Communique Issued At The End of The Bishops And Wives Retreat At Bariga LagosJanuary 18, 2023
- NGOZI ADIGHIBE
- November 14, 2017
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“The generality of the populace are hedged by life’s unfavourable circumstances but the theme for this year’s Divine Commonwealth Conference (DIVCCON) is a reassurance of God’s promises that there is someone reliable to hold unto as they face the challenges of life”.
This was the submission of His Grace, The Primate of All Nigeria, Anglican Communion, The Most Reverend Nicholas D. Okoh as he flagged off the 7th Edition of DIVCCON holding at the National Christian Centre, Abuja. The Primate said, some people clinged to money, other to secret societies, charms, false and satanic prophets, some to erudition, power, and renown. According to the Primate, all these can fail, because the world is full of constant change and circumstances. The only reliable resort for man is the unchanging God, manifested to man in Jesus Christ. Talking about the crux, the theme, We Have the Man Jesus; he said, in Jesus Christ, all the limitations of life as witnessed by the pool of Bethsaida are eliminated. Because we can call on the man Jesus wherever we are and be healed. He urged the gathering of faithful to always learn to be thankful for the kindness they received and be patient under the greatest disappointment. According to him, the Scripture says “for the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it, because it will surely come.” He categorically pointed out that those who wait on the Lord are never disappointed for it is better to wait on the Lord than to put confidence in man.
The Primate did not mince words to say that “it is amazing that when people are hopelessly looking up to man for help, God can suddenly appear to help them, because men will fail them but God will intervene and bring about restoration. Those who trust in their own ability, power, position, influence, connections and wealth can still be disappointed like the invalid at Bethsaida, the same thing with those who trust in Satanic powers, they are like those returning to Egypt for help. Jesus is the helper, teacher and counsellor of the believer. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men, according to the Bible. Adding that Jesus is the righteous judge and soon coming king, omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient, Alpha and Omega, for in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”.
The head of the Anglican Church in Nigeria said, our nation, Nigeria may not know how much she needs Jesus. According to him, the world leaders and nations do not even know that this man, Jesus, is who they need the most. Adding that many world organisations are spending resources and dissipating energy searching for peace in the world but there cannot be true peace without the Prince of Peace, the man Jesus Christ. He concluded that Jesus is the true peace of men, the peace that men so truly crave for. There is no viable alternative to the man Jesus, He is the peace that the world so desperately needs, especially in these last days. He said that without the man Jesus, chaos will be on the increase everywhere. Without Him, even with the advancement in technology, men will still have frustrations.
His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan reminded the gathering that the Church started with persecution, thus persecution should not be a reason for discouragement. But we should rather think of what we should make out of the persecution. Jesus as our example, hung on the cross; by human standard was completely beaten and destroyed, but that is the mystery of God’s work in Jesus Christ, that He rose up from the dead and here we are today. Those who are suffering may not find it easy to grasp this type of message. But those who believe seriously in Jesus Christ, will sustain their faith in spite of persecution. At the end of the day, the Christian faith has only one solution, Jesus the man in whom we believe firmly, and because we believe in Him, nothing worries us.
John Cardinal Onaiyekan, said “from what I have seen of the Divine Commonwealth Conference, it is a wonderful thing, this is the beginning of the 7th Edition, by the end of it, those who are art of the gathering will go home stronger in their faith, more enlightened in the meaning of what it means to be a Christian and contribute their own quota to make Nigeria a better place.
The Methodist, Archbishop of Abuja,
The Most Reverend Ochei Job, represented by Very Reverend John Eze, prayed that this great move of God that He has started in the Anglican Church will only bring the needed transformation to Nigeria, but will also spread to the entire world. This is a Church that will always set an example for other church to follow. He prayed and wish Anglican Church; which he referred to as their Father and Mother denomination, God’s grace. According to him, The Methodist Church learnt their ecclesiology, that they use today, from the Anglican Church of England.
DIVCCON has always been a great opportunity for us to get rejuvenated spiritually apart from the Sunday Tonic and the weekly Bible Studies and other activities, DIVCCON gives an opportunity for us Anglicans in an ecumenical manner to come with people from other denominations in such a holy convocation to spend a week to reflect on the theme, and this theme is We have the man Jesus, we have already learnt that the man Jesus is not limited by space, time, frailties of human limitations; I think it is quite significant to come this period to reflect and spend time to rebuild our spirit, to pray for our country Nigeria and particularly to pray for the Church, not only the Anglican Church, but the Church universal, the Church of God in Nigeria.