“When you have made an offering to God, you don’t go back to lay claim to it.”
The Primate of all Nigeria, Anglican Communion and Bishop of Abuja Diocese, the Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh made this statement during his sermon at the dedication service of St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Paradise Hill Estate, Asokoro Extension, Abuja. He explained that no matter how much one has given towards the building of the new Church, it has become the property of God and therefore it belongs to no man. The Primate said that God will bless all those who contributed to the Church, however they must not use the role they played to intimidate the Pastor put in charge of the Church, adding that whoever does that lacks understanding of what he or she is doing.
Archbishop Okoh described the Church as a centre of operation for evangelism, explaining that members are to go all out to capture those living in that area for Jesus Christ. He reiterated that the Church is a centre for the spread of God’s word, a house of prayer and not just a place for dancing. He opined that for evangelism to succeed, it must be clothed with love. Therefore, he charged the congregation to carry out evangelism through the way they live their lives.
Speaking on the significance of Church dedication, Primate Okoh said that dedication in the Anglican Church is a very serious service, where territorial spirits are banished and the Church claims the property for Jesus Christ. He pointed out that in the Anglican Church, both buildings and people are dedicated, set apart for God’s use. He elaborated that Clergymen are also dedicated, as well as Church buildings to separate them from the world and transfer ownership to God. As a result, the Cleric said that anyone in need of solution can find it in the Church and those persecuted or troubled can find solace in God’s house.
The Bishop of Abuja Anglican Diocese highlighted several reasons people come to Church, stating that some come when they are sad, sorrowful and others when they are happy and grateful. He pointed out that because God is present in the Church, anyone can come and be saved. He said that all who come to the Church must come with an attitude of humility, because God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. Primate Okoh further urged the congregation to spread the message of the gospel without worry, because the owner of the work has promised to be with them, adding that since God is involved there is no option of failure.
The Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh thanked all those who contributed towards the Church building project, especially Ms. Amal Pepple, Ven. Festus Nwafili, Vicar of the Basilica of Grace Church, Gudu, members of the building committee and the members of the Basilica of Grace Church, Gudu, Abuja. He said that God uses simple people to advance His Church and encouraged all to use whatever office they are in to benefit Jesus. According to him, God will bless all who gave and will never disappoint anyone that advances the gospel.
Highpoints of the service include the dedication of key places in the Church such as the Pulpit, Font, Entrance, Lectern, Prayer desks, Choir stall, Chancel step, and the Holy table; anthem by the Choir and song ministration by the Choir of the Chapel of the Advent (Primate’s office). It was indeed a glorious service of thanksgiving and dedication to the Almighty God.