2012 BISHOP'S ADDRESS

 

 

BISHOP'S PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS PRESENTED TO THE FIRST SESSION OF THE SECOND SYNOD OF THE DIOCESE OF AMICHI [ANGLICAN COMMUNION] TODAY SATURDAY 9TH JUNE, 2012.

 

Dearly beloved People of God, I must at this stage assert and declare humbly that God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform. I heartily give special thanks and glory to the Almighty and merciful God and Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ for graciously sparing our lives not only to see this new and challenging year, but also to participate in this First Session of the Second Synod of our Diocese. May I fondly welcome all of you who have travelled far and wide to grace this auspicious occasion.  We express our gratitude to His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi, the Executive Governor of Anambra State and the State Executive Council members who we are assured will be present tomorrow. We also say a very laudable welcome to our fathers in God,  that is the Bishops; our royal fathers, the Diocesan Chancellor and his legal team; my own special wife, friend, prayer warrior and intercessor, Dame Nkem Ikeakor who also is the President of Mothers Union, Women's Guild, and Girls' Guild. Furthermore, the Clergy and their wives, Bishop's nominees, and all Synod delegates and special guests and invitees are all specially welcomed to this wonderful Gathering of the Great People of God in the Church of God.  Let me in the words of a hymn writer in A & M 281 express my joy in standing once again to address this august assembly of the Church by saying hilariously “O what their joy and their Glory must be; Those endless Sabbaths the blessed ones see; Grown for the valiant, to weary ones rest; God shall be all, and in all ever blest.”  One again, you are all welcome in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.   Amen.

OUR RESOURCE PERSONS.

[i]        GUEST PREACHER:

In order to put a round peg in a round hole, we have prayerfully and meticulously invited as our Guest Preacher in this Synod, a man who we know that by the special Grace of God, will feed the sheep, and tend the lambs of God by handling the theme of our Synod this year very practically and meaningfully. He is Evangelist Nnamdi Ezeh. Nnamdi Ezeh is an Evangelist from the Diocese on the Niger. He is a teacher of God's word, a regular speaker and Bible expositor at Churches, Fellowships, and several Conferences. He is also a Radio and Television Evangelist. He has for years been the Chairman of GOD OF ABRAHAM PROGRAMME, Diocese on the Niger, and also the immediate past coordinator of Association of Evangelists in the Diocese on the Niger [Anglican Communion]. He is the Convener and chief host of “COUPLES FORUM” which has brought healing and restoration including hope to many couples and homes. He also hosts “SINGLES FORUM PROGRAMME” for the unmarried annually. Evangelist Nnamdi Ezeh has authored many wonderful books including: “BATTLE FOR DESTINY; MOUNTAIN DWELLERS AND FORGIVENESS; AND NOW THAT YOU ARE YOUNG.”  He is married to Mrs. Rose Chinedu Ezeh, and they live in Onitsha with their children.  Sir, you are most warmly welcome to our Synod this year.

[ii]       OUR BIBLE STUDY LEADER/FACILITATOR:

He is one of our own in this Diocese. He is also almost a household name in both our Diocese and outside when it comes to teaching the Word of God meaningfully, practically, and sincerely. His name is Revd. Canon Chukwuebuka Chukwuemeka. He is a graduate of Mass Communication, and a journalist by Profession. He is the Chairman and Head of Amichi Diocesan Media Centre, and Sure Anchor Cyber Café.  Revd. Canon Chukwuebuka Chukwuemeka is a balanced Theologian; sound and intelligent Bible expositor.  He is a seasoned Pastor and visionary Priest. Through his instrumentality, the Diocese has a wonderful monthly Newspaper known as Sure Anchor Newspaper, which is fully registered with Corporate Affairs Commission.  Most of the special programmes in the Diocese including Prayer Breakfast; Wailing Women Prayer Summit; Ordination Services done in the Cathedral are now transmitted live in the Internet through his work and his team of Staff in the Media Centre.  We have no iota of doubt that God will use him to bless all of us through the Bible Study Sessions. Revd. Canon Chukwuebuka is married to Mrs. Nkechi Chukwuebuka. We welcome you to the Synod as our Bible Study leader in Jesus Christ Name.

VENUE OF THE SYNOD.   BRIEF HISTORY:

It can safely be said that the history of St. Andrew's Anglican Church, Ebenator is indeed the history of Ebenator Community. Certainly the gospel did not come to Ebenator by a direct first-hand experience and interaction between Bishop S.A. Crowther – the great Missionary of the C.M.S Mission in the Niger Delta Diocese and Ebenator people. Rather, the Gospel came through individual indigenes of Ebenator who intentionally or unintentionally in the early period of the twentieth Century made travels to and fro Ukpor. Foremost among them was Mr. Anele [Later Christened James] Mbaoma of Umuonyeukpa who became the first indigene of Ebenator to embrace Christianity in 1911. The second convert was Mr. Levi Anozie also from Umuonyeukpa. These two people by their travels received the Word of God at Ukpor which was at that time the nearest existing C.M.S. Church. Because of their zeal, they participated actively in worship with the Christians at Ukpor. In 1913, Mr. Mbaoma invited Ukpor Christians to bring the Gospel to Ebenator which then was made up of three autonomous villages namely: Ubaha, Umunnama, and Umuonyeukpa. The Ukpor Christians accepted the invitation and from then every Sunday such persons as Messrs Alfred Obi, John Anyagwaraocha, Isaiah Nkemadu, etc. came to Ebenator to preach the word of God. This Evangelism Outreach yielded good fruit which eventually led to the conversion of Messrs Mbajude [Israel] Nwonwu, Onyemaechi [Elijah] Nwachukwu, Nwobi [Simon] Nwachukwu, Ikpechukwu [David] Maduneme, Eleho [Matthew] Nwametu, Ejetokwa Shadrack, Hezekiah Osuchukwu, Nnaka [John] Adimonye, Ahize [Daniel] Anozie, and others. These early converts worshipped with Ukpor Christians at St. John's C.M.S Umuori, Ukpor.

As these Ebenator new converts grew in number, they set in motion the process of establishing their own Church at Ebenator. A group of them led by Mr. James Mbaoma approached Late Dim Igwilo and requested for a parcel of land to build a Church.  Late Dim Igwilo happily donated his land in a part of Ubaha called “Ugwu Anwusi” or “Ochuchu Aja”. These pioneer converts accepted the land and immediately set up a Church building on it in 1916. This site is the current location where this Church, St. Andrew's Anglican Church Ebenator is located. At a later stage, Dim Igwilo's son Chief Josiah Igwilo made additional donation of his land to enable the young Church cope with increasing developments going on within her premises.  The Church functioned for almost a year without a Church Teacher. Ukpor Christians assisted Ebenator early converts to conduct Church Services in Ebenator. When the Church in Ebenator continued to grow in number and faith, the members requested for a full-time Church teacher.  The C.M.S Church authority said that the condition to grant that request for a church teacher was for them to deposit Nine pounds with District headquarters. Members with great zeal embarked on various activities to raise this requested deposit.  It took them almost one year to raise the nine pounds [£9.00]. 

In 1918, the nine pounds [£9.00] was raised and deposited. Following the payment of the deposit, a Church teacher in the person of Mr. Peter Onwuemerie, a native of Obosi was posted as the first C.M.S Church teacher in Ebenator. It is important to explain that this C.M.S Church to which Mr. Peter Onwuemerie was posted belonged to three autonomous villages of Ubaha, Umunnama, and Umuonyeukpa as mentioned earlier. Each of these early Christian Converts who were worshipping under one Church associated his nativity with his particular autonomous village. This situation and development did not give the Church teacher a comfortable and desired administrative convenience to perform optimally. The Church teacher dialogued with his congregation for an acceptable common single name for the three villages.  After a concerted and protracted discussion, the Church teacher suggested that the three autonomous villages should be called “EBONATO”. The members unanimously adopted the name.  it is out of mispronunciation that EBONATO came to be called “EBENATOR”. This wonderful coinage of the town's name remains till today a socio-contribution by Anglican Christians to the town's political environment.  In 1920, Mr. Joseph Maduewesi of Otolo-Nnewi was posted as the second Church teacher to C.M.S Church, Ebenator following the sending of Mr. Peter Onwuemerie for further training by the Church authority.  Under Mr. Maduewesi, a new Church building was erected on a new spot within the original Church premises.

In 1921, Mr. Joseph Nnabuife of Nnewi took over from Mr. Joseph Maduewesi as the third Church teacher. During his administration, a second set of converts received the Sacrament of Baptism.  This set of converts were Messrs Matthias Onuka, David Maduneme, Josiah Igwilo, Israel Nwonwu, Elijah Nwachukwu, Simon Nwachukwu, Daniel Anozie, Mark Okonkwo and others.  The first converts, Messrs James Mbaoma, and Levi Anozie were baptized at Ukpor while the second set were baptized at Ebenator which was the first Baptism done in the Church at Ebenator. 

In 1922, Mr. Josiah Okpalaeke of Awka-Etiti was posted as the third Church teacher.  In 1923, history was made in the Ebenator Church as Messrs James Mbaoma, and Levi Anozie were confirmed, while Mr. & Mrs. Elijah Nwachukwu became the first couple that wedded.  In 1924, Mr. Peter Onwuemerie came on a second missionary journey as a Church teacher and worked till the end of 1925.  Thereafter, the following Church teachers served in the Church:

S/N

                NAME

         YEAR

TOWN OF ORIGIN

1.

Mr. Simon Okafor

1926 – 1928

Nnobi

2.

Mr. Moses Emebo

1929 – 1931

Oba

3.

Mr. Michael Ezika

1932 – 1933

Ideani

4.

Mr. Benson Osuoha

1934 – 1935

Owerri

5.

Mr. Timothy Nwizu

1936 – 1937

Nnewi-Ichi

6.

Mr. Geoffry Oragudosi

1938 – 1942

Okija

7.

Mr. John Ifediba

1943 – 1945

Ozubulu

8.

Mr. John Erinne

1946 – 1948

Okija

9.

Mr. Felix Okoye

1949 – 1951

Nnobi

10.

Mr. Nelson Udoku

1951 -1954

Mgbakwu

11.

Mr. Samuel  .I. Ikebuotu

1955 – 1957

Nnobi

12.

Mr. Felix Okolo

1958 – 1960

Nnobi

13.

Mr. Samuel Onyenwe

1961

Amichi

14.

Mr. Sunday Nehemia Akam

1962

 

15.

Mr. Benjamine Anolue

1963 – 1966

Ezinifite

16.

Mr. Charles Ijezie

1967 – 1971

Akpulu

17.

Mr. Naboth Obieri

1972 – 1979

Umuchu

18.

Mr. Joseph Nnamaka

1980 – 1983

Nkpologwu

19.

Mr. Rowland C. Onyejekwe

1984 – 1985

Isseke

20.

Mr. Louis Uzor

1986 – 1987

Okija

21.

Mr. Isaac Nebedum

1988 – 1991

Ihembosi

22.

Mr. Ebenezer Ezeoba

1992 – 1996

Umunya

23.

Mr. Geoffrey Odumegwu

1997

Okija

 

In 1996, the first Clergyman in the person of Revd. Nelson Mbachu of Umuchu was posted to St. Andrew's Church, Ebenator.  Revd. Nelson Mbachu's stay was cut short as a result of a motorcycle accident he was involved in which claimed his life.  On 23rd December, 1997, St. Andrew's Church was inaugurated a District with Revd. Daniel N.C. Okeke of Nanka as the first Superintendent. Presently, St. Andrew's Parish is made up of other Churches namely: Church of Pentecost, Ebenator; and St. Philip's Anglican Church, Ebenator. Below is the chronology of Priests who have served in the Church from 1997 till date:

S/N

NAME

YEAR

TOWN OF ORIGIN

1.

Revd. Daniel N.C. Okeke

1997 – 2001

Nanka

2.

Revd. Brown Ofoeme

2001 – 2003

Nnewi

3.

Revd. Benneth Anene

2003 – 2004

Umudioka

4.

Revd. Canon Okoli-Obodozie

2004 – 2005

Isseke

5.

Revd. Timothy Agbanusi

2005 – 2006

Obosi

6.

Revd. Okwuolisa Chukwuka

2006 – 2008

Amichi

7.

Revd. Canon Samuel .I.  Ikeh

2008 – 2009

Agulu

8.

Revd. Jonathan Umeasiegbu

2009 – 2012

Umuchu

9.

Revd. Samson Ikedinma

2012 - 

Owerre-Ezukala

 

During the first session of the first Synod of the Diocese of Amichi held at St. Stephen's Anglican Church, Osumenyi, Ebenator Archdeaconry was created by His Lordship, the Rt. Revd. E.O. Ikeakor [JP] with St. Andrew's Church as the Archdeaconry headquarter. Ebenator Archdeaconry is made up of St. Andrew's Church, Ebenator; Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Utuh; St. Philip's Church, Ebenator; and Church of Pentecost, Ebenator.

In 1954, St. Andrew's Anglican Church produced the first University graduate in Ebenator town, and indeed the first Graduate in Mbanese clan which is made up of Osumenyi, Ezinifite, Utuh, Akwa-ihedi, and Ebenator in the person of Mr. Jasper Nwandu.  Even though Mr. Jasper Nwandu is late, his daughter later became the first female medical Doctor in Ebenator and Mbanese – Dr. Ifeoma Nwandu now Dr. Mrs. Ifeoma Orizu. Ebenator Archdeaconry was inaugurated on 10th July, 2011 by His Lordship, Rt. Revd. E.O. Ikeakor [JP].

Today St. Andrew's Anglican Church, Ebenator has in her congregation distinguished Educationists, Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, Scientists and successful business men and women. The first and only indigenous Anglican Priest produced by this Church is Revd. Canon Robert Amuta. We give all the Glory and Praise to the Almighty God for sustaining His Church in Ebenator especially as St. Andrew's Church, Ebenator is today hosting the first session of the second Synod of our Diocese.

NEWS AND INFORMATION OF CHURCH OF NIGERIA.

RETIREMENTS:

The following Bishops retired from active Church Service and Ministry:

i           The Most Revd. Ugochukwu .U. Ezuoke – Archbishop of Aba Province; and  Bishop of Diocese of Aba.

ii.         The Rt. Revd. William Diya – Diocese of Kafanchan.

iii.        The Rt. Revd. B.C.B. Onyeibor – Diocese of Abakaliki.

We joyfully glorify the name of the Almighty God for preserving the lives of these humble and great servants of His throughout their episcopacy. We congratulate them and their wives for a job well done and pray God for more healthy and peaceful years of post retirement lifestyle and ministry.

 

ELECTION AND CONSECRATION.

At the Episcopal Synod held at St. Peter's Chapel, IBRU Centre Agbarha-otor on 6th July 2011, the following were elected to take over from the retiring Bishops, who were also consecrated at the Archbishop Vining Cathedral Church, Ikeja – Lagos on Sunday 25th September, 2011 by The Archbishop, Metropolitan, and Primate of All Nigeria, The Most Revd. Nicolas D. Oko, assisted by over eighty other Bishops of the Anglican Communion.

a.         Rt. Revd. Christian Ugwuzor                      -           Diocese of Aba

b.         Rt. Revd. Monday Nkwoagu                       -           Diocese of Abakaliki

c.         Rt. Revd. Marcus .M. Dogo                        -           Diocese of Kafanchan

d.         Rt. Revd. Jacob Kwashi                               -           Diocese of Zonkwa

e.         Rt. Revd. Mark Dobbs                                 -           Suffragan CANA

F.         Rt. Revd. Clarence Felix Orji                       -           Suffragan CANA

We heartily commend these new Bishops and their wives to the Grace of God for fruitful, spiritually-dynamic, and disciple-raising pastorate and episcopacy.

In the same vein, The Rt. Revd. Dr. Ikechi Nwosu was elected the new Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Aba.  He has since been presented.

During the 2012 Bishops Annual Retreat held at IBRU Centre Agbarha-otor from 18th -23rd February, 2012, The Rt. Revd. Jonathan Edewor, Bishop of Oleh Diocese; and the Most Revd. Samuel Abe gave notice of their retirements.

The Ven. John U. Aruakpor was elected the new Bishop of Oleh Diocese, and was consecrated on May 1, 2012 at Ondo. The Rt. Revd. Christopher Omotunde was translated to the Diocese of Ekiti. Also, The Rt. Revd. Dr. G.L. Lasebikan was elected the new Archbishop of Ondo Province. May God in all things be eternally glorified as He leads His Church from Glory to Glory in Jesus Christ Name.  Amen.

 

10TH GENERAL SYNOD OF CHURCH OF NIGERIA.

The 10th session of the General Synod of the Church of Nigeria [Anglican Communion] held from 19th to 25th of September, 2011 at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Cathedral Church, Ikeja Lagos. The theme of the General Synod was “Restoring the Years the Locust had Eaten [Joel 2:25 – 27].  The formal opening of the Synod took place on Wednesday 21st September, 2011 at 11.00 am. The grand finale of the General Synod was the consecration of six new Bishops on Sunday 25th September, 2011 at 10.00 a.m. It was indeed a time for spiritual rejuvenation as both the Preacher during Eucharistic Services, the Bible Study co-ordinator and leaders did great work in ministering to the delegates effectively. Kudos should also go the Diocese of Lagos-West under the dynamic leadership of The Rt. Revd. Dr. Peter Adebiyi for a well-articulated wonderful hosting. It was actually great and emulatable.

 

2012 CHURCH OF NIGERIA STANDING COMMITTEE MEETING.

This Standing Committee Meeting was hosted by the Diocese of Awka [Anglican Communion] at the Cathedral Church of St. Faith, Awka, and Emmaus house also in Awka from 14th  to  18th February, 2012.  The theme of the Standing Committee was “Pressing on Towards the Goal” [Philippians 3:14]. The hosting was very wonderful in all aspects, and we commend the Bishop of Awka Diocese, the Rt. Revd. Dr. Alexander .C. Ibezim, his wife Mrs. Chioma .M. Ibezim, and the entire Priests and Anglican faithful in the Diocese.  Our Archbishop, The Most Revd. Christian .O. Efobi, and Mama Province of the Niger, Dame Jane Efobi, and all the Bishops in the Province and their wives deserve special commendation for their support, encouragement, and co-operation with the Diocese of Awka to make the Standing Committee a huge success. The Bible study co-ordinator and leader, Rt. Revd. Timothy Yahaya, and other resource persons were used tremendously to minister the word of God to the people of God. His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi and the government of Anambra state outrightly gave overwhelming support both in Cash, logistics and kind to the Anglican Family in the Province Generally, and Diocese of Awka in particular. We pray the Almighty and Merciful God to bless our Governor abundantly and without measure.

 

2012 BISHOPS' ANNUAL RETREAT.

This Retreat was billed for 4th to 8th January, 2012, but due to general workers strike and Protest as a result of the Removal of Oil Subsidy; it later held from 18th to 22nd February, 2012 immediately after the Standing Committee Meeting at Awka. The Retreat held as usual at IBRU Centre, Agbarha-otor, Delta State.  The Theme for this year's Retreat was “A GROWING CHURCH”. We continue to give God the Glory for such great way of beginning the year for Bishops in the Church of Nigeria, and for always inspiring our Primate in choosing meaningful and very apt themes for our Retreat. The Bishops that God used to speak to us in the Retreat were just wonderful especially our brother and friend, The Rt. Revd. Henry  .O. Okeke who led the Bible studies all through.

 

CHURCH OF NIGERIA 2011 DIVCCON.

Glorious History was made from 7th to 11th November, 2011 when Church of Nigeria [Anglican Communion] organized her maiden All-embracing, and soul-enriching Conference Christened Divine Commonwealth Conference [DIVCCON] at the National Christian Centre, Abuja. The idea of this DIVCCON according to our Primate, The Most Revd. Dr. N.D. Oko is to welcome all-beyond the distinctions of Holy Orders.  It attracted laity of all categories, including our women and youth, who fed from the expository dispensing of God's word at a central national location. DIVCCON is very unique because our present structure as a national Church limits attendance at our great gatherings to delegates – either to Standing Committee Meetings, General Synods, Bishops or Clergy. The AYF, EFAC, and Prayer Convocation also have some form of identity of responsibility confines. People from all walks of life attended from within and outside Nigeria.  It was indeed a forum to share the fellowship of like-minded ministers of God beyond our immediate horizon, without discrimination of race or culture. Just simply put, DIVCCON has become a forum for a family celebration of our divine Commonwealth.  Our Diocese was well represented as the Bishop, and wife, and almost all the Clergymen and some of their wives attended. Some lay members of this Diocese were also in attendance. This year's DIVCCON has been fixed for 5th to 9th November, 2012. Our Prayer is that God will continue to sustain this great move.  We encourage every member of this Diocese to develop interest in attending such unique programmes.

 

2012 ST. MATTHIAS DAY CELEBRATION AND EVANGELISM COLLECTION

AND SUPPORT.

The second edition of St. Matthias Day Celebration Collection for supporting some missionary and weaker Dioceses for the continued propagation of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ was held on Sunday 26th February, 2012 in all Dioceses of the Anglican Communion in Nigeria. Diocese of Amichi participated actively and meaningfully in the exercise. We collected a little above N1.3m which was also promptly remitted to Church of Nigeria. May I at this point appreciate and thank all the Clergymen, and Church teachers and Laity for their dogged commitment to this vision which made it possible for our Diocese to raise such amount of money despite our rural setting and small size in land mass and Geographical coverage. God will continue to be gracious and merciful to you, your families and ministries now and always.  Amen.

 

ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY GIVES NOTICE OF HIS VOLUNTARY RETIREMENT.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd. and Rt. Hon. Dr. Rowan Williams on 16th March, 2012 announced that he is to stand down as the Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the World wide Anglican Communion. He said that stepping down had not been an easy decision and that during the time he had left there was “Much to do”. Speaking further on his standing down, he reflected on growing divisions within the Anglican Church, and said it seemed some conflicts would not go away however long you struggle with them. We wish him well, and pray that the new Archbishop of Canterbury will be spiritually bold enough to address the problem which is simply “GOING BACK TO THE BIBLE”. He will bow out in December this year.

 

NEWS FROM PROVINCE OF THE NIGER.

ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION BY DIOCESE OF AWKA:

The 25th [Silver Jubilee] Anniversary of the Inauguration of Diocese of Awka was celebrated from 5th to 10 March, 2012. The celebration was a full week-long activity which featured the foundation laying ceremonies of some Projects. It was rounded off with Holy Eucharistic Thanksgiving Service at the Cathedral Church of St. Faith, Awka on Friday 9th March, 2012. His Grace, The Most Revd. Nicolas Oko, Archbishop, Metropolitan, and Primate of All Nigeria presided at the Eucharist and also preached the sermon.  Our Archbishop, The Most Revd. C.O. Efobi and Mama Province, Dame Jane Efobi were present with other Bishops in the province of the Niger. We congratulate His Lordship, The Rt. Revd. Dr. Alexander Ibezim, and his wife Mrs. Martha Chioma  Ibezim, and pray that the good Lord will use them to continue the good works already done by the Retired Bishop of Awka Diocese, The Most Revd. M.S.C. Anikwenwa, and Mrs. Blessing Anikwenwa [Nnediogo].

 

DEATH AND BURIAL.

The Province lost by death two great servants of God: His Grace, The Most Revd. Dr. J.A. Onyemelukwe, the Retired Bishop on the Niger, and former Archbishop of old Province, was buried on Thursday 6th October, 2011 in his home town Nanka after a funeral Church service at All Saints' Cathedral, Onitsha. On the other hand, The Prolocutor of Church of Nigeria, Ven. Barr. Alexander Adichie who was also the Clerical Synod Secretary of the Diocese of Nnewi was buried on Wednesday 14th September, 2011 in his home town Ogidi. We pray that the Almighty God will continually give the families they left behind the fortitude to bear the demise of these loved ones and breadwinners of their homes.

 

ARCHBISHOP'S RECEPTION BY DIOCESE OF AGUATA.

On Saturday 15th October, 2011, Diocese of Aguata [Anglican Communion]  organized a special Reception for His Grace, The Most Revd. Dr. Christian .O. Efobi, and his wife at the Cathedral Church of St. John, Ekwuluobia as the Archbishop of Province of the Niger.  It was a well-attended programme by people from all walks of life. We pray the Gracious and Merciful Lord to give them the wisdom, discretion, and grace to pilot the affairs of the Province to the Glory of God, and lead her to an enviable height in the mighty name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen.

 

CONGRATULATIONS TO MAMA PROVINCE.

May I at this point with my wife Dame Nkem Ikeakor congratulate heartily our mother Dame Jane Efobi on her Investiture as a Knight by His Grace, The Most Revd. C. O. Efobi, on Saturday 7th April, 2012 at the Cathedral Church of St. John, Ekwuluobia. We pray the Almighty and merciful God to continue to bless, preserve, and uphold you with His right hand of Righteousness till the Glorious appearing of the Captain and Chief Shepherd of our faith and soul a second time.  Amen. 

 

DEDICATION OF DIOCESE ON THE NIGER EPISCOPAL HOUSE.

We join the good and great people of the Diocese on the Niger in singing Magnificat to God and kudos to the Bishop and his wife, Rt. Revd. Owen Nwokolo, and Dr. Mrs. Nonye Nwokolo for a well–redesigned and renovated Episcopal house which was dedicated on Thursday 3rd May, 2012 by His Grace, The Most Revd. Dr. Nicolas D. Okoh Archbishop, Metropolitan, and Primate of all Nigeria assisted by over twenty-five Bishops of the Anglican Church. We commend the Bishop to the unshrinking Grace of God to do more exploit for God throughout his episcopacy especially in reconstruction, renewal, and renovation of human lives committed to his charge according to the Primate's homily on that day.

 

DIOCESE OF AMICHI  –>  NEWS; EVENTS; AND INFORMATION.

i.          MASTER'S VESSEL SEMINARY, OSUMENYI:

It will be recalled that during my Presidential Address presentation last year, I did mention that our Seminary will take off officially for academic session in September, 2011. By the special Grace of God, this dream and vision which looked impossible came to fruition in September 2011 when the first batch of JSS 1 students admitted into the school packed in and started normal academic exercise.  It started on a high pitch with seventy-five [75] young, tender, bright and promising boys coming in as the first fruit of Achaia of the institution. On the 1st of October, 2011, we in the company of all the Clergy, and many lay members of our Diocese including some Knights and Ladies converged at the school premises to officially Commission the School, Pray and Dedicate the Pioneer Students and Staff of the Seminary.  It is an experience that we cannot forget in a hurry.  There was an overflow of joy, and a sense of Mission accomplished. I will not be fair and appreciative if I fail to warmly and heartily thank Osumenyi People for making this vision a reality. We thank the Archdeacon, Ven. Henry Amobi, all the Clergy in Osumenyi town, various Parochial Church Committees in Osumenyi. Sir Boniface Ekesiobi and his team need to be commended for sacrificing his time and business to physically supervise the relocation of Omaigwe Central School to its new site. 

Furthermore, special thanks to these great Anglican men from Osumenyi who sponsored various projects in the new site of Omaigwe Central School.  They include – High Chief Sir Samson Ukachukwu, Sir Okechukwu Ojimba, and Mr. Enoch Ezike.  We also thank Osumenyi Anglican Communion for supporting the work all round.  The Steering Committee of Master's Vessel Seminary, under the Chairmanship of Sir Christian .I. Nwosu really did us proud by their commitment and doggedness. To our utmost surprise and enthusiasm, the Principal of the school, Miss Esther Ogbaji and her staff organized the first edition of Christmas Service of Carol and Nine Lessons on Friday 9th December, 2011.  It was a very rich and colourful event that we wondered how they were able to put up such a glorious and soul-enriching appearance in a very short period as that.  We are encouraged indeed.

We now have over eighty [80] students who will come in as JSS 1 students in September through the released result of the Joint Common Entrance Examination into Convents, and Seminaries released recently. This has propelled us to commence the finishing of the remaining works on the second floor of the two storey school block building. The rate parents and guardians are bringing in their children, and enquiring into the possibility of transferring their children from their current schools has put a very serious pressure on us in the area of erecting more class room blocks, and Hostel block to conveniently accommodate the inevitable population explosion about to be experienced in the School.  By the special grace of the Almighty God, we will never toy with the Academic, and Moral standards of the school.  Our Vision and Mission is to raise a crop of boys in this Seminary that will be the Pride of their families, Churches, and Society at large in the contemporary Nigeria where Education standard has regrettably nose-dived in public and private schools. Based on the foregoing discourse and challenges, let me Passionately appeal to Groups and Individuals from within and outside our Diocese to please take up this laudable Challenge by coming to pick one project or the other in the Seminary so as to give the lives of these young talented boys a meaning and fulfillment. You can take a whole classroom block, hostel Block, Laboratory, Principal's house, Chapel building, or part of any of the Projects.  If you want the Diocese to inscribe your name or that of your family or loved one after building any of the structures we will hastily and happily oblige you.

ii.         GRAND FINALE OF THE 2011 WALKING BIBLE COMPETITION:

The Special Bible Competition organized for youths in the Diocese called “Walking Bible competition” featured the Grand finale on 22nd October 2011 at the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi.  It was a keenly contested event from the Parish level to the Diocesan level. It is aimed at bringing our Youths back to Bible Reading, Memorization, and Practice. The first prize winner was Miss Blessing Azubuike from St. Peter's Church, Amichi who won for herself a University Scholarship in any Federal or State owned University in Nigeria only irrespective of her course of choice.  This scholarship stands for two years of gaining admission from the date she won the competition assuming she is not already in a University. So if she does not gain admission after two years, it is withdrawn. This winner had an alternative of collecting two hundred and fifty thousand naira [N250,000] cash on that day, but she went for the University scholarship.  The first runner-up won a brand new laptop Computer. Other items given out as consolation Prizes include: Four Refrigerators, One Deep Freezer, Four [1.5 KVA] Generator and ten Industrial Fans. We want to thank all the donors of these items for their support and encouragement in making our vision of affecting the lives of the youths positively a reality. May the Almighty and Gracious God continue to bless and support all of you and your families.

 

iii.        HANDOVER OF HOSPITAL BY AKURUEULO SOCIAL CLUB OF AMICHI:

You may recall that in my last year's Presidential address presentation, I did report joyfully that the Akurueulo Social Club has magnanimously handed over the Hospital they built in Amichi to the Diocese of Amichi for effective management and total reconstruction. This was as a matter of fact an oral affirmation and declaration. But to the Glory of God, on 16th October, 2011, the Akurueulo Social Club, and Diocese of Amichi [Anglican Communion] signed the deed of transfer of the Hospital wherein the Club happily and wholeheartedly relinquished their ownership and management of the said Hospital totally to the Diocese. The Akurueulo Social Club team was led by their President/Chairman, Chief Benard Nwokedi, while the Diocesan team was led by the Bishop, Rt. Revd. Ephraim .O. Ikeakor, in the presence of the Chancellor, Hon. Justice Gloria Anulude. This epoch-making event took place at the Bishopscourt, Amichi.

iv.        ADVENT ORDINATION:

The third Advent Ordination Service and ceremony of this Diocese took place on Sunday 4th December, 2011 at St. Stephen's Anglican Church, Osumenyi. Two Ordinands were made Deacons, while four Deacons were ordained Priests. Those that were made deacons were:

[a]       Ord. Godson Ugochukwu; and

[b]       Ord. Chukwunonso Chijindu.

Those who were ordained Priests were:

[a]       Revd. Festus Ewenike

[b]       Revd. Chukwunonso Okwuora

[c]       Revd. Samuel Omuka

[d]       Revd. Paschal Umeoduagu.

It was a very glorious and joyful event as families, friends, and well-wishers of the newly ordained were present in their numbers to rejoice with their own. We pray that these young and promising Servants of God will be faithful to Him who has called them, and fulfill their ministries gloriously and sincerely now and always.

v.         FIRST BORNS' NIGHT:

            This is a special programme which holds annually exclusively for the males and Females that came first from their mothers' womb in the family.  It is a vision and directive given to us by God for some years now. The aim is for spiritual, financial, and social repositioning for the first borns. The last edition of the programme was held on Friday, November 1, 2011 at 10.00p.m.  It was well attended as people from far and near, and all walks of life came from within and outside Anambra State to partake in such a wonderful  Prayer Gathering of God's special people. We really thank God for various testimonies coming from those who have been attending the programme. This year's Firstborns' Night has been slated for Friday 19th October, 2012 at the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi at 10.00 p.m.

 

 

vi.        TRUMPET AND TRIUMPHANT NIGHT:  

This is a Programme that can never be forgotten in a hurry in the Diocese, and among the participants. It was actually a Night of unlimited and unbridled Praise and Worship to God. The overflowing Crowd both within and outside the Cathedral building enjoyed themselves in the Presence of God by offering unto God what belongs to Him – PRAISE. Some renowned Gospel artistes led by Bro. Israel Anyanele, and his Agape Love Band from Aba were on hand to lead in Praise Galore. Our own Destiny Fulfillers Mass Choir thrilled the audience by rendering awesome spiritual and well scintillated numbers. We thank God for allowing us to join the Church militant in praising God in the land of the living.  We want to announce here that this year's TRUMPET AND TRIUMPHANT NIGHT comes up on Friday 7th December, 2012 at the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew Amichi, Amichi at 10.00 p.m. Begin now to prepare and plan to be physically present.

vii.       CLERGY/WIVES AND CHURCH TEACHERS/WIVES ANNUAL SET-APART  RETREAT:

 

In order to minister with fresh anointing and renewed strength in the new year, this Diocese starts the year always with a special Set Apart Retreat for all the Church Workers and their Wives in the Diocese. This programme involves both the Clergy, Church-Teachers, and their Wives. This year's Set Apart Retreat was held at Immanuel Anglican Church, Ekwulumili from 19 – 22nd January, 2012. The Theme for the Retreat was “Restoring the Years that Locust had eaten in our Ministry and Church”  [Joel 2:22 – 25].  Our Resource Persons were Rt. Revd. Isaac Orama – Bishop of Uyo Diocese. Ven. John Adubasim; Revd. Canon Chukwuebuka Chukwuemeka.  It was really a time for spiritual refreshing and reinvigoration in God's presence.

viii.      RETREAT FOR ALL P.C.C  AND EXCOS OF ALL ORGANIZATIONS:

It has become an annual ritual that at the beginning of each year, the Diocese will organize a Special Retreat for all members of Parochial Church Committee of every Church in the Diocese, and all Executive Committee members of all organizations in our Churches in the Diocese. This Retreat for this year took place on Saturday 28th January, 2012 at the Cathedral. The Theme of the Diocese this year “THE GOD WHO SEES” was elaborately expounded by the Diocesan. In such a Retreat, old P.C.C and Exco members were reminded and educated on their statutory roles as leaders of our Church, while the new members are informally given a kind of refresher course on what their new assignment and positions entail. We thank God for the success of this year's annual Retreat.

 

xix.      DIOCESAN COVENANT SUNDAY:

Last Sunday of January of each year has been designated in this Diocese as Covenant Sunday. On this day the Diocese, and people from other places come together to seek the face of God in Prayer and renew their Covenant to walk with the Lord Jesus Christ for the year. 2012 Covenant Sunday took place on Sunday 29th January, 2012 at the Cathedral. In the same service, the Bishop usually Pronounces Special Episcopal Blessings from God upon the multitude of people who gather in God's house. God through that Service has been showing Himself mighty and faithful in the affairs of men, women, and families. To him alone be all the Glory for the great things He has done, He is doing, and He will continue to do.

x.         RETREAT FOR DIOCESAN KNIGHTS AND LADIES:

On page 22 of my Presidential Address of last year, I wrote and read “In an attempt to reposition our Knights for more fruitful performance and Spiritual reawakening, I have fixed a special Retreat and Seminar for all the KNIGHTS AND LADIES of this Diocese on Thursday 23rd to Sunday 26th February, 2012 at Agbarha-Otor. This Retreat is very compulsory for all concerned, and that is the reason for this long notice and information. No manner of excuse will be accepted by us”.  This maiden retreat for all Knights and Ladies in the Diocese was held at the IBRU CENTRE, Agbarha-otor in Delta State from Thursday 23rd to Sunday 26th February, 2012. I am very glad that it was well attended by Knights and Ladies of our Diocese from various parts of the Country. We were highly encouraged and therefore commend the President of the Diocesan Council of Knights, Sir Dr. Edwin Agbasimelo, his Exco members, and the Chaplain, Revd. Canon Chukwuebuka Chukwuemeka. My hearty thanks go to all the Knights and Ladies who shelved their personal engagements to be in attendance. The good Lord will definitely continue to bless you abundantly in Jesus Christ Name. Amen. It was indeed a time of Spiritual rejuvenation and realignment. The phone calls and text messages many of you sent to us attest to the fact that it was indeed a worthwhile exercise contrary to your feelings before the Retreat. 

We appreciate our resource persons who performed excellently in leading us in Talks, Expositions, Bible studies, and Seminars. May I particularly thank Sir Dr. G.C. Onwuasoigwe for the wonderful Seminar on “CLIMACTERIC” which all of us enjoyed deeply.  The Theme for our Retreat was “You are the Light of the World” [Matthew 5:14 – 16].

However, there are some knights and Ladies who blatantly refused to attend the Retreat.  More annoying and disturbing is a situation where no letter of excuse was written at all. Others  even was bold to say that they fixed burial on the same date, which we set aside for almost one year and gave the information on 11th June, 2011 through our Presidential address. To such Knights and Ladies who think that they can take us for a ride, I want to say that you are wrong. I want to therefore state clearly here that all the Knights and Ladies who did not attend the Retreat, and who did  not write letter of Excuse to that effect is hereby de-listed from Amichi Diocesan Council of Knights until they attend the Retreat.  No text message is taken as an excuse letter.

In another development, all those who wrote letters of excuse, and those whose ladies attended only have between this month and February 2013 to agree on a date for their own Retreat with the Chaplain, and President of the Council, and then communicate to me for approval. It was the man that was investitured into Knighthood and not his wife, so sending your wife and staying back can never be acceptable to us.

Having said this, I want to specially thank all the Knights and Ladies who voluntarily made sacrificial donations for the renovation and Reconstruction of our Diocesan Hospital. We did not include Donation or Fundraising in the Programme of the Retreat but these gallant soldiers of the Cross on their own raised a total sum of Nine Million, four hundred thousand Naira [N9.4m] only on the spot. May I report here that almost all the pledges have been redeemed and the fund has been plunged into the Hospital project for which it was generated. A visit to the hospital will surely attest to this fact. I therefore appeal to those who have not redeemed their pledges to please do so for us to continue the work already started.

xi.        2012 DIOCESAN HARVEST:

English scholars tell us that the only thing that is permanent in life is change.  Owing to this obvious fact, we decided to change style in our Diocesan Harvest this year.  Previously, it was held at Church levels on the same day throughout the Diocese.  But this year it was held jointly at the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi of Sunday 11th March, 2012.  It was a very glorious and joyful celebration as our members from all the Parishes enthusiastically gathered in our Anglican traditional manner to do the Harvest and Bazaar. At this point, let me appreciate the Chairman of the Diocesan Harvest Planning Committee, Sir Chidi Onumajuru and his committee members for a work well done. The Clergy of this Diocese, their Wives, and other Church workers really gave us cause to be joyful that day for the fruitful and participatory mobilization of our members. The President of the Mothers' Union, Women's Guild, and Girls' Guild, Dame Nkem Ikeakor and the entire Women Organizations deserve our special commendation. In line with our Harvest Policy in the Diocese, it was purely on Cash and cash basis. Nobody bought anything on credit. By the special Grace of God, over eleven million naira was raised through our 2012 Diocesan Harvest and Bazaar as against two million plus raised previous years. 

It was not a cash harvest as “new and strange adaptations” we have started promoting in our Churches today, rather it was “Cash and Carry Harvest”. Let me re-emphasize it here that for optimal performance and productivity, the Joint Diocesan Harvest will not be an annual event. We will be having it at Church levels as we have been doing every year. The next Joint Diocesan Harvest will be held in 2015.

xii.       COMMISSIONING OF THE DIOCESAN CYBER CAFÉ:

You may recall that in March, 2011 we dedicated our Diocesan Media Centre, and in May the same year, the Centre published the first edition of our Diocesan Newspaper called “SURE ANCHOR NEWS”. This has been registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission as a Limited Liability Company.  An ISSN has also been issued to her. The Diocese added yet another feather to her cap this year by installing and commissioning a functional CYBER CAFÉ at the Diocesan Media Centre.  The Cyber Café apart from offering online services to the general public offers internet connectivity to the Diocesan Central Office, the Bishopscourt, and Holy Child Convent. It was commissioned and dedicated on March 1, 2012 by us. You can now do your browsing, Register for JAMB, WASCE, and also check results from the Centre.  We commend Revd. Canon Chukwuebuka Chukwuemeka for all his efforts and his team of staff. We now pay salaries of Diocesan Secretariat staff from our office on line without going to the Bank.

xiii.      VALENTINE BANQUET:

The 2012 edition of this special programme designed to celebrate real Biblical love among couples and singles was held gloriously on Sunday 12th February, 2012.  We usually hold this function on any Sunday very close to 14th February. Over one thousand people participated in the event this year.  It was a very lively spirit-filled and Godly fun-filled occasion. The popular Gospel Artistes, Evang. Chuks Chidubem [This Kind God] from Lagos; and Evang. & Mrs. Nnamdi Okafor [Chinad Group] from Enugu were quite on hand to move the crowd to sing and dance to the Glory of God. The Kingdom Life Drama Group from Onitsha also featured prominently. The high point of the occasion was the healing of many marriages that were either struggling to exist or were at the verge of collapse; the conversion of many souls especially the youths through the Word of God; and the Rescue of many young people from imminent mistakes majority of youths make through practical interactive session.  You can partner with the Diocese by providing Rice, bottled water, Drinks, Cows, etc. to give next year's edition a greater impetus.

xiv.      WIDOWS CHRISTMAS PARTY:

The Diocese organized in a grand and impactful manner a special Christmas Party for all widows on 22nd December, 2011 at the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi.  These wonderful women were given a treat by providing for them spiritually and physically. They were fed with the Word of God, given physical food; and sent home with the one piece of Nigerian block [wax], and half bag of rice each. I am very glad that the Diocese could put beaming smiles on the faces of over four hundred widows through the support of the Knights and Ladies; Women Organization; The Clergy and some Parishes. That party cost us nearly three million naira [N3m] to host. We have no regret at spending such amount of money once in a year to take care of that category of people. One of the notable things that happened on that day in addition to shedding tears of joy, and dancing flamboyantly by the women, was that as the news of what was happening in the Cathedral filtered into the town, other widows from other sister denominations besieged the Cathedral to partake in the largesse.  Thank God they were not discriminated against though it made the Bishop to run away earlier than he planned when the number kept up surging up and materials for distribution depleted.

Honestly speaking, we are wondering what will happen this year and how to cope with the number that will come. I am therefore appealing passionately to individuals, groups, organizations within and outside the Diocese to please be part of this Practical Welfare Evangelism. We need not less than five hundred bags of Rice, one thousand Pieces of Wrapper, and many Cartons of Milk and tomatoes for this year's edition. Remember that the Holy Bible said that whosoever gives to the poor lends to God [Proverbs 19:17; and 28:27].

xv.       2012 WAILING WOMEN PRAYER SUMMIT:

The 2012 edition of the “Wailing Women Prayer Summit” was held from Thursday 19th to Sunday 22nd April, 2012 at the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi with the Theme “BE STILL …” [Psalm 46:10]. It was purely as usual a Prayer Gathering where women both single and married converged to intercede and agonize in prayer on behalf of themselves, families, the Church and our Nation Nigeria. Women came in great numbers from different parts of this Country, and from different denominations for four days to stand in the Gap. The attendance this year was very awesome and twenty women testified to the Glory of God, the wondrous and miraculous things God did for them during the 2011 edition of the programme.  This programme to the sole Glory of God has impacted greatly and positively on the lives, families, circumstances of the participants over the years. I must not fail to thank the President of the Mothers Union, Women's Guild, and Girls' Guild, Dame Nkem Ikeakor who raised a very powerful secret Prayer Team that sustained the programme in prayers for many weeks.  We also thank my Programme Packaging Team [PPT] for working round the clock to see that everything was in place and according to plan. The wives of the Clergy of this Diocese did wonderfully well in their publicity and mobilization led by Mrs. Esther Maduka. May the Almighty and Gracious God in whose vineyard you have labored and are still laboring continue to shower His blessings upon all of you in Jesus Christ Name.  Amen.

 

xvi.      INAUGURATION OF ARCHDEACONRIES, INSTALLATION AND INSTITUTION OF THEIR ARCHDEACONS:

Following the creation of six new Archdeaconries during the first session of our first Synod in June 2009, the new Archdeaconries having been nurtured to full strength were officially inaugurated immediately after our Synod last year.

S/N

ARCHDEACONRY

DATE OF INAUGURATION

PIONEER ARCHDEACON INSTALLED

1.

AMICHI-WEST

26TH JUNE, 2011

VEN. DR. JOHNSON MADUKA

2.

EKWULUMILI

3RD JULY, 2011

VEN. GODWIN OKAFOR

3.

EBENATOR

10TH JULY, 2011

VEN. JONATHAN UMEASIEGBU

4.

AMICHI

17TH JULY, 2011

VEN. ANTHONY UCHEMEREOLE

5.

AZIGBO

24TH JULY, 2011

VEN. AUGUSTINE OJUKWU

6.

UNUBI

27TH NOVEMBER, 2011

VEN. CHUKWUMA AKAM.

 

Ven. Nnamdi Amutaigwe was installed as the fourth Archdeacon for Ezinifite Archdeaconry on 15th January, 2012. We commend these servants of God to the Grace of the Almighty God as they serve Him and His Redeemed people.

xvii.     WEDDING AND GIFT OF NEW BABIES:

We thank God for the Church wedding of some of our Clergymen in the Diocese.  They include:

i.                    Revd.  Festus & Nwamaka Ewenike            -         4th June, 2011          

ii.                  Revd. Samuel & Obioma Omuka               -          3rd September, 2011

iii.                Revd. Paschal & Adaeze Umeoduagu       -          5th November, 2011

iv.                Revd. Chukwunonso & Mrs Chijindu         -          12th April, 2012.

As we congratulate these new couples, we pray that their marriage and families shall be a model for other young people and Church members to emulate in Jesus Christ Name.  Amen.

The Almighty God in His infinite mercy blessed some of our Clergymen and their wives with the gift of Children.  They are:

i.                    Revd. & Mrs. Festus Ewenike

ii.                  Revd. & Mrs. Godson Ugochukwu

iii.                Revd. & Mrs. Chukwunonso Okwuorah

iv.                Revd. & Mrs. Chukwuekezie

v.                  Revd. & Mrs. Samuel Nzowu.

Together with these families, we thank God from whom all blessings flow, and congratulate them warmly.

 

PROJECTS.

DIOCESAN HOSPITAL:

I have read earlier on in this address that the Diocese has finally signed ‘The Deed of Transfer” of the hospital with Akurueuno Social Club of Amichi. This then implies that the Hospital now belongs to the Diocese. As a result of this cheering development, full renovation, restructuring and development of the hospital have started in earnest. The roofs of all the wards are undergoing full re-roofing with long-span aluminum roofing sheets. Both the woods, wood-work, and Zinc are removed entirely. The work is going on in stages.  A visit to the hospital by anybody will definitely gladden his/her heart. We have also started erecting modern doctors' residences in the Premises so that our doctors will be resident in the hospital to enhance optimum performance and productivity. No small thanks to many of the Knights and ladies who responded beyond our imagination during their Retreat at Agbarha-otor. Two Knights – Sir & Lady Chika Ezenwile and Sir Isaac Kinze Okonkwo sponsored full renovation of each ward individually at the cost of one million, eight hundred thousand naira [N1.8m]; while another two – Sir Engr. Igweka Uche and Sir Engr. Ochubili jointly sponsored the renovation of one ward at the same cost. Others donated handsomely towards the Project. May the good and gracious Lord Jesus Christ continue to make His face to shine upon you and all yours now and always.

The Project is not reserved exclusively for the Knights and Ladies only. It is for every member of this Diocese. This is why I am passionately imploring all of us here to allow God to use you and your resources in this Synod to partner with us in establishing a modern state of the art hospital to cater for the health needs of the people from near and far. The Hospital needs modern medical equipment, Hospital and Laboratory Gadgets.  There are so many things to build including Nursing school. So when you hear that we are launching Diocesan Development projects, this is one of them and you are aware that to have a modern, well-equipped, and Functional Hospital is a very capital intensive Project which requires hundreds of millions of naira to execute. I am convinced that there are people here and in this Diocese who can make these things happen without much struggle.  Let us join hands as a people to save lives and give hope to our people through seasoned Medicare.  Let me thank

Specially Sir Dr. Eddy Agbsimelo, and Dr. Okwudili Obiadazie for the good works they are doing there. 

 

HOLY CHILD CONVENT HOSTEL PROJECT:

Work is steadily going on in the hostel building which when completed, will conveniently house and accommodate more than one thousand students. The ceiling work has been completed. The plastering is nearing full completion. The iron doors have been installed. In fact, God is making a name for Himself there through the instrumentality of the Principal, M/s Ijeoma Ndoeche, and the Board of Governors of the School. I believe the Principal will give us full detail when she presents her report to the Synod.  But suffice it to be said here that we have resolved God being our helper that the Hostel building which has gulped almost one hundred million naira will be completed by September this year. The Diocese through myself has promised to provide a 50KVA Sound Proof Generator, and also paint the School if other works are completed before then. 

LAND ACQUISITION:

a.         IFITE-AWKA LAND: By the special Grace of God, the Diocese bought six plots of land at Ifite Awka for erecting students Hostel in future. The total expenditure in acquiring the said land was little lower that eleven million naira [N11.m]. All the documentations and updating of the papers legally have been done. Let's thank officially the Secretary of the Diocesan Investment Committee, Sir Emma Okafor, and our Diocesan Legal Secretary, Barr I.E.C. Alajuruonye for their determination and sacrifices in making this a reality.  This land was acquired in December last year. A dwarf wall has been erected on the land.

b.         AFUBE-AMICHI LAND:

            God has miraculously made a way for us at Afube-Amichi by making it possible for the Diocese to buy sixteen plots of table land just opposite Christ Church, Amichi.  The land was bought at twenty million naira [N20m], but the full cost including survey, and other traditional rites is about twenty million, three hundred thousand naira only. The land has been fenced right round at the cost of three million, five hundred thousand naira [N3.5m].  All the legal documents have been signed.

c.         UTUH LAND:

            Recently, it was discovered that a very large expanse of land given to our Church by Utuh town has been lying fallow and unoccupied, and people have started to encroach on the land gradually. There was even a threat of reclaiming the land since the Anglican Church they gave the land was not interested in taking full possession of the land, and developing it. When we called for the documents of the land through the Priest at Holy Trinity Church, Utuh and discovered that it was true, The Diocese decided to take actual and full possession of the said land by fencing it right round. The cost of fencing the land including installing two gates there is put at four million naira [N4m].  We thank God for Revd. Samuel Nzowu, and Sir Chidi Onumajuru who are the Parish Priest and Chairman of works Committee of Holy Trinity Church, Utuh respectively. We also thank all our members there for their full co-operation. This land is between eighteen to twenty plots of land.

d.         UNUBI LAND: 

            The people of Unubi town as we read in our previous Presidential Address gave a very large expanse of land for one of the Projects we want to site in that place in the near future. We have directed that a letter of acceptance and appreciation be written to them. We implore other towns to emulate this good gesture and donate lands to us because the Diocese has so many projects at heart.

e.         EKWULUMILI LAND:

            This land is where the Diocese will build a standard Retreat and Conference Centre.  No work has been done on this land this year because of the leanness of fund, and the urgency that the other projects we have mentioned needed. I want to appeal to our members in Ekwulumili not to fold their hands waiting for the Diocese to take full financial responsibility in developing the site. I appeal to them to borrow a leaf from Amichi; and Osumenyi People. Amichi Anglicans gave land for the Convent, and at the same time undertook the building of the Convent until when the Diocese stepped in. Likewise Osumenyi Anglicans gave land for the Seminary and built the grand floor and decked it, and also built all the structures in the re-located Omaigwe Central School, and Christ the King Nursery/Primary School. Ekwulumili Anglicans don't wait entirely for the Diocese. You can take the completion of the Fencing work, while we mobilize fund for the full Project.

            In order to systematically locate funds, and aptly apply its utilization in carrying on with our numerous projects confronting us as a Young Diocese, we on 4th December, 2011 at St. Stephen's Anglican Church, Osumenyi during our Advent Ordination Service did inaugurate:

 -          Diocesan Endowment Committee, with Sir Emma Okoli as Chairman.

-           Diocesan Investment Committee, with Revd. Prof. Anayo Nkamnebe as    Chairman, and

-           Board of Governors of Master's Vessel Seminary, with Sir Dr. U.C. Nzewi as Chairman.

 

RETIREMENT:

It is always a joyful and thankful thing for somebody to be alive to see his/her retirement from active service.  We received a letter from the Superannuation office notifying us that one of us; Revd. Canon Enoch .S. Umeoranefo will meritoriously retire from active service on 31st December, 2012. We pray for God's continued favour and Grace in his post retirement life.

ANGLICAN CLERGY VESTMENTS – OUR STAND:

The Anglican Church is a Church anchored on the Holy Bible for her doctrines and liturgy. She is also a Church which operates with history and Ancient Church tradition. The Anglican Priest right from origin has standard Clerical outfits and vestment. But alarmingly, the level of recklessness and unconventionality in the dress code of Anglican Clergymen is becoming worrisome. You can now hardly distinguish between an Anglican Priest and a Roman Catholic Reverend Father. Neither can you tell the difference between an Anglican Clergyman and the self-made and self-styled New generation Pastors. All these aberrations are done in the name of modernism, and trying to belong. The question then is belong to where? Based on the foregoing, I want to state categorically that NO Priest from any Diocese will be allowed to either join in any procession or officiate in this Diocese if he wears Cassock without Collar. Why on earth should a Priest who was ordained with collar drop the same after his ordination in the name of being fashionable and free in appearance.  Secondly, we have abolished the use of cotta-surplice in the Diocese. If a Clergyman wears his Cassock on top of trousers, the trousers must be tucked inside the stockings. The approved Clerical shirts are black and ash-colours only. Cassocks with alb are not also allowed. Wearing of Cassock without stockings, and with any other colour of shoe rather than black is also unacceptable in this Diocese. We also don't accept using Nigerian wax to sew collared shirt and inserting collar in it. Any Priestly service involving the use of Preaching scarf will be accompanied with hood. No Clergyman is allowed to conduct burial/funeral service with Chasuble or Preaching scarf. The new trend of administering Holy Communion during burial or funeral is not also approved.

In another development, anybody ordained in any Diocese without our knowledge and consent will not be allowed to officiate in the Diocese. Also, the strange development where somebody is not sponsored to Theological College or Seminary by any Diocese, rather he moves around scouting for which Bishop that will ordain him is completely UnAnglican and so such person will not officiate here in this Diocese. Our tradition and heritage is that a person is selected to work as a Church Teacher in a Diocese, and after some years if the Bishop and his examining Chaplains find such a person very competent and useful, the Diocese will send such a candidate to a recognized Theological institution. Then after completing his Theological training is ordained by the sending Bishop. The time to save the Anglican Church from loosing her full identity and ministerial tradition is now.

Having said this, may I appeal to our members in different Dioceses who invite Clergymen from such places to please make this stand known to any Priest you are inviting to your function so as to avoid seeming embarrassment. Ignorance they told us is not an excuse for committing an offence. 

We welcome gladly Clergy from other Dioceses so far as this our stand is respected. May I also appeal to our Fathers in God, the Bishops to look into the attire and vestments of our Priests so as to save the Anglican Church from embarrassment. 

CONFIRMATION AND ADMISSIONS STATISTICS:

Below is the statistics for Confirmation and Admissions into Mothers' Union, Women's Guild and Girls' Guild within the Synod year under review.

 

 

 

 

 APPROVAL OF OUR DIOCESAN CONSTITUTION:

We give all the glory to God for the great thing He has done for us. In September, 2011 during the General Synod of Church of Nigeria [Anglican Communion] at Archbishop Vining Memorial Cathedral, Ikeja Lagos, the Draft Constitution of the Diocese of Amichi was approved in principle by the Committee of Reference. Due to the wonderful and detailed corrections done by our Chancellor, Hon. Justice G.C. Anulude, and the Legal Secretary, Barr. I.E.C. Alajuruonye which impressed the Church of Nigeria Committee of Reference, the full and total approval was given at the Standing Committee Meeting held 14th – 18th February, 2012. We also thank the Registrar of Church of Nigeria [Anglican Communion], Barr. Abraham Yisa. We now have our own constitution. This then means that we will no longer be using the Constitution of Nnewi Mutatis Mutandis as the case has been.

CREATION OF PARISHES:

For the purposes of people-oriented and grassroot Evangelism in the Diocese, we have decided to upgrade the following Churches to Parish Status:

i.          Church of Divine Compassion, Amichi

ii.         St. Andrew's Church, Unubi, and

iii.        Christ Church, Odikpi;  All Saints' Church, Obiofia is now under Odikpi Parish.

 

 

DIOCESAN NEW CAR:

Last year, we did report to the Synod that the MURANO Car the Bishop was using was being over-stressed. That led to the Synod unanimously approving that a brand new car be bought for Bishop's use. May I here and now report that a brand new 2011 PRADO LANDCRUISER JEEP has been bought since last year. To God be all the Glory who made the fund available.  This has actually enhanced the Bishop's work in no small measure.

BAN OF BUYING/DRIVING JEEP BY PRIESTS:

We have watched with utmost dismay and disenchantment, the reckless and senseless level of materialism and worldliness prevalent among the Clergy in our Churches, and have decided under God to bring some sanity in the ordained ministry. All Clergymen in this Diocese are banned from buying, or owning a jeep of any class unless such a Clergyman has built a personal house in his village. A situation where a Clergyman is cruising on a very exotic and expensive car without having a comfortable roof over his head at home will no longer be tolerated. Enough of this madness among the Priests. I know that for now, we don't have non-stipendiary Priests here, so you cannot tell me that you can afford it. Even if it is a gift, it is not allowed. Purchase of any car that costs more than a million naira is not also allowed until you have a house.

 

THE STATE OF THE NATION – NIGERIA.

ANAMBRA STATE:

DEMISE OF DIM CHUKWUEMEKA ODIMEGWU OJUKWU:

We want to use this medium to commiserate with the whole of the Igbo race for the demise of Eze Igbo gburugburu, Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwukwu whose remains were laid to rest in his home town Nnewi, Anambra State. Special thanks should also go to the Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi for ensuring that the former Igbo leader was given a befitting burial. Let us also remind our governor and other South-eastern governors that it is not just enough burying Ojukwu with flamboyant and funeral rites. They should go beyond that by making sure that he is meaningfully immortalized. The Federal government ought to think out some cardinal institutions like University, stadium, Airport, Major streets in Abuja and Lagos to be named after this great hero of our dear country, Nigeria.

RETURN OF SCHOOLS TO MISSION:

According to the Scripture, God makes all things beautiful in His own time. The Anambra State Government under the able leadership of Governor Peter Obi practically returned schools formerly owned by Churches to their original owners. I must sincerely commend our Governor for such bold step he took. There is no gainsaying the fact that government cannot manage schools if we all want a useful rescue and restoration to take place in the education sector. This country of ours can only come back to the part of progress and positive advancement whenever we start to tell ourselves the transparent truth about the state of things. Teachers in public schools are not only willing but also not ready to be committed to teaching ethics and standards. This accounts for the reason they vehemently opposed the return of schools to their original owner – the Church. They practically, know that if the mission takes over the management of school, it is either they sit up and teach, or be ready to be shown the way out.  Looking at the state of things in these returned schools, academically, morally, infrastructurally, one needs a lion's courage to delve into this ocean of disillusionship. But we still know that with God all things are possible. Out of the whole schools handed over, our Diocese got ten primary schools back. We appreciate the Governor for releasing the first tranche of Grants for gradual renovation of these schools. 

On the other hand, looking into the list of schools handed over it was discovered to our utmost shock that the Roman Catholic Mission claimed almost all the schools built by various communities in Anambra state as the schools they owned originally. They even went ahead to claim the L A schools built by Government Agencies.  Why on earth should a Christian denomination which is supposed to be a beacon for truth and honesty resort to lying and deceit. Thank God the state Governor has promised to correct the grievous anomaly. 

 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTION IN ANAMBRA STATE:

In as much as we continue to commend the Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi for the good works he is doing in the state, yet it still beats one's imagination why the government of Anambra state has bluntly refused to conduct Local Government Council Elections.  Democratic governance is all about the masses and their welfare. There is no way the state government can claim to be reaching the grassroot for development if we do not have elected local government officials running the affairs of the council. May I once again as I did in my address last year appeal to our Governor to please listen to the voice of Anambranians and conduct the local government Election. I know you as a man of integrity, and this is one of things that if you do it will give more honour, and integrity. I am not interested in any particular candidate, but let the right thing be done.

ICHIDA – AZIGBO – AMICHI – AKWAIHEDI ROAD:

It was with an indescribable enthusiasm that we jubilated when the contract for the construction of the above-mentioned road was awarded. All the people from those towns through which the road will go heaved a sigh of relief that succour has eventually come their way. Regrettably, this joy was short-lived when people have watched helplessly for almost two years without seeing any meaningful work done on the road. The initial excuse we got last year when we complained was that the rains had set in. We were however assured that immediately the rains were over, work will commence with top speed.  But till now, this once-joyful development has become a source of sorrow and depression to the villagers. My greatest area of worry is the Akwaihedi axis of the road.  If nothing drastic and urgent is done, I am seriously afraid of the devastation we will have in that area. The land surface that was somehow resisting the flood has been scrapped by the Construction Company making the whole area very vulnerable to erosion and flood disaster. I am sending through this Presidential Address a “Save Our Soul” message to our Governor to speedily look into this matter before a major Disaster and Emergency situation arises.

MPIAWAZU GROUP IN THE STATE:

When His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi, the Governor of Anambra State came on board newly, one of the very first menace and abnormality you fought against was the menace of touts at motor parks in Onitsha. Residents of the city heaved a sigh of relief when the Governor eventually dislodged them and brought reasonable sanity in Onitsha. To peoples greatest surprise and dismay, after about six years of achieving this feat, another group of people who are doing almost the same thing those touts were doing has emerged in the State Christened “Ndi Mpiawazu”. They operate with impunity, and in a most crude and violent manner with no regard to human dignity and sanity of mind. The difference in what they do now is that they seem to enjoy the backing of the state government. The only way I can describe what is happening in Onitsha with this group of people is that the state government just sold her dogs, and bought monkeys. Can she really say that she has got rid of squatting animals in her house? Whatever their work is, the state government should as a matter of urgency look into the modus operandi of this group with the sole aim of sanitizing what they are doing. We live in the twenty first Century when things should be done decently and in order. Beating and harassing people indiscriminately without recourse to law is purely barbaric, and unacceptable. A stitch in time they say saves nine.

SECURITY SITUATION IN NIGERIA:

Let us start by first of all thanking God that till today, we still have this federal entity called Nigeria. May I also sincerely commend our dear President, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for being focused and tactical in handling the challenging and embarrassing security situation in our dear Country. Evil has never triumphed, and can never triumph over good. In the same vein, I want to remind our dear President that we only have one country called Nigeria, and so should not allow desperate and depressed group of people to destroy this Nation in his hands. While being careful and tactical is highly commendable, he should as a matter of fact be firm, bold, and decisive in dealing with the Islamic sect called Boko Haram. A situation where Christians can no longer worship in their Churches in the Northern part of Nigeria without fear is completely unwelcome and unacceptable. While we are praying for Mr. President in this trying period, we also ask you Sir to meticulously look into the security agencies and their operational mode, and sincere loyalty. I am personally suspecting that the security agencies have been grossly infiltrated.

Secondly, anybody suggesting dialogue with the Boko Haram sect is an enemy to this great country. It boils down then that anybody who wants a negotiation with the Federal Government should take to crimes and criminality. A group of people rises up and tells you that they don't need education, and also their religion should be imposed on people of other religious faith, and you call them for negotiation. One day people will suggest that we call armed robbers, kidnappers and drug barons to a round table negotiation. Terrorism is an act of criminality and should be dealt with as such. I think it is very pertinent here to remark that leaders from the Northern Nigeria are not doing their work, and so not helping matters at all. We are talking about political, religious, and traditional rulers especially those of them who are Moslems. It is also important to remind them that patience of every human being has elasticity limit. Christianity has no iota of cowardice in it only that the Christian faith values and respects the sanctity and sacredness of human life. This does not in any way suggest that Christian leaders can guarantee perpetual calming of the youths when they continue to watch their innocent parents and siblings killed without any sensible and justifiable cause. On 1st October, 2010, it was bombing during Nigeria Independence celebration at Abuja; 16th June, 2011, The Force Headquarters of the Nigerian police was bombed; on 26th August, 2011, The UN Headquarters at Abuja was bombed; 25th December, 2011 [Christmas Day] St. Theresa's Roman Catholic Church, Madalla was bombed; 8th April, 2012 [Easter Sunday Christians were bombed in Kaduna; 26th April, 2012, This Day Newspaper Office, and Daily Sun Office were bombed in Abuja and Kaduna respectively, and on 3rd May, 2012, there was senseless massacre of traders from different parts of the Country at the Potiskum Cattle Market. For how long will this continue? In all these attacks and multitude of others not chronicled here, hundreds of lives were lost, and therefore wasted. The government at both federal and state levels should as a matter of urgency and obligation rise to the Constitutional demand of protection of lives and properties of her citizenry. One critical message we want to pass to the leaders of Northern Nigeria and their subjects is for them to realize and come to terms with the fact that nobody had ever eaten his/her cake and still had it. After destroying the Economy of their region, destroying their education sector, through bombing of schools, scaring investors away through creating insecure business and investment environment, let them for no reason come back in the years ahead to complain of marginalization and backwardness. The easiest way to keep their region perpetually backward is to continue to either support covertly or keep “hypocritical silence” over what is happening now. If anybody thinks that he is fighting President Goodluck Jonathan to destabilize his administration, the person should rather have a rethink.  We said so because Dr. Goodluck Jonathan will one day complete his tenure in office as the President of Nigeria, but what has been done has been done.

On the other hand, the level and rate at which bank robbery, kidnapping, assassination, and armed banditry are going on with their attendant sophistication, and helpless way our security agencies are watching calls for both worry and co-ordinated meaningful action from the government. Almost everyday, you read on the pages of Newspapers of broad day Bank robberies and several lives wasted in the process. May I at this point say that the solution to this insecurity does not lie in changing uniform for the Police or other security agencies.  It is time for the Federal Government to take the bull by its horns. What is the monthly salary of a police officer in Nigeria? What does their welfare scheme including pension look like?  How are the families of deceased police officers or other security agency officers taken care of by the Government? If a serving policeman or woman is seriously sick, who picks his medical bills?  What type of Gadgets and ammunitions do they have at their disposal to confront these hoodlums? What type of training and re-training do we give to our security agents in Nigeria? One of our greatest security embarrassments is that our security agencies are trained as Reactive Security agents instead of Proactive security agents. Nigeria Security agencies will wait until there is bomb blast, sophisticated Robbery incident, or Kidnapping before they start running helter-skelter. This is never the case  in developed or even developing Countries. If a man is poorly remunerated, and he is not sure of what becomes of his family in the case of the worst happening, the traditional sensible attitude is always depression, non-challance, and even at the extreme sabotage. A federal law maker who sits in a fully air-conditioned legislative chamber, air conditioned office and cars, goes home with millions of naira at the end of each month, but the policemen who risk their lives day and night providing security for him and his family go home with Peanuts.  It is time to give security the attention it deserves and demands, and that must not start with the provision of state-of-the art armoury, rather it should start with reviewing the salaries and entitlements of our security personnel. Again, the manner of Recruitment, and Training of our security apparatus should be completely overhauled. 

In this same vein, the State Security Services [SSS] in the country needs re-examination again. This Security apparatus to the best of my understanding and knowledge is most specialized, professionally trained, and technically positioned secretly to unravel challenging security situations and circumstances.  In as much as we commend their efforts so far, but the level of their professional competence is still a source of worry to many. This latest development where the SSS goes on Television and Radio to educate the citizenry on Boko Haram is very worrisome. This in any way does not fall within the operational jurisdiction of a highly professional competent SSS. We have National Orientation Agency [NOA], and even the ministry of Information who educate the public on the state of and events in a country. The SSS does not operate overtly let alone placing Radio and Television announcements.

 

CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA – A DO OR DIE BATTLE:

When the Holy Scripture [Bible] says “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people” [Proverb 29:2]; It is not speaking any parable or philosophical jargon. A sincere x-ray of the state of our dear Country concretely attests to the truth of the Word of God. The greatest achievement the present administration will make is to give this multi-faceted monster called Corruption a total headlong and practical sacred-cow-free fights it deserves. The lip service our leaders are paying to fight against Corruption is a very worrisome development. Without being economical with the truth, every aspect of our national life is held to ransom by this. We have Economic and Financial corruption; Political corruption; Judicial corruption; Legislative corruption; Education corruption, etc. Our Public and Civil service is not left out of the mess. Millions of tax payers money are plunged every now and then into setting up panels of inquiries without making out anything meaningful and concrete from these panels. What has happened to the findings and recommendations of the famous OPUTA PANEL? What of the Justice Alfa Belgore Commission/Panel and its findings? Now we are watching another shocking drama unfolding through the various committees of the National Assembly. The oil subsidy scam; The Pension Scheme Scam; The Security and Exchange Commission shocker; and even the Privatization miscarriage.

Recently, we read in one of our national dailies wherein the National Assembly was quoted as saying that they are not ready to prosecute the indicted cabals of the oil subsidy scam.  If this is true, I think that Nigerians should loose confidence in human leaders and begin to look up to God as we see in Psalm 121:

“I will lift up my eyes unto the hills. From where does my help come? My hope comes from the Almighty God who made the Heavens and the Earth”.  [Psalm 121:1 & 2].

This was the situation some of us envisaged when the oil subsidy was proposed for removal. We said and still say that there is nothing absolutely wrong in removing the subsidy, but let the right things be done first. One of such right things is to fight corruption to a standstill before the removal. This is to make sure that the funds that we accrue from the subsidy removal do not end up in the pocket of Post-subsidy Cabal.  Palliatives are not what we need in Nigeria. We need transparent, judicious, and pragmatic management of our resources.

Another depressing dimension to the already disturbing issue is the state of our Judiciary. The most recent embarrassment and bitter pill gotten from our Judicial system is where a man arraigned with one hundred and seventy count charges in Nigerian Court was discharged and given a clean slate by ruling that he has no case to answer, whereas the same was convicted outside the borders of our Judicial system. How many former political office-holders indicted for one financial crime or the other have been convicted? The zeal and unbridled audacity many Nigerian Lawyers exhibit in jostling for being counsels to people indicted for glaring financial crimes and impropriety is indeed a very serious source of worry. Our education system has completely nose-dived into abysmal degradation. Paper instead of functional academic qualification has become the order of the day. We are not only battling with massive unemployment rate in the country, but our institutions of higher learning are busy turning out unemployable graduates into our Labour Market.  Treating of simple typhoid or malaria has been an uphill task for many new generation doctors in this country. Let me not discourage us more by digging deeper into the level of failure we have in our infrastructures. The only challenge am presenting to our dear President, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is to courageously and doggedly fight this monster of corruption. No doubt, it has not been and will not be easy, but with God on your side, it is very possible. Mordecci said to Esther, “…Yet who knows whether you have come to the Kingdom for such a time as this?” [Esther 4:14b].  Be assured of our continued fervent Prayers and intercessions.

THE THEME OF THE SYNOD:

“Giving – The Blessings;  The Challenges; and the Opportunities.”  [Genesis 22:1 – 18].

Before discussing this year's Synod them, may I refresh our memories on the previous Themes we have used in the three sessions of our first Synod.  During the first session of the first Synod held at St. Stephen's Anglican Church, Osumenyi, the theme was “Choose ye this day whom you shall serve.” [Joshua 24:15]. At the Cathedral in 2010 where the second session of the first synod was held, the theme was, “The Church; the Bible; and the Traditions of Men – Which Way?” Last year 2011 at Ebenezer Church, Unubi during the third session of the first Synod, the Lord led us to use as our theme, “You are the light of the World”. [Matthew 5:14 – 16]. This year's Synod theme as have been shown above is: “Giving – The Blessings; The Challenges; and The Opportunities”.  [Genesis 22:1 – 18]

According to The Chambers Dictionary, GIVE means: To bestow, To impact, To yield, To grant, To donate, To permit, To afford/provide, To pay or render [thanks etc.], To pronounce [a judgment or decision], To show [a result], To apply [oneself], To allow or admit. We have outlined these meanings of ‘Give' because at one point or the other we will actually discover in the course of our discourse an aspect of Giving that correspond with those meanings.

In 1998, one of the popular Devotionals for Reading and Studying the Bible has as a topic for meditation one morning that really caught my attention, and has made me to understand the importance and deep meaning of Giving. The topic was “WHO KILLED THE DEAD SEA?” The conclusion was “Because the dead sea receives water from River Nile, River Jordan, Sea of Galilee, and even the Red sea; and does not have any outlet for giving out water to anywhere, when all these waters collected from different sources remained for long, they mixed up and killed any living thing in the sea.  It is because no living animals, or fish is found in that sea till date that it is called “THE DEAD SEA”. The summary of the writer was “The Dead Sea killed itself”.

WHAT THEN IS GIVING?

            “Sometime later God tested Abraham.

            He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied.

            Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac,

            whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah.

            Sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains

I will tell you about,” [Genesis 22:1 – 2].

 

->         Giving means letting go who God has given to you for God's services.

->         Giving is sacrificing what is very precious to you for the will of God to be done.

->         Giving is worshipping God with what He has blessed you with.

Abraham said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there.  We will Worship and then we will come back to you.”

[Genesis 22:5]

->         Giving also means giving back to God what came from Him to us.

 

            “Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation:

            and David said, Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our father, for

            ever and  ever.  Thine, o Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and

            the glory, and the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in heaven

            and in the earth is thine; thine is the Kingdom, o Lord and thou art

exalted as head above all.  Both riches and home come of thee …

But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer

 so willingly after this sort?  For all things come from thee, and of thine

own have we given thee.”  [1 Chronicles 29:11 – 13].

This reveals that nobody has anything to boast about when he/she gives anything to God in His Church, to people in the society.

Giving means living like God or if you like emulating God.  The Scripture is replete with Giving Character or Nature of God from Genesis to Revelation.

            In Genesis 1:29 – 30 we read:

            Then God said, “I now give you every seed-bearing plant on the face

of the entire earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.  They

will be yours for food.  And to all the animals of the earth, and to every

bird of the air, and to all the creatures that move on the ground,

everything that has breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food.”

John 3:16 summarized the Giving nature of God to the point of giving

His only begotten son for mankind. 

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that

Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

 

Giving is nothing more than imitating God. Everything about God in the Holy Bible is Giving. Giving is also releasing what you have to God for His use in spreading the Gospel, and advancing the Kingdom of Christ on earth. Peter in Luke 5:1 – 8, released his ship to our Lord Jesus Christ for the purpose of Preaching the Gospel though it was neither easy nor convenient for him.

            “And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon Him to hear

the word of God, He stood by the lake of Gennesaret, and saw two

ships standing by the lake; but the fishermen were gone out of them,

and were washing their nets.  And He entered into one of the ships,

which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little

from the land.  And He sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.”

[Luke 5:1 – 3].

 

Furthermore, Giving is making something that is costly to you available for God's use and His service.  This can be seen in what Mary did in John 12:1 – 3, which states:

 

            Then six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where

Lazarus which had been dead, who He raised from the dead.  There

they made Him a supper; and Martha served:  but Lazarus was one

 of them that sat at table with Him.  Then took Mary a pound of

ointment of  spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus,

and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the

fragrance of the ointment.

 

This place also reveals that Giving means surrendering everything we value and cherish so much to Jesus Christ just as Mary also used her hair which is so precious and valuable to every woman.

According to Revd. John Schmidt, “God is a giver, and there is no worthier goal in life than to give like God gives”. Giving means making sacrifices. Giving means becoming more like God. God is the perfect giver. No one can ever out-give God. God has given us everything. God has given us life. God has given us restored relationship with Himself. God has given us forgiveness of our sins. God has given us His Holy Spirit so that we can actually have an experience of God inside of our lives. God gives us wisdom. He gives us power to do so many things in life.  God gives us material things when we need them.  He gives us peace.

In fact, every good thing we receive in life is ultimately given by God. God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. God gives. Therefore, there is no higher calling in life, no worthier a goal than to be like God, and part of being like God is giving like God gives.

WHO SHOULD GIVE?

This question has become so pertinent as it is very useful. This is so because most of the times once you mention Giving anywhere whether in the Church or outside the Church, the overt or covert reaction has been that it is for the wealthy and the comfortable ones. Without trying to exalt my opinion above our varied and established prejudices, let us answer the question above from the Word of God. In 2 Corinthians Chapter 8:1 – 5 it is written:

            “Moreover, brethren, we want you to know about the grace that God

has given the Mecedonian Churches.  Out of the most severe trial,

their overflowing joy and their Extreme Poverty welled up in rich

generosity.  For I testify that they gave as much as they were able,

and even beyond their ability.  Entirely on their own, they urgently

pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the

saints.  And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves

first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's Will.”

 

This Macedonian Church was described as living in abject and extreme poverty, yet they voluntarily and joyfully gave for the work of God especially for the Church in Jerusalem that was passing through severe persecution and serious deprivation. By all human standards, this Church was not filled by affluent, professional, high-profiled members of the society.  The members were not even at any average as far as financial status was concerned. Yet they refused to be exempted from this important aspect of our worship life called Giving.  Even when the Apostle Paul, and Other apostles attempted pitying them because of their low estate financially, they refused. They really knew that giving was and still is part and parcel of the Christian Life and Faith.

In our bid to find answer to the question under review, let us look at different Bible texts and see what class of People were involved in Giving.

            “Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how

Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire.  Come

and let us build [Give] the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no

longer be a reproach.”  And I told them of the hand of my God

which had been good upon me, and also of the King's words that

he had spoken to me.  So they said, “Let us rise and build,” Then

they set their hands to this good work.”   [Nehemiah 2:17 – 18].

 

How on earth could one imagine that somebody will rise to call on a people who had been destabilized, dispossessed, dislocated and impoverished by so many years of traumatized exile experience in Babylon who just came back, and embarrassingly discovered that all that they had were completely plundered and destroyed to come and concentrate first on rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. This again reveals that giving is for everybody. Time and space will not allow us to discuss about so many people in the Bible who inspite of their challenging situations and circumstances still gave for the work of God. They include:  [i] The Priests – Nehemiah 3:1;  [ii] Zerephat  widow – 1 Kings 17:8 – 16;  [iii] The poor widow – Luke 21:1 – 4.  This particular Bible text summarizes the answer to the Question, Who should Give?  It says:

            “And He [Jesus] looked up in the Temple and saw the Rich putting

[Giving] their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain Poor

 Widow putting [Giving] in two mites.  So He said, “Truly I say to you

that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these [rich people]

out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of

 her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”

Therefore it is not only safe but also Biblical to say and conclude that Giving is for everybody that is alive.

HOW SHOULD WE GIVE?

It is one thing to give, it is another thing to do it correctly. Not every giving is acceptable to God. It is not also every giving that pleases God.  It therefore behoves us to really be very careful how we give to God so that our giving [gifts] will not be rejected by God. As children of God, we ought to have known by now that God is Not a hungry, needy, helpless beggar who has no choice than to accept whatever we give to Him, not minding however we bring it.  He is the Almighty God. He is also the All-Sufficient God. He created heaven and earth and everything in them. Therefore, every of our giving at all times should be weighed on the scales presented below in order to ascertain whether it passes the test:

a.         We should give in righteousness – Proverb 21:27;  Isaiah 66:1 – 4.

b.         We should give sacrificially – 2 Cor. 8:1 – 3;  Luke 21:1 – 3;

c.         We should give bountifully – 2 Cor. 9:6;

d.         We should give cheerfully – 2 Cor. 9:7;

e.         We should give willingly – 2 Samuel 24:24;  Exod. 25:2;

f.          We should give voluntarily – Genesis  4:3 – 4;

g.         We should give sincerely – Acts 5:1 – 11;

h.         We should give selflessly – Genesis 22:2 & 10;

i.          We should always give our best – John 3:16; Gen. 22:2;

j.          We should give for God's glory only – 1 Cor. 10:31.

THE BLESSINGS IN GIVING:

Before any reasonable and sensible person gets involved in or embarks on any venture, the most likely question such a one must ask is “What do I stand to gain from what I am embarking on? Are there benefits accruable from this?  This question is also very apt for our discourse. Are there blessing for us whenever we give to God? Let me submit here that for every child of God, Giving is living. Any day one stops giving, that person starts dying from that day. We are going to study carefully the lives and blessings of People who practiced Giving and discover the blessings they enjoyed.

 

A.        OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST:

Jesus Christ is the giver par excellence we have, and should emulate.  In Philippians Chapter 2:5 – 11, we read:

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in

the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but

made Himself of no reputation [gave His reputation and position],

taking the form of a bond servant, and coming in the likeness of man;

And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and

became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the Cross.

           Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the Name

which is above every name, that at the Name of JESUS every Knee

should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth and of those

under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus

Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

 

Jesus gave His life. He gave His comfort. He gave His reputation. In fact, He gave His all.  Peter wanted to stop him when he discovered the gravity and grievousness of the road to the Cross. Jesus refused and sacrificed his life. That offering of Himself reconciled lost mankind back to God.  His giving of His life fetched Him the Name that is above every other Name in Heaven, on Earth and under the Earth. Giving Himself and His life has brought everything everywhere to be under His authority and rulership. His giving has brought Salvation, Deliverance, Healing, Restoration, and Repositioning for all mankind.  What great blessings as a result of the Sacrifice of the second Adam, the lamb of God. His becoming the lamb for sacrifice has made the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. This is nothing but the blessing in Giving as exemplified by Christ Jesus.

B.        ABRAHAM:

Nobody can discuss giving, its blessings without anchoring such discussion, teaching or preaching on the life and person of the Patriarch, Abraham. In Genesis Chapter 22 verses 15 – 18, we read second to the highest blessing we can receive through giving to God sacrificially.

            “Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of

heaven, and said, “By Myself I have sworn says the LORD, because

 you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only

son – Blessing I will bless you, and multiplying, I will multiply your

descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the

seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gates of their

 enemies.  In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed,

because you have obeyed my voice.”

 

Abraham's giving impressed God so much that He released unprecedented promises and blessings upon him.  They include:

->         Establishing His commitment to bless Abraham by swearing by HIMSELF.

->         God declared that He must multiply Abraham in all things.

->         A trans-generational blessings upon Abraham's descendants were given to  Him. 

->         Through Abraham's Giving, God set him and his descendants perpetually above their enemies, and dispossessing them. 

->         The future blessings of the earth and entire human race was placed on Abraham's shoulder and lineage as a result of his giving.

->         He received and enjoyed God's favour and security throughout his sojourning.

 

C.         THE ZAREPHATH WIDOW:

Because this woman gave to Elijah the servant of God in 1 Kings 17:14 – 16, even in her humanly difficult and hopeless situation, God did not allow her and her household to continue in poverty. Giving saved her from death. She had earlier on told Elijah that what she was preparing was her last meal with her son, and then they will die. Giving restored her hope and her future. Giving wiped her tears and opened a new door of opportunity and miracle. This was not exclusively reserved for her alone. Whenever people anywhere have challenged God through meaningful and sacrificial Giving, they experience what this woman experienced.

 

D.        OBED-EDOM:

In the course of bringing back the Ark of the Lord from Philistine, Uzzah put out his hand to the Ark of God and took hold of it because the oxen carrying it stumbled. God struck and killed him instantly. This ignited great fear in king David that led him to search for where to keep the Ark for sometime. Obed-Edom gave his house for accommodating God's Ark even in the midst of danger and uncertainty. But what did Obed-Edom get in return?  2 Samuel chapter 6 verses 10 and 11 said:

“So David would not move the Ark of the LORD with him into the city

Of David; but David took it aside into the house of Obed-Edom the

Gittite. The ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-Edom the

 Gittite three months. And the LORD blessed Obed-Edom and all his

 household.”

Furthermore, when a woman in Matthew 26:6 – 13 anointed Jesus with a very costly fragrant oil, even though Jesus' disciples criticized or worse still condemned her, Jesus pronounced perpetual prophetic blessing upon her when He said:

            “Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this Gospel is preached in the whole

 world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”

Giving keeps one in perpetual remembrance before God. Giving attracts and establishes prophetic decree over whatever that concerns you. Giving definitely brings joy, favour, and expansion to one's life and family. Giving places a giver above his contemporaries. Giving blocks and diverts disaster. Sacrificial giving brings geometrical growth and blessings, while stinginess leads to arithmetic growth and at times stagnation. Throughout the Scripture, givers are always outstanding.  The list of the blessings we get through giving can never be exhausted.

E.         THE CHALLENGES OF GIVING:

Basically, anything from which many benefits or blessings flow must pass through challenges and tests.  In Genesis 22:1, we read: “Now it came to pass after these things that God tested [challenged] Abraham …” In verse 16, God also said:

“By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this

 thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son …”

What the Almighty God was actually telling Abraham was, “Because you have successfully passed through the challenges posed by my demand of requesting you to give your only son in your very old age, I therefore have sworn to release the Blessings that follow such Giving”.  Some of the Challenges always associated with Sacrificial Giving include:

[i]        Battle between Faith Giving, and Common-sense Giving [Gen. 4:3 – 7].

[ii]       The Challenge of Giving according to the Demand of God or dictation of the human mind. In this case, Abraham could have as well given Ishmael instead of Isaac, but the demand of God in his case was ISAAC [Gen. 22:2;  1 Kings 17:8 – 10].

[iii]      Selfless Giving or Selfish Giving. John 3:16. One of the greatest challenges we have when we want to give either directly to God through the Church, or through humanitarian services is the issue of motive. Most of our Givings knowing or unknowingly have one type of personal or selfish motive attached to it.  Until we see Giving as WORSHIP, Genesis 22:5 as Abraham did, we cannot give correctly.  Somehow, because of the wrong teachings surrounding giving from New Generation Preachers, we have unconsciously come to the point of seeing giving as Gambling with God or trading with God.  Giving primarily so that God can give you miracle is not it.

[iv]      There is also the challenge of Giving in the midst of poverty, lack or deprivation

            [Nehemiah 4;  II Corinthians 8:1 – 5]

[v]       Another challenge in Giving is Qualitative Giving as seen in Matthew 26:6 – 9. Most of our Givings are very casual, convenient, and residual Giving. Any sacrifice, offering, or gift to God which does not joyfully pain you, and leave a noticeable vacuum in your treasury is not worth presenting to God [2 Samuel 24:24].

[vi]      We are also faced with the challenge of either indulging in coercive Grudging Giving or Cheerful, Willing or liberal Giving [11 Corinthians 9:7].

[vii]     Whose glory and praise we seek whenever we give is another big challenge. [Matthew 6:1 – 4].  What exactly do we have in mind when we insist that your name or that of your family must be boldly inscribed on the things you have given to God in the Church, eg. Pews pulpit, lectern, Prayer Desk, Fans, etc.  Is it not for personal glory? Remember, Jesus Christ who is our perfect model in Giving said: “Therefore, when you give Alms or do your charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the Synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men.  Assuredly, I say to you, they have received their reward”.

Just as we said before, the Challenges in Giving are inexhaustible. May God continue to open our spiritual eyes to see more of these challenges and position ourselves properly.

F.         THE OPPORTUNITIES OF GIVING:

Giving is an integral part of the Christian life. Nobody is exempted from Giving irrespective of his/her social, financial or economic status. Opportunities abound almost everywhere for everyone of us at one time or the other to express our Gratitude to God through Giving. 

Giving is categorized into three Ts. They are Time, Talent, or Treasure.  You can give your Time; or your Talents or your Treasure. Jesus said in Matthew 9:37, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the labourers are few.” In other words, opportunities for Giving are very many, but true Givers are few especially in Anglican Church generally, and Diocese of Amichi in particular. Both the Rich and the Poor; the Haves and the Have Nots are enjoined by God to give because each has something to Give. In your family, kindred, village or town, there are poor, indigent widows, orphans, motherless children you can assist and wipe away their tears. There are even some Community Projects you can embark upon to provide employment and alleviate the sufferings of the people. In the Church, there are myriads of opportunities through which we can give. You may not have money but you can sing, you can pray, you can keep the Church premises clean. If the poor widow in Luke Chapter 21:1 – 4 could not be exempted from Giving, then it is then a fact and truth that everybody is qualified and encouraged to give. Hannah in 1 Samuel chapter 1, was barren, but when God eventually gave her a child, she gave the same back to God fully. This moved God to bless Hannah with four other children. In another development, as a professional in any field, you have opportunities to give back to God through your services to humanity. Political leaders are expected by God to give good governance to the people they are leading.

When last did you ask God; What do you want me to give you, and how? Kings David and Solomon gave bountifully to God, and He blessed them. Abraham gave to God sacrificially and became the father of Faith and reference point for Blessing. Opportunities abound everywhere for you to give. It is only a matter of making up your mind to obey God. Look around you, you must see where to give. Quality is more important to God in Giving than just Quantity.

CONCLUSION:

God is the author of Giving.  No one can equal God in giving.  He is the perfect Giver.  Giving is living.  By experience I have come to believe strongly that Givers never lack.  When God said to Abraham, “Because you have done this, not withholding you only son …” God is saying that until we grow to the point of not only confessing “All things come from God” to doing it through sacrificial offerings and Giving, we cannot claim to be worshipping God.  If Anglicans can take Giving seriously, God has given us men and women that can use their Tithes, Donations, and Seed of Faith to put to an end Churches using levy as means of sustaining the Churches. No genuine believer in Christ can be found wanting in the area of Giving. A copious study of the effect and impact of Giving in the Holy Bible has made me to conclude that the most foolish thing to do in life is to cease from Giving.  The Dead sea is dead because it refused to Give.

The way God blesses and prospers is different from the way the world prospers. What the world refers as prosperity is how much you have; but in the Kingdom of God, Prosperity is determined by how much you give. Giving and Blessings are for everyone including Priests.  What is your tithe like? What is your offering like? Does it grow or is it stagnant? The Bible from Genesis to Revelation is all about Giving. God gave us all He has. What are we prepared to give Him?

 Let us all rise and sing Abu 35.

ABU 35:

1.         Anwurum n'ihi gi,                                                     4.         Ahuhu M'huru gi,

            We wusi obaram,                                                                 Ibu-obi d'ilu,

            K'ewe gbaputa gi,                                                                 Ha nanaputa gi,

            K'I ban a ndu ohu.                                                                N'onwu ebigh-ebi.

            Anwurum n'ihi gi;                                                                 Ahuhu ka M'huru i;

            Gini ka gi merem?                                                                I gahurum gini?

 

2.         Ejim otut'aro,                                                            5.         Ewetaram nye gi,

            N'ikogwugwu n'akwa,                                                          Site n'ulom n'igwe,

            Ime ka gi we nwe                                                                 Nzoputa na udo,

            Onu ebigh-ebi.                                                                      Na ihu-n'anya nkem.

            Enyerem arom dum;                                                            Akum ka M'wetara I;

            Ole ka gi nyerem?                                                                I wetaram gini?

 

3.         Ulo ihe nke Nnam,                                                    6.         Onye-nwem, ka m'nye ndum,

            Och'ezem mara nma                                                            Ka m'nye arom nile;

            Ka M'rap'ru bia n'uwa,                                                         Ka m'topu agb'uwa,

            Ino n'ihe-nwuta.                                                                   N'ihi Gi, Chinekem.

            M'rapuru ha n'ihi I;                                                              Gi nyerem Onwe-Gi;

            Gini k'I rapuru?                                                                     Le, enyem I onwem.     Amen.

 

 

As I thank you for listening with wrapped attention, may we also thank the Ebenator Anglican Communion for being such a wonderful Synod host. May God bless you all continually.

Once again, thanks for listening patiently!

Your Bishop and Friend,

 

+ Ephraim Okechukwu Amichi

 9th  June,  2012.

 

 

 

 

 

 

           

           

 

 

APPENDIX I

THE MESSAGE TO THE NATION FROM THE 10TH GENERAL SYNOD OF THE

CHURCH OF NIGERIA (ANGLICAN COMMUNION) HELD FROM THE 19TH - 23TH

OF SEPTEMBER 2011, AT THE ARCHBISHOP VINING MEMORIAL CHURCH

CATHEDRAL, OBA AKINJOBI ROAD, G.R.A. IKEJA, LAGOS.

 

 

1. INTRODUCTION:

 

The Tenth General Synod of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion),

comprising the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Leadership of the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, held the Opening Eucharist and other General Synod proceedings at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Oba Akinjobi road, G.R.A, Ikeja, Lagos; between September 19 – 23, 2011. The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria sent encouraging words to Synod in a goodwill message and we were honoured by the presence of the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Her Excellency, Hon. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire representing the State Governor, His Excellency, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), and the former Vice President of the Federal republic of Nigeria His Excellency, Dr. Alex Ekwueme. We also received gracious and kind words from two former Primates of our Church, The Most Rev Dr. Abiodun Adetiloye, and the Most Rev. Peter Jasper Akinola.

 

The theme of the Synod was ‘Restoring the years the Locusts have eaten'- Joel 2: 25 -27, and at the conclusion, the Synod issued this message to the nation.

 

2. RESTORING THE YEARS THE LOCUSTS HAVE EATEN.

 

The Synod theme, taken from the book of Prophet Joel Chapter 2 verses 25 – 27 was exhaustively considered through the Sermons, Bible studies and Seminars and was related to every aspect of our National life. Synod identified all areas the locust have caused destruction in our country such as, the peace, economy, education, politics, infrastructures etc. However, God has promised to restore the wasted years as a nation if only we will all genuinely repent of all forms of unrighteousness now prevalent in the country. Synod therefore calls on all Nigerians to repent and turn to God so that a “time of refreshing may come from the Lord” Acts 3:19. We call all Nigerians to prayer, righteous living, and a heartfelt love for one another and so put themselves in

a position to be revived by God.

 

3. THREAT TO PEACE AND UNITY.

 

Synod is greatly disturbed by the level of insecurity of lives and property in the

nation. The frequent and continual killings, bombings, kidnappings, armed robbery,

religious unrests, ethnic and political crisis, terrorist activities (especially the Boko–

haram menace) have imposed great distress on the populace. A situation where a

citizen is not safe to live anywhere in the country is unacceptable.

 

We therefore join other well meaning Nigerians and international bodies in strongly

condemning the recent bombings, particularly that of the United Nations building in

Abuja and the killing of innocent people in Jos, Maiduguri, Kafanchan, Bauchi and

other parts of our country. The Government is called upon as a matter of urgency, to decisively contain this national embarrassment and bring the perpetrators to book.

 

Synod also demands that Security Agencies in the country be restructured and

adequately equipped to curb this menace. Synod calls on Government to compensate all those affected by these reckless and unjustifiable actions of wanton destruction of lives and property. Synod calls upon all sections of the country, cultures, and sub cultural groups, and religious groups to work for the peace and unity of the country and avoid putting sectional and sub-cultural group interest above that of the nation.

 

Synod further observed that seeking group advantages over others promotes injustice, hence should be discouraged by all in the common interest of our national peace, unity and progress.

 

4. CORRUPTION.

 

Synod notes with dismay the unabated presence of corruption in all aspects of our

national life. This has hindered Nigeria's economic growth and created pervasive

institutional mismanagements. Synod calls on the three arms of government to

reinvigorate the anti corruption agencies, and create barriers which will prevent

people from corrupt practices. Furthermore, past and present corrupt persons should be brought to timely justice, to send a clear message to all.

 

5. THE STATE OF INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE NATION.

 

Synod commends the Federal and some State Governments for the attention given to the rehabilitation and construction of some public utilities, such as the effort at

resuscitating the railways and the dredging of waterways. However it is important to make the coast lines of the rivers secure. But Synod also observes with great concern the unceasing decay of other public infrastructure in the nation, such as highways, feeder roads, city roads, etc. Synod calls on Government at all levels to take appropriate and immediate recovery measures to check this decay, as well as provide more infrastructures so as to give the much needed hope and relief to the

impoverished and disillusioned citizens of our country.

 

Specifically Synod urges the Federal Government to ensure that those partnering with her in the delivery of crucial projects such as the whole area of power and the second Niger Bridge expedite delivery.

 

6. URGENT REVAMPING OF THE ECONOMY.

 

The Church of Nigeria notes the Federal Government efforts at revamping the

economy and urges the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency invest more in different sectors of our national life, especially in the whole area of Agriculture, that will accelerate the much needed growth in the economy and provide employment.

 

7. INDUSTRIAL HARMONY

 

It has also been observed that our nation has suffered setbacks due to incessant strike actions embarked upon by the organized labour. We therefore call on the Federal and State Governments to honour all agreements with the Labour Unions, particularly on the issue of the minimum wage. This will add value to the life of the Nigerian worker.

 

Furthermore, Synod calls on the Government to consider having only one body to

regulate the salaries of all public officers. This will help to harmonize workers'

salaries/wages and guarantee that all categories of public officers are fairly treated. It will also stem the tide of incessant strikes in our country. Synod joins other

International Agencies to call on the Federal Government to create an authentic

middle class in our nation, to bridge the gap between the super rich and the abject

poor. Moreover, Government and ASUU should save Nigerians another nightmare of ASUU strike.

 

8. NON-INTEREST BANKING.

 

Synod notes with dismay, the ploy by the Central Bank of Nigeria to further engender strife by the use of official government apparatus CBN to champion the cause of one religion in a religiously pluralistic nation. This act is not only misconceived but also contradictory to the spirit and provisions of our National constitution. Synod therefore, calls on the CBN and the Federal Government to make general provisions and guidelines for non-interest banking and allow citizens to pursue their special areas of interest. The CNB should borrow a leaf from the Ministry of Education.

 

9. HUMAN RIGHTS.

Synod recognizes that the enforcement of human rights is an essential element in the administration of justice, but calls on all people of God to beware of the perverse and selfish re-definition of liberal secularism and human rights by some international bodies whose main agenda is to impose unbiblical lifestyles on humanity.

10. DIVINE COMMONWEALTH CONFERENCE.

 

Synod notes with delight the forthcoming Divine Commonwealth Conference

(DIVCCON) being organized by the Church of Nigeria from November 7th -11th 2011 and believes it will be a valuable contribution to the much needed Peace and Unity in the country, as prevalent in the Godhead. This then should hasten the manifestation of the environment for the much sought transformation and restoration of the nation. Synod therefore endorses the participation by all.

 

11. GLOBAL ANGLICAN RELATIONS.

 

This Church is determined to continue to uphold the authority of the Scripture, and the uniqueness and Lordship of Jesus Christ. Synod remains resolute in our decision to uphold the sanctity of male-female marriage, the Historic Faith, and the pre-eminent position of the Bible as the rule for faith and morality.

 

Synod calls upon our brethren in CAPA, GLOBAL SOUTH and GAFCON to remain

faithful to God and be more devoted to the urgency of the Great Commission in the

Advent Hope. We strongly believe GAFCON holds the way forward for Orthodox

Anglicans, and we will continue to play a leading role in the movement.

 

12. CONCLUSION – CALL FOR PRAYER.

Synod calls for prayers and cooperation with the Federal Government as it honestly believes that this Administration is the transit gate for Nigeria's entry into mature and patriotic nationhood, economic progress, overall development and national rebirth.

 

This Church is convinced that if Nigeria will turn around from all ungodly ways, turn

to God and follow Him, Nigeria shall be revived and all that the locusts have destroyed shall in God's mercy be restored.

 

“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten and the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm my great army that I sent among you.

You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed.Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed. – Joel 2:25 -27.

 

 

The Most Revd. Nicholas D. Okoh

Primate of All Nigeria (Anglican Communion)

 

 

 

APPENDIX  II

PASTORAL LETTER FROM THE 10TH GENERAL SYNOD OF THE

CHURCH OF NIGERIA (ANGLICAN COMMUNION) HELD FROM THE

19TH – 23RD OF SEPTEMBER, 2011 AT THE ARCHBISHOP VINING

MEMORIAL CHURCH CATHEDRAL, OBA AKINJOBI ROAD, GRA,

IKEJA, LAGOS.

 

My dear people of God,

 

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give all glory, honour and praise to the Almighty God for His mercies and grace which are renewed to us everyday, and for the hope of salvation which we have in His Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

 

The 10th General Synod of our Church was held under the protection of the

Almighty God at Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Ikeja in the

Diocese of Lagos West from 19th – 23rd September, 2011. A total of 164 Bishops, 306 Clergymen, and 614 lay members of our Church were present (including the women delegates). Led by the Holy Spirit, we reflected on the theme: “Restoring The Years The Locusts Have Eaten…(Joel 2:25-27) Like the nation of Israel in the days of Prophet Joel, our country has been under a very serious attack by locusts which have inflicted great devastation, decay and harm to every part of our national life – social, economic, political, spiritual etc, the result of which include growing level of insecurity, deplorable state of infrastructure, high degree of moral decadence, and the prevalence of corruption.

 

The Church, the family and the individual Nigerian are not spared from these

attacks as most plans and programmes for the improvement of life and living in the nation have only succeeded in the breach. Indeed an enemy has done this!

However, the good news is that our most gracious and merciful God has plans to restore unto us the years these locusts have eaten. His voice which clearly came to us through Sermons, Bible studies and other presentations in this synod reassured us of His promise to make our nation, church, families and individuals the envy of others. Yes, He is set to usher in a time of refreshing. Nevertheless, genuine repentance, confession of sin and determination to enthrone righteousness are the preconditions for the fulfillment of this divine promise. We therefore charge you in the name of God to commit yourselves to a life of obedience, holiness and trust.

Let us endeavour to rid ourselves of all those things, attitude and behaviours that offend God, and strive daily to put on righteousness so that these promises will manifest.

 

It is an incontrovertible fact that return to true spirituality is the only condition that will engender this restoration. In order to bring about this, our Church is putting together an international conference tagged: Divine Commonwealth Conference (DIVCCON) which will hold at the National Christian Centre, Abuja from 7th – 11th November, 2011. We call on all to pray for its success.

 

We should do well to remind ourselves that every Anglican is baptized to be an

evangelist. We propose by the grace of God to equip every lay person in our

Church to fulfill this time-honoured divine mandate.

 

May we also implore you to be steadfast in prayer for our nation and her leaders, most especially our President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, that God will give them the grace to overcome the various challenges buffeting our nation now, and so that under them, we may attain greater heights in all that is good, noble and excellent.  Brethren, it is a fact of life that quarrels, bickering, divisions and strife hinder growth and development. They also impede the progress of the spread of the gospel and ridicules the Church of God before the unbelievers. May we therefore passionately appeal to all the areas in our Church that still have unresolved problems and disagreements to do everything possible to sink their differences and allow peace to reign.

 

Our Church is determined more than ever to uphold the authority of the Scripture, and the uniqueness and Lordship of Jesus Christ. Our resolve to relate and partner only with groups and organizations that have a common mind in this matter is not negotiable. We urge you all to always uphold the worldwide Anglican Communion in prayer. We must be on the alert to prevent the insidious attempts to legitimize sin in the name of human rights as being promoted by some international organizations.

 

Beloved in the Lord, we deeply appreciate and are encouraged by the love and

support we have received from you since our assumption of office as Primate. The success of the St. Matthias Day Special Collection bears eloquent testimony to this.

 

We have plans to put in place programmes and projects that will be of mutual

benefits to both the Church and the society. In no distant time, we shall unfold our programme for our youth and disadvantaged brethren, and how we can diversify our method of evangelism in keeping with the challenges of modern technology.

 

We encourage our youth to continue to keep faith with the Anglican Church and

remain steadfast in supporting and building it up. May we remind ourselves once more that the Anglican Youth Fellowship is for the youth and not for grandfathers and grandmothers!  It remains an organization for people under the age of 40 years.

 

Our youth must be given the opportunity to develop and grow in our Church.

We condole with the families of all those who lost their dear ones in recent

mishaps that befell the nation especially the bombings in various locations and

institutions in the country, victims of unrests especially in Jos and Maiduguri, and the youth corpers who died in post-election violence in various parts of the

country. We also remember the victims of flood disasters in Lagos and Ibadan as well as other types of occurrences. We remember particularly the families of a former Dean of our Church, Archbishop of the old Province II and Bishop on the Niger, the Most Revd. Jonathan A Onyemelukwe, the prolocutor of the house of clergy, Ven. Barr. Alex Adichie, and the Chancellor of Ogbomoso Diocese, Hon. Justice Ruth Gbemisola Oyetunde. May God be pleased to grant their souls eternal rest and their families the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit.

 

We are deeply grateful to the Bishop and good  people of the Diocese of Lagos

West for setting a new standard in hosting our national meetings. We pray that

their labour of love will attract God's blessings and favour.

 

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the love of God and the fellowship of the

Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

 

 

 

Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh

Primate of All Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

 

 

APPENDIX III