INTERVIEW WITH THE RT. REV. TUNDE ADELEYE, BISHOP OF CALABAR ANGLICAN DIOCESE AND CHAIRMAN OF DIVCCON PLANNING COMMITTEE
This is your first outing as the chairman of DIVCCON Planning Committee; so, could you tell us things that have been put in place and new things we should expect?
Well, I think the most important thing is that when you take over an activity what is best in administration is for you to first of all look at what is on ground, because when you know what is on ground you will be able to compare that vis-à-vis the vision of those who began DIVCCON – What was the vision, the plan and what they wanted to achieve? When you compare the vision and you look at what has been done, until those basic areas have been looked into, you are not likely to be able to start thinking about what to do next. So, I will say most sincerely that we have understood the vision of DIVCCON and the Primate has also made it very clear the direction of DIVCCON.
The spiritual aspect of it, which is purely evangelical with an aim to enrich the Church, to enlarge the spiritual horizon of the Church, to touch the individuals in the Anglican Communion spiritually and even materially because when God answers our prayers, our material establishments shall increase and improve. DIVCCON like the name suggests which is Divine Commonwealth Conference, is largely heavenly minded and a Godly outing to reach every participant.
Then, we also need to look at the administrative positioning; what do we need to get DIVCCON appropriate, to get the vision out. Spiritually, we need Bible based preaching; we need God centered revival; we need very prophetic spiritual exposition, which will affect every hearer in the Church and DIVCCON to the extent that they will not look back or be looking for alternatives or substitute for the Anglican Church. We need to implant the word of God in the hearts of the people. Like the Psalmist said, “Thy words have I hid in my heart that I may not sin against you.” So, we need to implant the word of God in the minds, lives and hearts of the people and when this is done, they can like our blessed Lord, be able to combat the devil’s beckoning and temptations. They can say, “No” to the devil and “Yes” to God.
Physically, we need a DIVCCON Centre. As of now, we are holding the conference at the Ecumenical Centre, which though comfortable and convenient is extremely costly to manage and to use. You need to pay for so many things and this cost is too high. If the Lord permits and we know He will permit, we want to get a DIVCCON Centre in a central part of the country. The attendance to DIVCCON without exaggeration can be close to millions, but as of now only those who can pay the hotel bills and foot the cost of so many other things can come. So, this is part of the physical areas that we need, but other things can follow such as public address system, lightings, audio-visuals – both recording and projection. We also want a situation where we can minimize intra-city transportation because all these will reduce cost and therefore, make the conference less burdensome and make it more interesting. All these things I have mentioned are what we are going to focus on.
So, what I have done so far is to keep consulting, having had a fair idea of what is on ground because I’m not sure we can say we have known it yet. But, we cannot bring our bearings out in other to decide what to do next or where to go next.
We also need to evaluate and that is what we are doing; evaluating what we have, are they good enough, bad, do we need to add more or subtract or do we need to add value? And I must confess that our Primate is very visionary about this project, totally committed and fully convinced that this is a calling from God; that this is a thing that the Church should be doing for now. It is part of the spiritual growth of the Church and is to help ensure that in the Church, whether at the local level or national level, we are not just involved in jamborees but we are involved in concrete issues that matters, which have eternal value.
- What informed the theme of this year’s conference, “FEAR NOT?”
When we were trying to look at the theme for this year, we were informed by the situation in the country, the tension, fears, restlessness, uncertainties, oppressive manifestations in the country, poverty, hunger, disease, frustration and so on. You cannot even decide that what is your own is your own, because it can be taken away from you. For example, the herdsmen whose cows destroy other people’s farmland and eat their food. So, there is cheating in the land and there is lopsidedness in the distribution of goods and services in the country. So, we felt that at this time the Church should come in to save and encourage the people and make them know that in the face of all these things, for the believer there is hope and therefore, they do not need to fear what they see. In fact that is what you will find out in the passage we chose in 2 Kings 6:16. We can see the battle is fierce; we can see the fighters in numbers; we can the enemies increasing, but we don’t need to fear because He that is in us is greater than the whole world. He will help us to go through all the hassles and apparent present tears. So, the theme is to allay the fears of everyone, including the Church.
- So, what is your brief message to the delegates attending this year’s DIVCCON?
We welcome delegates to the conference, we have been waiting for you. They should please make the best use of this DIVCCON, because this particular DIVCCON will not come again. Hereafter there will be another DIVCCON, but it won’t be this one. So, make the best use of it; pay attention to the talk, join them in the prayers because you need it to become an overcomer. I want to tell them that there is a fight to be fought and a victory to be won and if you are wearing the garment of fear, you cannot fight this battle. So, I want the delegates to pay attention to what is happening, pray along, obey the word, get the messages for yourself and whatever prophetic utterances that will be made during this DIVCCON, let it be for you. Don’t look left, right and center! Get the messages, put them in your life, pattern and profile, so that you will be able to overcome as time goes by. And then, they should not let the message of this conference be short-lived; let it be an everlasting gain in our lives.
- What are your prayers for the delegates at this conference?
My prayer is that God will put us over and above the fearful situations around us. God will give us a testimony of victory. God will lift us up over and above limitations because we are born to be unlimited, we are born to be great. I pray that fear will decrease and faith will increase. After this conference, we are protected by the shield of our faith and the sword of the Spirit, so we are not afraid. Amen