“The Church of God was founded on the day the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and so the Church cannot move forward without the Spirit of God fully present”.
These were the words of the Rt. Rev. Manasses Okere, Bishop of Isuikwuato/Umunneochi Anglican diocese during the annual Bishops’ retreat which took place at the Ibru Ecumenical Retreat Center, Agbarha-Otor Delta state. He added that Church leaders should be constantly sensitive to what the Spirit of God has to say about their lives and environment adding that this will prevent dormancy in the ministry. He drew reference from a Church in the Bible, who had testimonies based on their works and exploits for the kingdom, but yet had lost their first love, which is Christ; and charged fellow Bishops not to lose sight of their relationship with God.
On the theme, the Cleric stated that its importance cannot be overemphasized especially to those who are new to the Episcopacy; further adding that it borders on the responsibilities and enormous task that is the life of every Bishop in the Church of God. He said the theme of the retreat, ‘The Bishop as an overseer, evangelist, administrator and Pastor is a reminder of their duties as Bishops. Therefore, he called on brother Bishops to note that just as God seeks those who worship Him in spirit and in truth, He also seeks Bishops who are overseers, evangelists, administrators and Pastors of His Church.
The Bishop of Isuikwuato/Umunneochi stressed that all must be conscious of their spiritual condition at all times, so as not to be active Christians who are by God’s standards, spiritually dead. He challenged them to search their hearts and conduct a spiritual autopsy through the help of the Holy Spirit of their dioceses because according to him, the work may be progressing and yet lack the approval of Christ, who is the head of the Church. Finally, the Rt. Rev. Manasses Okere said that it is a privilege to work for God because there is still hope for the Church; adding that it is the duty of the Bishop to wake up and strengthen the remaining things and complete them before the coming of the Lord, Jesus Christ.
The final Holy Eucharist service for this year’s Bishop’s retreat was celebrated by the Province of Aba, Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion and had over 150 Bishops in attendance.