Nigeria’s former Military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon Rtd. has called on the Anglican Communion to review its position on the question of female ordination.
He made this call in his welcome address as the Chairman of the 3rd Session of the 8th Synod of the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, diocese of Abuja held at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church, Maitama Abuja. He reiterated his belief that male or female, the body of Christ is one.
He went down memory lane to recount the roles of women in the days of yore, how they worked conscientiously to send their children to receive qualitative education to become very important personalities in the society. General Yakubu Gowon said if such have performed this role, why should they be denied adding that they have the right to play the role and join the stewards in the Church.
He emphasized his conviction that there is no scriptural basis for the exclusion of women to be ordained as Priests other than the Jewish custom. The former military head of state is of the opinion that the involvement of women into Priesthood will no doubt add to the much needed members required for the Stewardship. He reminded the Church authorities that shrewdest and the penniless receives the desire as stewards hence workers in the Lord’s vineyard must at all times be encouraged to achieve the best adding that stewards are specially chosen people and it is a position of responsibility to the Kingdom.
The former head of state reviewed the long history of winning souls for God’s kingdom in Nigeria from the early days of the Rev. Henry Townsend, one of the first missionaries who rendered missionary service and Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther, a slave who later became the first Anglican African Bishop who worked with pragmatic zeal.
Talking about the theme of the Synod, General Yakubu Gowon said it is exciting that the theme of the Presidential Address is Christian Stewardship, because of the growing proliferation of Churches and the alarming decrease in godly living among faithfuls. According to him, the scriptures confirm that Christians should not conform to the world, yet people find it difficult to be their brother’s keeper. He believes that Christian stewardship is a call for action regardless of status, gender or age to play a honourable role to God and then to mankind. He urged everybody gathered to please reflect this; that whatever position of responsibility they find themselves, high or low, big or small, it has pleased God Almighty to place them there. With nostalgic feeling, he asked everyone to imbibe the spirit of selfless service as preached by Professor Jerry Gana when he was a Director of MAMSER and Minister of Information, that if they do anything at all it must be done well and pursue goals that will glorify God.
He called on all Christian faithful to do all they do for the good of the society and look beyond self by seeking solutions to the various challenges facing the society and mankind in general. He enjoined the delegates to the Synod to be vanguard against corruption at the helms of power and restore confidence in various facets of the national life, by providing answers to the growing insecurity in the land. He opined that leaders of the Christian faith have an important role to play with the crisis in the land asking them to pray without ceasing because according to him, prayer is the most potent weapon to warfare.
He ended his address by asking Christians to be Christ-like, extend hands of fellowship to all men, resist the spirit of violence, demand protection from the appropriate authority and agencies, never allowed to be drawn to religion violence, avoid cheating and injustice, pursue peace and show it to all. He was confident that once what is provided is properly harnessed the people no matter the thorns on their way to attain it, will one day account for their stewardship between God and before man.
He eulogized his Grace, the Primate of all Nigeria Anglican Communion Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh and all Archbishops and Bishops serving under him for the exemplary leadership and for blazing the trail in Church revisionism and selfless service of the Anglican Church in Nigeria.
By Ven. Foluso Taiwo