DIOCESE OF AMICHI
PASTORAL LETTER FROM HIS LORDSHIP, THE RT. REV'D. EPHRAIM OKECHUKWU IKEAKOR AT THE END OF THE FIRST SESSION OF THE FOURTH SYNOD OF THE ANGLICAN DIOCESE OF AMICHI HELD AT ST. STEPHEN'S CHURCH, OSUMENYI FROM WEDNEDAY 6TH - SUNDAY 10TH JUNE, 2018.
To All the Saints in Amichi Diocese,
I give all the glory to God Almighty who has sustained us this one year. Whatever we were able to do and achieve has been all by His grace and mercy. I thank God who also granted us His presence and guidance to successfully conclude the First Session of the Fourth Synod of our Diocese. I thank and appreciate all our members who contributed immensely to the resounding success recorded in the Synod.
It has become traditional for me to write you after every session of the Synod, to appreciate your efforts and commitments to the course of our great Diocese. God has helped us in no small measure through your prayers and good will.
The theme of our Synod this year: “Thou Shalt Not Steal”. Exodus 20:15; brought us to the understanding of the various forms of the malady of stealing in our individual lives, the family, the Church, as well as the society. Looking at the trend of events in the Church and Society, one easily discovers that stealing, of various forms and degrees, has become the bane of our societal life. The reason many people steal is that they fail to see life from God's point of view, they desire for more or better possessions or to have the ‘latest' which is really a longing to fill an empty place in their lives. When people feel empty inside, they tend to be drawn to something – Stealing.
The primary reason God created man was for His own good pleasure not for selfish or self-centered pleasure. Every form of worship that does not allow God the worship He deserves breaks the first and second commandments. It is idolatry, and amounts to stealing or robbing God of the worship that is solely His.
My dear people of God, may I remind you that we belong to God, whatever we are, and whatever we have all belong to God. We owe it as a duty to give our life in total worship and service of God. We must give God the life He gave to us otherwise; we will be guilty of stealing from God. We rob God whenever we withhold from 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.
Our children are special gifts from God and they belong to Him. We should encourage and mobilize our children to give themselves to the worship and service of God. Parents owe it as a duty to ensure that our children are fully involved in the service of God and the church. When we refuse them from getting involved, we will be guilty of stealing them and their services from God. I enjoin our young mothers to get involved in the training of our children by becoming ACM teachers in our various churches.
May I also remind you of the 10th Anniversary Celebration of our great Diocese, this will take place from Monday 7th to Sunday 13th January, 2019. I implore every member of our church to buy the Anniversary cloth and ensure full participation in the Anniversary programs. No member of our Diocese should fix any engagement within the anniversary period.
My dear people of God, God has placed a burden in our heart to prepare men for the imminent return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Do not be distracted, stay focused, do not give up no matter what the situation looks like. Wherever you find yourself, no matter the condition and situation, Do Not Steal. If you do these things, you shall be blameless.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Your friend and Bishop,
The Rt. Rev'd Ephraim Okechukwu Ikeakor
Bishop, Diocese of Amichi