2010 BISHOP'S ADDRESS

 

                                          BISHOP'S ADDRESS 2010

CHURCH OF NIGERIA

(ANGLICAN COMMUNION)

PROVINCE OF THE NIGER

 

DIOCESE OF AMICHI

 

BISHOP'S PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS

Delivered to the

SECOND SESSION OF THE FIRST SYNOD

 

@

The Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi

On Friday 11th June, 2010

 

By

 

His Lordship,

THE RT. REV'D EPHRAIM. O. IKEAKOR. JP

Bishop, Diocese of Amichi.

 

THEME: “ THE CHURCH, THE BIBLE, AND THE TRADITIONS OF MEN - WHICH WAY”?

 

 

 

 

 

THE BISHOP'S CHARGE PRESENTED TO THE SECOND SESSION OF THE FIRST SYNOD

 

Your Excellency, The Governor of Anambra State,

Your Graces and My Lord Bishops,

Your Royal Highnesses,

My Lord, the Chancellor,

My Lord, the Deputy Chancellor,

The Registrar, and other Legal Officers,

The President, Women Ministries of Diocese of Amichi,

Diocesan Officials,

Brethren of the Clergy and Wives,

Gallant Knights and Ladies,

The Respected Lay People of God,

Distinguished Guests / Special Invitees,

Gentlemen of the Press,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

 

I joyfully welcome you all to the Second Session of the first Synod of the Diocese of Amichi holding here at this Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi. By the special Grace of God, since our last Synod that is, the First session of the first Synod, so many wonderful things have happened in our young Diocese.  God really has been very faithful to us as a diocese.  We have gathered to x-ray and evaluate what the Lord has enabled us to do in the last one year, and also to chart a new course for the Diocese in the years ahead.

 

It is my driving desire to let us know that we will try as much as possible not to make our Synod a mere routine gathering every year. Rather as the Lord lives, we will prayerfully handle and discuss themes and topics that will impart positively and practically in the life of our Diocese so as to make the church of God and the people of God what they are supposed to be in this age and generation.  It is with the view to achieving the above result that we have invited seasoned, tested and reliable servants of God to preach the Synod sermons, and take the Synod Bible Study.

OUR GUEST PREACHER:

May I at this juncture with your support and permission welcome our Synod Preacher, The Rt. Revd, and Mrs Sam. Chukwuka. Bishop Chukwuka hails from Nnobi, in the Diocese on the Niger. To my mind, Bishop Chukwuka is a household name as far as Evangelicalism and Preaching the unadulterated Gospel of Christ is concerned.  He is the Bishop of Anglican Diocese of Isuikwuato / Umunneochi Diocese in Abia State. He is an inspiring and versatile National and International Conference, Crusade and Seminar Speaker.  To the Glory of the Almighty God, the story and history of Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion (EFAC) in Nigeria cannot be completed without mentioning his name and the significant roles he played and is still playing today. Through his ministry and encouragement, so many young people did not leave the Anglican Church after their conversion.  Young Anglican Crusaders (HAC) is his brainchild. The Scripture Union cannot also forget this servant of God in a haste. Writing about Bishop Chukwuka Samuel in detail and his contribution to the Anglican Revival, and Evangelical espionage will without doubt take large chunk of this address. He is married to Mrs                    Chukwuka and they are blessed with wonderful children. You are welcome Sir.

OUR BIBLE STUDY LEADER:

There is this Igbo adage with says “Ofeke amaghi na nwanneya bu obia.” That is to say that “it is a fool that does not know that his relative is a special guest.”  I refuse to be that fool.  That is why I heartily welcome our Bible Study Facilitator and Leader, The Ven. Ephraim O. Umeh.  Ven. Umeh is the Archdeacon of Ezinifite Archdeaconry of this Diocese.  He hails from Uga in Aguata  Local Government Area of Anambra State.  Ven Ephraim Umeh is another teacher and expositor of the Word of God.  He is also an acclaimed conference and seminar speaker.  He is among those we know as fathers and elders in the Christian faith in this part of the world.  He has led so many Christian bodies like EFAC, Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International, and Scripture Union. God has used this man of God to raise so many preaches and teachers of God's word today. Ven. E.O. Umeh is married to Mrs Chinyere Umeh and they are also blessed with children.

 

 

 

VENUE OF THE SYNOD:        

ST. ANDREW'S CATHEDRAL, AMICHI.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF ST. ANDREW, AMICHI AS

AT 2010. AD.

The earliest enthusiasts to embrace Christianity in Amichi were in 1909. They were led by Okafor Aguzie (later Christened Abraham Aguzie) to St. Mary's Anglican Church, Uruagu Nnewi. Other members of these earlier converts were

Okoli Ezike                             later Christened           Peter Ezike;

Okeke Okonkwo                     later Christened           James Okonkwo

Eke-erebe Onyekonwu             later Christened         David Onyekonwu

Ekemezie Igwebuike                later Christened        Richard Igwebuike

Nwike Onyeorie                       later Christened        Joseph Onyeorie

Other converts who were not yet baptized before these converts returned to Amichi in 1911 to be holding regular church activities were Umeanuludu Ezike-lgboekwe, Ajajiafor Nzukwe, Okwumuo Okafor, and two women-Akuezuonu and Nwanyiorie. Their first place of worship on their return was in the house of their leader, Abraham Aguzie of Ebenator Udene Amichi in 1911. From there the evangelization of our neighbourhood started to spread first to Osumenyi in 1912, Ezinifite in 1913 and, Akwaihedi and Utuh in 1914, Ebenator and Ekwulumili in 1915 and Unubi in 1920. In Amichi, 1913 saw the posting of the first Church Teacher, Mr Moses Udemezue from Edoji Uruagu Nnewi and the erection of the first Church Building.

The first in-take into our first CMS school was in same 1913. One of the earliest adult "pupils" of the first school was Moses Ntika who later turned out to be the first indigenous church and school teacher produced by the CMS in Amichi. The church was dedicated and named St. Andrew's Church in the year 1916 when Mr Jeremiah Efobi was the church teacher.

In 1917, the first resident church teacher named Nathaniel Okonkwo of Uruagu Nnewi, was posted to Amichi. All Saints Church, Ogbodi was founded in the valleys of Ochi stream in 1949. The Anglican Church scaled through many hurdles placed on her way by the irate pagans. St. Andrew's Church Amichi became a parish in 1957, carved out from St. Simon's Church, Nnobi District (with late Rev E.O. Ofoma of blessed memory from Nnewi as her first parish priest). St. Andrew's Anglican Church, Amichi became a Church District in the Diocese on the Niger in 1962. Amichi District comprised of nine churches in the eight towns that made up St. Andrew's Church Amichi, Parish of 1957 namely; Amichi, Osumenyi, Ezinifite, Ekwulumili, Unubi, Ebenator, Akwaihedi and Utuh.

 

St. Philip's Church Eziama was the second off shoot of St. Andrew's Church after All Saint's Church, Ogbodi. St. Philip's Church was first founded as Sunday Evening Service Centre and kindergarten School in 1954. Late Revd Canon I.C. Okafor up graded it to a feeder Church in 1978. The Foundation stone of the Church was laid on 28th March 1984 by now Arch-Bishop emeritus, Most Revd J.A. Onyemelukwe who was then the Bishop on the Niger. Today, St. Philip's Church is the Headquarter of Amichi Archdeaconry with Revd Canon A.C. Igbokwe as the Administrator.

 

The third child of St. Andrew's Church is St. Peter's Church Amichi. St. Peter which was a feeder church to St. Andrew's Church was named St. Peter's Church in 1991 by the then Bishop on the Niger, the Rt. Revd J.A. Onyemelukwe. The first Church teacher posted there was Mr Emeka Olisa. In 1998, Revd E.G. Ezumezu was posted as the first priest to the church. St. Peter's Church, Umudim Amichi is today the headquarters of Amichi-West Archdeaconry. Revd Canon J.C. Maduka (PhD) is the Archdeaconry Administrator.

 

Christ Church (Amichi North) as she was named by the Lord Bishop of Nnewi, the Rt. Revd G.I.N. Okpala (J.P) was a feeder church which grew and had her foundation stone laid on 25th April 2000. Her first priest was Rev E.A. Okafor-a young man full of intelligence and action. Some other priests have later come and gone after him. Today the church is blessed with yet another young man, Revd Emeka Chukwuebuka who is power packed and a winner. He makes things happen.

 

For church of Divine Compassion, the story is not different. It started as Ntakara School and children's church service centre in the fifties. In furtherance of the spirit of evangelism, the third Archdeacon of the then Amichi Archdeaconry, Ven. J.O. Obazie approved of and sent the first church teacher, then Mr Gabirel Okparakunne (now a priest) to the church.

Each of these off shoots of St. Andrew's Church, now the Cathedral Deanery, is making great effort in the evangelical and structural developments towards church growth.

 

The application by St. Andrew's Anglican Church, Amichi in January, 1990 to His Lordship, Rt. Revd Dr. J.A. Onyemelukwe for an Archdeaconry status had a very favorable response which led to the creation of Amichi Archdeaconry with the following Districts Viz:- St. Andrew's District, Amichi; St. Stephen's District, Osumenyi; St. John's District, Ukpor; St. Simon's District Ezinifite; St. James District, Azigbo; Immanuel Church District, Ekwulumili; and later Ebenezer Church Unubi which became a District in 1990. St. James Church Azigbo was hitherto under Onitsha Archdeaconry making it seven Parishes in the new Archdeaconry. Revd Canon L.N. Enemuo (Ezechizuo) who was the superintendent of St. Andrew's District was named the Archdeacon Designate. The new Archdeaconry was inaugurated on 14th February, 1992. Ven. L.N. Enemuo served in Amichi for seven years (1990-1996). His successors were as follows:-

Ven. J.O. Uzuegbunam      1997

Ven. J. Onye Obazie           1998 - 2001

Ven. I. I. Nwose                 2002 - 2003

Ven. S.O.C. Onuigbo         2004 - 2007

Ven. Sam. Anowai             2008

Ven. E.O. Umeh                 2009

Ven. David Nonyelum       2009 -date

The building of our famous and prestigious Holy Child Convent was started by Amichi Anglican Community (AAC) in mid nineties and later handed over to the old Diocese of Nnewi. The first set of students' in-take reported in the school on 26th September, 2001. It had about one hundred Students, 25 tutorial and fifteen non-tutorial staff at her take off.

 

A conception by a few sons of St. Andrew's Church to work for the creation of Amichi Diocese led to the formation of Special Purpose Forum. This later metamorphosed to the formation of Diocesan Planning Committee. Although the journey was tough, it eventually yielded the desired result.

 

 

NOTABLE EVENTS IN THE DIOCESE

 

1.         30Th July – August 2, 2009       – First Amichi Diocesan Women Conference at St. Philip's C            Church, Eziama – Amichi

2.         5th August, 2009 – Foundation Stone Laying of New Hostel Building at Holy Child Convent, Amichi.

3.         15th August, 2009 – Inauguration of Diocesan Laity Council at the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi.

4.         30th August, 2009 – Foundation Stone Laying Ceremony of St. Mary's Church, Ezinifite.

5.         30th August, 2009 – Foundation Stone Laying Ceremony of St. Mary's Vicarage, Ezinifite.

6.         30th August, 2009 – Inauguration of St. Mary's Parish, Ezinifite

7.         24th October, 2009 – First Diocesan Music Festival at the Cathedral Church of St, Andrew, Amichi

8.         9th November, 2009 – Amichi Diocese Clergy Retreat at Ibru Centre, Agbarha-otor.

9.         21st November, 2009 – Inauguration of the Friends of Holy Child Convent, Amichi at the Cathedral.

10.       30th December, 2009 – Dedication of Holy Trinity Church, Utuh

11.       30th December 2009 – Dedication of Holy Trinity Vicarage Utuh.

12.       3rd January, 2010 – Inauguration of the Friends of the Diocese /Bishop at St. James' Church, Azigbo.

13.       13th February, 2010 – Amichi Diocese Clergy Wives set-Apart at Ibru Centre, Agbarha-otor.

14.       3rd March, 2010 – Dedication of Marble Pulpit of Immanuel Church, Akwaihedi.

15.       1st May, 2010 – Inauguration of Anglican Boys Association at Ebenezar Anglican Church Unubi.

16.       30th May, 2010 – Dedication of Christ Anglican Church, Amichi.

17.       30th May, 2010 – Dedication of Christ Church Vicarage, Amichi.

 

MAIDEN ADVENT ORDINATION

            To the glory of the Almighty God, the Bishop of the Diocese of Amichi The Rt. Revd. E.O. Ikeakor (JP) in his first ordination service did ordain three Priests, and made three deacons on the 6th of December, 2009 at the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi.

 

Those Ordained Priest were:-

·         Revd. Richard Ibeto

·         Revd. Samuel Nzowu

·         Revd. Robinson Oguchi

 

Those made deacons were”-

·         Revd. Christian Akosa

·         Revd. Tochukwu Chukwuekezie

·         Revd. Paulinus Ndukwu

 

We really congratulate this first fruit of “Achai” of our episcopacy.  We commend them to the mercy, Grace and Protection of the Almighty God for a very fruitful, heaven-bound, and practical ministry in the church of God.  We also appreciate the support, encouragement, and the complimentary role of their wives in carrying out their vocation and ministry.  We charge you as Paul did in Colosians Chapter 4 verse 17 “And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you fulfill it.”

 

APPRECIATION AND SPECIAL GRATITUDE TO SOME MEMBERS OF OUR DIOCESE FOR SPECIAL DONATIONS.

We are highly motivated and encouraged solidly by the fact that in every generation, God will always raise men and women who will use their time, talents and wealth in doing God's work in a very sacrificial and committed manner.

 

Within this one year of our existence as a diocese, so many people have contributed in no small measure in making the Diocese move from strength to  strength; but time and space will not be friendly with me in mentioning exhaustively everybody who have contributed in one way or the other from all the churches in the Diocese. Permit me to mention some special donations and donors within this synod year.  Such people include:

1.         Sir & Lady Emma Umeohia – Used his survival thanksgiving service from a ghastly motor accident to raise about Eight million (N8m) for the Diocese in Lagos.

 

2.         Sir & Lady Israel Egwuonwu – Single-handedly completed the building of a very wonderful and magnificent ultra-modern vicarage for Holy Trinity Church, Utuh.

 

3.         High Chief Sir S.N. Ukachukwu and family– Redeeming their pledge of a brand new Hummer Bus to the Diocese at the cost of Five million naira (N5m), and also for making last year's Synod a very huge success.

 

4.         Sir & Lady B. Ezekwere – For paying for a piece of land for the church St.Mary's Church, Ezinifite / Diocese which cost one million, three hundred thousand naira only (N1.3m).

 

5.         Sir & Lady Joshua Nkparu –For providing all the Hymn Books, and New Holy Communion Liturgy Books for worship in the Shalom Chapel, Bishopscourt Amichi.

 

6.         Sir & Lady Emma Okoli – For the donation of One million naira only, (N1m) for the hosting of this Synod, and some very valuable donations he may not want us to mention here.

 

7.         Sir & Lady Festus Okafor – For sponsoring the souvenir for this Synod to the tune of Six Hundred and Fifty Thousand naira only (N650,000).

 

8.         Sir Dr. & Lady U.C. Nzewi – Gave the Diocese one Audi 80 Car to be given to any Priest at Bishop's discretion to aid the work of the ministry.

 

9.         Mr. Jonathan Okana & brothers – Gave one plot of land to Ebenezer Church, Unubi.

 

10.       Mr. Isaac Okafor and brothers – Gave two plots of land which are together in exchange of the other one plot.

 

11.       Unubi Anglican Community – A large expanse of land to the Diocese for citing any Diocesan Project especially the Diocesan Seminary.

 

12.       Akurueulo Social Club, Amichi – They have willingly and magnanimously handed over the Akurueulo Hospital fully to the Diocese at no cost, and without any stringent condition.

 

13.       Engr. Sir & Lady C. O. Umeigbo – He facilitated the  installation of a new transformer which will take care of the Bishops-court, Cathedral, Convent etc.

 

RETREATS, REVIVALS AND SPECIAL PROGRAMMES

By the special and enabling grace of God, in other to maintain a very healthy spiritual tempo and atmosphere both for the clergy and their wives, and the entire laos of God in this Diocese, we have been able to organize and execute some meaningful Retreats and programmes in the Diocese. First of all, our monthly special prayer gathering   tagged “Prayer Breakfast” which comes up every first day of the month is now a household programme for people in Amichi Diocese and beyond. So many people and families have been testifying to the Glory of what the Almighty God has been doing in their lives and families through that programme. Our prayer and desire is that people from Diocese of Amichi and the clergy will take this programme as serious and important as other people outside the diocese have taken it.

 

Furthermore, in the bid to make sure that the theological axiom which says “That the Pulpit must be higher than the Pew” is real and practicable in the Diocese of Amichi, we havunder God been holding monthly retreat for the clergy, church-teachers and their wives in this Diocese.  We have witnessed that these retreats have done great works in the lives of the churchworkers and their wives especially those who took it very serious. One October 10-13,2009, all the clergy in the Diocese left our immediate environment, and went for a special spiritual rejuvenation and realignment at the Ibru Centre, Agbarha-otor, Delta State.  We made sure that it was a time of personal reflection and determined to achieve maximum result, we made it one clergyman, one room. This was to reduce to the barest minimum too much discussion and distraction from less spiritually-inclined colleagues.  The same feat was replicated for our wives on February 11th to 14th, 2010 at the same venue. Our confidence is that

 “God is working His Purpose out as year succeeds to you; God is working His purpose out and the time is drawing near; Nearer and nearer draws the time; the time that shall surely be, when the earth shall be filled with the glory of God as the water cover the sea.”

Our Retreat special Hymn for the two Retreats was Abu 243.

 

BACHELORS / SPINSTERS' CORONATION NIGHT AND VALENTINE BANQUET.

Recognizing the importance of our Youths both to the church in particular and society at large, we organized very special programmes aimed at reaching out the Youths and winning them for Christ Jesus. On 11th September, 2009, over two thousand young men and women converged at the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi in a night programme organized for them which we called “Bachelors and Spinsters' Coronation Night”.  It was a gathering that so many young people are telling us that they will find it very difficult to forget. Many of them through the Word of God and activities of the Holy Spirit re-discovered themselves and the essence of their existence and decided to make a U-turn. Our joy is that young people traveled from far and wide to attend the progrmme like Lagos, Porthcourt, Aba, Enugu, Ebonyi, Delta, Abuja, Kano, Awka etc. There is hope for the church and Nigeria if the clergy and our church will spend resources in organizing various programmes, seminars and workshops for our Youths.  They are under gross influence of Peer Group, False Preachers and Teachers, and Deception and Deceit by Politicians. They need special and concerted attention. Neglecting them means death for the church, and Chaos/Anarchy for the society. 

 

Again, whether we like it or not, 14th February, has come to stay, and young people has immortalized Valentine Day in their lives.  No matter how you disapprove of it, they must celebrate it.  We also decided to provide church's answer to the negative side of Valentine Day by packaging a very colourful and attractive programme called “Valentine Banquet” on that Valentine Day.  Over one thousand two hundred youths gathered from within and outside Anambra State to be part of that programme. Knowing fully that youths love big and gorgeous things, we organized it in that leverage and it really paid off.  Even though they bought the invitation cards, yet they were very happy that they were part of that event. In each of these programmes, we have well-spelt-out aims and purposes we want to achieve, and with God on our side, we have been achieving our goals, and also winning the confidence of our Youths back to the Anglican Church.

 

2010 WAILING WOMEN PRAYER SUMMIT

Wailing Women Prayer Summit is an annual programme designed particularly for the female folk, both married and single. The theme for this year's event was “My Magnificat.”  The Central Bible text was Luke 1:46-55.  May I at this point use this opportunity to thank our priests and their wives for their co-operation and encouragement. The programme Packaging Team (PPT) can only be described as very wonderful and great.  We pray the good Lord to reward all according to his/her works in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen. The 2010 Wailing Women Prayer Summit was very great. The attendance and participation cut across all denominations.  Women from all walks of life were all there.  The Seminar and Health talk that were added in this year's episode gave it a greater and encompassing impetus. The testimonies and results accompanying these Retreats and Revival Programmes are very tremendous.

 

We want to appeal to all parents, guardians, and our members to make sure that their Youth-children attend a very special Youth Programme designed for them titled “YOUTH RENDEZVOUS AND JEANS FESTIVAL” slated for October 21-24-2010 at the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi

 

KNIGHTHOOD – INDUCTION AND INVESTITURE

Having recognized the monumental roles that Christian Knights play in the church's life, we have finally and prayerfully too decided to investiture our first set of Knights this year. Because of the careless and thoughtless manner that people of questionable character and integrity have been endowed with the Knighthood title, we have God being our helper decided to carry out very thorough and detailed retreat and training for the novices before their investiture.  Also, we have resolved to avoid the temptation of having legions of human beings to be made Knights at a go.  Ours by the grace of God will be based on Practical Christian life and commitment both to Christ and the Church.  We are going to be very conservative and economical in the number of people we will investiture at any time, and it is not going to be an annual event. Out Retreat started on the 6th of March, 2010, while the Investiture will take place on 30th December, 2010 here in this Cathedral for those who scale the hurdles and conditions of the Retreat. As an insight to what we set as one of the criteria for investiture, no Knights of Amichi Diocese is to take the “Ozo title”. I know why I chose to be emphatic and particular on this very point. May I also use this medium to let our members know that the Bishop need not consult anybody before picking any person for knighthood.

 

INDUCTION OF OLD AND INHERITED KNIGHTS

As a mark of honour, we have reserved till now the induction of the Knights and Ladies we inherited from our mother diocese, and other dioceses for obvious reason. That was simply because we have been waiting for the improvement of security situations in our beloved state, Anambra State. This decision was taken so as to avoid anybody hiding under the cloak of insecurity to be absent from the induction. The induction of the old Knights and Ladies from our mother diocese and other dioceses has been fixed for September 25th, 2010 at the Cathedral at 10.00am. Any Knight of Diocese of Amichi extraction from which ever Diocese who does not show up for the induction on the aforementioned date will not be recognized as a Knight in this diocese, and no group of Knights from another diocese will come here to accord him/her any right as a Knight both in times of joy or sorrow.

 

The above stand is taken due solely to the fact that we have discovered with utmost dissatisfaction that so many of Knights in other dioceses don't associate with Knights meeting in our Diocese, and as such are not involved in their home Diocese. Charity they say usually begins at home.

 

AMICHI DIOCESE MEMBERS IN DIASPORA

By Amichi Diocese members in Diaspora, we mean all Anglicans who are from Diocese of Amichi but are residing outside the diocese both within and outside the shores of our country, Nigeria. We give all thanks to the Almighty God who gave us numerous members who are not only resident outside Amichi Diocese but are also doing well. While some are doing well in encouraging and supporting their home churches, majority of you are not interested at all in what is happening in their home churches.  In as much as we encourage you to be very active and committed where you reside, we must not fail to remind you that “East or West, Home remains the Best.” How can you explain it that a church that have you as her abroad member finds it impossible to pay the monthly stipend of her priest, and small assessment given to her from the Diocese?

 

What testimony can you give that you belong to a home church where there is no befitting public address system, Musical equipment, Evangelism Bus, Good generating set or Good church building? Some of you worship in an air conditioned churches where you live but your home church does not enjoy simple ceiling fans. In my mind, I think that the time has come for members of Amichi Diocese to develop a very strong “Think Home Philosophy.'

 

RUNNING OF BRANCHES OF OUR CHURCHES

With the advent of urbanization, civilization and white-collar jobs in our cities, it became imperative for people to migrate from the rural areas to urban or semi-urban areas in search of greener pasture. This laudable development therefore necessitated the gathering of members of our churches to worship where they reside. The major reason being to be supporting their home churches by sending or remitting whatever they could raise as financial contributions home. This was also why class registers were created for branches and sent to them so that quarterly or half-yearly, those in charge of such branches will carry the class register to their vicar at home so as to cross-check and pay in the realized sum.  Branches were never created to be a mini parish of its own where offerings, tithes, stewardship, seed of faith, and Harvest proceeds are collected, banked and spent at will by the officers of those branches.

 

Branches were never also created to serve as a punishment tool against the home vicar who may dare to differ in opinion about anything with the leaders or chairmen of those branches.  But the above has become the order of the day in most of our major branches.  For those who will care to know and obey, and also those who don't regard either God or His priests because of their money or position, I want to categorically state in this charge that it is absolutely wrong for branches of our churches to spend the offerings, tithes, stewardship, class dues, and Harvest Proceeds which they collected on behalf of their home churches.  The above monies are statutory church fund primarily collected as sustentation fund and the spending is done only by the Parochial Church Committee.  Branches carry out their activities and programmes through donations and special fund raising exercise they organize for that purpose, and not through sustentation fund which is meant for the payment of assessment, payment of the church-workers stipend, and other things to which the Parochial Church Committee may deem necessary to apply the fund to. {see Regulation 34 on Page 55 of Principles, Regulations and Constitutions of Nnewi Diocese adopted mutatis mutandis by Diocese of Amichi}

 

It is therefore an outright disobedience, opposition and confrontation to the Bishop, Diocesan Board, and Diocesan Synod of Amichi Diocese by any chairman of our branches or his officers to withhold for whatever reason all monies or part of the money collected on behalf of their home churches and apply such money to any use without the approval of the elected Parochial Church Committee at home. Once again I remind you, even though such money was collected in that branch, it does not in anyway belong to that branch.  This whole idea of after general harvest in the branches, a few individuals will decide the amount to be sent to the home church is blatantly wrong and quite un-Anglican. Please my brethren, let us be orderly in the house of God and encourage one another. Don't take over the work of a Priest because you are a branch Chairman or Officers.

 

OUR YOUTHS AND YOUTH ORGANIZATIONS

According to the Word of God in Ecclesiastes chapter 12 verse 1, it is stated “Remember now your creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say “I have no pleasure in them”. This sacred and divine injunction seems to be either neglected or forgotten by our youths.  A careful look into our churches generally has revealed to us that many youths are not interested in both things of God, and church activities. They prefer going to wild parties, political gatherings and Rallies; and sitting back at homes and movie joints watching very deadly, misleading and pornographic movies which have wrecked dastardly havoc both to their lives and destinies. The era of hard work, diligence and industry is fast eroding away among the youths. Crimes and vices are being pursued and celebrated at the expense of virtues. Parents who are frontline members and leaders of the church are not in anyway helping matters. Many parents have abandoned their primary role of children upbringing and left it in the hands of either ungodly or godless or unchristian teachers. Worse still, our youths are left to learn dangerously and wrongly too from their peers who are more or less full of wrong ideas and wrong notions. May I use this opportunity here to call on our priests and their wives, and all our adult members to declare “a state of emergency” on Children Ministry and Youth Ministry. The rate at which our children are getting involved in violent crimes, Youth restiveness, Homosexuality, Lesbianism, Masturbation etc calls for grave concern. The major reason I recently discovered as the root and foundational cause is the issue of “Bible illiteracy” and lack of Practical Christian experience. The situation is worrisome and we the church leaders seem to be non-challant and unperturbed about the whole thing.  How do you feel as Priest, or Church Worker or Parochial Church Committee member or Knights and Ladies of the church when you see or hear that our youths went into a church during church service, killed or kidnapped someone inside the house and sanctuary of God?  Or what comes to your mind when you hear that armed robbers which are young people within the age bracket of seventeen to twenty five years robbed Priests, Bishops, and raped reverend sisters?

 

Today, parents are busy buying WAEC, NECO and JAMB results for their children and our Youths instead of teaching them the way of uprightness and integrity. University admission today is for the highest bidder more especially in the South East geo-political zone. Go to the northern part of Nigeria and ask anybody to give money before his/her child will be given admission into the higher Institution of Learning. The result of such demand is rather imagined than explained. I have not brought the government into this discourse because it is quite obvious that you cannot give what you don't have. My experience as I sat down at the rear of our churches in mufti to see things for myself in our worship life, has revealed that about seventy five percent (75%) of our youths don't come to the church service with Bible. I am yet to see a church worker or PCC members that have been troubled by such ugly development.  We are chiefly interested in seed of faith, stewardship, tithe and offering.

 

The person sowing the seed of faith, what kind of faith doest he/she has if they abandon the book of faith which is the Bible. Our Youth Organizations like the Anglican Youth Fellowship; Girls Guild, Boys and Girls Brigades; Anglican Boys Association, Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion have almost died in our churches because the Youths are not interested and we seem not to be worried. About fifteen years ago, I came across a book titled “where was the Church when the Youths exploded”?

 

Also some years ago, one of our experienced Priests called Revd. Enemuo after observing the non-challant and lack of insight and commitment of Anglicans in acquiring land and building useful structures, rhetorically asked “What are we Anglicans doing”?  What are we in Amichi Diocese doing about our Youths?  What programmes, plans, incentitives do we have for their lives and future? Let us rise to this challenge of Youths apathy to spiritual things.  It is in the bid to recover and refocus our Youths and bring them back to God and meaningful lifestyle that we have instituted a special Bible Quiz for the Youths during our citywide youth programme tagged “YOUTH RENDEZVOUS CUM JEANS FESTIVAL” slated for Thursday 21st to Sunday 24th October, 2010 at the Cathedral church of St. Andrew Amichi.  The grand finale prizes have been fixed as follows:-

1st Prize – Brand New Laptop

2nd Prize – Brand New Ladies Motorcyle

3rd Prize – 14thinches Colour Television;

And 21 Consolation Prizes for the rest of the finalists.

We are using this opportunity to passionately appeal to all of you here to partner with the Diocese in this Youth Rescue Mission by choosing to sponsor any of the above items so as to make this mission a wholistic and family affair.  May God continually bless you and all yours as you join us in making this mission and vision come true.

May I once again call on the Chaplains especially those of our Youth Organizations to please rise up to the challenge before them and be committed and visionary in their work instead of sitting down in their churches and continue to issue circulars and letters. The time to save our Youths is now if you still want to have Anglican Church tomorrow.

 

 

2010 CONFIRMATION AND ADMISSION STATISTICS

Below are the Parishes covered so far:

 

DIOCESE OF AMICHI

(ANGLICAN COMMUNION)

 

STATISTICS FOR CONFIRMATION AND ADMISSION 2010.

S/N     Church                         Date                Confirmation   Girls     Women's         Mothers    Ang.           Ang. Men's            Offering

                                                                       Male   Female Guild    Guild                Union       Boys Asso.   Fellowship                N   

 

1.        Ebenezer                     17/10/10         13        26           15       24                    7                    -                       -           14,445

           Parish, Unubi

2.        St, Peter's Parish,        24/01/10          1         4          4          3                      2                      -                       -           4,810

           Akabu osumenyi                     

3.        Immanuel Parish,

           Ekwulumili                  31/01/10         17        18        15        2                      4                      -                       -           18,755.

4.        St. Peter's Parish

           Umudim Amichi                      07/02/10         5          6          1          1                      1                      -                      2          10,755

5.        St. Philip's Parish

           Eziama,Amichi                        21/02/10         17        17        14        15                    4                      -                      5          11,390

6.        Church of Divine

           Compassion, Amichi   07/03/10         9          3          7          6                      1                      -                       -           6,220

7.        Cathedral Church of St.

           Andrew, Amichi                      21/03/10         19        10        13        30                    -                       -                      -           21,625

8.        St. Mary's Parish

           Ezinifite                                   28/02/10         5          9          14        9                      1                      -                      -           2,060

9.        St. Stephen's Parish,  

           Osumenyi                    02/05/10         12        24        4          9                      1                      -                       -           13,345

           TOTAL                                                 98        117      87        99                    21                    -                       7           103,605

 

 

MEDIA EVANGELISM

Following the divine mandate we received from God some years ago, we in obedience to that command by God in which He said to us “My son get into the media outfit and Preach and Teach my people the unadulterated message of the Kingdom of God.  For many things they are being fed with through the radio as message of the church are very far from being the message I have given to the church.  You are going on a “RESCUE MISSION” through the media: We have expanded our media evangelism to include three radio stations for now. They are:-

a.        Purity FM Radio Nigeria Awka 102.5 –8pm on Saturdays.

b.        Unity FM Radio Nigeria Abakaliki 101.5 – 8.30pm every Sunday.

c.        Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State – 6.30pm every Saturday

           (B.C.A. Umuahia 88.1)

 

We have the intention of covering as many radio stations as are possible but meagerness of fund has constrained us. We are still very surprised that since the inception of this venture and mandate, no individual nor organizations or any parish has volunteered to partner with us by sponsoring the programme.  This is purely unlike our experience while we were in Ebonyi State where we rarely put church money into it because individuals including non-Anglicans took it upon themselves to keep it on air. Can we then say that they are richer than us or they love God and His word more than us?  The answer is better given by you as a person.

 

NEWS FROM CHURCH OF NIGERIA

The underlisted brethren were consecrated as Bishops in church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) after our first session of the first Synod till date.

On Sunday  12th July, 2009

1.        Rt. Revd. Sampson Adekunle – Ilo-Luji Diocese

2.        Rt. Revd. Emmanuel Maduwike – Ikeduru Diocese

3.        Rt. Revd. Uriah Kolo – Doko Diocese

4.        Rt. Revd. Innocent Ordu – Evo Diocese

5.        Rt. Revd. Humphrey Olumakaiye – Osun North West Diocese.

 

On Sunday 23rd August, 2009

1.        Rt. Revd. Joseph Olusola – Kabba Diocese

2.        Rt. Revd. Emmanuel Adekwule – Egba Diocese

 

On Sunday January 10, 2010

1.        Rt. Revd. Raph Ebirien – Niger Delta

2.        Rt. Revd. Babatunde Ogunabayo – Ijebu South West

3.        Rt. Revd. James O. Akinola – Igbomma West

4.        Rt. Revd. Dapo Asuji – Bishop Theologian

5.        Rt. Revd.Ezekiel Dahunsi – Idoani

6.        Rt. Revd.Emeka J, Mogekwu – Asaba

 

On Sunday 14th February, 2010

1.        Rt. Revd. Chamberlain Ogunedo – Mbaise Diocese

2.        Rt. Revd. Emmanuel Oko-jaja – Niger Delta West

 

On Sunday 30th May, 2010

1.         Rt. Revd. Akinlalu        - Oke Osun

2.         Rt. Revd. Ogundeji – Egba West

3.         Rt. Revd. Seyi Oyelade – Ife East

 

 

 

PAUL UNIVERSITY

I want to express our gratitude to our father, the Dean, Church of Nigeria, Archbishop of the Province of the Niger, and Bishop of Awka Diocese for breaking the jinx of backwardness in Education by fighting doggedly for the approval and licensing of our own University East of Nigeria, called Paul University, Awka.

We appeal to our members to be proud of this mission University and patronize it very well so as to encourage the efforts of our heroes and men of faith and Vision. We thank God for all who made this dream a reality.

 

ELECTION OF A NEW PRIMATE

A great history was made in the life of Church of Nigeria (Anglican  Communion) on the 15th day of September 2009 as the house of bishops peacefully elected a new Primate in the person of The Most Revd. Nicholas Oko, the Bishop of Diocese of Asaba, and the Archbishop of Ecclesiastical Province of Bendel. He was presented on 25th March, 2010 at the Cathedral Church of Advent, Gwarimpa, Abuja.  On the same day, the Incumbent Primate, The Most Revd Peter Jasper Akinola, retired. Our earnest prayer is that the Almighty and gracious God who called them not by merit but as a privilege will see him through and  make him and his wife faithful and exemplary shepherd and leaders of His church in this challenging generation in the Most reliable name of our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ, Amen.

 

NIGERIA: - GOOD PEOPLE, GREAT NATION.

POLITICS:  May I use this medium to express our sincere sorrow and grief, and also extend our condolences to all Nigerians, especially the Yaradua family and Katisna State over the demise of our humble, gentle and easy-going leader and President, Umaru Musa Yaradua which sad event took place on Wednesday 5th May, 2010.

 

On the other hand, the Diocese of Amichi, (Anglican Communion) congratulates our new leader, President, and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigeria Armed Forces, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, for ascending the throne as the President of this great country.  Our Prayer => May God save you from political scavengers, Ahitophels of Nigerian politics, chameleonic loyalists and selfish and heartless looters who will always surround you posing as advisers, elder statesmen, comrades and good people. May He create His undaunted fear in you so that this great confidence reposed in you cannot be capsized and aborted in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

 

As we approach the election year 2011, may I remind our politicians at all levels that it is not going to be business as usual. Nigerians are coming of age in matters of choosing our leaders.  We therefore, advise the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to braze up to the challenge of conducting a very credible, free and fair election.  In the same vein, I implore the political parties in Nigeria especially their leaders to imbibe the culture of sound intra-party democracy. The era of imposing unwanted and unpopular candidates on the people as flag bearers of their parties should be jettisoned.  We lend our voice to general clamoring for the implementation of the Justice Uwais Electoral Reform Committee recommendation.

 

SECURITY:  The porous security situation in our great country lacks adequate vocabularies and words for its description. Lives and properties are out-rightly unsafe both at home, along the road, on the sea, and even at the Airports. The security agencies seem to be overwhelmed and helpless. Any nation aspiring to be among the twenty leading economies in the world by the year 2020 from now without security which is one cardinal point of consideration in attracting investors can aptly be described as a “joker nation.”  I would not like my country, Nigeria to be described that way.  Our Government at all levels ought to declare a Practical State of Emergency in the sectors of SECURITY, ‘POWER', EDUCATION; AND AGRICULTURE.  May I suggest that in doing that, the scrutiny of recruitment of police officers should be made water-tight to stop bad eggs finding their ways into the force.  Again, the Welfare of the Nigerian Police Officers which includes their monthly emoluments, and housing should be looked into and reviewed upwards.

 

EDUCATION:  In this sector in Nigeria, we are almost getting to the Cross-road. Unless we de-emphasize paper-qualification, and focus on practical competence and proficiency in employment of labour, we will continue to maintain vicious circle of educational backwardness and stagnation.  Our Universities and Institutions of Higher Leaning have come to the point of pushing into the society and labour market, “Illiterate – Graduates.”  Technical education, Vocational education, and even skill acquisition centres are neglected in our curriculum.  Professional courses are now more for the highest bidders.  Poor parents whose child / ward is very intelligent should forget course like; Medicine, Law, Nursing, Pharmacy, Engineering, Architecture etc because you must cough out between two hundred thousand naira and five hundred thousand naira before such courses are given to you.  Where do we go from here?  Are we not enthroning mediocrity at the expense of Excellence?  What are our education administrators doing about this devastating monster called “Examination Malpractice” which  has gone down to even primary school level?

 

What are they doing about the Malpractice hot spots called “Special Centres” where they even assign official invigilators to?  We cannot continue to toil and gamble with the future of our children and youths.  At this point we are still taking forty one (41%) percent of students passing the last JAMB examinations.  This number or percentage includes even those who cheated to pass and those who took theirs in the so called special centers. This is worrisome.  Something needs to be done urgently so as to save the education industry of this good people, Great nation called Nigeria.

 

ANAMBRA STATE

Let me at this point give all Glory, Honour, Praise and Adoration to the Almighty God who is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords for the great thing He did in Anambra State on 6th February, 2010 during the Anambra State governorship election. It is a great miracle which nobody should over look.  The expectations of so many Nigerians were quashed completely.  While many predicted and expected a very bloody and chaotic election, God in His Infinite Mercy made it a very Peaceful and near-credible and fair election.  To God once again belong all the Glory in Jesus Christ Name, Amen.

 

Our very warm congratulations go to His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi who won the election, and who also made history as the first civilian governor of Anambra State to win the Governorship elections and come back for the second tenure consecutively.

 

May I also congratulate and express our great gratitude to some candidates of other Political Parties who after the election demonstrated very high spirit of sportsmanship by visiting the winner and openly congratulate him.  This milestone development was first demonstrated in Anambra State.  Anambra State has shown actually that w are the Light of the Nation.

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT FOR OUR DEAR GOVERNOR

Your Excellency, may I remind you that you won the election because God destined it to be so.  Reconciliation is an essential and indispensable ingredient in leadership and governance.  The winner-take-all syndrome and spirit will constrain your achievements and outlook.  More importantly, there were issues raised by your opponents during the campaign period which ought not be swept under the carpet by you.  The Local Government election is long overdue in Anambra State. Anambra State belongs to all of us, so the governor is expected to try as much as possible to carry everybody and every denomination along in his administration without any overt or covert inclinations and preference to any.

 

Finally, the governor should look into the operation and efficiency of Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) both the Radio and Television outfits.  It surprises us that other State Radio Stations in the South-East sandwich and strangulate the ABS even in Anambra State.  The electronic media in Anambra State needs total overhaul,if the government can inform her citizens and subjects of their activities. The Internal Revenue which should have accrued to the state is diverted to other states where their Radio and Television Stations are vibrant and efficient.

 

DIOCESE OF AMICHI – JESUS CHRIST OUR SURE ANCHOR

We thank God immensely for leading us thus far in this Diocese.  Even though it has not been rosy and juicy in this one year and five months of our existence as a Diocese, yet remarkable advancement has been made. It should be re-collected that I did say in my maiden Bishop's charge last year that our approach to Evangelism will be wholistic in nature which should be tripod in dimension involving Spiritual, Educational, and Healthcare activities.

 

HEALTHCARE:  Magnanimously, The Akuruneulo Social Club, Amichi has decided to fully and unconditionally handover the Hospital complex and the land on which it is situated to the Diocese.  This was the result of the detailed discussion and negotiation which the Diocese had with Akurueulo Social Club. This is a very big encouragement and morale-booster to us.  We pray that the Almighty God will continue to bless the members of the Club and their families in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.  We have started gradual development of the Hospital by molding of blocks for commencement of major work in the Hospital.  I appeal to all our members both in Nigeria and Diaspora to come to our aid in making that hospital an enviable one in this part of the country.  We have great men in this Diocese who can be very instrumental to the building and development of the hospital through their meaningful contributions and donations.

 

EDUCATION:  We have started the construction of an ultra-modern hostel block for the Holy Child Convent, Amichi in keeping with our promise and goal stated last year.  A very big thanks to the Principal, the Board of Governors, and he Diocesan Works and Project Committee for the great work they are all doing in the project.  It is a very big capital-intensive project.  The first and second decks have been completed, and we are also calling on all of us to rally round the Diocese to see to the completion of this edifice at least before the third session of the first Synod next year.

 

Furthermore, we are heading towards starting a Diocesan Seminary in the Diocese. I want to direct all our churches especially the church workers to take the establishment of Nursery, Primary and Secondary Schools as a priority in this Diocese.  Where such School is established, the management should be entrusted to capable and reliable hands.  The management of our church schools leave so much to be desired.  A few individuals turn them to personal  properties and business.  Our church workers also exhibit a very high level of non-challance, connivance, and ignorance.  This ugly scenario will no longer be tolerated

 

OUR STAND ON SOME ISSUES / TRADITIONS:

We should recall that last year, we stated categorically that this Diocese of Amichi has resolved to uphold the Holy Scriptures (The Bible) far above any culture or traditions of men no matter how popular or acceptable that culture among men.  Any tradition that contradicts the word of God is unacceptable.

 

OZO TITLE TAKING:  To our greatest surprise, the rate at which some of our male members are rushing towards traditional ozo title taking remains a source of worry to us.  May we declare once again here that there is nothing like “Christian Ozo Title.” Which is erroneously called “Ozo ndi uka.”

 

Jesus Christ who is the Lord and Redeemer of mankind said “No man can serve two masters at a time; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.” (Matthew 6:24).  On this note, I want to make it  known to all and sundry that the Diocese of Amichi (Anglican Communion) does not accept or approve ‘Ozo title' taking by our members.  It has come to our notice that some of our Knights are ozo title-holders. Let me call your attention to our last year's Synod Theme: “Choose you this day whom you will serve.”  Nobody is forcing anybody to drop any title, rather what we are saying is that “Knighthood” and “Ozo title'' can never go together in this Diocese.  The simple instruction is “make a choice.”  If you choose Knighthood drop Ozo title or if you choose Ozo title drop Knighthood.  No amount of intimidation, harassment, or blackmail will shift this stand.

 

SUNDAY – OUR HALLOWED DAY OF WORSHIP

As Christians, we have chosen the first day of the week in which our Savior and King conquered death and resurrected as our day of worship.  Therefore it should be treated as a very holy day just as the Sabbath day in Judaism.  Recently, the so called Christians are now fixing traditional marriages on Sunday, and other meetings. I say it here and now that none of our members should fix any traditional marriage on Sunday for whatever reason.  Again, Sunday should not be used for meetings. It is a special day set aside for worship.

 

I want to implore all the members of our Diocese to refer to pages 18 to 21 of our last year's Bishop's charge to be acquainted with the guidelines on some traditions and their acceptability or otherwise in the Diocese.

 

MINOR ADJUSTMENTS:

For any administration or leadership to be up to date in meeting the yearnings and aspirations of the led, there must be constant review of actions and policies which will always create room for necessary adjustments and re-adjustments.  You can recall that last year, in our effort to make for effectiveness in the structure of Diocese, we restructured the Diocese by creating some Archdeaconries.  Having worked with that structure and discovered some minor pitfalls, I therefore make this minor adjustment:

a.         St. James' Parish, Azigbo is now upgraded to Azigbo Archdeaconry; and

b.         Immanuel Church Parish, Akwaihedi is taken back to Osumenyi Archdeaconry for effective co-ordination.

 

BISHOP'S COMMISSARIES:

There is very strong need to have very close link and contacts with our members in different parts of Nigeria and also those in Diaspora.  In order to make communication and co-ordination easy for the Bishop and these our sons and daughters, I have decided to appoint these committed and respected men to be my commissaries where they reside:

a.         Bishop's Commissary in Lagos – Sir Emma Okoli

b.         Bishop's Commissary in  Abuja – Prince Sunny Ukachukwu

c.         Bishop's Commissary in Aba – Sir Barr. D. I. Udogu (SAN)

d          Bishop's Commissary in Portharcourt – Sir Engr. Igweka Uche

e.         Bishop's Commissary in Enugu – Sir Obi Ofoegbu.

f.          Bishop's Commissary in America – Dr. Maduka

g.         Bishop's Commissary in London – Sir Mike Agazie

h.         Bishop's Commissary in Onitsha – Mr. Christian OKwonna

i.          Bishop's Commissary in Kano – Sir Festus Okafor.

 

These highly respected Christian men are to co-ordinate and bring together all the members of Diocese of Amichi (Anglican Communion) residing in the areas / towns / cities and countries where they are assigned to, for fellowship and meetings.  They are also charged with the responsibility of arranging for and putting necessary logistics in place whenever the Bishop deems it necessary to visit their area of coverage. We promise you our fervent prayers.

 

RETIREMENT:

We thank God immensely for being very gracious to two of our Priests in preserving them in this ministry to attain healthy retirement age of sixty five (65yrs).  We also thank them for contributing their quota in the advancement of Christ's Kingdom through the Gospel.  May He give you good health in your post-retirement endeavours in Jesus Christ Name, Amen.

 

They are:

i,          Revd. Canon Abadnego Igbokwe – He will retire on 30/06/10

ii.         Ven. Ephraim O. Umeh – He will retire on 30/11/10

 

THE THEME OF THE SYNOD: THE CHURCH; THE BIBLE; AND THE TRADITIONS OF MEN – WHICH WAY?

It is against the backdrop of the apparent decline in the meaning and activities of the present day church, and the outright opposition from the unbiblical traditions and the God-given teachings of the Bible that we have prayerfully come up with this year's Synod theme.

 

THE CHURCH:  The meaning of church and church – manship has so much been eroded to the extent that men and women seem to be at the crossroad as to the real meaning of church, principles of church existence and the relevance of church in a plural world and modernization.  In the latter part of His ministry Jesus Christ our Lord observed a series of retreats with the Twelve.  His purpose for the retreats was to discern whether or not the Twelve understood Him and His mission.  The last retreat ended at Caesarea Philippi, ‘a' northern Gentile city which housed the oldest and newest centres of Pagan worship.  In the midst of these idolatries, old and new, Peter confessed of Jesus Christ, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” (Mtt. 16:16).  This confession became the foundation of the church.  “I say to you, that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. (Mtt. 16:18).  The confession of the Godhead of Jesus Christ constitutes the foundation of His church.  In the New Testament Greek, the word which we translate into our word “Church” is the word “ekklesia”.  It is a compound word coming from the word Kaleo, meaning “to call, “and ek, meaning “out of.” Thus the church is composed of “the called-out ones.” This then follows that the church is a living organism entered into by individuals through a spiritual new birth.

 

Every member of the church is supposed to have experienced this new birth before he/she becomes a part of that body of Christ.  It is therefore very essential to note emphatically here that anyone who is in the church without this new birth experience is a pollutant in the body of Christ which is the church.  The church furthermore is made up of all those in this age of grace who have been born of the Spirit, and thus placed into the body of Christ. (1Cor. 12:12-13; 1Pet. 1:3).  The church is called to be.

i.         The Light of the world-Matt.5:14-16

ii.        The Salt of the earth-Matt.5:13

iii.       The Custodian of Eternal truth of God.

iv.       A Guide to the blind. (Rom 2:19)

v.        Succour to the oppressed, rejected and the hopeless.(Luke 4:18-19)

vi.       The reflector and sustainer of righteousness of God.(Ephesians 4:23-24)

 

THE BIBLE:  The Bible is the book of redemption. It is that or nothing at all. The life, conduct, doctrine of the church is to be guided and controlled by the Bible.  The Bible is not a book of history, science, anthropology , or cosmogony as it has been erroneously called by some people or sects.  It is a book of salvation and deliverance for lost mankind.  The authority of the church is given by the word of God and limited to the Word of God.  The God-given authority of the Bishops, Pastors, Elders, Leaders and Teachers of the church should never exceed the authority of the Scripture, nor should personal opinions be imposed on the people.  No tradition or culture of any people should at anytime or place contradict or subsume the efficacy of the Word of God no matter how popular.

 

God spoke through His servant David in Psalm 119:89. “Forever, O Lord, Your Word is settled in Heaven”.  In Isaiah 40:8, it says again, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever.”  We have entered into covenant with the everlasting God in this Diocese that “This book of the Law (Bible) will never depart out of our mouth and church and Diocese.  But we shall mediatate on it day and night, to observe to do all that is contained there in.  We shall not depart either to the left or right.”  The Bible is not actually one book, but a whole library of books designed by its divine Author to provide for man every essential particles of information for successful, happy living.  The sixty-six books which comprise the biblical revelation were written over a period of approximately two thousand years by at least fifty different human authors.  The inspiration of the Bible is only one of the miracles performed by the Holy Spirit.

 

CANON OF THE BIBLE:  The word “Canon” comes from a Greek word (Kanon) meaning literally “reed”, and thus “straightedge” or “ruler” or “rod”.  Out of this association with measurement, the term metaphorically became a reference to a “standard”.  As applied to Scripture, then the canon is the list of books which are accepted by the church as conforming to the standard of divine inspiration and authority and, therefore as forming a “rule” of faith and practice for every believer. The sole criterion of the Canon of Scripture is inspiration (2Timothy 3:16 & 17).

 

All men have an ultimate source of authority, whether consciously or unconsciously and the authority of the Christian church is the Bible.  This then shows that any church or church leaders that teach any doctrine not exclusively established and authenticated by the Bible is misleading people, and such a person or church is a heretic or apostate.  The Bible itself claims to be the Word of God.  It originates from God, not man. Thus the Scripture does not come into being by the will of man, but by the will of God (2Peter 2:20-21).

 

Both biblically and historically, the church has accepted the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.  With the exception of a few heretics, pagans and extremists, the great stalwarts of Christianity like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Edwards, Whitefield and Spurgeon clearly supported the concept of an inerrant scripture.  It was not until the rise of modern skepticism, and secularism that professing Christians and church members began to question this time-honoured belief and doctrine.

 

This has brought so much dangerous practices and  traditions contrary to the Word of God.  Today we have so many Bible-illiterates inside the church and even in the altar of the church.  We have started to thwart and undermine the authority of the scripture.  Man-made, pagan and idolatrous practices are condoned in the church today because the Bible is relegated to the background.

 

The Bible is the measuring rod of right and wrong, truth and false hood, light and darkness.  It contains the thoughts of God and is a ‘book to be read for wisdom, safety, and holiness. Experiential knowledge of the Word of God is the key to understanding its beauty and sacredness. Jesus Christ, the Lord of the church commands “If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed,” And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32).

 

THE TRADITIONS OF MEN:

According to Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English, Tradition means a belief, custom or way of doing something that has existed for a long time among a particular group of people.  There has been this conflict and over lapping of practice between traditions of men, and the word of God. It is not peculiar to the Igbos or Nigerians alone.  Even in the Jewish world, it was always a heated battle between Jesus Christ and religious and secular leaders of the Jewish nation.  One of such conflicts is recorded in Matthew 15:1-3 thus, “Then the Scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, “Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders?  For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”   He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?  Most of the traditions that people hold in high esteem including some of our members are the things that contravene the word of God.

 

Some of the include:

·                     Masquerade cult and masquerading

·                     Polygamy

·                     Ihachi Nwanyi N'ulo (single-parenting of unmarried women)

·                     Taking Oath before a shrine or god or goddess, as a way of setling disputes.

·                     Divorce at will.

·                     Osu Caste System.

·                     Ibu Ozu Nwa-ada.

·                     Consulting a ‘witch-doctor' or native doctor wherever a baby is born to ascertain which of their kinsmen or women that re-incarnted.

·         Ikuchi Nwanyi.

 

They are so many that this limited space cannot allow us to enumerate and discuss them exhaustively.  But a look at the above traditions clearly reveals that all of these traditions are against the word of God, and men are vehemently fighting to impose those practices even upon Christians and the church of God. I will like us to note specially that in the dictionary definition of tradition, it carefully said that these belief, custom and practices are not approved by both the people and the church, rather it says, because it has been in existence for a long time, therefore men without verifying the origin continue to uphold and practice them.  Nobody asks whether it is right or wrong, rather they claim that they are keeping the traditions of men.

 

I'm quite optimistic that our father in God, and guest Preacher, and the Bible Study Leader in this Synod will do justice to this theme. So let me not keep you longer than necessary in discussing the Synod theme. May I in a way of summary tell the clergy and laity of the Diocese of Amichi (Anglican Communion) that no tradition of men no matter how old it has existed can be tolerated or allowed to stand in this Diocese as far as it is against the word of God. Wherever, the doctrine of the church, and the Bible clashes with traditions of men; the Word of God must stand! May I leave the rest of the discourse to our guest preacher.

 

CONCLUSION:

As I conclude this address, let me give hearty thanks and appreciations to all who made the second session of the first Synod of this Diocese a success and reality.  My special thanks go to the Cathedral Archdeacon, Ven. David Nnonyelum, and his team of church workers.  Also the Local Organizing Committee, and the entire members of the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi. We appreciate Chief Dr. & Mrs S.N. Okeke (Ochendo) for hosting the Bishop and Synod delegates yesterday. Sir Emma Okoli needs to be thanked greatly for the mobilizing role he played; and all of you who worked secretly and publicly to support this Synod. We hope to have a very memorable and historical Synod here. God bless all of you abundantly in Jesus Christ, Name, Amen.

 

Hon. C. I. Nwosu who is the Diocesan Synod Planning Committee Chairman and the Secretariat need special commendation.  I must recognize and appreciate my dear wife, Mrs. Nkem Ikeakor(Mama Amichi) for her support, encouragement and at times spending sleepless nights with me while I write and prepare for programmes and retreats. May God continue to bless you ma.

 

My special and honest appeal is that we need men and women who will partner with us in the following areas:

·                     Sponsorship of our Radio Programmes

·                     Sponsoring us to start a Television Programme

·                     Help us in completing the Hospital Project

·                     Assisting us in Establishing a viable Hospital in the Diocese

·                     Partner with us in Training Ordination Candidates and Priests.

·                     Support us financially in building our Seminary.

May He who knows how to reward everyone bless, protect, sustain, establish, strengthen, perfect, and settle all of you in the name of the FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT, AMEN.

For no other foundation can be laid, except that which has been laid which is Jesus Christ.

 

Let us rise and sing”

FAITH OF OUR FATHERS, HOLY FAITH

 

MHB 402.

 

1.   FAITH of our fathers, living still

      In spite of dungeon, fire, and sword,

      O how our hearts beat high with joy

      Whene'er we hear that glorious word.

     

Faith of our father! Holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death.

 

2.   Our fathers, chained in prisons dark

      Were still in heart and conscience free;

      And blest would be their children's fate,

      Though they, like them, should die for 

      thee.

 

3.   Faith of our fathers! God's great power

      Shall soon all nations win for thee;

      And through the truth that comes from God

      Mankind shall then indeed be free.

    

4.   Faith of our fathers! We will love

      Both friend and foe in all our strife,

      And preach thee, too, as love knows how,

       By kindly words and virtuous life;

      Amen.

 

 

Thank you greatly for listening Patiently.

 

† Rt.Revd.E.O.Ikeakor.(JP)

                Bishop,Diocese of Amichi

                          June,2010.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APPENDIX 1

 

THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA

(Anglican Communion)

The Most Rev. peter j. akinola, d.d, con

Archbishop, Metropolitan and primate of all  Nigeria

 

 

September 18 2009,

COMMUNIQUÉ FROM THE STANDING COMMITTEE OF THE CHURCH OF Nigeria

(Anglican communion)

 

 

1.