,” for without me, you can do nothing”? (John15:7). Unless this generation of Christians, and church leaders go back to the word of God in teaching and practice, definitely the hopelessness in all of our living has no end. Today liberal preachers encourage their followers to do anything with their bodies because according to them, God is not interested in their bodies.

 

 

2]     CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH AMIDST GROSS ISLAMIC INCURSION, FUNDAMENTALISM, AND AGGRESSION:

Islam no doubt has been though as usual the great thorn in the flesh of Christians and Christianity all over the world. The rate with which Islamic fundamentalism, and aggression are growing should give danger signal to the Church and Christians. Of greater concern now is the rate at which youths all over the world, including Nigeria fancy and cherish terrorism orchestrated by Islamism. The quantum of money being expended on Islamization agenda is a great challenge and threat to the 21st Century Christians and Church. Islam grows and thrives on threat, intimidation, annihilation, destruction of lives, and domination.  It is a religion of intolerance. It is a religion of antagonism as presented by God in the Holy Bible thus, “The Angel of the Lord said to her, “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude. And the Angel of the Lord said to Hagar: Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has heard your affliction. He shall be a wild man; His hand shall be against everyman, and every man's hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren”. [Genesis 16:10-12]. This is the origin and foundation of Islam. So for anyone to describe Islam as a religion of Peace is a hoarse, and that shows that the person is bereft of the truth. The nagging question should then be; In the face of this great monster of Islamic terrorism, and fundamentalism, what should be the Christian's attitude in contending for the Faith? We can get our answer by taking a clue from what Daniel did when he faced death and terrorism. “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” (Daniel 6:10).

 

This is the time that Christians should stand up in meaningful prayer. This is the time for the church, and individual Christians to make prayer a custom in their lives. People of God, prayer works. Prayer prevails where other plans reclined. Furthermore, we should revive the Church's Mission Mandate, Person to person Evangelism, Meaningful Gospel outreaches and return back to organized Bible Teaching. Many people in the Church today don't even understand the basic meaning of being a Christian. The time to revisit Apostle Philip's question to the Ethiopian Eunuch in our Churches is now - , “So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said to him, “Do you understand what you are reading?” and he said, “How can I, unless someone guides or teaches me?” (Acts 8:30-31). Contending for this faith at such as a time as this among Islamic attacks also requires very huge financial sacrificial commitment. Christians should make up their minds to support and finance mission both within and outside. This error of building sky scrapers, buying private jets, and even buying properties abroad by preachers and church leaders need to be put on hold.

 

If people can spend fortunes sponsoring Boko Haram, ISIS, Alshabab, Al Queda, Moslem brotherhood, why can't Christians release their money for missions? Welfare Evangelism should be vigorously pursued by the Christians and Church. Let Churches reduce the funds she spends in erecting and competing for palatial church buildings. The Christian Youths are not only in dire need of financial aid, but are also in dilemma concerning their future. Helping hands should be extended to these cardinal members of the Church by sponsoring their education, securing admission and jobs for them. The time to act is now. Biblical Discipleship teachings should be developed and pursued in all Churches. Sacrificial Christianity should be taught to our members.

 

 

 

3]     CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH IN THE FACE OF REVIVED PAGANISM, AND NEO-PAGANISM:

Paganism is a term that derives from Greek word “Paganus” which originally meant, rustic, rural, and  later came to mean ‘non participant'. The Latin term paganismus was first used in the 4th century by early Christian community in reference to populations of the Roman world who worshipped many deities, either because they were increasingly rural and provincial relative to the Christian population or else because there were not milites Christi [soldiers of Christ]. Today pagans are neither outside the church, nor non-participants in the church affairs. Pagans are right with us inside the church, and even in the Altar. Neo-paganism is simply the marrying together of Christian beliefs and ancient pagan and magical practices. Jude in his epistle verse 4 warned that, “for certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lords Jesus Christ. “Today we have ungodly and unholy men and women in the Holy Sanctuary offering strange fire and incense to God. This has brought great spiritual devastation to the body of Christ. God said to Aaron, “Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean” (Leviticus 10:9-10). The doctrine of holiness is fast becoming obsolete among the 21st Century Christians. Modern paganism and idolatry of replacing the Almighty God, and simple Faith in Christ Jesus with objects like holy water, holy oil, Miracle handkerchief, holy sand, holy salt, back to sender handkerchief, holy mustard seed has since become an accepted and celebrated Christian practice.

 

What do we say about the use of satanic strange powers and occultic and magical powers to perform great signs and wonders by many so called men and women of God? This is a very serious challenge to sincere and genuine believers and Christians in our generation.

 

The Christian race has never been easy and casual as some preachers present it   nowadays. The word of God enjoins the true child of God thus in Exodus 23:2, “You shall not follow a crowd to do evil …”. This is the time for every true Christian to stand out from the multitude. God is not looking for aimless crowd. Rather He is looking for Disciples. Also in Romans 12:2 we read, “And do not be conformed to this world,  but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”. What this generation of political and traditional leaders are calling cultural revival, is in its strict sense revival of idolatry and paganism. The christening of many heathenic and paganistic practices by the present day church is not only depictable, but very abominable before God. Ezekiel 8: 6-16 is the true picture of the challenge before us in this generation. Verse 9-11 is of very serious significance, “And He said to me, “Go in, and see the wicked abominations which they are doing there”. So I went in and saw, and there, every sort of creeping thing, abominable beasts and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed all around on walls. And there stood before them seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel, and in their midst stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan. Each man had a censer in his hand and a thick cloud of incense went up. Then He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the room of his idols? For they say, “The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land”.

 

What idol are you habouring and hiding in the secret? The Power of God is withdrawn from the Church, and God's children because of neo-paganism. Let us contend for the Faith by sanitizing the Church of God with sound doctrine and practical Christian Character. This is never an easy venture, but the Grace of God is always available to His willing and obedient children to shine as light in the darkest part of their environment.

 

 

4]     CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH IN THE PRESENCE OF UTILITY GOSPEL PREACHING, MAMMONISM, AND UNBIBLICAL PROSPERITY PREACHING:

The level of havoc the church and Christian faith has suffered as a result of the activities of unbiblical prosperity preachers can only be described as monumental and unprecedented. Mammonism is the worship of money and material possession of this life. We live in an era where Christians are meant to believe and accept that Godliness is synonymous with materialism. A preacher was recently heard teaching a mammoth crowd of Youths that, “God's anointing upon any man without commensurate money to show for it is annoyance”. This engendered very hilarious applause from the youths who not only hailed the heretic, but trooped in great numbers to drop according to them the seed of connecting to such prophetic pronouncement. The word of God enjoins us in 1Thessalonians 5:21, “Test all things; hold fast what is good”. Paul also besought Timothy to Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. The reason for such Godly admonition is simple – for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables. He further charges him and by extension all of us to be watchful in all things, and to do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill our ministry of soul winning and preparing the saints for the second coming of Christ Jesus. There is hardly any Church programme that ends these days without fund raising popularly called seed-sowing. This is a great distraction and deformation of the Church. God sent us to raise disciples, and not to make every Church member a millionaire. Because of this monster of Mammonism, and utility Gospel preaching, the 21st Century Church has transformed from being a Gospel preaching Church to Award giving Church in order to raise huge amounts of money. Many Church Pastors, and leaders have collected gifts from Naaman like Gehazi and as a result have contacted Leprosy without knowing it. We can stop at nothing now in running after occultic men, and ungodly politicians in our bid to get money from them thereby selling out the integrity and dignity of the Church for which the Lord Jesus shade His blood. The bottom line still remains that Godliness with contentment is great gain.

 

 

5]     CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH IN A GENERATION OF SUPERLATIVE OCCULTISM AND SATANISM:

Satanism is a group of ideological and philosophical beliefs based on the character of Satan. Occultism on the other hand is the study and practice of occult activities which include magic, alchemy, extra-sensory perception, astrology, spiritualism, and divination. These are the forces referred to when the Scripture says in Ephesians 6:12 that, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”. This is a generation which satanic powers and manipulations are confronting and brazenly attacking the Church, and Christians. They are providing shortcuts to solving people's problems, and meeting their needs. The interest and allegiance of Christians are being captured on daily basis. The Holy Bible encourages us to take up the whole armour of God so that we can withstand the devil and his cohorts in the evil day. God told the Israelites, “when you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through fire [an ancient occult practice], or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are abominations [detestable] to the LORD. (Deuteronomy 18:9-12). Have we not found Church members who are proudly involved in all these? The only way to contend for the Faith in such a development is to strictly adhere to what God told us in Ephesians 6:12-18. Those practices are anti-God, anti-Christian and are in rebellion against Him. Many citizens of ancient Ephesus practiced the magic arts. Those who later became Christians realized the foolish error of their former lives and therefore burned their expensive books of magic as the trash they were. (Acts 19:19). The present day Christians need to look inwards to know if there are such occultic and satanic books and articles in their possession so that they act accordingly. Occultism is eating very deep into the fabric of the Church. Palm readers, Diviners, and Spiritists are all over the place masquerading as pastors and Men of God. Beware. Let the Holy Spirit guide you.

 

6]     CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH IN A MORALLY BANKRUPT AND DEPRAVED GENERATION:

This is a generation where vices are celebrated, robustly rewarded, and flambouyantly promoted, but Virtues are abhorred, disdained, and discouraged. This is a time that nudity, and provocative dress-code are deemed very fashionable even inside the Church. Sexual perversion of various degrees and shapes have taken over our society. Tell me why a responsible government will ever allow such embarrassing show of shame and depravity called Big Brother Africa, or Big Brother Nigeria. We are indeed in the very heart of perilous times. Any advertisement in television or billboard which does not display naked or half-naked girls nowadays cannot capture attention and patronage. What is the economic, technological or educational value of Big Brother Nigeria that made the sponsors to reward that winner with a whooping sum of one hundred thousand dollars, and a brand new sports utility vehicle? In government functions, our youths are made to dance almost naked before our leaders, and they are highly admired. The rate of sexual immorality in primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions should make the church to stand on her toes especially among the youths. The society is morally sick globally. Recently, there was a penis festival celebration in Japan. Different sizes of artificial penis were produced and distributed nationwide. On that occasion, as long as it lasted girls, ladies and women offered free sex without restriction. So many Nigerians were calling for the introduction of the festival in Nigeria in the social media.

 

What of the rampant cases of bestiality, and incest that are pervading the society now? Marriage infidelity and unfaithfulness are almost becoming a norm in our generation. What do we do in the face of the emergence of baby factories where teenage girls are encouraged to get pregnant, at times by even their parents for the purpose of selling the babies when they are born in order to make money? Little wonder the Holy Bible says, “And because sin, iniquity, and lawlessness will increase, the love of many Christians will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). The state of things in our generation morally is aptly captured in Romans 1:28-30, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness, they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things.

 

This is therefore a very big challenge to the Christian, and church who are inundated by these occurrences on daily basis. It is now time for the Christian in order to contend for the faith to look up to Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our Faith.

 

CONCLUSION:

The die is cast. The battle line has been drawn. The contention is getting tougher and fiercer. God is keenly watching us. It is time to guard our spiritual loins. For any true child of God to successfully and triumphantly contend for the faith, and maintain Bible standard in our generation, we must be ready to step on toes of seducers, liberal preachers, compromisers, syncretic worshippers, and those who want us to please men rather than God. We must enter through the narrow gate. We must be ready to be despised, ridiculed and hated by the world. If any Christian, irrespective of position and status will effectively contend for the Faith in this generation of perversion, the words and admonition of Apostle Paul in 1Corinthians 9:24-27 must be his/her watchword and daily guiding principle.

               

“Do you not know that those who run in a race

                 all run, but one receives the Prize? Run in such

                a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who

compete for the prize is temperate in all things.

Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but

we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus:

not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who

beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it

under subjection, lest, when I have preached to

others, I myself should become disqualified or a

cast away”.

 

Let us rise as we sing from the Hymns Ancient and Modern 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 shalt see

                        That Christ is all in all to thee.      Amen.

                               

Thank you all immensely for being very patient, and listening attentively.

 

Your Friend and Bishop,

 

+Ephraim Amichi

  10th June, 2017.


APPENDIX I

 

THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA

(ANGLICAN COMMUNION)

 

THE MOST REVD NICHOLAS D. OKOH

Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate Of All Nigeria

 

COMMUNIQUÉ FROM THE STANDING COMMITTEE MEETING OF THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA (ANGLICAN COMMUNION) HELD FROM MONDAY, 20TH TO FRIDAY, 24TH FEBRUARY, 2017, AT THE OLUSEGUN OBASANJO PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY COMPLEX, ABEOKUTA, OGUN STATE.

 

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 and Girls' Organisations in attendance, met at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Complex Abeokuta, Ogun State, from 20th-24th February, 2017. One Hundred and Fifty-seven Bishops, One Hundred forty-one clergymen and Eighty-four members of the House of Laity were present. At the opening ceremony, the Standing Committee welcomed His Excellency, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, The Executive Governor of Ogun State of Nigeria, the former Head of Interim Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, as well as the immediate past primate, the Most Revd Peter J. Akinola and Kabiyesi, Oba Michael Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo,. The Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland who delivered goodwill messages. The opening session was also graced with the presence of the mother of the Acting President of the Federation Republic of Nigeria, Mrs Olabisi Osinbajo.

 

THE THEME OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE

The theme of the Standing Committee meeting was “I AM WHO I AM”? (Exodus 3:14).

At the end, the following Communiqué was issued:

 

At a time like this in the history of our country when we seem to be hopeless, crying for who will deliver us from the bondage of economic recession, insecurity in the nation, deterioration of our social amenities, inadequate medical system, substandard educational system, and political tension, the Standing Committee reminds all:

-       That God unconditional faithfulness is perfect assurance that we have a future which no one or system, and not even the raging sin within, and troubles without can destroy.

 

-       That we surely need the intervention of God to deliver and help us. To that extent we need to cry out to God at all times in repentance for God cannot answer us in sin.

 

-       That we all must bear in mind that Yahweh is constantly with his people, in all circumstances and will ensure that the believer is safe both physically and spiritually.

 

GOODWILL TO THE PRESIDENT

While praying for the quick recovery of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari and his safe return to the country soonest, the Standing Committee urges Nigerians to imbibe positive disposition towards our national leaders especially in times of health challenges as they also human.

 

FEEDING OF PUPILS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS

The decision of the Federal Government to keep to her electoral promise by providing a meal each day for pupils in public schools is a welcomed development. The Standing Committee advises that this act of benevolence be extended to all States of the Federation. However the Committee strongly believes that investing more in quality education with a view to producing sound minds should be the goal of policies in this critical sector.

 

ALLOWANCES TO POOR PEOPLE

The Standing Committee appreciates the Federal Government's demonstration of concern towards the down trodden through the recent payments made to the poor in the society and recommends that extra efforts be made to put in place the machinery that will guide against diversion and abuse of funds, ensure its sustainability and possibly, formulate long lasting economic policies that will create jobs for the teeming youths of our great country. Government is further enjoined to ensure that this exercise must not turn out to be a source of political compensation.

 

RESTORATION OF PEACE TO THE NORTH EAST:

In appreciation and recognition of the concerted efforts of the Federal Government against terrorism that has seen peace and normalcy now returning to the north East of Nigeria, the Standing Committee request the Federal Government to provide adequate security for the returning displaced people, to prevent the chances of repeat attacks. As much as the standing Committee rejoices over the news of some members of the Boko Haram sect surrendering themselves, Government is advised to ensure that these caliber of people do not find their ways into our national security organizations.

 

ANTI-CORRUPTION WAR

The Standing Committee restates its support and committee to the zero tolerance for corruption policy of the Federal Government. It recommends that the war should be spread across all tiers and arms of Government while those with the mandate to act should eschew personal interest, political vendetta and bitterness so as to ensure, that there is true sense of justice in their actions. It is also believe that setting up of SPECIAL COURTS to try cases of corruption with time limit to such cases, as it is with electoral matters, will be the best way forward.

 

SECURITY

It has now become a common knowledge that some individuals in the same country bear arms freely and others cannot. Also certain, is the experience that the spate of kidnapping is not abating. The Standing Committee views these acts as unconstitutional and discriminatory besides the fact that it is capable of perpetuating crimes increasingly and threatening permanent peace. The committee therefore calls for a firm and deliberate policy devoid of any sentimental considerations to disarm and stamp out the menace of these herdsmen. The Federal Government should muster the political will to achieve this.

 

 

SOUTHERN KADUNA KILLINGS

The continual merciless killings of people especially Christians in Southern Kaduna, is becoming unbearable and intolerable. Most disturbing is the continuing ineffectiveness of the State and Federal Governments in controlling and bringing to an end these acts of terrorism. As a matter of urgency, the Standing Committee calls on governments all levels to take drastic actions that would usher in lasting peace and solution to this unending conflict.

 

ON ESCALATING PRICES OF STAPLE FOODS IN NIGERIA

While identifying with Government on her robust Agricultural policies and the improvement so far recorded, the Standing Committee expresses great concern over the very high cost of food in the country and urges the Federal Government to do something fast in this respect while at the same time calling on the citizenry to embrace agriculture and go back to the farm.

 

NATIONAL ECONOMY

By the indications of several economic indices, the Nigeria economy is evidently buffeted on every side and this trend is most disturbing. With deep concern therefore, the Standing Committee calls on the Federal and State Governments to introduce interim food relief and subsidy intervention that will cushion the effect of hunger and poverty in the land bearing in mind the policies as they are presently may not be beneficial to the citizenry if they did and do not live to enjoy it.

 

RECESSION

The effect of the present economic recession the country is taking a very heavy toll on the citizenry. This is no doubt largely due to long years of failure to plan strategically. The Standing Committee accordingly, urges that bold steps be taken to reduce hunger and poverty in the land to reduce and frustration which are gradually building up. The need to guide against the consequence of civil unrest at this stage of our national development is further emphasized.

 

GOVERNANCE

The Standing Committee is terribly worried that even in the face of the prevailing economic situation across the country the life style of most public officers are not affected. A situation where long convoys, retinue of attendants and lavish social outings indicative of insensitivity to the good and greater number of the citizens who are living between hunger and death is highly bemoaned. The Committee therefore calls on the government to reverse this trend and give the impression that our leaders are ones with those they are leading.

 

ON THE NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE CORPS (NYSC)

At its inception this scheme stood out with great promise for nation building as it was well funded and managed. The standing Committee however notes with disappointment that today it is tottering as it faces inadequate funding, security challenges, scheduling delays with the attendant call up gaps. The need to review the Scheme and strengthen it is hereby advocated.

 

ANGLICAN COMMUNION

The Standing Committee fully resolves to uphold, support and further extend the principles and mission of GAFCON and hereby renews commitment to its vision.

 

CONCLUSION

The ‘I AM WHO I AM' is the God of all nations who is in charge of all situations and circumstances. He moves in mysterious ways and hides His face behind a frowning providence. Knowing Him, obeying Him, fearing Him and working with His precepts is key to attracting His Intervention to the numerous problems facing us as a nation. The assurance that He is the Almighty who alone created the whole universe out of nothing should inspire and encourage us not to despair in the face of the prevailing challenges. Thus the assurances of the Psalmist must renew our confidence that, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea. Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalm 46:1-3 &10).

 

 

The Most Revd Nicholas D. Okoh

Primate of all Nigeria

 

 

APPENDIX II

 

THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA

(ANGLICAN COMMUNION)

 

THE MOST REVD NICHOLAS D. OKOH

Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria

 

PASTORAL LETTER FROM THE STANDING COMMITTEE MEETING OF THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA (ANGLICAN COMMUNION) HELD FROM 20TH TO 24TH FEBRUARY, 2017, IN THE DIOCESE OF EGBA AT OLUSEGUN OBASANJO PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY COMPLEX, ABEOKUTA, OGUN STATE.

 

 

Dear People of God,

 

Grace and peace to you from Him who is and who was and who is to come. Amen!

 

The Standing Committee of our Church was held under the protection and guidance of the Holy Spirit from 20th to 24th February, 2017 at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Complex, Abeokuta, Ogun State. The meeting was hosted by the Diocese of Egba, Province of Lagos, with the theme “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:14).

 

This statement “I Am that I Am” was the way God revealed Himself to Moses and the people of Israel at a critical stage in their national life when they were living under Egyptian bondage. The situation was such that God's intervention was a dire necessity. God appeared to Moses in the burning bush and assigned him the mission to rescue Israel from Egyptian bondage. That was a difficult task for Moses because he had difficulty in speech. Also, he had a case to answer in Egypt arising from the Egyptian he had killed to save an Israelite. Besides, the Israelites had lived in Egypt for 430 years in the midst of many other gods worshipped in the land. To muster courage for the assignment, Moses required God to reveal His name so that the people of Israel would know the God who sent him. In response, God said to Moses, “I AM THAT I AM”. That is what you will say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you'.

 

Brethren, “I AM THAT I AM” implies that God is real. He is the creator, the sustainer of all things, who exists from the beginning and does not change with changing times. For this reason, we can depend on Him to supply all our needs. Furthermore, ‘I AM THAT I Am' is a self-disclosure name, by which God is assuring us that at a time like this in the history of our country that He will step in and loose the bondage of the captors over the life of helpless Nigerias. He will certainly save us from the bondage of economic recession, insecurity, deterioration of our social amenities, collapse of medical system, truncated educational system, and political absurdity. Though the need to stand for God as his messenger may be daunting and challenging, God's help and wisdom will always change the situation and help us navigate through the struggles we face.

 

We commend the youth organizations and evangelical arms of our church for the efforts they are making to face the global challenges of the time. We encouraged you keep serving the Lord faithfully, believing in His unchanging nature, as He who promised is faithful. We must not compromise our faith in the bid to be like others. God is all we need in our lives to make good success.

 

We wish to draw your attention to the increasing need for relief materials for our brethren who are being persecuted in the North East of our Country. We commend Dioceses that worked hard towards the Church of Nigeria Relief Fund launching in the past. A date for the Relief Fund launching for this year will be fixed in due course to enable us meet the rising need, and fulfill the imperative of Scripture. Please, give generously. On your behalf, we sent some relief materials to the victims of southern Kaduna crisis. It is now needful more than ever that in this church and in our nation, we be our brother's keeper. May the Lord grant us grace so to do.

 

Brethren, your donations in launching the Primate's Address, continued support for St. Mathias Day and Advent Sunday Collections are yielding great dividends. Because of your efforts, work is progressing steadily in the building of the Church of Nigeria Secretariat at Gudu, Abuja. We request that you continue to redouble your efforts on this until the project is completed. The DIVCCON, our annual soul enriching programme will hold from 13 to 17th November, 2017, at the National Christian Centre, Abuja. Endeavour to attend. It is our hope that all Anglicans will join hands for the progress of our Church. A meeting of some eminent Anglicans is being scheduled for in the month of May to discuss a way forward in different areas of our church's life.

 

We wish to express our whole-hearted condolences to all those who were bereaved of beloved ones, or had unpleasant experiences of different sorts; those who have been victims of sectarian violent attacks around the country, especially in Southern Kaduna. We do share in your sorrows and pray that God may grant you all divine healing, consolation and restoration. We regret to inform you of the sudden demise of the Most Revd Emmanuel Mani, the Bishop of Maiduguru and Mrs Eunice Egbebunmi, wife of the Bishop of Ilesha South West. May their souls rest in peace Amen.

 

People of God, remember that it is our responsibility to pray for our leader of both the church and nation, particularly at this national recession and turmoil, that God may grant them wisdom and courage to discharge their responsibilities. Pray especially for Muhammadu Buhari, our President who is indisposed, that God may grant him the help he so much needs.

 

Beloved brethren, we thank the Archbishop of Lagos, the Most Revd Dr. Michael Fape and the Bishops of the Province of Lagos and their wives for their contributions towards the success of the Standing Committee. We sincerely thank the Rt. Revd Emmanuel Adekunle and his wife, the good people of Egba Diocese and Local Organising Committee for hosting the Standing Committee in a fantastic way. We sincerely thank the Executive Governor of Ogun State, His Excellency, Senator Ibukunle Amosun for his support which went a long way to make us comfortable during the meeting. We also thank Oba Michael Aremu A. Gbadebo CFR, Okukenu IV, the Alake of Egbaland and the good people of Egbaland who made various contributions for the successful hosting of the meeting. May the Lord reward them abundantly.

 

Finally, brethren, we are living in perilous times. Things are really hard in the country. We encourage you in the name of the Lord. God whose name is ‘I AM THAT I AM' will rise on behalf of Nigerians, and set our people free again to enjoy the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. God daily reveals Himself to us, but it takes diligence, commitment and faith, perseverance and resilience to match forward. The writer of the Hymn A&M 181 captures it this way:

 

His purpose will ripen fast,

Unfolding every hour,

The bud may have a bitter taste,

But sweet will be the flower'.

 

You should therefore renew your faith in this great God who is not limited by situation and circumstances. We charge you to stand firm, convinced that,

        God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble;

        therefore we shall not fear though the earth gives way and the

mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its water rage and

foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (Ps. 46:1-3). Be

still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations; I

will be exalted in all the earth (Ps. 46:10).

 

May the Lord, who is faithful, strengthen you, protect you from evil one, and lead your hearts in the love of God. And may the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be with you always.  Amen.

 

Your beloved Father-in-God,

 

The Most Revd Nicholas D. Okoh,

Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria.