Church of Nigeria

Ecumenism, Pivotal Stand For Universality Of All Christians – Archbishop Okoh

The Church has been called upon to work together, without prejudice to proliferation of Churches and different denominations. The Primate of all Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh made this call at the formal inauguration of Directors of Ecumenism Network from all the Dioceses of the Communion at the Teen’s Chapel of the All Saint’s Anglican Church, Wuse Zone 5, Abuja. He said Ecumenism today stands for the universality and catholicity of Christians all over the world with the sole aim of believing and celebrating that common faith as well as mending their differences and working to overcome obstacles to the united witness of Jesus Christ.

Archbishop Okoh said no one is an island, and because of numerous problems around the Church especially the problems of poverty, it cannot be tackled alone. He cited for example politics in the land, he said the Church needs everybody whether directly involved or not to share in politics because politicians are members of the Church and the Church members cannot be neutral, hence he said they need what politicians are doing to merge with what the Church is doing to create a new environment for the people. He opined that the Church cannot take a unilateral decision as a denomination no matter how big it is. According to him, doing so could lead to very big problems, so the response to issues that affect the nation or generality of the people must be along with other people who worship God in Christ Jesus, hence the importance of the word, Ecumenism.

He said disease has no boundary, adding that where there is disease in the community there is nothing like Anglican, Roman Catholic, Baptist disease, it affects everybody without religious boundaries; hence pulling together resources becomes imperative to help the society, nobody can go it alone and that is the sense in Ecumenism, he said.

The Primate admonished the newly inaugurated directors of ecumenism to relate with all people of all denominations to work God’s purpose to His people. He charged them to work respectfully under the leadership and guidance of their Bishops without cancelling the rules in the Anglican Church. He said the Church is working seriously on how to relate better with other denominations and according to him, this will help to understand them better so that the same society where they live together will be able to honour one another adding that they should be assets to the Church and not an impediment in the way of progress. He opined that part of ecumenism is that they should know and understand what is going on in other faith, in traditional religion, and Islam with a view to understanding their mentality and faith, vice versa to have mutual respect and create a harmonious society which is prerequisite for peace and development.

Earlier, in his welcome address, the director of ecumenism Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, Ven. Dr. Princewill Ireoba had traced the genesis of how ecumenism was evolved stating that the department as it is, is geared towards achieving specific goals within the time frame of the incumbent Primate and in line with already set objectives. The national director mentioned that ecumenism has its problems and dangerous tendencies like compromise of the gospel, syncretism, insincerity, proliferation of Churches and lies at the expense of truth. He admonished those inaugurated to steer clear of poaching of the sheep, maintain their identity as authentic Anglicans and the age long tradition. According to him, it behoves the directors of ecumenism to make conscious effort to ensure that the people are sensitized and mobilized for the realization of the ecumenical vision.

Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh then inaugurated the Directors of Ecumenism Network to the glory of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. About 100 directors of ecumenism attended the inauguration which had in attendance Archbishops, Bishops and directors in all the departments under Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion.