2018 BISHOP'S ADDRESS

 

CHURCH OF NIGERIA

[Anglican communion]

 

ECCLESIASTICAL PROVINCE OF THE NIGER

 

DIOCESE OF AMICHI

 

THE PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS

 

PRESENTED TO

 

FIRST SESSION OF THE FOURTH SYNOD

BY

 

HIS LORDSHIP,

THE RT. REVD. EPHRAIM .O. IKEAKOR

BISHOP, DIOCESE OF AMICHI.

 

HOLDING AT

 

ST. STEPHEN'S CHURCH, OSUMENYI.

 

ON SATURDAY 9TH JUNE, 2018.

 

THEME:      “THOU SHALT NOT STEAL”.

                  [EXODUS 20:15].

 

 

 

DIOCESAN ANTHEM

 

 

        1.     AMICHI DIOCESE, PEOPLE OF GOD,

                THE SHEEP OF HIS FLOCK LIFT UP YOUR VOICES,

                REJOICE, REJOICE, REJOICE,

                FOR JESUS CHRIST IS OUR SURE ANCHOR,

                WE SHALL STAND FOR HIM.

 

        2.     AMICHI DIOCESE,

                GOD'S OWN DIOCESE,

                WHOSOEVER LIVES AND LABOURS

                IN CHRIST JESUS,

                DIVINE CROWN IS WON,

                ARISE, MARCH ON, MARCH ON,

                MARCH ON, PEOPLE OF GOD SOULS

                TO WIN- THE HOLY SCRIPTURES UPHOLD,

                AND RECEIVE E-TER-NAL CROWN.

 

        3.     AMICHI DIOCESE,

                “JESUS CHRIST OUR SURE ANCHOR!!”

                IESUS CHRISTUS NOSTRA!

                FUNDAMENTA-FIRMA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A.     SYNOD PRAYER:    

O Great and Righteous God, the Fountain of all wisdom, and the author of everlasting life, we give you hearty thanks for the gift of life, and the Providence for the sustenance of life. We worship you for sparing our lives to witness the First Session of the Fourth Synod of our Diocese. We humbly beseech you to be present with the Synod here assembled.

 

Guide us by Your Holy Spirit in all our thoughts and deliberations. Deliver us from human errors, and frailty of mind and action. Direct us and all our doings in the ways of Righteousness, Peace and Justice. Enable us by your Grace to live lives devoid of stealing, cheating, hypocrisy, and deceit. All these we ask in faith through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

 

B.     APPRECIATION

Praise be to the Almighty God from whom all Blessings, Grace, and Benevolence flow. Because it has pleased Him once again to bring us to another session of our Synod, we return all Glory, Honour, worship, and Adoration to Him both now and always. Indeed great is your faithfulness to us O Lord.

 

 

C.     PROTOCOLS/COURTESIES:

Your Grace, The Most Revd. Godwin I.N. Okpala, Archbishop of Ecclesiastical Province of the Niger, Other Archbishops, and Bishops here present.

His Excellency, Chief Dr. Willie .M. Obiano,

The Executive Governor of Anambra State,

His Excellency, Dr. Nkem Okeke, The Deputy Governor of Anambra State.

The Chancellor of our Diocese, and other Legal officers of the Diocese.

The President of Mothers' Union Women's Guild, and Girls' Guild of our Diocese, Dame Nkem Ikeakor,

Venerable Archdeacons and their wives,

Other clergymen and their wives,

Diocesan Officials,

The President of Diocesan Council of Knights and

Other Gallant Knights and Ladies,

Bishop's Nominees,

Highly Revered Royal Fathers here Present,

Distinguished Synod Delegates,

Chairmen of both Diocesan and Local Organizing and Planning Committees of the Synod.

The Academia,

Gentlemen of the Press,

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

You are sincerely and heartily welcome to the First Session of the Fourth Synod of our Diocese holding in this St. Stephen's Church, Osumenyi. The Almighty and Gracious God will surely bless you abundantly for sparing this time to honour God, and us by being present here today in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

 

 

D.     THE SYNOD RESOURCE PERSONS:

 

[i]    SYNOD GUEST/MAIN SPEAKER:

The Synod Chief expositor and speaker is none other person than a highly revered, well-acclaimed and respected Preacher, Priest, and Scholar, Ven. Professor Chinedu Ositadinma Nebo, CON, NPOM, FNSE. He was born on June 3, 1952. He hails from Udi, in Enugu State.

 

EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS:

i.      B.Sc; (Highest Honours): Mining Engineering, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, U.S.A., May 1978.

ii.      M.Sc, Metfallurgical Engineering : December, 1979.

iii.     Ph. D.; Materials Engineering and Science: South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, U.S.A. December 1986.

iv.     Member COREN.

 

ACADEMIC HONOURS AND DISTINCTIONS:

i.      Highest Honours Graduate, 1978 [First Class Honours]

ii.      Won University-wide prize for outstanding student, 1978.

iii.     Received various Post Graduate Fellowship, 1979-1986.

iv.     Listed in Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges 1977/1978, Edition.

v.     Member, Pi Mu Epsilon-USA National Honours Mathematical society.

vi.     Member, Tau Beta Pi-USA National Honours Engineering society.

vii.    Won Federal Government of Nigeria Scholarship for Ph.D students in the U.S.A., 1983 for Ph.D students.

 

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS:

i.      Fellow, Nigeria Society of Engineers.

ii.      Fellow, Material Society of Nigeria.

iii.     Fellow, Nigerian Metallurgical Society.

iv.     Member, American Society for Metals.

v.     Member, Society of Mining, Metallurgical, and Exploration, AIME, USA.

 

PROFESSIONAL SERVICE TO OTHER BODIES:

i.      External assessment for professorial Chairs in at least four Federal Universities.

ii.      External Examiner, Ph.D and M.Eng Graduates, Federal University of Technology, Akure, 2002-2005.

iii.     External Examiner, B.Eng Graduates, Federal University of Technology, Akure, 2001-2003.

iv.     External Examiner, Federal University of Technology, Owerri  1999-2001.

v.     External Examiner, Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, 2000.

vi.     External Examiner, Federal Polytechnic, Idah, 1994-1997.

vii.    Visiting Professor, Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, University of Reno, U.S.A., 1995-1996.

viii.   Visiting Lecturer, Department of Metallurgical Engineering, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, 1983.

ix.     Deputy Vice Chancellor, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, 2000-2004.

x.      Professor of Metallurgical and Material Engineering, 1996-2004.

 

He was the Vice Chancellor of University of Nigeria, Nsukka 2004-2009. He was also the Vice Chancellor of Federal University Oye-Ekiti, 2011-2013.

Ven. Prof. Chinedu Nebo served as Chairman, NUC National Committee for setting up minimum Standards for post graduate Engineering programs in all Nigerian Universities and Co-Chairman for the Benchmark and Minimum Academic standards for all Undergraduate Engineering Programs in Universities between 2004 and 2008.

 

In 2006, he received a National Award as Best Vice Chancellor in Nigeria by the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities.

In 2007, received Award of Best Vice Chancellor from the National Association of Nigerian Students.

In 2008, received the Award of Outstanding Vice Chancellor from All African Students Union based in Accra, Ghana.

 

In 2014, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Award for Meritorious Service.

 

In 2013, the 50 most Influential Figures in Power for East and West Africa by ESI Africa.

In 2014, the 60 Most Influential Figures in Power East and West Africa by ESI Africa.

 

NATIONAL  HONOURS:

i.      CON: Commander of the Order of Niger-Conferred by the President of the Federation Republic of Nigeria (2014).

 

ii.      OON: Officer of the Order of the Niger-conferred by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2009.

 

iii.     NPOM:      National Productivity Order of Merit Award-conferred by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (2012).

 

He was appointed Federal Minister for Power in 2013. We joyfully welcome Ven. Prof. Chinedu .O. Nebo as our Synod Chief expositor. You can also bear witness that we have not made any mistake in choosing him as our main Synod speaker.

 

 

[ii]   THE BIBLE STUDY FACILITATOR:

For this First Session of the Fourth Synod of our Diocese, the Bible Study Leader is the Rt. Revd Prof. Emmanuel B, Ajulo. Emmanuel Bayode Ajulo was born on 26th September, 1947 in Lampese (Present Edo State). He had his Primary Education in CMS (Church Missionary Society) School from 1953 to 1959, and his secondary education in Afemai Grammar School, Igarra from 1962 to 1966. Emmanuel worked as a clerk in Police Central Pay office in Lagos in 1967 and also in the State Command Police Pay office in Benin City from September 1967 to September 1969. He went for further Study at the University of Ife, Ile-Ife and obtained Bachelor of Arts in English (Single Honours) in 1973, and then served as a member of the first batch of National Youth Service Corps in 1973 to 1974. He did his primary assignment as a teacher of English at Government Secondary School, Gummi in the then North West State, with headquarters in Sokoto. He taught English as Lecturer II at Federal Government College, Jos (June to August 1974) on completion of the NYSC Service Year.

 

He was employed as a Graduate Assistant in the Department of English, University of Ife, Ile-Ife and registered for a Post-graduate M.A. (English Studies) in 1974 and completed it in 1977. He then went for a Doctoral study at the University of Sheffield (UK) in 1977 and obtained Ph.D (English Language) in 1980. He worked and rose to the rank of Lecturer 1 there, and transferred his service to University of Jos in 1985. He was promoted a professor of English Language in 1995

 

Dr. Ajulos's journey into the Holy Order began in the Diocese of Jos, where he was made a Deacon in 1992 by the Rt. Revd B. A. Kwashi, and was ordained Priest by the same Bishop in 1993. Revd Dr. Ajulo's Theological education was at Immanuel College of Theology and Christian Education, Ibadan from 1991 to 1994 and he obtained Diploma in Theology. He was preferred a statutory Canon in 1996, and a Venerable Archdeacon of St. Luke's Cathedral, Jos in 2007. Revd Dr. Emmanuel Ajulo served in a number of Parishes and occupied the post of Clerical Synod Secretary of the Diocese of Jos for over Seven Years. He was elected and consecrated Bishop for the Missionary Diocese of Okene in 2008 and has served as the Pioneer Bishop of Okene Diocese that was made a full fledged Diocese in 2011.

 

Bishop Ajulo married his heart's throb, Mrs Apeke Victoria, whom he discovered while both were undergraduate students at University of Ife, Ile-Ife. Their marriage was held at Holy Trinity Church, Omofe, Ilesa (Osun State) on 13th December 1975, and the marriage is blessed with children, and grand Children. It is with gratitude to God that Bishop Emmanuel Ajulo retired from service as Bishop of Diocese of Okene on his turning Seventy (70), the retirement age for Bishops in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). We are very happy to have you as our Bible Study facilitator in this Synod.

 

 

SYNOD VENUE – ABRIDGED HISTORY:

Osumenyi is a descendant of one Chief Okotu and shares consanguinity with Adazi-enu, Adazi-ani, Adazi-nnukwu, Amichi, Obeledu and Ichida. These children of Okotu were known as “Igwurube Okotu” owing to the great numbers of wives and children he begot. Osumenyi is in Nnewi-South Local Government Area of Anambra State. It is a part of what is popularly known as “Mbanese” clan, meaning cluster of five towns. Other towns that make up the Mbanese include: Ezinifite, Akwaihedi, Ebenator and Utuh. Osumenyi situates at the very centre of the Mbanese clan and is bordered in the north by Amichi, in the west by Utuh, in the South-West by Ebenator, in the South by Ezinifite, and the South-East by Akwaihedi.

 

Geographically, Osumenyi posits on an upland rising gradually from all corners towards a centre point called “Omaigwe” which is the location of mother Church, St. Stephen's Church, Osumenyi where this Synod is holding; which also spans through the location of Master's Vessel Seminary, Osumenyi. Osumenyi is mainly an agrarian society though most of her citizens here found solace in mercantile ventures. Eke Osumenyi is the main market in the town. It is the biggest market in the ten towns that make up Nnewi South Local Government Area. Osumenyi is known for hospitality and deep generosity especially to strangers and visitors, and communal Development mentality which informed the massive physical and infrastructural development in the town.

 

DARKNESS BEFORE THE LIGHT:

There were many social activities which the people enjoyed before the coming of Christianity to Osumenyi, but they were all connected with the worship of the gods of the town which include, Eke, Uduagu, Ulasi, Nkpukpa, Ogwugwu et cetra. On such social occasions, the paths leading to the idols' premises which were usually surrounded by forests were cleared and swept clean. Various domestic animals such as fowls, goats, and sometimes bulls were sacrificed to the deities, and people assembled at the shrine to eat, drink, and dance in honour and worship of the gods being celebrated. Some of these feasts lasted up to seven native weeks (izu asaa -28 days).

 

There were other feasts which were cultural in nature but were still connected with the gods and deities. These include: The new Yam festival, Ozo title-taking ceremonies; Afia Olu feast otherwise called ”Ito Ji”, and ‘Asara' feast celebrated once in every twenty years.

 

Masquerading was another big social event. Every male was expected to be initiated into the Masquerading Cult. Women were not allowed to be initiated but were organized to sing and dance on the occasions. This masquerading was not just the dancing for fun-making of masked men. It was far deeper than that. Even though it was used as the policing and law enforcement agents of the day which must be respected and obeyed, yet it was full of evils, and its main powers were derived from native and witch doctors, and other satanic powers. Masquerades could kill a person with incantations and charms. They in many instances cause and inflict bodily harms on people.

 

In addition to these evils, human sacrifice was sometimes practiced. Another big evil was that directed against mothers of twins and their babies. It was deemed a terrible abomination for a woman to give birth to more than a child in a pregnancy. In some cases, such mothers were immediately killed together with their twins. Later, the sentence was reduced to going through different forms of ordeals involving complex and dehumanizing processes of purification. The usual practice was, as soon as a woman gives birth to twins, the twins were either killed instantly, or they would be buried alive or put in a pot or basket and dumped in the bush. The woman would immediately commence her purification popularly called in the local parlance, “Ikpu aru”. This involved employing the services of “Ndi nhi” people from Nri who alone could perform the ceremony. They were a race of idolatrous Priests known as “Akanhis”. This period indeed was a period of mass belief in, and worship of Idols, Images, Nature such as Hills, Rivers, Markets, Streams, Forests, Animals, and Trees. It was also a time of belief in the absolute sacredness of Python. It was a time of mass ignorance, illiteracy and idolatry in the highest order.

 

ADVENT OF CHRISTIANITY IN OSUMENYI:

A group of African Missionaries led by Revd Ajayi Crowther sent by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) arrived Onitsha in 1857. In 1905, Gideon Chidi Ugha of Ogbunike and Isaac Enekebe of Obosi who caught the light of the Gospel and became evangelists in the company of others landed in Osumenyi for the purpose of spreading the Good News of Jesus. The Evangelists met a titled man in his Obi, Chief Ezike Mkparu and his family. They did not talk about the Gospel at first. They adopted the British method of “Teaching from Known to Unknown”. In the conversation that ensued, they asked their host and his family to name as many things they know in Osumenyi and its environs as possible.

The Evangelists came back another time and to their surprise, someone who was not among the first entourage read accurately all they named in the previous visit including their genealogy. Ezike Mkparu and his sons were excited and fascinated.

 

At this point, Ezike Mkparu's eldest son, Umeohizu and Ezike Aniekwe had both been initiated already into the ozo titles of “Ume” and “Ezike “respectively. As a result, he picked one of his younger sons, Obidike who has not been initiated to join the Evangelists on the promising expedition. Obidike was escorted to Ukpor where he would start learning, A, B, D, under the tutelage of Gideon. Obidike embraced Christianity in Obosi where Gideon Ugha who was on transfer took him to. He was baptized and Christened Micah.

 

By 1908, Micah has mastered the reading of “Azu Ndu” (Primer Book), and Igbo Bible. The youths of the town who joined them to learn how to read built the first hut under an Iroko tree at obi Ezike Mkparu's residence. This hut later became the first worship centre for the new converts. The Church met its first opposition in 1910 when unknown people who were opposed to the new religion clandestinely burnt down the hut that served as the first Church building. The worshippers rebuilt it, but the arsonists repeated their act again and again. Ezike Mkparu became apprehensive they may burn down his house too, thus he told the Church to search for another site away from his compound. Omaigwe was a dreaded evil forest where the corpses of people who committed one abomination or the other were thrown into. It was also a ground where the potent fetishes of great native Doctors were dumped when they died. Devilish sacrifices also took place there. It was home for dangerous animals. The converts after much prayers and deliberation resolved to relocate to Omaigwe. So Omaigwe the centre of Osumenyi town was chosen as the Zion City of God, and the Jerusalem of Osumenyi town. It is therefore very correct to state that the Church in Osumenyi started at Akabu, before finally settling at Omaigwe where we are gathered today.

 

An unfortunate influenza of 1918 affected the Church in Osumenyi very badly. A lot of people died of this dreadful disease in many towns, but the Chief of Osumenyi and other unbelievers alleged that it was caused by the Christians who introduced the eating of cassava in the town. They opined that the introduction and eating of cassava have provoked the anger of their gods Uduagu, and Eke. So as a result, the idols had smitten their people with the influenza. In order to abolish the Church and Cassava, they set the Church ablaze during the night and uprooted all the Cassava planted by the Christians. The courageous foundation Christians took the chief and the people to court at Onitsha. The Chief was found guilty and fined six pounds but the Church pleaded for the Chief's pardon. The Church was then authorized to carry out their legitimate functions and planting of cassava without any further molestations. These foundation Christians were baptized in 1920 in St. Stephen's Church, Osumenyi. Mr. Micah Mpkaru and his wife Jemimah were the first couple to wed in the Church. In 1924, the burnt church was rebuilt under the Church Teacher, Mr. Edward Nwasike. Mr Micah Mkparu donated the first lectern for the church.

 

In 1964, Osumenyi Parish was elevated to District status under Revd Joel Chidebelu. Archbishop C.J. Patterson assisted by Rt. Revd L.M. Uzodike inaugurated the District on 13th March, 1995. In 1972, a motion was moved by Mr now Sir A.I. Oguine (of blessed memory) that a new modern Church building be erected to replace the old small stone church. The motion was after all said and done adopted. The first fund raising for the new church building took place in 1974 and the total sum of Seventeen Thousand naira only (N17,000) was realized which  was a very huge amount of money then. The big donors in the said fund raising were:

Mr. Abraham Oguine   -N2,000.00

Mr. Godson Oguine     -N1,000.00

Mr. Michael Agazie      -N1,000.00

Mr. Nathan Oguine     -N1,000.00

Through subsequent Launchings this modern church building hosting this Synod was built and dedicated on 4th April, 1983 by the Rt. Revd Dr. J.A. Onyemelukwe. By 1996, when the new Diocese of Nnewi was created, St. Stephen's Parish was elevated to Archdeaconry status. Ven. O.A. Oguchi was the first Archdeacon. The Archdeaconry is made up of St. Peter's Parish, Akabu, Osumenyi, Christ Church Parish, Odikpi Osumenyi, All Saint's Church Parish, Obiofia Osumenyi, Immanuel Church Parish, Akwaihedi. Ven. I.N. Ekeyi was the second Archdeacon. Other Archdeacons who have served in this Archdeaconry include: Ven. J.O.K. Obi; Ven. E.C. Ezumezu; Ven. E.C. Nnoli. In 1997, Late Sir Lawrence .O. Agazie donated a water bore hole to St. Stephen's Church, Osumenyi.

 

This Synod is being hosted by all the Parishes in Osumenyi town. The former Church building of St. Peter's Church, Akabu was built and dedicated within three months in 1999 with the help of Sir L.O. Agazie. The Ultra modern multi million naira parsonage was single handedly built and donated to St. Stephen's Church, Osumenyi by High Chief Sir S.N. Ukachukwu in 2008. It is on record that this Church, and all churches in Osumenyi town hosted the First Session of the First Synod of this Diocese from 11th – 13th of June, 2009 with the theme: “Choose You this day whom you will Serve”. (Joshua 24:15).

 

As mentioned earlier on, this is an abridged history of the Synod venue which is very far from being comprehensive in coverage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHURCH OF NIGERIA NEWS AND EVENTS:

 

I.      GENERAL SYNOD AND STANDING COMMITTEE MEETINGS:

The last General Synod of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) was held at St. Paul's Cathedral, Diobu, PortHarcourt, Rivers State from September 18 (Monday) to September (23) Saturday, 2017. The theme of the General was, “Thou Shall Not Steal” (Exodus 20:15).

 

The Standing Committee Meeting was held at Ilorin, Kwara State. It was hosted by the Diocese of Kwara at St. Barnabas Cathedral Church, Ilorin from Monday 5th February to Friday 9th February, 2018. The Theme of the Standing Committee Meeting was, “The Poverty of Riches”, and the central Bible text was Revelation 3:14-22.

 

ii.     2018 ANNUAL EPISCOPAL RETREAT:

The 2018 edition of annual Anglican Bishop's Retreat was held at Ibru-Centre Agbarha-Otor Delta State from Monday 8th to Friday 12th January, 2018. The theme of this year's Retreat was, “The Episcopate and the Future of the Church of Nigeria”. It was indeed an opportunity for Spiritual Reinvigoration, and Re-engineering of our Episcopate for more lively and result-oriented Church leadership aimed at building a Church that is balanced in all ramifications. We once again appreciate our Primate, The Most Revd Nicholas N.D. Okoh for such a great way of beginning the year for Bishops.

 

iii.    RETIREMENTS, ELECTIONS, AND CONSECRATION OF BISHOPS:

Within the year under review, some bishops retired, New Bishops were elected and consecrated, while some were translated.

 

a.     RETIRED BISHOPS:

1.     The Most Revd Michael Akinyemi  -       Bishop of Igbomina Diocese and the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Kwara.

 

2.     The Most Revd Dr. Christian Ogochukwu Efobi       -       Bishop of Aguata Diocese, and the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of the Niger.

 

3.     The Rt. Revd Dayo Oladunjoye     -       Bishop of Owo Diocese.

 

4.     The Rt. Revd Professor Emmanuel B. Ajulo-   Bishop of Okene Diocese.

 

b.     NEWLY ELECTED AND CONSECRATED BISHOPS: The following Clergymen were elected, and consecrated Bishops:

1.     The Rt. Revd Dr. Stephen Ayodeji Fagbemi for the Diocese of Owo.

2.     The Rt. Revd Stephen Oni for the Diocese of Ondo.

3.     The Rt. Revd Victor Agberam for the Diocese of Northen Izon.

4.     The Rt. Revd Emmanuel Adekola for the Diocese of Igbomina.

5.     The Rt. Revd Dr. Emmanuel Onsachi for the Diocese of Okene.

6.     The Rt. Revd Emmanuel Morris for the Diocese of Maiduguri.

7.     The Rt. Revd Dr. Cornelius Adagbada for the Diocese of Oke-Ogun.

8.     The Rt. Revd Dr. Paul Olarewaju for the Diocese of Ijumu.

 

Furthermore, at Benin during the consecration service of the above Bishops in March 3, the following were elected Bishops:

1.     The Venerable Prosper Amah – Bishop-Elect for Diocese of Ogbaru.

2.     The Venerable Godwin Awoke – Bishop-Elect for Diocese of Ngbo.

3.     The Venerable Wisdom Ihunwo for the Diocese of Niger Delta North

4.     The Very Revd S.O. Akanbi – Bishop-Elect for Diocese of Offa.

 

These Bishops – Elect were consecrated on June 3, 2018 at All Saints' Cathedral, Onitsha by His Grace, The Most Revd Dr. Nicholas N.D. Okoh –Archbishop, Metropolitan, and Primate of All Nigeria and assisted by many other bishops.

 

c.     TRANSLATION OF SOME BISHOPS:

The under mentioned Bishops were translated to new Dioceses within the year we are reviewing: They include:

 1.    The Rt. Revd Dr. Samuel C. Ezeofor from Diocese of Ogbaru to Diocese of Aguata.

2.     The Rt. Revd Dr. Humphrey Olumakiye from Diocese of Osun North East to Diocese of Lagos.

3.     The Rt. Revd Akintude Popoola from Diocese of Offa to Diocese of Ibadan South.

 

D.     PRESENTATION OF NEW ARCHBISHOPS:

Within the year under review, the under listed new Archbishops were elected and presented:

i.      The Most Revd Dr. O. Adeyemi as Archbishop of Kwara Province.

ii.      The Most Revd Henry Ndukuba as Archbishop of Jos Province.

iii.     The Most Revd Prof. Godwin I.N. Okpala as Archbishop of the Province of the Niger.

iv.     The Most Revd Gabriel Akinbiyi as Archbishop of Ondo Province.

v.     The Most Revd Tunde Adeleye as Archbishop of Niger Delta Province.

 

E.     ELECTION OF NEW DEAN FOR CHURCH OF NIGERIA:

A new Dean was elected for Church of Nigeria following the expiration of the tenure of the former Dean. The elected new Dean is the Most Revd Dr. A.B. Lamido who is the Archbishop of Kaduna Province, and the Bishop of Wusasa Diocese.

 

We heartily congratulate these revered Church fathers on their new statuses and higher callings. We pray that the Almighty God who has given you the will to undertake these weighty assignments shall grant you His Grace to discharge your duties faithfully and righteously in Jesus Christ Name. Amen.

 

F.     TRANSITION TO THE CHURCH TRIUMPHANT:

Within the last one year, Church of Nigeria through death lost some Church Fathers to the Church Triumphant. They are:

a.     Rt. Revd Dr. Christian Ebisike – Bishop of Ngbo Diocese.

b.     Rt. Revd Prof. John Akao – Bishop of Sabongida-Ora Diocese.

c.      Rt. Revd Felix O. Akinbuluma- Bishop of Irele Ese-Odo.

d.     Rt. Revd B. A. Vanger – Bishop of Zakibiam Diocese.

e.     Rt. Revd Dr. Jonah Ilonuba – Retired Bishop of Nsukka Diocese.

f.      The Church also lost Mrs Elizabeth Nkwoka – The wife of the retired         Bishop of Niger West Diocese.

May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in Peace. Amen.

 

G.     ST. MATTHIAS DAY FUND:

The 2018 edition of St. Matthias Day Fund collection took place in all Anglican Churches in Nigeria on Sunday 25th February, 2018. As usual, our Diocese actively and sacrificially participated in the exercise to the utmost best of our financial ability, and all the proceeds had been remitted to Church of Nigeria account as directed. We pray that the Almighty God will continue to bless and prosper our members who passionately participate in this exercise to enhance the welfare and Mission mandate of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

 

 

 

H.     2017 DIVINE COMMONWEALTH CONFERENCE (DIVCCON):

The 2017 Divine Commonwealth Conference (DIVCCON) which was the seventh edition took place at the National Christian Center, Abuja from Monday 13th November to Friday 17th November, 2017. The Theme of that Conference was “We Have the Man Jesus”. It was as usual a very soul enriching and soul refreshing Conference. The 2018 edition of DIVCCON comes up from Monday 12th to Friday 16th November, 2018 at the same Venue. We implore our members especially the laity to make this Conference a priority because of the enormous benefits accruing there from.

 

 

I.      PROVINCE OF THE NIGER MATTERS/NEWS:

 

1.     ALL ANGLICAN PROVINCIAL PRAYER RALLY:

The 2017 edition of this very important Provincial Prayer Rally took place at Dr. Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka on Saturday 4th November, 2017. The theme of this edition was “Help from Above”. The preacher was Ven. Prof. Chinedu Nebo. Bishops, Clergymen, their wives, many Anglican Faithfuls were in attendance from all Dioceses in our Province. Different relevant Prayer points concerning our Nation, State, Church, Province and Families were aptly handled by different clergy in our Province. It was very wonderful and awesome. The 2018 edition will take place on Saturday 3rd November, 2018. We pray that we give this program a chance to thrive because this is the only Spiritual program that brings us together as a family in this Province.

 

 

J.     NEW ARCHBISHOP FOR OUR PROVINCE:

Following the retirement of our former Archbishop, The Most Revd Dr. Christian Ogochukwu Efobi in February, 2018, His Grace, The Most Revd Prof. Godwin I.N. Okpala of Nnewi Diocese was elected as the new Archbishop for the Province of the Niger. He was presented on 4th of April, 2018 at St. Matthew's Cathedral, Benin, Edo State. He has since taken up the mantle of leadership of the Province. We gladly congratulate him, and Mama Province, Mrs Eugenia Okpala. We pray that your tenure will bring Joy, Unity, Progress and true collegiality among Dioceses in our Province in Jesus Christ Name, Amen.

 

 

 

K.     PROVINCIAL EPISCOPAL/COUNCIL MEETINGS:

Province of the Niger Episcopal/Council Meeting was held at the Cathedral Church of St. John, Ekwulobia on Tuesday 5th, and Wednesday 6th September, 2017. The next which was the first to be chaired and presided over by our new Archbishop, The Most Revd Prof. G.I.N. Okpala was hosted by our Diocese on 7th April, 2018 at St. Peter's Church, Akabu, Osumenyi. To me this was very historical and epoch-making. We once again congratulate our new Archbishop. Sundry issues affecting our Province were meaningfully and exhaustively discussed.

 

In a similar vein, The Joint Provincial Episcopal and Council Meeting of all the fifty-five Dioceses, East of the Niger was held at St. Andrew's, DCC, Nnewi, Diocese of Nnewi on Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd February, 2018. It was well attended by bishops and their wives.

 

L.     NEW BISHOPS OF AGUATA DIOCESE, AND OGBARU DIOCESE:

To the Glory of the Almighty God, the former Bishop of Aguata Diocese, The Most Revd Dr. Christian O. Efobi retired from active Church Service in February, 2018. His Lordship, The Rt. Revd Dr. Samuel Chukwudi Ezeofor was elected and translated to Aguata Diocese as the new Bishop. As a result of this translation, Ogbaru Diocese See became vacant. The Ven. Prosper Amah was duly elected as the new Bishop of Ogbaru Diocese. He was consecrated on Sunday 3rd June, 2018 at All Saints' Cathedral, Onitsha. Bishop Samuel Ezeofor was enthroned on 3rd April, 2018 at St. John's Cathedral, Ekwulobia. Our sincere prayer is for God to grant them the Grace to remain faithful to God, and their calling till the second coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

 

 

M.    DIOCESE OF AMICHI => NOTABLE EVENTS, NEWS, PROGRAMMES AND PROJECTS:

 

1.     CHURCH WORKERS AND WIVES RETREATS:

This Retreat which came with Fasting and Prayer was observed in October 3, 2017 at St. Philip's Church, Eziama, Amichi. The topic for the day was, “THE DEAF AND BLIND PASTOR”. The Bible texts were Matthew 15:13-14, and Luke 6:39-42. According to the Bishop in his exposition, the greatest calamity which has befallen the present day Church is the emergence of deaf and blind pastors and Priests who can neither hear from God, nor receive revelations, or visions from God. According to him, God is about to get rid of such Pastors. He maintained that nowadays pastors are becoming skilful Pastors instead of being Spiritual Pastors. He said that there are natural blind Pastors, and accidental blind Pastors. The former are those who never met Jesus Christ before joining the Church Ministry, while the latter are those who had genuine encounter with Christ at the onset of their calling, but got distracted along the line and nosedived spiritually.

 

The next edition of this programme took place on 24th November, 2017 at St. Mary's Church, Ezinifite. The sermon and meditation for the day was taken from Matthew 17:14-21. The Bishop in his exhortation opined that since ministry is primarily a spiritual matter, cleverness, smartness, and academic intelligence alone have gross limitations in Church Ministry. Righteousness and Robust Prayer life of the Priest and wife are the only sure panacea to the myriads of challenges confronting us in ministry especially in meeting the spiritual, social, and physical needs of our members.

 

 

2.     JOINT RETREAT FOR STAFF OF HOLY CHILD CONVENT, AMICHI, AND MASTER'S VESSEL SEMINARY, OSUMENYI:

This Retreat took place on 4th October, 2017 at Holy Child Convent, Amichi. The opening devotion was conducted by Revd Pascal Umeoduagu. He spoke on the topic: “A Teacher Without Credentials”. He challenged teachers in our Convent, and Seminary that the much they can make out from the students is the much they have in themselves. If they want to produce Christian students, they themselves will become Christian teachers first. Likewise, it takes a disciplined and hardworking teacher to produce disciplined and hardworking students.

 

The Bishop spoke on “Blessings through Faithfulness”. He reminded the Staff members that every assignment, has a standard, Expectations, and Reward. They should always bear in mind that one's attitude to his or her assignment attracts either Blessings or Curses, Commendation or Condemnation.

 

 

3.     2017 FIRSTBORN'S NIGHT PROGRAMME:

The 2017 edition of this special programme took place on Friday 3rd November, 2017 at St. Andrew's Cathedral Church, Amichi. The theme was, “God's own Heritage”. As usual, there was a very large turnout of first sons, and daughters from many states of the Federation who gathered to seek God's Face through Prayer. Preaching from Numbers 13:11-13, the Bishop maintained and emphasized that every first born is God's perpetual Heritage. He went further to outline the implications of being a firstborn in the hands of God. They include:

-      They are consecrated and sanctified for God.

-      They carry God's Presence and His recognition anywhere they go.

-      They are God's special divine project.

-      They are Blessed, Settled and Established.

-      They are sources of inconvenience, and worry to the devil.

-      They cannot afford to live their lives like every other person.

-      They are Reference and Rallying points for their families.

-      They are divinely entitled to success, Breakthrough, Divine Security and

     Excellence.

-      They belong to God, and as such have no option than to serve God.

 

There was a session of Prayers, Intercessions, and Declarations for all the firstborns in attendance. Many surrendered their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

 

4.     PRAYER BREAKFAST OF THANKSGIVING:

The 2017 edition of Prayer Breakfast of Thanksgiving was held on December 1, 2017 at The Cathedral. The topic of the sermon that day was, “A man after God's Heart”. The bishop x-rayed the life of King David as a man after God's Heart, and revealed the following qualities that earned David such a description from God.

 

a.     King David had a ready repentant heart always.

b.     He was a habitual and wholehearted singer of God's Praise and Glory.

c.      He was an addictive costly sacrificial giver.

d.     He relied and depended entirely on God in all circumstances.

The occasion was an ample opportunity for individuals, families and Churches to appreciate God for all His bountiful Blessings and Benefits they received from God throughout the year. The Bishop and his family led the jubilant congregants to offer special Thanksgiving to God.

 

 

5.     TRUMPET AND TRIUMPHANT NIGHT:

The 2017 version of this Praise programme tagged Trumpet and Triumphant Night was held at the Cathedral field on 15th December, 2017. Bro. Israel Anyanele and his Agape Love Band, with other Gospel singers led the mammoth crowd in hilarious singing of Praise to God. Our own Destiny Fulfillers Mass Choir was also on hand to minister in songs. It was indeed a glorious moment in the presence of God as the word of God preached drew men and women to Christ in sober repentance.

 

 

6.     WIDOWS CHRISTMAS PARTY:

The 2017 Diocesan Widows Christmas Party was held on 22nd December, 2017 at the Cathedral. Speaking to the widows, the Bishop made them to understand that though widowhood is very painful and pathetic, yet that is not the worst thing that would happen to a woman. Using the story of Lazarus, and the Richman, he passionately and concernedly declared that the worst thing that can happen to any person including widows is for such a person to die and face eternity without Christ Jesus. The Bishop vehemently persuaded the widows to make a decision about their eternity by sincerely yielding their lives to the Lord Jesus. As a result of the sermon, many of the widows surrendered their lives to Christ. About eight hundred (800) widows were in attendance. After eating sumptuous meal served them by the Bishop's wife, and the wives of the clergy, they went home with half bag of Rice each. To God be all the Glory.

 

 

7.     CHURCH WORKERS, AND WIVES END OF THE YEAR GET-TOGETHER:

Despite the abysmal, and very embarrassing performance and attitude of Church workers, and Churches in this Diocese towards the payment of Assessment, the Bishop in his resolved display of magnanimity has continued this show of Love towards his clergymen, and their wives at the end of each year. This 2017 edition of Church workers and wives end of the year Get-together took place in the Bishopscourt on 24th December, 2017. After session of Praises, Prayers, and Sumptuous dining and wining, the Church workers and their wives smiled home with bountiful gifts of Bags of Rice, Tomatoes and four litres of Groundnut oil for their Christmas celebration.

 

 

8.     PROPHETIC PRAYER BREAKFAST:

This particular edition of the monthly Prayer Breakfast holds on the first day of January every year. In it, God reveals what His Programmes are for His children in particular for that year, and the society at large. This year's Prophetic Prayer Breakfast took place on Monday 1st January, 2018. The Bishop as usual used the occasion to deliver God's Message through Prophecy. He also spoke on the Topic, “Go Forward” and declared that, that is God's direction to his children this year. The full Prophecy is contained in the CD which you can pick from In Touch With God stand outside. He further assured the congregants that God has said that in the midst of difficulties and Challenges confronting his people this year and beyond, they should Go Forward. This is one Prayer Breakfast that attracts the largest number of attendees because all who are not privileged to attend previous ones every month due to distance of their place of residence, use the Christmas period to avail themselves of that wonderful opportunity of God's visitation. There were Episcopal and Prophetic Blessings and Declaration on the people by the Bishop.

 

 

9.     RE-DEDICATION SERVICE FOR KNIGHTS AND LADIES:

The Re-dedication service for Knights and Ladies of this Diocese took place on Sunday 7th January, 2018 at St. Peter's Church, Umudim, Amichi. This year's Re-dedication Service witnessed a fair turn out of Knights and Ladies though not good enough to attract commendation. The Bishop presided at the Eucharistic service, and Preached on the topic, “You are the Light of the World”. At this juncture, we need to say without mincing words that the time to take definite and firm stand on Knighthood, their activities, and membership has come. The Diocese does not feel the impacts of the Knights as a Council. The embarrassing non-challant, and uncommitted attitudes of majority of the Knights need to be decisively addressed. We have decided to take the bull by its horns by having a true and functional Knighthood membership Nominal Roll, and Register. This has moved us to fix a Compulsory Meeting with all Knights and Ladies from Amichi Diocese on Saturday 17th November, 2018. The topic of the Meeting is, “KNIGHTHOOD IN AMICHI DIOCESE: TO BE OR NOT TO BE”. Any Knight or Lady that absents himself/herself from that meeting ceases to be a Knight or Lady in the Diocese no matter his or status. We have really come to the moment of Decision.

 

 

10.   2018 CHURCH WORKERS AND WIVES SET APART:

This event took place from Thursday 18th to Saturday 20th January, 2018 at St. Philip's Church, Eziama, Amichi. The opening charge was anchored on the topic, “Purpose In Ministry”. The Bishop in his exhortation identified three major categories and classes of Priests thus: THE PURPOSEFUL PRIESTS; THE PURPOSELESS PRIESTS; AND THE DISTRACTED PRIESTS. Other resource persons who ministered in the Set Apart are:

(a)  Ven. Dr. Emma Uzuegbunam who spoke for the three days on the theme: “Walking Worthy of Your Calling”. (Ephesians 4:1-3).

(b) Rt. Revd Dr. Chidi Oparaojiaku- Bishop, Diocese of Ohaji/Egbema Diocese who ministered on the topic, “Expanding the Economic/Financial Horizon of Your Church/Parish with Less Reliance on offering, Gifts, and Donations”.

(c) The Rt. Revd Aloysius Agbo-Bishop, Diocese of Nsukka who spoke on “The Place of Integrity and Financial Probity in our Pastoral Vocation and Ministry”.

(d) Evang. Nnamdi Ezeh treated the topic: “Ministerial Secrets of Making Kings to Prostrate and bring Great Gifts and Offerings- Daniel's Module”. He divulged the Sixteen secrets of Daniel's resounding and unequalled successes in Babylon.

(e) Sir Hon Barr. Kingsley Iruba spoke to the workers on, “Effective Communication and Robust Relationship Between a Pastor and his Congregation”. Among other things he said, he encouraged Church Workers to adopt Jesus' model of effective Communication and Relationship in their Pastoral work. 

(f) Sir Emma Okafor presented a Seminar on, “Budgeting, Budget Implementation, and Record Keeping as Healthy Administrative Prerequisite in Running a Successful Organisation”. With his wealth of experience, and expertise, he drilled the workers and their wives on the importance of Budgeting, Budget Monitoring and Implementation.

 

 

11.   2018 COVENANT SUNDAY:

This wonderful annual programme took place this year on Sunday 28th January, 2018 at the Cathedral. The theme for this year's Covenant Sunday was “PEACE, BE STILL”. In his sermon, the Bishop made the audience to know that being a child of God does not insulate one from the problems and challenges of life. According to him, although it was Jesus himself who initiated the move to cross over to the other side, and was also in the boat, that did stop the storm from raging. The good news is that He Calmed the storm when it raised its terrifying head. He assured the multitude that gathered for the special service that the Lord Jesus is still willing and able to speak and calm every storm threatening their lives, families businesses, and careers. He finally declared Episcopal Blessings on the people and led them to either enter into a new Covenant, or renew their old Covenant with God for this year.

 

 

12.   VALENTINE BANQUET 2018:

The 2018 Valentine banquet which is a very peculiar programme designed for young people from age 15 to age 40, was held at the Cathedral field, Amichi on Saturday 10th February, 2018. Over one thousand six hundred youths from all walks of life were in attendance. The bishop handled the topic, “Disfigured Destiny”. He made the enthusiastic youths to know that each of them was endowed with special Destiny by God. He however cautioned then that so many youths have both disfigured and destroyed their God given destinies as a result of carelessness. He reiterated that Destiny and its fulfillment are the two major reasons for which anyone is created. He went on to teach them how to fulfill their destinies, which include-

 

-      Discover your Destiny First – Acts 9:5-6

-      Discover the road map to your Destiny fulfillment. Jer. 6.16.

-      Decide on diligence, and hard work Prov. 22:29

-      Develop, and Gamble not with Focus. Acts 3:4-5.

-      Be sure you walk and work with your Destiny Designer – God. John 15:5.

 

The occasion also featured practical discussions that bordered on Real Life situations confronting young people. The Kingdom Life Drama Team from Onitsha presented very challenging and life transforming drama based on the theme. The programme as usual was well packaged and there were enough to eat and drink. 2019 edition will be better again. It will come up by the Grace of God Saturday February 16, 2019.

 

 

13.   SPECIAL COUPLES BANQUET:

The 2018 edition of Special Couples Banquet was held at the Cathedral Field, Amichi on Sunday February 11, 2018. The topic of exhortation on that special, colourful, and blissful event was, “Ingredients for Success Marriage”.  The Bishop explained that a successful Marriage is not a marriage where there are no challenges, but a marriage where challenges are handled, managed and resolved maturely and in a Godly way always. The Seven ingredients that make a marriage successfully are:

° The Foundation upon which the marriage is built (Psalm 11:3).

° Genuine Unconditional love based on nothing (Romans 5:8).

° Christian limitless forgiveness – (Colossians 3:12-13).

° Marriage Fidelity and Trustworthiness.

° Transparency and openness in Communication.

° There must be strong mutual respect.

° Playing together, and Praying together.

 

As usual, there was practical discussion session, couples' intimacy test, Couples Dancing Period, Drama Presentation, and a wonderful session of Praise and worship. The couples in their elegant dressing dined and wined sumptuously. The 2019 edition will take place on Sunday 17th February, 2019. It was indeed a time of Renewal and Refreshing for the Couples.

 

14.   2018 DIOCESAN LENTEN MEDITATION:

The Lenten period in Amichi Diocese is a period of sober reflection, and joint fellowship among members of our Diocese. We usually gather together every Wednesday in Lent to worship, pray together and encourage one another. It was well attended by Anglican faithfuls in our Diocese. This year's Lenten Meditation took place in the following churches, and dates:

 

a      =21-02-2018= St. James Church, Azigbo.

        Topic:”You are the Light of the World”, by Revd James Mbonu.

b.     =28-02-2018= St. Andrew's Church, Unubi.

Topic: “By their Fruits, You shall Know Them” by Revd Chukwunonso Okafor.

 

c.      =07-03-2018= St. Bartholomew's Church Amichi. Topic: “Love Your Enemies, and do good to them that hate you”, by Revd Chuka Nwosu.

 

d.     =14-03-2018= St. Mary's Church, Ezinifite. Topic: “Be You an Example to the Believers” by Revd Samuel Omuka.

 

e.     =21-03-2018=  Church of Divine Compassion, Amichi. Topic: “The Prayer that works”. By His Lordship, The Rt. Rev Ephraim O. Ikeakor. The Bishop pronounced Episcopal Blessings on God's people who gathered in the Church. It was also a time for special thanksgiving by churches, in appreciation of God's Protection and Blessings throughout the period of the Lenten Meditation.

 

 

15.   2018 NIGHT OF EVIDENCE:

This Good Friday special programme was held on Friday 30th March, 2018 at the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew Field, Amichi from 9pm till dawn. The Bishop ministered on the theme, “The Power of His Resurrection”. According to the Bishop, the Resurrection of Christ is what gives Christianity superiority and rulership over all other religions in the world. He emphatically maintained and asserted unequivocally that the same Power that raised Jesus from the dead is still available today to all believers for salvation, Deliverance, Miracles and Changing people's situations and challenges for better. It was a very glorious night as multitudes of people gave their lives to Christ Jesus. Sister Jennifer Maduike from Lagos; Bro. Ugochukwu Igwebuike and, and Bro. Ebere Ezeani were used of God to lead in praises and worship to God. The Bishop passionately prayed for the congregants on various areas of needs. Our Diocesan Destiny fulfillers Mass Choir actually moved the audience to tearful worship through their rendition. Thank God it was a huge success all round.

 

 

16.   WAILING WOMEN PRAYER SUMMIT:

The 2018 Wailing Women Prayer Summit came up from Thursday 10th to Sunday 13th May, 2018 at St. Andrew's Cathedral, Amichi. This year's programme was very unique in so many ways and areas. The topic of this year was “Rebuilding Your Family Gates”. Our Guest Preacher was Ven. Azubuike Ugoha from Portharcourt. Our own Priests who also ministered wonderfully in the programme are: Ven. Chika Mbeyi; Ven. P.C. Chukwuemeka; Ven. David Nonyelum; Ven. A.O. Uchemereole; Canon Franklin Chukwudozie, and Revd ThankGod Agu .

God really manifested Himself in special ways in this year's programme. Women and Ladies from all walks of life, and from different state of the Federation gathered and prayed passionately and enthusiastically on various aspects of their Family Gates. Great and Awesome Testimonies of God's Miracles and Answers to prayers in 2017 edition were given by different women, and Ladies. We return all Glory and Adoration to God for great things He has done, especially when many of the participants willfully surrendered their lives during the opening charge by the Bishop. He outlined fourteen (14) Gates over which every woman should keep watch in their lives and families.

 

 

17.   2017 DIOCESAN PRAYER CONVOCATION:

The 6th Amichi Diocesan Prayer Convocation was held from Thursday 24th – Sunday 26th August, 2017 at St. Peter's Church, Akabu, Osumenyi. The theme of the Convocation was, “Divine Supply”. (Philippians 4:19). Indeed this was a powerful prayer gathering, and the participants attended with great expectation, and by the Grace of God, they went home after the programme with fulfillment and satisfaction. May we at this point direct all the clergymen, and other Church workers to take this prayer Convocation very serious, and mobilize our members to be in attendance in large numbers during the 2018 edition. We thank God for the resilience and commitment of the Diocesan Prayer Co-ordinator, The Revd Canon Franklin Chukwudozie.

 

 

18.   ALL PCC, ARMS AND ORGANISATIONS EXCO RETREAT:

This Retreat for this year took place on Saturday 3rd March, 2018 at Immanuel Church, Ekwulumili. The opening Devotion was conducted by Ven. P.C. Chukwuemeka, and his topic was. “Internal Betrayal-The Disaster of Fruitful Leadership”. He emphasized that the worst battle that could come to any man is the battle from within. He said that the worst and most complex sabotage to deal with is sabotage from within. The Venerable re-echoed that the activities of traitors and betrayers in the present day church has forced the church to shift attention from the major task of the Church, and focus on carnal, ephemeral, and irrelevant things. He concluded by warning that every traitor, and, and saboteur in the house of God has a Divine Sentence hanging on his or her head.

The second talk titled “Exemplary Leadership: The Secret of Church Growth” was delivered by Bro. Elochukwu Nwankwo. He opined that anyone who has never been a good follower can never make a good leader. Using the life and pattern of leadership of Ezra in Ezra 7:10, he said that any leader especially in the Church who has not set himself/herself to diligently seek the Word of God, to do it, before teaching it will never live an exemplary life for those he/she is leading. He concluded his talk by challenging all the participants to resolve to lead God's people by example.

 

19.   ANNUAL RETREAT FOR PARENTS, AND GUARDIANS OF HOLY CHILD CONVENT, AMICHI, AND MASTER'S VESSEL SEMINARY OSUMENYI STUDENTS:

This is an annual Retreat for the concerned Parents and guardians with the Bishop. It is a very compulsory one indeed. This special Retreat was held on Saturday 17th March, 2018 at the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi. The First talk which was titled, “Successful Parenting in a Digital and Social Media Driven Generation” was delivered by Ven. P.C. Chukwuemeka. According to him, successful parenting is said to have taken place when parents and caregivers are able to produce young adults who are assets to God, and the society. He said that because of the computer and internet at the fingers tips of our children in this generation, the act of parenting has become more challenging and complicated. He maintained that for parents to recover their children and succeed in the job of parenting, they need to do the following decisively:

’The Family school, and family Altar should be strengthened.

’Have control on the digital lifestyle of our children.

’Parents acquiring digital Literacy.

’Parents' Friendship with their children breaks the barrier of secrecy, and     

   makes them to confide in the parents.

’Prayer: This remains the most efficacious and veritable tool in parenting.

 

The Bishop, Rt. Revd E.O. Ikeakor spoke on the topic: “Christian Parenting: The Mysteries and the Challenges”. The Bishop emphasized that a Christian is one who has a concrete, sure and definite encounter with God which brought real and practical transformation to his or her life. According to him, one must first of all be a Christian before becoming a Christian parent. He defined parenting as the act of coaching, Discipling and mentoring of children through instructions, and exemplary lifestyles. Parenting also means the transference and impartation of Parents' lifestyle to their children. It also means modeling in life and principles.

He gave the four mysteries of Christian Parenting Thus:

’Parenting is a calling and a Fulltime ministry.

’Parenting job is timeless and has no tenure.

’Parenting is a moral Procreation.

’Parenting is both a biological and spiritual genetic transfer and impartation.

 

He identified the following as the Challenges in Christian Parenting.

i.      Reactive Parenting instead of Proactive Parenting.

ii.      Exemplary Parenting.

iii.     Challenge of Ignorance on Parenting techniques.

iv.     Environmental Pressures and value re-orientation.

The Retreat was concluded with very fervent prayers of intercession by parents for their children led by Ven. Chika Mbeyi.

 

 

 

 

 

 


20.    2017/2018 STATISTICS OF CONFIRMATION AND ADMISSIONS

S/N

 

NAME OF CHURCHES

 

DATES

CONFIRMATION

GIRLS'

GUILD

WOMEN'S

GUILD

MOTHERS'

UNION

 

AMCF

MALE

FEMALE

1.

St. Peter's Church, Amichi.

2/7/2017

6

4

2

2

1

-

2.

St. Stephen's Church, Osumenyi.

24/9/2017

16

8

2

3

4

-

3.

Cathedral Church of St. Andrew's, Amichi.

5/11/2017

7

6

3

4

4

1

4.

St. Philip's Church, Amichi.

12/11/2017

14

18

4

6

4

-

5.

Masters Vessel Seminary, Osumenyi

5/12/2017

84

-

-

-

-

-

6.

Holy Child Convent, Amichi

13/12/2017

 

72

44

-

-

-

7.

St. Stephen's Church, Osumenyi.

 

18/2/2018

29

18

9

14

9

3

8.

Ebenezer Church, Unubi.

4/3/2018

14

10

7

7

1

4

9.

Immanuel Church, Ekwulumili

 

18/3/2018

 

9

 

17

 

3

 

6

 

2

 

-

10

St. Andrew's Church, Unubi.

 

27/05/2018

 

7

 

9

 

5

 

5

 

4

 

2

 

TOTAL                        =

 

186

162

79

47

29

10


21.   2017 ADVENT ORDINATION/COLLATION SERVICE:

This service took place on Sunday 3rd December, 2017 at the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi. The following were made Deacons:

        a.     Revd Samson     Ezeagu

        b.     Revd Chibuzo     Ezenwa

        c.      Revd Collins       Okonkwo

        d.     Revd Chinemerem Umeagudosi.

 

The underlisted Deacons were ordained Priests:

        a.     Revd Chinedu Chukwujekwu

        b.     Revd Ncheghariamaka Iloabueke.

        c.      Revd Christian Obiesie.

        d.     Revd Chinenye Okanume.

 

In the same Ordination Church Service two Canons were collated Archdeacons.

They are:  Ven. Uche Umeh; and

                Ven. Samson Ikedinma.

 

Ven. David Nonyelum was the Retreatant, and he preached in the ordination and Collation Service on the topic, “God's Purpose in Calling Men into the Ordained Ministry”. We pray that these men will find Grace to fulfill their divine mandates in Jesus Christ Name.

 

 

22.   FREE MEGA MEDICAL MISSION:

The Diocese of Amichi in Collaboration with FaithCare Inc, USA organized a mega Free Medical Mission at our Diocesan Hospital, Amichi from Wednesday 26th July-Monday 7th August, 2017.

The team of over thirty medical personnel from USA, and Nigeria was received with a welcome dinner at the School of Nursing by the Bishop, the organizing Committee Members, and some Diocesan Officials. Effective treatment commenced on Thursday 27th July, 2017 and ended officially on Saturday 5th August, 2017. After the ten days exercise, a total of five thousand, one hundred and twenty five (5,125) patients were attended to. Two hundred and two (202) successful surgeries were performed. To give it the Christian Mission Face it is, a total of four thousand, seven hundred and fifty (4,750) persons received spiritual counseling, and eight hundred and two (802) persons gave their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Medical Mission cost the Diocese Multiple Millions of naira put conservatively as nine million, seven hundred and thirty-three thousand, Seven hundred and fourteen naira, fifteen kobo (N9,733,714.15). No matter the cost, our major joy is that thousands of very poor, indigent and hopeless people were given life and hope again. We heartily appreciate the FaithCare Inc, USA for their selfless sacrificial efforts in providing first class Medicare to our people, and for magnanimously donating some drugs to the hospital at the end of the exercise. Professor Nwangwu who is the leader of the Team, and Revd Venton Forbes, who is the Executive Director of FaithCare need special appreciation. Revd Venton went an extra-mile to give out some clothes, foot wears to the less priviledged. A total of Six hundred and forty-four eye patients received eye glasses free of charge. We thank our own Medical personnel led by Sir Dr. Edwin Agbasimelo, and Dr. Osita Umeononihu for being sacrificially involved in the exercise. May I specially appreciate Bishop Samuel Chukwuka who connected us with FaithCare Inc. USA. The Diocesan Organizing Committee led by Ven. P.C. Chukwuemeka need very wonderful commendation for their first class commitment, sacrifice, and ingenuity displayed for the success of the exercise. May God bless your labours of love in Jesus Christ Name. Amen. A special Farewell Dinner was organized for the FaithCare team and our own Medical Personnel at the Bishopscourt on Saturday 5th August, 2017.

 

 

23.   ACCREDITATION OF SCHOOL OF NURSING, AMICHI/UPGRADE:

To the glory of the Almighty God, the journey we started a few years ago has come to fruition. In March, 2017, the Diocese received a team of visitors from the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria who were on an Advisory visit to the School. They after inspecting our facilities in the School made detailed recommendations on areas of improvement. In November, 2017, the same Council came back on a full Accreditation Visit following the payment of the full Accreditation Fee. In December 2017, the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria in their comprehensive report not only gave our School of Nursing full accreditation, but went further to inform us that because of the class and standard of the human, material and infrastructural resources and facilities they saw, that the school has been upgraded from School of Nursing to College of Nursing Sciences. This means that we have now three schools in the premises namely: School of Nursing; School of Midwifery; and School of Public Health.

 

It further means that instead of our students graduating with OND (Nursing), they will graduate with HND (Nursing), which is not a mean feat. The Diocese has since paid the statutory Establishment Fee of over two million naira   (N2.6m) to the Council. We are very glad to report and inform this August gathering that full academic activities have already started in the College of Nursing Sciences, Diocesan Hospital Amichi. The PTS examination for the first batch of our students started on 4th June, 2018. The Entrance examination into the College will hold from 23rd June to 29th June, 2018 which is Computer Based Test Exams (CBT). The head of the College is a Provost, not a Principal. We want to thank the Chairman of the Steering Committee for the Establishment of the School, Matron(Mrs) Esther Maduka, and her Committee members for a job well done.

 

In our determined resolve to have a first-class College of Nursing Sciences, the Diocese has procured and installed a 300 KVA transformer connected to 33 electric line for the College, and the Hospital with full approval from EEDC. This venture cost the Diocese the sum of five million, nine hundred thousand naira only (N5.9m). This is to make sure that there is steady supply of electricity to the school and Hospital. On the other hand, in order to produce world class, computer proficient Nurses that can work in any part of the world without retraining or refresher course, we have taken the Bull by the Horn by contracting a reputable internet Company called SWIFT TALK POP INTERNET to install and set up very strong and robust internet services to the school. Because we are in a digital age, we have resolved to provide uninterrupted internet services for all our institutions. Therefore after the installation of the facilities which is going on now, the Broadcast will provide daily internet services to the following connecting sites.

’     College of Nursing Sciences.

’     Diocesan Hospital

’     Holy Child Convent, Amichi.

’     Master's Vessel Seminary, Osumenyi.

’     Sure Anchor Microfinance Bank Ltd.

’     Bishopscourt

’     Diocesan Secretariat

’     Sure Anchor Media Ltd.

’     Cathedral

 

To make sure that the services are constant and uninterrupted, we are going to be having two-way handshake link in order to avoid downtime. The installation which is in two phases is going on now. All things being equal, in three weeks time, the whole exercise will be completed. The implication of this is that our students both in College of Nursing, Holy Child Convent, and Master's Vessel Seminary through their Computer terminals in School can research, and have access to books and materials online. The teachers can now get instructional materials on line, and also give assignments on line. All the institutions connected will be stakeholders in the payment for the services on quarterly basis. The initial cost of installation is four million two hundred thousand naira only (N4.2m). We call on all the members of our Diocese, and our friends to please come and join hands with us to develop and strengthen the new Institution and make it the envy of the world. Because of the upgrade of the School, we are now faced with great enormous infrastructural Challenges in order to cope with the imminent upsurge of students' population. The immediate and critical needs of the College of Nursing Sciences are:

-      New two storey building for lecture halls for the students of midwifery.

-      A two storey building for hostel

-      A storey building for the Provost, and some senior staff members.

-      A Chapel building for worship.

-      More Desktop Computers (50 pieces).

 

On 15th of April, 2018, the Bishop worshipped with the Staff and Students of College of Nursing Sciences for their maiden Dedication service. It was a Eucharistic service. The Bishop preached on the topic, “Purpose and Fulfillment”. He defined purpose as the reason for anything. He said that the greatest assault any man can receive is the assault on your purpose. According to the bishop, purpose gives rise to vision; and Vision gives birth to Mission. Mission is the vehicle that transports vision to its desired destination which is purpose. At the end of the sermon, the Bishop dedicated the pioneer staff and students of the College to God. In the same Church service, the Bishop Inaugurated the Board of Governors of the College of Nursing Sciences under the chairmanship of the Ven. Chukwuebuka Chukwuemeka.

 

 

24.   DEDICATIONS OF SOME PROJECTS:

a.     The New Cathedral Vicarage: This was done on 11th November, 2017.

 

b.     The Chapel of Faith of Holy Child Convent, and the new Three Storey Administrative building complex were dedicated by the Bishop on Sunday 26th November, 2017.

 

c.      St. Mary's Church building, Ezinifite was dedicated on December 28th, 2017.

 

d.     St. Andrew's Church, Unubi was dedicated on 30th December, 2017.

e.     Immanuel Church new Vicarage Ekwulumili which was fully built by Women August General Meeting of the Church was dedicated on 18th March, 2018. We appreciate the women for this work they did. May the Almighty God bless them and their families in Jesus Christ Name.

 

f.      The Diocesan Laity Council was Inaugurated on 28th October, 2017 at the Cathedral. We commend the efforts of the Chaplain Revd Richard Ibeto.

 

 

25.   MAIDEN BISHOP'S FOOTBALL CUP COMPETITION:

The maiden edition of the Bishop's Football Cup competition was held from 6th-17th December, 2017. The competition featured matches in both Junior and Senior categories for males only. The final matches were played in the Cathedral field on Sunday 17th December, 2017. The exercise ended thus:

Junior Category:

1st Position – Amichi West Archdeaconry

2nd Position – Ezinifite Archdeaconry

3rd Position – Osumenyi Archdeaconry

 

Senior Category:

1st Position – Cathedra Deanry

2nd Position – Ekwulumili Archdeaconry

3rd Position – Azigbo Archdeaconry

 

We thank and appreciate the following members from our Diocese who sponsored the maiden edition of the Competition.
i.      Sir Engr. Igweka Uche

ii.      Sir Amobi Ogum.

iii.     Sir Prof. U.C. Nzewi

iv.     Sir Dr. Jeff. Okeke

We still solicit for sponsor for the second edition.  

 

 

26.   CHARITY/WELFARE/MISSION SUPPORT:

Because, we as a Diocese believe in holistic Ministry, we do not take the issue of welfare, and Mission support lightly. We spent not less than eight million naira (N8m) for Mission support to Missionary Dioceses within this year under review. Our scholarship scheme, payment of hospital bills for our indigent members, and other charitable deeds are sustained constantly.

 

 

27.   DIOCESAN NEW BURIAL POLICY:

In furtherance of our resolve under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to provide sound and enduring Spiritual and Administrative Leadership that positions the Church as the Salt of the earth, and the Light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16), the Diocese has developed a new policy which will be guiding both burial and funeral activities of all active and communicant members and families of the Diocese of Amichi (Anglican Communion). The full details of the new policy is contained in Appendix I of this Bishop's Charge/Presidential Address.

 

However, following persistent complaint from our members since the implementation of the new policy in January 2018 that two of the conditions are purely private matters and issue bordering on the judgment and financial wherewithal of the families of the deceased, we have resolved to step down the two conditions which have been receiving heavy knocks even though it is for the good of our members. The two are NUMBERS “E” and “I” of the New Burial Policy.

The Principal reason which informed the development of this new policy is to curtail the unwarranted and unchristian excessive cost of burials in our society and among our members.

 

 

28.   10TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF THE INAUGURATION OF AMICHI DIOCESE; AND 10TH EPISCOPACY ANNIVERSARY OF RT. REVD EPHRAIM .O. IKEAKOR.

By the Grace of the Almighty God, the Diocese which was inaugurated on 13th January, 2009 will be ten years old by 13th January, 2019. The 10th Inauguration, and 10th Episcopacy Anniversary will be celebrated from Thursday 10th to Sunday 13th January, 2019. The Inauguration Uniform has been printed, and has been on sale since January, 2018. You can buy yours if you have not at their stand outside. The cost now is still four thousand six hundred naira (N4,600) only, but as we have said from July 1, it will be selling at five thousand naira. Every member of the Diocese is expected to keep that date free. The Primate, The Most Revd. Nicholas D. Okoh will be in our Diocese for the occasion. He is also expected to dedicate a number of projects, among which is our DIOCESAN SECRETARIAT. The Secretariat is a mega one which has gulped multi-millions of naira, yet still far from completion. Every launching in this Synod, both for today and tomorrow are hinged on the New Secretariat building. Those who have been there will confirm that it is not a minor building complex. By the special Grace of God, we have done up to 50% of the work. These are major outstanding works to be done:

=      Interlocking and Landscaping              -N15,000,000

=      15 Pieces of Split unit Air conditioners   -N  6,500,000

=      Burglary Protectors and Stair case Rails -N  8,300,000

=      (2) 50KVA Power Generator                  -N10,000,000

=      Tiles & Workmanship                         -N  8,000,000

=      Electrical Installations & Fittings            -N  2,300,000

=      Sanitary wares                                   -N  3,250,000

=      Painting & Screeding                           -N  5,100,000

=      Chapel Pews & P.A.S. & Altar                       -N  3,450,000

=      Office furniture for all the building        -N10,000,000

=      Stone Pitching of Roadside                  -N  5,000,000

=      Computers  (10 pcs)                           -N  2,000,000

=      CCTV Camera/Power Converter             -N  4,000,000

=      Sundry                                              -N13,000,000

 

 

                        Total                                 =      N96,400,000

 

 

We sincerely request those who can sponsor one or more of these items to sacrificially do so in the name of Christ.

 

 

29.   OUR JOYS AND SORROWS:

Within the Synod Year under review, many of our members received one type of Favour, Miracles or Mercy from the Almighty God from whom all Mercies flow. These range from Weddings, Fruit of the womb, Promotion in office, Deliverances, Healings, Building and Dedication of new houses, new Cars, New Properties, Graduation from School etc. On behalf of the entire members our Diocese who received these good things, we give thanks and Praise  to the Almighty God, and Congratulate all the recipients.

 

On the other hand, we lost some of our beloved ones, especially our members, and their relatives to date. Our registrar, Lady Barr. Amaka Udogu lost her mother. Our Chancellor Hon. Justice Gloria .C. Anulude also lost the mother, Lady Roseline Agazie. She will be buried on 12th of July, 2018 at Osumenyi here.

Chief Clifford Ojukwu   - a member of the Synod

Chief Cyril Umechiedo – Exco Member of A.M.C.F. others are:

Chief Dr. Alex Ekwueme

Sir Mathias Nzekwe

Sir Prof. G.E. Ogum

Chief Simon Obichi

Madam Jemimah Nkemneme

Ven. E.C. Ezumezu

Pa Sylvester S.C. Okafor (Sunny Side). There is no doubt that this list is not exhaustive.

We lost one of our finest and a very faithful Priest, Ven. Uchechukwu Umeh to death. Until his death, he was the husband of our Diocesan Assistant Legal Secretary, Barr. Mrs Obianuju Umeh. His burial has been fixed on Thursday 19th July, 2018 at his home town Igboukwu. We appeal to all our members to come out en masse to give this dogged soldier of Christ, a wonderful send-forth to his eternal home. Let us rise and observe a minute silence in honour of the Faithful departed.

 

 

30.   POLICY ON WIDOW OF CLERGY WHO DIES IN ACTIVE SERVICE:

This is the second time we are losing our priest to death in active service. Even though we are not praying to have anymore of such ugly experience, it has become very pertinent to have something to lay hand on as a standard policy concerning the welfare of the widow of the deceased. For the time being, the following are the commitment of the Diocese whenever a clergy man serving in this Diocese dies in active service:

a.     The Diocese will pay one year accommodation rent of a flat of a building for her and her children.

 

b.     The Diocese will be paying the wife, the basic salary of her husband at the point of death until his right year for retirement.

 

c.      The Diocese shall sponsor one of the children's education to University level in a State or Federal Government owned University or Tertiary Institution so far as the child and the mother remain loyal and committed Anglican faithfuls. (This sponsorship covers only the School Fees and Accommodation Rent).

d.     The wife will continue to participate in all clergy wives matters, and will be treated as such until the retirement age of the husband.

 

This policy takes effect from today Saturday June 9, 2018.

 

ANAMBRA STATE:

We want to use this medium to congratulate our amiable and working governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Chief Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano, and his Deputy, Dr. Nkem Okeke on their landslide victory in the November 18, 2017 Governorship election. It is a victory well-deserved. This was what I meant when Your Excellency came on board as the Governor of Anambra State when I said in my Presidential Address in 2014, “Your Excellency while we congratulate you on your victory, you should know that Anambrarians did not vote for you. You have four years to prove to us that we did not make mistake in bringing you on board. Your second term is only possible based on your performance”. You have through your pragmatic and visible achievements shown that you were the right man for the saddle. We implore your Excellency to maintain the tempo of both infrastructural and superstructural development pace in this second tenure.

 

Furthermore, let me greatly thank His Excellency for fulfilling your promise to the Diocese during our Synod at Azigbo last year wherein you promised to asphalt all the roads in the School of Nursing/Diocesan Hospital premises. Actually, we don't know how to express our Joy and gratitude to you. The work was done solidly and standard was maintained. Drainages were perfectly put in place and the whole place looks elegant. Thank you, Your Excellency. May the Almighty continue to bless and keep you healthy in Jesus Christ Name. We like Oliver Twist still appeals to His Excellency to come to our aid by assisting us to meet the infrastructural challenge as a result of the upgrade of our School.

 

 

THE NIGERIA NATION:

SECURITY:

Every right reasoning Nigerian is still wondering what exactly is going on in our dear country. The spate of ceaseless and senseless bloodletting, and arrant wasting and destruction of human lives in Nigeria without any conscientious, pragmatic, and convincing action by the Federal Government is still a gross and graphic source of concern and worry to us. The brazen resilience and audacity with which the marauding Fulani terrorists wrongly and hypocritically called “Herdsmen” calls to questioning the sincerity of the Federal Government of Nigeria in her much orchestrated fight against terrorism, and insurgency. Why is Mr President very reluctant to declare the Fulani Life wasters (Herdsmen) a terrorist group? What are the characteristics of a Terrorist Group? It is quite unfortunate and disheartening that our security agencies have not been able to put measures in place to bring the situation under control. There are killings in Adamawa, Nassarawa, Benue, Kaduna, Plateau, Kogi, Enugu, Edo, Delta, unabated. I think what we have in Nigeria under the present Federal government is Security Disasters, which is more devastating than natural disasters.

 

Your Excellency, Mr President, is this the change mantra you brandished before Nigerians during your electioneering campaigns, which endeared you to their hearts? When the Inspector General of Police left the “Human abattoir Benue State” less than twenty four hours contrary to your directive to him to relocate to Benue, and you have not done anything to show your disapproval and disgustment to such shocking disregard to sanctity of human life and Mr. President's marching order, you have nearly convinced Nigerians that we are in for trouble under your watch. Every day in this nation, countless number of women are becoming widows, children are becoming orphans, Businessmen and women cum farmers are turning into hungry, hopeless, and pitiable destitutes. The Security situation in Nigeria is bringing to our minds and memories the philosophical question posed some thirty years ago by a music maestro, Sunny Okosun “which way is Nigeria heading to?” The simple message we want to send to  our president is this “Even though you may have all the security apparatuses, Financial wherewithal, Political Power and International connections to torment Nigerians and execute your agenda against some sections of the country, be assured that the Almighty God is in control of your life, and that of your cohorts and cabals. He works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform”.

 

 

THE DAPCHI GIRLS ABDUCTION MOVIE, AND THE ISLAMIZATION AGENDA:

Nigeria being a secular nation, our constitution unambiguously provides for freedom of worship of citizens without fear or favour in every part of the nation. Regrettably in some parts of our country this is far from being the practice now. Thousands of people in areas that are predominantly Christians especially in Southern Kaduna, and the North Central parts of Nigeria are being massacred, displaced and dislodged from their ancestral lands and treated as second-class citizens simply because they are Christians. In many of these areas, Christians are victims of religious intolerance as they are denied rights to own lands to build churches and worship their God in Peace. Where such lands are mistakenly given, they are refused Certificate of Occupancy.

 

Out of all the girls dramatically kidnapped at Dapchi, Lea Shaibu still stands out as the only one yet to be released simply because she is a Christian and has refused to deny and denounce her Christian Faith. Even the manner of the purported kidnap, and their manner of “rescue and return” casts unarguable shadow on the reality and naturalness of the whole exercise. They went out nearly naked, but came back with well-sewn hijab and neatly packed bags, the content of which only God knows. The Islamization agenda of the present administration in Nigeria is no more a secret. This is the right time for President Muhammadu Buhari to act and put to rest all the insinuations being pandered about him, and his Islamization syllabus. Recently, the Federal Government through the ministry of Education is going round secondary schools in the country for what they call Quality Assurance Inspection exercise. Surprisingly in the forms given to school heads to fill, they craftily but consciously put all categories of Schools except Christian Schools. The different kinds of Islamic schools are included and properly designated, but all Christian schools are instructed in the form to tick “CONVENTIONAL AS THEIR TYPE OF SCHOOL”. Christian schools have designations and categories, why should it be lumped together as Conventional if not for easy Islamization programme. Currently, it is alleged that Mr. President has submitted an Executive Bill to the National Assembly for the Federal Government to take control of all water ways and their banks in Nigeria. If this becomes a reality, the President without doubt as soon as the bill is passed, will handover permanent grazing rights to the Fulani Herdsmen. It is no more a secret that the present administration is bent on Islamizing this nation. But one thing is certain, the Church of Jesus Christ is marching on, and the very Gates of Hell cannot prevail against her.

 

 

THE SECOND TERM DECLARATION OF MR PRESIDENT:

According to one Leadership and Integrity axiom, “Whereas Integrity is the spice and sure screw in successful Leadership; Absence of Integrity in Leadership and leaders is the bane and break of credible leadership”. When President Muhammadu Buhari in April this year officially declared his intention to seek re-election in the forthcoming presidential election in 2019, which was authenticated by the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Bolaji Abdullahi contrary to the President's promise to Nigerians in 2011 that he was running for just one term tenure, it dawned on me that African nations are in terrible political and development quagmire, simply because we lack leaders who are deficient in integrity. Mr Femi Adesina who is the President's spokesman shocked us more when he was speaking on Sunrise Daily, a channels Television programme said “When Mr President was running 1n 2011 he said yes he will be a president for only one term, but because he did not win in 2011, but won in 2015, that his statement in 2011 is no more applicable.” Which should be more reasonable? … When he was younger, or when he was older? I am still bereft of convincing rationale behind a man that is over eighty years of age still angling to be the President of Nigeria in a computer digital age characterized by supersonic global intellectual advancement and complexities. No nation grows and develops above the idealogical, academic, and technological enigma and robustness of her leader. The bitter truth is that our beloved President does not belong to this generation, where current and competitive ideas rule the world, and drive the nations. I weep for my Country Nigeria.

 

 

RETIREMENT:

By the special Grace of God, one of our clergymen, Revd Gregory Obiejemba will retire from active service on 31st December, 2018, while Ven. Godwin Okafor will retire on 31st December, 2019. The Superannuation Fund office has officially written us on this. May God grant His servants good health and long life at retirement in Jesus Christ. Name.

 

 

THE SYNOD THEME:

In 2015, during the First Session of the Third Synod, we deliberated on the theme, “I Know Your Works … Letters to the Churches in Smyrna, Pergamos, Sardis, and Laodicea” (Revelation 2 & 3). During the Second Session of the Third Synod in 2016, we treated as the Synod theme, “DARE TO BE A DANIEL” (Daniel 1:8; 6:4-5). Last year being the Third Session of the Third Synod, the Synod theme was “Contending for the Faith, and Maintaining Bible Standard in a Perverse and anti-Christian Generation” (Jude 1-4). By the leading of the Holy Spirit, our Synod theme in this First Session of the Fourth Synod holding here at St. Stephen's Anglican Church, Osumenyi is, “THOU SHALT NOT STEAL”. (Exodus 20:15).

 

BACKGROUND OF THE THEME:

Soon after encampment at Sinai, Moses was called up into the mountain to meet with God. Alone he climbed the steep and rugged path, and drew near to the cloud that marked the place of Jehovah's Presence. Israel was now to be taken into a close and peculiar relationship to the Most High. The Ten Commandments were more than just ten good rules. They were written version of verbal covenant that had been made by God years earlier with a man named Abraham.

The Ten Commandments or the Decalogue was also referred to as the Tables of Testimony because they were a testimony to the world of the Covenant of God made with Israel. Throughout the generations, God chose certain people with whom to carry out His Covenant. Mankind had been alienated from God because of Sin. When God made a Covenant, He made a promise to restore (redeem) the relationship that had been lost. The Covenant required three ingredients: (1) Union with God, (2) Mutual Promises, and (3) Separation from sin. The Covenant demanded a way of life that was distinct from the fleshly and worldly way of life. Those who entered into God's Covenant were considered His chosen people. Shortly after their exodus from Egypt, God gave Israel the Ten Commandments. They were originally, spoken by the voice of God in the hearing of the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19-20).

 

Afterwards, the Ten Commandments were written on two tablets twice by the finger of God (Exodus 31:18; 32:15-16; 34:1,28; Deut. 10:4). The first set of tablets were shattered by Moses when he threw them to the ground in anger upon seeing Israel breaking the Law by sin of the golden calf. The second set of tablets was kept in the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:16; 40:20). Keeping the Ten Commandments meant more than just obeying the law. Keeping the Commandments was synonymous with keeping the Covenant with God.

 

Disobedience to the Law symbolized a breaking of the Covenant with God which brought with it severe consequences. The Law was not spoken at this time exclusively for the benefits of the Hebrews. God honoured them by making them the guardians and keepers of His Law, but it was to be held as a sacred trust for the whole world. The precepts of the Decalogue are adapted to all mankind, and they were given for the instruction and government of all. The Ten Commandments, brief, Comprehensive, and authoritative, cover the duty of man to God and to his fellow man, and all are based upon the great fundamental principle of love.

                        “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all

                         Thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all

                         Thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy

                         Neighbor as thyself”. (Luke 10:27; Deut. 6:4-5;

                         Leviticus 19:18).

 

Our Synod theme is captured as the eight commandment thus, “Thou shalt not Steal” (Exodus 20:15). Both Public and private sins are included in this Divine prohibition. The eight commandment condemns man stealing and slave dealing, and forbids wars of conquest. It condemns theft and robbery of all shades and categories. It demands strict integrity in the minutest details of the affairs of life. It forbids overreaching in trade, and requires the payment of just debts, salaries, and wages. It declares that every attempt to advantage oneself by the ignorance, weakness, or misfortune of another is registered as fraud and stealing by God in Heaven.

 

STEALING: Definition, and Scope:

 

Stealing means:-

=      To take another person's property without permission or legal right and without intending to return it.

=      To appropriate ideas, credit, words, intellectual property without right or acknowledgement.

=      To take, get or win insidiously, surreptitiously, subtly, or by chance.

=      To move, bring, convey or put secretly or quietly; smuggle from, into or away.

=      To seize, gain or win by trickery, skill, or daring.

=      To withhold what rightfully belongs to another without his/her willful consent.

 

By the above definitions, stealing covers every aspect of human life, actions, reactions, and inactions.

 

SCOPE, APPLICATIONS; AND CONSEQUENCES:

Stealing is a subject well worth our attention for several reasons. First, stealing has become a national and international problem of epidemic proportion. Second, our culture sends us mixed signals as to how serious the problem of stealing is. Third, stealing is much more complex problem in our society than it was in the days of ancient Israel. Fourth, stealing is a serious sin because it is included in the Ten Commandments, which is identified as Ultimate Evils of Israel's days, and of our own as well. Finally, stealing is often viewed as an evil for the wrong reasons.

 

Broadly speaking, stealing falls into two categories:-

ACTIVE STEALING, AND PASSIVE STEALING. Active stealing aggressively, willfully, maliciously takes what belongs to someone else through a variety of means. In Leviticus chapter 6, we find several forms of active theft identified:

                Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “When a person

                   sins and commits a trespass against the LORD by lying to

his neighbor about what was delivered to him for

safekeeping, or about a pledge, or about a robbery, or if

he has extorted from his neighbor, or if he has found

what was lost and lies concerning it, and swears falsely;

 in any one of these things that a man may do in which

he sins: then it shall be, because he has sinned and is

guilty, that he shall restore what he has stolen, or the

thing which he has exhorted, or what was delivered to

him for safekeeping or the lost thing which he found, or

all that about which he has sworn falsely. He shall restore

its full value, add one-fifth more to it, and give it to

whomever it belongs on the day of his trespass offering.

And he shall bring his trespass offering to the LORD,

a ram without blemish from the flock, with your valuation,

as a trespass offering to the Priest. So the Priest shall

make atonement for him before the LORD, and he shall

be forgiven for any one of these things that he may have

 done in which he trespasses”.

                                      (Leviticus 6:1-7).

 

Active Stealing involves:

a      EMBEZZLEMENT:

Embezzlement is the misuse or misappropriation of something that has been entrusted to us (Lev. 6:2). Embezzlement is a violation of trust, for what has been placed in a person's keeping has been appropriated for selfish purposes. This type of stealing is very rampant both in the Society, Church, Government, Public and Civil Service, and even in the family. It is also frequently an offense of bank employees, chief executives of companies, head of Government Agencies, Ministries and Departments. Politicians of all categories seem to be the chief in this category of stealing.

 

b.     ROBBERY:       Robbery is the act of taking what belongs to another boldly. (Leviticus 6:2). Robbers generally take things directly, often by the use of superior force, frequently involving a weapon. Stealing suggests stealth. A pick pocket for example, uses stealth, as does a burglar. Fraud is also included here. This is so because Fraud involves getting what belongs to another by deception. Here the victim gives what is stolen to the thief, thinking that doing so will be useful and profitable. But the only one who profits here is the thief.

 

c.     EXTORTION:   Extortionists gain possession of another person's property by the illicit use of authority, position or force. Here, many employers of labour, lecturers in tertiary institutions, caregivers and guardians of young girls are visibly involved. Charging an excessive price over goods and services rendered are included there. The Police, Army, Navy, Air Force Officers, Federal Road Safety Corps, and even Civil Defense are hugely involved in this type of stealing. It was this type of stealing that John the Baptist was addressing when he spoke to the people in Luke 3:12-14 thus:

                Then tax Collectors also came to be baptized, and said

to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” So he said to them, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you”. Likewise, the soldiers' asked him saying, “And what shall we do?” So he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages”.

 

d.     MARRIAGE INFIDELITY:

This is another brand of stealing that is ravaging families, homes and the society today. In Christian marriage, husband and wife take solemn oath and vow to remain faithful to each other, and maintain sexual chastity. Any act of adultery under any guise is active stealing. This is why the Holy Bible instructs in Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage is honourable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge'. In fact, any sexual relationship with anyone who is not your legally wedded spouse is a serious act of stealing. This is why the Bible recommends that if a man has sexual intercourse with a young woman betrothed to another man, both of them should be stoned to death in the open square. (Exodus 22:22-30).

 

e.     KIDNAPPING: In the ancient Near East, Kidnapping was considered and categorized as a form of theft. The Holy Bible explains in Deuteronomy 24:7, “If a man is found kidnapping any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and mistreats him or sells him, then that kidnapper shall die; and you shall put away the evil from among you”. In the original Hebrew text, the word kidnapping is used as a synonym of stealing. Every form of kidnapping is theft or stealing and the punishment is death.

 

f.      TIME-THEFT:   Time-theft is defined as those deliberate employee actions which result in the massive, growing misuse and waste of time. Included types of time-theft are: arriving to work late; leaving work place early, taking unjustified sick leave, extensive and excessive socializing with co-workers during official hours, inattention to the job you have at hand; signing time book falsely, using official hours to engage in private practice, Reading novels and magazines on the job, operating a business on the side during working hours, eating lunch at the desk and then going out for Lunch hour; using official hours to engage in personal phone conversations, on-the-job day dreaming, and Ghost worker syndrome. This stealing style poses great challenges to Nigerian Christians who are victims of them. The challenge before all of us is to always remember that, “You are the Light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Therefore let your light so shine before men that they will see your good works and glorify your father who is in Heaven”. (Matthew 5:14-16).

 

g.     RELIGIOUS ROBBERY:    This is one of the most serious forms of stealing. Religious Robbery is very serious, because in it, we are either robbing God; Robbing in the name of God, or Robbing in a way that suggests God is our partner in the crime. We rob God whenever we withhold from Him what is due Him, or what belongs to Him. We rob God when we withhold our offerings, and Tithes from Him. Whenever we treat ourselves better than we treat God's servants, and God's work, we have stolen from God. Thus, Haggai the Old Testament prophet accused the Israelites of robbing God when they lived in paneled houses, while the house of God was in shambles and incomplete. (Haggai 1:2-4). When we find our own houses in better condition and better maintained and furnished than the Church building, we are in danger of robbing God. The most frequent and flagrant ways in which men rob God is when we fail to give God the Praise which He deserves. There is also another form of religious robbery called “sanctified stealing”. Sanctified Stealing is that which is done in the name of God, or in the name of religion, or by the misuse of religious position or power. The scribes and Pharisees were sanctified stealers. (Matthew 23). Some ministers and church leaders rob God and His people by mismanagement and specifically by excessively high operating and administrative costs. The worst Religious Robbery is that which is done by false prophets and pastors of every age. They generally live well, generously provided for by the gullible, who are ensnared and captivated by the smooth and sweet words, and who fall prey to their sophisticated fund-raising schemes and antics.

 

In addition to these active forms of stealing, there are a variety of passive forms of stealing. While Active thefts previously described as wrongly took something from the possession of another, Passive theft is the failure to give to another what belongs to them or is due to them. The following forms of passive stealing are forbidden in the Holy Bible:

1.     A man's negligence which results in a loss to his neighbor (Exodus 22:5).

2.     A man's failure to return something lost to its owner is stealing. (Leviticus 6:3)

3.     Failure to give what belongs to another is stealing. (Leviticus 19:13; Deut. 24:14-15). A day labour is to be paid at the end of the day. For an employer to keep a labourer's wage, which at the end of his work day rightfully belongs to the worker. (Deut. 18:1-8; 26:9-13). Withholding the charity which was to be shown to the poor, the alien, and the stranger was also stealing.

 

 

APPRECIATION AND CONCLUSION:

Before we conclude this Presidential Address, let me sincerely appreciate all the good people of Osumenyi Anglican Communion for their sacrifices, doggedness and Resilience to make this Synod a resounding success. May the Almighty God continually and ceaselessly bless and replenish all of you abundantly in Jesus Christ Name. Let me also thank my wife for her prayers, encouragements, and support in creating a very wonderful conducive atmosphere at home for me to work from. My Secretary, my Chaplains, and drivers deserve our wonderful commendation. The Clerical Synod Secretary had worked round the clock to make sure that everything is in proper place for this Synod. God bless you all in the mighty Name of Jesus Christ.

 

Stealing is a sin against God, and humanity. Stealing is a vice which is contrary to God's nature, character, and laws. Stealing is a very deadly virus aggressively devouring the whole fabrics of human life, and society. Stealing alienates us from God, His Grace, Favour, and Covenant. Stealing is a very terrible sickness, disease and infirmity. But as hopeless as the situation looks, God in His benevolence has given us permanent salvation from stealing, and it's devastating consequences. In Ephesians 4:25&28, we read, “Therefore, putting away lying, Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbour, for we are members of one another. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labour, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need”. Let us all resolve like Zacchaeus at his conversion to stop stealing and restitute what we have stolen as we read in Luke 19:2-10;

                “Now behold, there was a man named Zaccheaus who was

                a chief tax collector and he was rich. And he sought to see

                who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for

 he was of short stature. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house” So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold”. And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost”.

 

Jesus who saved Zacchaeus from stealing can also save you today from every form of stealing and give you a new life. Give Him a Chance today in your heart.

 

Let us rise and solemnly sing from A&M 356

 

1.     THY way, not my mine, O Lord

        However dark it be;

        Lead me by thine own hand,

        Choose out the path for me.

 

2.     Smooth let it be or rough,

        It will be still the best;

        Winding or straight, it leads~

        Right onward to thy rest.

 

3.     I dare not choose my lot;

        I would not if I might:

        Choose thou for me, my God,

        So shall I walk aright.

 

4.     The Kingdom that I seek~

        Is thine; so let the way~

        That leads to it be thine,

        Else I must surely stray.

 

5.     Take thou my cup, and it~

        With joy or sorrow fill,

        As best to thee may seem;

        Choose thou my good and ill.

 

6.     Choose thou for me my friends,

        My sickness or my health;

        Choose thou my cares for me.

        My poverty or wealth.

 

7.     Not mine, not mine, the choice

        In things or great or small;

        Be thou my guide, my strength

        My wisdom, and my all.

 

Thank you immensely for listening patiently

 

Your Friend and Bishop,

 

 

 

+EPHRAIM AMICHI

    9TH JUNE, 2018.