(BY NGOZI ADIGHIBE)
The Primate of all Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh has emphatically stated that however heavenly minded Christians may be, they must be responsible citizens who are mindful of their calling to serve God diligently by serving the country. He made this known while reading his address at the gathering organized for the eminent Anglicans in Nigeria, which took place at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. Primate Okoh said that the need for Christians to be good citizens of the country cannot be overemphasized because the earth belongs to God and He expects believers to care for it and make it conducive during their lifetime. Therefore, he appealed to those involved in governance and politics to be mindful of their calling as God’s Children, and as Anglicans and be faithful and responsible leaders.
Speaking on the purpose of the gathering, Primate Okoh said that it became important for the Church to remind itself of God’s call to them to be lights in the world, irrespective of the challenges therein. He explained that the meeting was also an opportunity to share experiences, fellowship together, pray for the poor and weak, for the country and for those in authority and proffer solutions to the issues bothering the Anglican Church. He expressed concern about the lack of engagement of the youths in the country, appealing to the government and private organizations to join forces to ensure that the youths are gainfully employed. He further cautioned attendees to remember that they are part of the Anglican Church that has long, tested and established ways of doing things, adding that they must endeavor to be orderly and responsible in resolving whatever issues they may have to avoid tarnishing the long standing tradition of the Anglican Church.
He welcomed all the eminent members of the Communion, appreciating them for taking the time to be at the gathering, stating that it is a reflection of their love for Christ and the Church. The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh expressed joy at the fact that the Anglican Church through her members have strong influence in every sector of the nation, explaining that these contributions are as old as the history of the Christian faith in Nigeria. Primate Okoh concluded his address with a commendation and appreciation to the organizing committee ably led by the Most Rev. Adebola Ademowo, as well as the local organizing committee led by His Excellency, Senator Tunde Ogbeha CON, Mni. He thanked all the Archbishops and eminent who responded to the call of the Church and prayed that God will bless them, the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion and the country.
Earlier during the devotion held before the meeting, the Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh pointed out that no one diocese or Province can advance the course of the Anglican Church in Nigeria. He said that the business of the Kingdom is not that of an individual or a few individuals, but a team effort; because according to him, when the Church works together, they can achieve more for the Kingdom. The Primate acknowledging that most of them were committed in their Parishes, Dioceses and even on a national level, stated that everyone needs to pull together in order for the Communion to break new ground. Primate Okoh opined that the teaching that Christianity abandons everything regarding the church for the Vicar alone is flawed, adding that such teaching will not allow the Church make the impact it ought to make. He cited the passage of the scripture, where Jesus sent out the disciples in twos, explaining that the role of the leader or Vicar is to inspire members to take up the assignment. He pointed out that the gathering is to rekindle the faith and remind themselves that they are part of a team of disciples, who have the assignment of expanding the Church and ensuring that the faith is transferred to the next generation. The Primate of all Nigeria ended his brief exhortation with a charge to attendees that the challenge is now and it is real, because what they do now will determine the future.
Meanwhile, the Most Rev. Dr. Adebola Ademowo, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Lagos and Chairman of the organizing committee described the Primate of all Nigeria as a visionary and forward leading leader for conceiving the idea of such a gathering. He said it is the first of its kind and it is laudable. Archbishop Ademowo welcomed everyone present and thanked them for their attendance at the meeting. He appreciated the committees that have worked diligently to ensure the success of the gathering and prayed that God would reward their labour of love.
Present at the meeting were prominent men and women of the Anglican Church, many of whom had served or are currently serving the nation and the Church in one capacity or the other.