Protocol: The Dean CON, my lord Bishops, Chancellor CON, Registrar CON, the Chairman of the Laity, the Lord Chancellors, the Registrars of our Diocese, other Legal Officers of our Church, the LOC ably led by Barr Mrs. Ajoni. All our Resource Persons.
On behalf of the Archbishops and Bishops we welcome you, our Eminent Anglicans, who serve God in the Church of God. We give thanks to God, the Owner and Builder of His Church, for His lovingkindness that has sustained us as His People in spite of the myriads of challenges facing the Church and the world. Most of you at this Conference of Chancellors, Registrars and Legal Officers are no strangers to these battles and challenges. And so, we thank God for your lives and labours in God’s vineyard.
The Psalmist in the first five verses of Psalm 34 declares, I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord …They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed.
Indeed the Lord has been good to us as individuals and as people. He has not allow us to suffer shame. As you look unto the LORD, Our prayer for you all is that you shall not suffer shame in life in Jesus Christ name.
Since inception, this Conference has remained very strategic in shaping and refocusing our Legal Team for effective service to God and the Church of Christ. We thank Barr. Abraham Yisa and his team.
The phrase “Ebenezer: Hitherto Had The Lord Helped Us” comes from the book of 1 Samuel, chapter 7, verse 12. It is an expression of gratitude and acknowledgment of God’s help and provision. In this verse, the prophet Samuel sets up a stone as a memorial after the Israelites’ victory against the Philistines. The stone is called “Ebenezer,” which means “stone of help.” Samuel placed it there to commemorate the divine assistance they received in their battle.
The phrase is often used to reflect on the past experiences of God’s faithfulness and help in times of need. It serves as a reminder to trust in God’s continued guidance and support in the future as well. The concept of setting up monuments or memorials as a way of commemorating significant events is found in several places throughout the Bible. In modern times, the phrase “Ebenezer” and its reference to God’s help may be used to express gratitude for God’s guidance and assistance in one’s life journey.
Samuel led the Israelites to memorialized God’s help with a stone, he named Ebenezer “Stone of Help” that marked God’s activity for His people. A profound expression of gratitude and acknowledgment of God’s faithfulness, a timeless reminder of God’s faithfulness, provision, and guidance in our lives. This stone represented more than just a historical marker; it became a symbol of God’s faithfulness and unwavering support throughout the journey of the Israelite nation. It served as a tangible reminder of the victory God had granted them and a testament to their acknowledgment of His active involvement in their lives
This victory ended the 40-year oppression of the Philistines. Do you recognize God in your life? That is what Samuel meant by Eben-ezer. We should not take God’s help and divine intervention for granted in our lives. The memorial stone bore witness to the effectiveness of trusting the LORD. As God’s people, we need to recollect and remember how far the LORD had helped us in our life journey. As human, we are not only prone to forget but we forget so easily and quickly God’s goodness- the story of the Israelites in the wilderness (Numbers 11:10-23) and the disciples of Jesus points to this facts (Luke 22:35). The importance of remembering the act of God among His people was a major theme in the Book Deuteronomy that contained Moses final admonition to Israelite. God instructed them, to remember their deliverance from slavery in Egypt (Deut.5:15), His miracles in Egypt and the wilderness (Deut. 8:2), He want them to remember that He His the one that gives the power to make wealth (Deut.8:18) etc. The essence of this instruction to God’s people ‘to remember’ His miraculous acts was to enhance their faith, motivate them to trust Him in the face of new adversity and encourage them to be grateful. May the Lord help us to remember that He that began a good work and worked wonders in time past is able to do it again and perfect faith.(Ephe.1:6)
Implications of the Theme:
Our theme has broader implications for people of faith today. It serves as a timeless lesson that God’s faithfulness is not limited to ancient history but is a living reality in our lives as well, as we trust God. Just as the Israelites faced challenges and uncertainties, we, too, encounter trials, suffering, hike in price of fuel and tribulations in our journey. This verse reminds us that we can look back on our own lives and recognize how God has faithfully led us through difficult circumstances, answered prayers, and provided for our needs.
Setting up “Ebenezer” stones in our own lives is a metaphorical act of remembrance. We can establish memorials, whether tangible or in our hearts, to recall the times when God has shown His grace, mercy, and kindness. These markers serve as testimonies of God’s unwavering love and faithfulness in our lives and strengthen our faith as we face new challenges in the future.
We encourage you to remain strong in faith standing on the promises of God with thankful hearts. Let’s not be weary in well doing for in due time we shall reap the reward. We admonished you all in the words of King Jehoshaphat to the Judges and legal luminaries of Israel,
“And said to the judges, “Take heed to what you are doing, for you do not judge for man but for the Lord, who is with you [b]in the judgment. 7 Now therefore, let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take care and do it, for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes.”
The integrity of our nations judiciary is under global scrutiny. Our “learned men of the hallowed chamber” must know they are under trial of conscience and posterity in view of the ongoing election tribunals and various cases of injustices and unlawful remand.
Most Nigerians have develop much doubt, lost trust and pessimistic disposition on both our security infrastructures and judiciary, as Christian learned men we must be different-as salt and light, in order to redeem this tattered image. May the Lord whom you serve and stands for reward you with the righteous man’s reward in Jesus Christ name. We appreciate all your labor and sacrifices in the Church of God. God is no debtor to anyone.
We have been requested to speak on “DECADE OF THE REIGN OF GOD: THE JOURNEY SO FAR”. We are already in the fourth year of our Primacy, if you like one-third of our primacy. God has borne us and we have continued to enjoy His extreme favor, uncommon strength-thank you for standing by us in prayers and all that you do. Your being here in this Conference is an evidence of God’s faithfulness and the most important thing is that we are here to fellowship with God and with one another. When God brought us to this position the Word of God to us came from Isaiah 52:7-10; declaring our primacy as the Decade of the Reign of God, focusing on Mission, Evangelism and Discipleship, Building Peace and Reconciliation, Family, Youth Mission, Men’s Fellowship, taking our leading role in the Universal Church but more importantly to be used of the Lord to stir the Global Body of Christ unto Mission and prepare the Church for the Return of our LORD JESUS CHRIST.
THE STATE OF THE NATION AND POLITICAL LANDSCAPE
2023 General Elections As Come And Gone: We congratulate the new administration of Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Alhaji kashim Shettima. We thank God for preserving the peace of this nation. What we went through as a nation has torn the fabric of many countries into pieces and plunge them into civil war but kept our nation. The untold hardship on the citizens since May 29th, 2023 is indescribable and unbearable the removal of petroleum subsidy and corresponding hike in petrol price without a corresponding measure to cushion its effect on the citizens, leaves much to be desired.
Now, that campaigns are over, this administration must be proactive in providing much desired good governance and welfare for Nigerians. Nigerians are longing for the Birth of a New Nigeria. Our Ten Point Demands put forward to the main political Parties before the elections remains our stand now that Campaigns are over. We therefore reiterates them as follows:
1. The Church demands that Government put high priority on the Security of lives and property of citizens by providing adequate Security for all citizens. The present state of insecurity and attacks on Christian Churches, Communities and indeed the citizens of this Country is worrisome. The security of lives and property of citizens will foster Economic growth of the Country.
2. The Government should also ensure that Education of our children at all levels is given top priority, as this is the best legacy our Country can bequeath to her youths.
3. The Government should improve on Health-Care Delivery System, so that the current Medical Tourism among top Government Functionaries and privileged few can be completely eradicated or reduced. We have the capacity to provide and be a Destination for Health Tourism at least in Africa.
4. We have great apprehension over the Rising Inflation, Debt servicing Burden, Fuel Subsidy and fear for the future of Nigeria. Alleviating the suffering of the masses should be the priority of the Government, the Church demands adequate provision of Education, Economic empowerment and jobs for the teeming youths and citizens. The provision of grants and loans for indigent people as a social safe- net for the citizens will offer every citizen the opportunity to contribute to the development of the Country they call their own.
5. The Church frowns at the negligent attitude of the leaders and lack of Political will to enforce the Rule of Law. We therefore advise the Government to maintain the Rule of Law and uphold civil rights, justice and Equity. The Judiciary should be made to serve the citizens in matters of Justice and Equity. Decentralizing the Police Force and creation of State Police will help to improve on Security and maintenance of Law and Order.
6. The Church demands that our leaders should make a comprehensive assessment of the policies and procedures of Governance to be able to make Governance in Nigeria an all-inclusive matter. The Government should ensure that the appointment into Political offices are not lopsided and should not be done based on sentiment or sectional interest. The enforcement of the Federal character and other Regulatory policies will help to restore balance and fairness in the Country.
7. The Church would hold the Government to account for any form of infrastructural neglects, and therefore, demands full execution and completion of Road constructions, schools and other basic infrastructure and make up for the long infrastructural deficiencies we have suffered in the Country. The Church demands that the Government should provide social amenities especially Electricity, and Power, good Public Transport System and Housing for the citizens because it will enhance better life for the citizens.
8. The Church wants the Government to take as very important and seriously the development of some critical projects that are strategic for more Economic and Technological Development of the Country, especially, Ajaokuta Steel Industry, our Refineries and need for modular Refineries, Textile Industries and other Agric-based Industries. These sectors will engender fast Economic growth and employment opportunities in the Country.
9. The Church yearns for a Rebirth of our Nation through the election of people who will ensure security of lives, growing economy and great future through people-oriented Leadership with Integrity, Accountably, Excellence and Character for the good of our citizens.
10. We are in search of Leadership that will respect the rights, welfare and equality of all Tribes and groups and build a united people and a thriving Nation where no person is oppressed.
Economy: Our Economy has suffered so much setbacks and the common man on the streets is so battered economically. The prices of things continue to increase indiscriminately, workers could not afford cost of transportation to work. The adverse ripple effect of the debilitating economy on the average Nigerian families is excruciating. The current unstable and exorbitant exchange rate of Naira to Dollars needs an urgent attention. The CBN need to rise up to its responsibility of defending the international value of the Naira.
The country’s rising public debt profile remains of great concern, more disturbing is the propensity at which our government engage international loan, our generated revenue cannot even service our debt. The great Monster of corruption is endemic. As Christians, we must rise to make a difference in our nation. We certainly cannot afford to be accumulating debts capable of enslaving our future generations. The government needs to create enabling environment for Small Scale Entrepreneurs and businesses to thrive. We need to check the excessive cost of governance in Nigeria. If we are not careful a time we come in our nation that the cost of sustaining retired Governors will be more than a State revenue, this needs to be checked.
Insecurity: Insecurity has been a challenge. Our people have lost their homes, livelihood, lives and property. We are constantly under attacks in our Nation and in some parts of our Dioceses churches have been destroyed, our members are kidnapped, some people are killed violently by sudden attacks by unidentified gunmen. The recent attacks in Plateau and Kaduna State is very disturbing. The trivializing of the sanctity of the lives of Nigerians in their own land is fast becoming a norm. The lives of Nigerians irrespective of religion, tribe, class or other considerations matter to God and to this Nation. We have more than 250 Ethnic groups that had existed peacefully for many centuries. The factors causing insecurity must be addressed. This will involve identifying and checking the activities of Terrorism, the porous National borders and free flow of ammunition and firearms, youth unemployment, Drugs and Criminality.
“JAPA”- The Mass Exodus of Our Young Professional Population and The Future of Nigeria: The mass exodus of our Professionals and young people is worrisome. The political, economic and security situation in Nigeria shows that our young people have little to hope for in Nigeria. This perception must be changed such that those who desire to go out of Nigeria will do so by choice and not because of frustration. This problem of brain drain and depopulation of the most productive workforce will need to be addressed.
Collapse Education Sector: The collapse of our Educational system is becoming almost irreversible. The Federal Government seem to be lost as to the way out. This is what we get when the wrong people are place in authority. The reality is the that future of our young is now being jeopardized. This is an opportunity for the Church to make a difference through various Educational Institutions. We encourage our Dioceses to invest the Education of our people.
Nigeria Needs a New Constitution: A Foundation for a Stronger Future:
We commend the National Assembly on their effort to review the present Constitution, one is convinced that what we need is a totally New Constitution made by a Sovereign Representation of the Ethnic Nationalities of this Country. Nigeria, as a diverse and dynamic nation, has seen significant progress over the years, but it also faces numerous challenges. The current constitution has limitations that hinder the nation’s growth and stability. To address the pressing issues and lay a solid foundation for a stronger future, Nigeria must embark on the arduous but essential task of crafting a new constitution that reflects the aspirations and values of all people and culture. This new Constitution must reflect the Nation’s Identity and Diversity, a unifying force, that recognize and protects our diversity. It must Strengthening Federalism and Decentralization- the current constitution’s unitary tendencies limit the autonomy of state governments. We need a new constitution that would reinforce true federalism, granting states more powers to address local challenges and drive development initiatives.
This new constitution should prioritize social justice, ensuring equitable distribution of resources and opportunities. By focusing on poverty alleviation, education, healthcare, and job creation. Our constitution must enshrine the protection of fundamental human rights and guarantee the rule of law with an independent judiciary that upholds the principles of justice, fairness, and accountability. It should inculcate measures to strengthen anti-corruption mechanisms and improve governance standards. Transparent and accountable governance, coupled with stringent checks and balances. Nigeria’s youth and women constitute a significant portion of the population and hold untapped potential for national progress. We need a new constitution that will prioritize policies that empowers the youth, promote gender equality, breaking down barriers that impede women’s participation in politics, business, and other spheres of public life. In this digital era, technological advancements can play a pivotal role in Nigeria’s development. Hence, our new constitution should integrate provisions that support the growth of a knowledge-based economy, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship through embracing technology and create enabling environment.
CHURCH OF NIGERIA MATTERS:
180th anniversary of the Anglican Church in Nigeria: The consecration of two new Bishops and the 180th Anniversary of the Anglican Church in Nigeria was celebrated on the 17th and 18th December 2022 in Badagry.
The first phase or introductory publication on the “180 Years of the Anglican Church in Nigeria, [1842 -2022] to commemorate the event was presented at Badagry. The committee under the chairmanship of Rt. Rev. Dr. Duke Akamisoko is still in need of more historical materials from our Dioceses for a more robust documentation of all that God has done among us in this 180years.
Episcopal Synod: In line with the constitutional provisions of the Church of Nigeria, we held our Episcopal synod at the Basilica of Grace Anglican Church, Abuja on Tuesday 6th June 2023 where the Most Rev’d Blessing Enyinda was elected the new Dean of the Church of Nigeria, and the Most Rev’d Dr. Michael Fape and Rt. Rev’d Timothy Yahaya were elected as the Archbishop for the Province of Lagos and Kaduna respectively. Four new Bishop-elects, Ven. Collins Babalola, Ven. Festus Nwafili, Ven. Ifedola Okupevi, and Ven. Ebenezer Saika were elected to the See of Ajayi Crowther, Ndokwa, Lagos and Akoko Edo Dioceses respectively. The Bishop elects has just concluded their trainings and by the grace of God the service of Presentation of the new Dean and the two new Archbishops and consecration will take place at Archbishop Vining Memorial Cathedral, Ikeja on Sunday 27th August, 2023. Please keep us and these our fathers in God in your prayers.
GAFCON IV Kigali, Rwanda: The fourth edition of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) was held in Kigali, Rwanda with the Theme, TO WHOM SHALL WE GO? (John 6:68). The Conference was an opportunity to reaffirm our biblical stand on issues of human sexuality and all other forms of revisionist agenda and erroneous inclusive gospel. We encourage you to get and study the GAFCON IV KIGALI COMMITMENT released on April 21, 2023. It address the issues of the Authority of God’s Word, Current Crisis in the Anglican Communion, The Failure of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Other Instruments of Communion, Call for Repentance, Support for Faithful Anglicans, Appropriate Pastor Care, Resettling the Communion. Seven Priorities to guide the GAFCON movement were also articulated. The Decade of 2023 – 2033 has been tagged the decade of discipleship, evangelism and mission. The Church of Nigeria shall continue to play its strategic leadership role in GAFCON.
The Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA): This consists of the Anglican Provinces in the Southern Hemisphere and Third World, They are generally characterized by conservative Theological stand on matters of sexual orientation. We are a prominent member of this fellowship. We are working with the other primates of the Global south to reposition the GSFA for effective mission engagement and collaboration.
Joshua Generation Youth Mission: The third edition held in the Moshood-Abiola’s National Stadium 10th – 15th April, 2023. It was a huge success. We had over 22,000 young people physically present. Thousands of young people gave their lives to Christ and similarly thousands responded to Mission call. Out of the 70 Youths we trained in Christian Drama, Cinematography and script writing have won national competitions and enlistment in film production. We are partnering with Mount Zion Drama Institute for the training of the increasing number of our young people who have expressed interest and calling into Christian drama ministries. There is serious need for mature Christian who will mentor some of our young professionals. We also solicit your financial support and partnership in training and mentoring these young people. Our vision is that these young people will be released into the world-wide Missions of the Church of God. Please help us to actualize this Vision as you invest in our Youth Mission.
“Operation Samuel”: ‘Catch Them Young And Nurture Them For Future’ [Proverbs 22:6]: The Preparation for the launch of a Special Mission for Children which is captioned “Operation Samuel” is eminent. This targets to identify, Recruit, Train and Commission Evangelists and Pastors for the Mission with Children. This will strengthen the present Training program of the Church and train Teachers and Leaders up to Graduate level and ordain Clergy for this Mission. A Director will be appointed in the Office of the Primate to drive this Vision, by 2024.
DIVCCON: DIVCCON has continue to experience increasing participation of Anglicans and many other Christians from other denominations. The visit and Ministration of the Bishop of Guildford was very enriching. He further strengthened the old bond between the Church of Nigeria and the Diocese of Guildford England. The New President of the Christian Association of Nigeria [CAN], the Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Oko was with us and brought greetings on behalf of CAN Nigeria. We had other Government officials and Politicians who visited during the Conference. The 2023 DIVCCON has been slated for Monday 6 to Friday 10, November 2023. We request our Bishops to mobilize our members in all our Dioceses to attend this year’s DIVCCON.
The Anglican Conference Centre And Institute Of Church And Society, Pyakasa Abuja: The plans for the building of the Anglican Conference Centre and Institute of Church and Society, Pyakasa, Abuja has reached advanced stage. The Team of Architect and Engineer have submitted their final drawing. The Proceeds of the launching of the Presidential Address at National CON and the Advent Collections for the next Three Years will be dedicated to the development of the Conference Centre. We appeal to Provinces and Individuals to redeem their pledges so as to enable us raise the Fund for the development of the Centre. The Archibishop-elect of Kaduna the Rt. Rev. Timothy Yahaya, the Bishop of Kaduna has provided proactive leadership to the team. We target that the Main Bowl of the Centre will be put to use by 2026.
Renovation Of The Ibru Ecumenical Centre, Agbarah Otor, Delta Statte: The Archbishop Cyril Odutemu led renovation team for Renovation of Ibru Centre, Agbarah-Otor has done well. We are indeed very grateful for the support of His Excellency, Ifeanyi Okowa in the Renovation work.
University of Tech Kwaita: We have made remarkable progress on site and in the process of registration of the University with the NUC. We thank the Prof. Jerry Gana’s led Committee for their sacrificial labor. This University will be a centre of excellence in Technology. We hope that work on the major Facilities will soon commence. We want to partner with Individuals, Families, Dioceses and Provinces to develop the University Site. Please be part of this Task.
CoN Education Policy : We have appointed a Task force to help us with a National Educational policy for the Church of Nigeria. We appreciate Prof Jegede and his team members. We have a clear vision for Education and trust God to help us achieve our goals.
The Five Billion Naira [N5b] Mission Trust Fund:
There is an enormous need for Fund to sustain and accomplish work in Mission, Education, Communications and Ministry of the Church of Nigeria. To this end we have appealed for a Five Billion Naira Fund to carry out the establishment of the Anglican University of Technology, Kwaita, Abuja; the Missions of the Church within and outside Nigeria, the strengthening of our Church establishments and Institutions and the sustenance of our ministry globally. We have received some support and pledges but greater involvement and support are needed. The Church of Nigeria Economic team are working to see that every money given is properly managed. We appeal passionately to our members, Dioceses, and Government to assist the Church of Nigeria in realizing these goals set.
We appreciate the pledges and donation made by some eminent people to support this effort of the Church of Nigeria [Anglican Communion].We acknowledge other several donations. May God Almighty, the Sovereign LORD of all the Earth remember you all and bless you, may He have regard for your sacrifice and bless you, your Family, Diocese and State. The Designated Account is CHURCH OF NIGERIA [ANG COMM] UNIVERSITY PROJECT; GTBANK: ACCOUNT NUMBER: 061157778.
Investment and Establishment: We CON Investment Task force chaired by Bishop Chidi Oparaojiaku is helping to explore various investment opportunities. They have done well. They have develop an APP that should help us achieve our financial mobilization strategy.
The CSS Bookshop Ltd: This establishment came into being through the CMS. It was a cynosure Church establishment in Nigeria. Its problem became hydra headed for some times now, today by the grace of God the narrative is Changing. The Task force on the CSS project ably led by Mazi Sam Ohuabuhunwa this Implementation Committee of the Repositioning of the CSS Ltd has worked with the Board of CSS Companies to see that their recommendations are implemented in order to bring a turnaround in the Company. The Board and the shareholders in their AGM last year adopted the proposal for the Restructuring of the Companies of CSS. The plan for the recapitalization of the Companies of CSS and the creation of CSS HOLDINGS LTD was presented to the last Standing Committee at Kubwa. This plan of rebuilding and repositioning of the CSS to become a thriving and profitable Investment needs the support of all of us.
WELFARE AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT:
Church of Nigeria Relief Committee: We sincerely appreciate the work of the relief Committee under the leadership of Dr. Peter Nmadu. They have been the first point of call and response to our members involved in disaster and attacks. The relief team wants all of us to be involved in assisting others who are in need through Prayer, Phone calls, food stuff and money. Our Constitution 2020 provides that every Diocese and Parish have a budget for the welfare in their annual Budget. We request that every Diocese should make intentional effort to implement this in all our Diocese. This is in line with the Vision of the Church. We have directed that every Diocese and Parishes should have Food Bank in order to keep Food stuff which will be given to needy members whenever need arises. We appeal for your continued support for the Victims of attacks and the needy among us.
Anglican Compassion and Development Initiative (ACADI): The Anglican Compassion and Development Initiative was established and registered with Corporate Affairs Commission as a Non-Governmental Organization. Our Faith Based Organization that will us to engage with the communities where we serve in addressing sme of the social, economic and Health challenges.
We launched ACADI’s flagship project- Nigerian Anglicans War Against Drug Abuse and Addiction (NAWADA2) because of the prevalence and urgency of the problems of drug abuse and addiction. They have conducted training across our Provinces, we want this training cascaded down to the parishes and grassroot. The trained participants will train the trainers in Dioceses within each Province. We encourage all our Diocese to establish Faith Based Organization that will enable effective engagement with the Communities and Government Agencies. We have proposal to establish Three Rehabilitation Centres in the three CON zones. ACADI is in the process of commencing a new donor funded project in the area of Gender Based Violence.
Theological Education Consultation And Future Of Anglicanism In Nigeria: We have stated the need for this Church to engage in serious Theological Conversation in order to strengthen the Proclamation, Ministry and Mission of the Church in this 21st Century. We thank Rt. Rev. Prof. Asaju the Bishop Theologian and Rt. Rev. Dr. Stephen Fagbemi, the Bishop of Owo.and all our fathers and resource persons for the well plan and executed Consultation on Theological Education and Future of Anglicanism in the 21 Century Nigeria. The Consultation held on Tuesday 18-21, July 2023 2023 at Ibru Ecumenical Centre, Agbarah-Otor.
Crowther Graduate Theological Seminary, Abeokuta: The Ven. Prof. Taiye Aluko, the Rector and his Team are doing well in repositioning the Graduate Theological Seminary. We have renovated some of the old School Structure and Infrastructure in the Institution and upgrade their Academic program. The number of Anglican Students gaining admission into that Institution is dwindling, while the other Denominations are increasing annually. We request that Dioceses should consider sending their Priests to the Graduate Seminary as priority. Local Leaders International of Australia visited us from Sunday 25th June to July 1st, 2023. They were at CGTS and St Francis of Assisi Theological College. A five days Digital Education Seminar was organize for all our CON Seminaries. We appreciate the Most Rev’d Ali Buba Lamido for facilitating and representing us in the collaboration.
Bishops Training Course And Senior Clergy Training Course: The Annual Senior Clergy Training Course has continue to be a time equipping and further development of our senior clergy. We are grateful to Archbishop Blessing Enyinda and the Team of Faculty for this Training. We are able to take some of the Chaplains in the Nigerian Arm Forces and Police Force in the last training session.
Bishops Training Course: The Church of Nigeria New Bishops Training team has started well with the training of the newly elected Bishops this July. They have expanded and enriched the curriculum. We are grateful to the Most Rev Dr. Friday and Mama Imaikhai and the Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel and Mama Egbunu and all the other resource persons.
Bishops Intentional Discipleship Cohort: The Focus of the Mission of the Church is on Discipleship. The purpose of Intentional Discipleship is to nurture the Believer in obedience oriented Discipleship. The Bishops Intentional Discipleship Cohort has trained 72 Bishops and Wives throughout last year. A new group has been taken on this year. In the Episcopal Retreat of this year 2023, we used this model for the maiden Retreat of Bishops and Wives. It was very enriching and we trust God that it will continue to be a blessing to us. We are encouraging Bishops to embrace the Intentional Discipleship as a necessary tool for Mission and Evangelism in all our Dioceses. The various Provincial Coordinators are expected to organize a Provincial Discipleship Cohort for selected Senior clergy.
BUILDING PEACE AND RECONCILIATION:
Alternative Dispute Resolution Taskforce Efforts: The ADRC under the able leadership of the Hon. Justice Abraham Georgewill, has performed very creditably in resolving some of the problems confronting some Dioceses, Bishops and Clergy, bringing Reconciliation and restoring peace in the Body of Christ. We give thanks to God for the efforts of the Task Force on Interface and Reconciliation have yielded much fruits. Though we are not yet out of the woods in some places. Some of the seeming intractable disputes and challenges have been amicably resolved. The issues in the Diocese of Igbomina are receiving attention. The Cathedral Church of St. Michael, Esie is now under the Primatial Chaplaincy. We posted new team of Clergy to the Cathedral namely Ven. M. O Oladipo as the Cathedral Administrator and Rev. Canon E. K. Asomooba as the Assisting Priest. We are still working on the problems in Sapele Diocese. The ADR Taskforce of the Church of Nigeria is attending to the Sapale issue.
Without peace there cannot be effective growth and progress.
Resettling Those Returning From The Orthodox Church: The LORD has helped us thus far in the issues of the Returnees from the Orthodox church. Those posted who have no issues have settled down to Ministry in the Church of Nigeria. There are some with some outstanding issues being raise. We have constituted a Special Investigative Committee under the chairmanship of Most Rev. Israel Amao to look into their matter and report back to House of Bishops. This committee has interacted with the Priests concerned and the issues have been raised in the House of Bishops. We have directed that the Bishops having issues on some of those Returnee Priests should present the matters to Archbishop Amao’s committee. It is not enough for us to complain please give us evidence of the issues being raised so that we shall take informed decisions on these problems. We request Bishops, Clergy and Laity to give the Committee the needed cooperation.
Investment and Establishment: We established an Investment Task force led by Bishop Chidi Oparaojiaku to help us look at our various investment opportunities. They have done well.
Prayer Mobilization: We thank Rt. Rev. Dr. Sosthenes Eze for his able leadership of the Prayer Ministry of the Church of Nigeria. The Prayer Team has continued in Prayers for all the activities and Missions of the Church. The Church of Nigeria Prayer School was organized from Monday 30th of January to Saturday 4th of February, 2023. It was very successful.
Church of Nigeria North American Mission (CONNAM): CON mission in North America was a rescue mission to provide a safe haven for Nigerian Anglicans leaving the ECUSA Church. The Church of Nigeria is not interested in an expansionist move in America we only maintains a “Pedagogical Presence in America”. We stand to encourage and enable all Faithful Anglicans who share our convictions on the Authority of the Scripture, faithfulness to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the Anglican Heritage as we have received it. Bishop Nathan Kanu is the Supervisory Bishop of CONNAM. He is to provide Pastoral and Episcopal oversight for those congregations that are yet to comply with geographical restructuring until they transit to their Dioceses. Those churches having immigration and Property matters will have to resolve this between the Supervisory Bishop and their former Diocese. Every Diocesan will be accountable for his Diocese and every Suffragan Bishop will be accountable for his Mission Region as assigned. Mission, Spiritual and Numerical Growth of our CONNAM churches will be the primary task of every Diocese and Mission Region in CONNAM. Bishop Felix Orji has been release to ACNA. We have continue to engage the leadership of ACNA on some of issues of interest. The old local church problem in Christ Church Irvington New Jersey has become a Civil case in Court. We can only pray that God will intervene in these issues and give us peace. We have suffer disturbing negative Media assault on our person and the Church of Nigeria but we see as part of the cost we may have to pay for the Lord.
Uk/Europe Missions: The Foreign Mission is growing and plans are in place to grow the Mission fields. We receive reports from Europe and UK; Japan; the Gulf and Asian Countries, South America, East and Central Africa, and the West African Region. We are working on developing our Global Mission Strategic Evangelization Programme and CON Foreign Missions Policy. The greatest need is Funding and the right people to deployed for the Missions. There is need to encourage the Gulf Missions because of the danger and sacrifice required in the Zone.
World Missions Consultation 2025: We commend the role that the Church of Nigeria [Anglican Communion] is playing in stirring the world wide Church unto Missions through a World Missions Consultation by 2025. We are indeed prayerful that this vision comes to fruition. We are going to work with National and Regional Mission Agencies and Partners to organize this Strategic World Missions Consultation.
The Church of Nigeria Missionary Society (CNMS): CNMS management team is doing well. The recent Consultation with all Diocesan Evangelism and Mission Directors must be sustain and build up as platform to harness, learn and reengage our indigenous missions field. The Crowther Graduate School for French Theological Training Program his doing well with 8 students. We have already receive expression of interest from some Anglican Provinces in Central Africa. The Primate of the Church Of The Province of West Africa visited us in May this year and a clergy from the Province visited and was part of the recent CON Theological Consultation held at Agbarhaotor. Nigeria should have strategic relationship with Sierra Leone due to the historical bond we share.
Global Affairs: This Church is well endowed and resourced. We have constituted a Team of Career Ambassadors and International relation personnel to help us interface with the diplomatic Communities, Embassies and other Global Concerns. The team facilitated the participation of some the Diplomats attendance at our last Easter Cantata in the Diocese of Abuja.
CHURCH OF NIGERIA AND CHURCH OF THE PROVINCE OF THE WEST AFRICA JOINT TASK FORCE
The Province of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) was created in February 24th 1979 from the Church of The Province of The West Africa. In May 18th 2023 the Archbishop of the Church of The Province of The West Africa, the Most Rev’d Dr. Cyril Kobina Ben-Smith visited us and we had a wonderful time of fellowship. Both Provinces share so many things in common particularly as a Church within the same region in our continent but also some liturgical difference. Our affinity with the francophone countries in West Africa presents us with mission opportunities. We inaugurated the Joint Task force between both Province on Monday 31st July, 2023 (yesterday), co-chaired by the Most Rev’d Dr. Joseph Akinfenwa Bishop of Ibadan Diocese (Representing CON ) and Rt. Rev’d Thomas B.E Dibo Bishop of Anglican Diocese of Cameroon (Representing CPWA). We are working to collaborate in the area of common Strategy for Mission and Evangelism, Discipleship, Youth Programmes, Women and Theological Education. We believe the Lord we use the CoN to stir a fresh mission passion and exploit in West Africa and beyond.
The World Council Of Church Executive Council Hosting:
ES [WCC] and AACC Conference 2023: The plan for the hosting of WCC Executive Council in November has begun. Nigeria will be hosting two important Meeting of the WCC this year. The WCC Executive Council members will meet in Abuja, Nigeria, from Monday 13th to Sunday 19th November, 2023. The All African Council of Church will also have their Conference in Abuja, from Saturday 18th to Friday 24th November, 2023. The Church of Nigeria will be playing key role in hosting these World Christian Council meetings. We request for your prayers and support for successful meetings.
Christian Council of Nigeria [CCN]: The Anglican Church has been a founding member of the Christian Council of Nigeria. We have also contributed to building the CCN and CCN in turn helped in founding the Christian Association of Nigeria [CAN]. During the CCN General Assembly at Basilica of St. Andrew’s Church in Nike Diocese, Enugu State, the Most Rev. Dr. David Onuoha was elected the New President of CCN. This is a call to serve God and the Christian Church in Nigeria. The Church of Nigeria must team up to give leadership in this challenging time. We shall work to strengthen our Ecumenical relations and contribute to the overall well-being of the Church of God.
Church of Nigeria Collections: ST. MATTHIAS AND ADVENT COLLECTIONS: These two statutory Collections of the National Church have continued to provide support for our Missionary Dioceses, Institutions, Organizations and Infrastructural Development. Thank you for being part of this contribution. Some Dioceses are yet to remit the 2023 St. Matthias Collection.
In Conclusion, We thank you all for your sacrificial labor in the Lord. May the Lord bless and prosper the work of your hands in Jesus Christ name. Thank you.
The Lord be with you.
The Most Rev’d Henry C. Ndukuba
Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria.