1. O God, Most gracious, most bountiful, accept we
humbly beseech you, our praises for your Holy Church, especially for our Diocese; for the light of faith which it has handed on to us, and for the mercies by which it has enlarged and comforted the souls of men, for the virtues which it has established upon earth and for the holy lives in which it has revealed you to mankind. To you O blessed Trinity, be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion now for evermore. Amen.
2. Worthy of praise from every mouth of confession, from every tongue of worship, from every creature is thy glorious name O Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Be present with us as we praise you in this holy assembly and help us not only to praise you with our lips but to rededicate our lives to your service. Lead us in this Diocese so that our lives may show forth your praise and that our praise may be acceptable to you. As we celebrate the Silver Jubilee Anniversary of our Diocese, we praise you for your servants who by their examples and encouragement have helped us on our way, and for every vision of thyself which thou hast given us in sacrament or prayer; and we humbly beseech you that all these your benefits we may use in your service and to the glory of your holy name; through Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord. Amen.
3. O Lord God, most high, most holy, to whom angels and archangels and all host of heaven ascribe unceasing praises; Accept the homage and adoration of your children in this holy convocation who are not worthy to draw near to you but for the infinite merits of thy Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
4. Glory be to God in the highest, the Creator and Lord of heaven and earth, the preserver of all things, the Father of mercies, who so loved mankind as to send his only begotten Son into the world, to redeem us from sin and misery, and to obtain for us everlasting life. Accept, O gracious God, our praise and thanksgiving for thine infinite mercies towards us; and teach us to love thee more and serve thee better; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Your Excellency, the Governor of Osun State
My Lord Bishops
Our highly respected Deputy President of Synod
My Lord Chancellor and other Law Officers
Our Royal Fathers
The President of Women Organisation & my dear wife
Beloved Clergy and Laity of the Diocese
Distinguished Clergy wives
Gentle men of the Press
Ladies and Gentlemen.
My dear people of God,
As we come together for the first Session of the Ninth synod of our Diocese, we praise God for the grace given to us to be part of this holy convocation. We praise God for the resurrection of His son, our Saviour Jesus Christ and for the victory we derive from His victory. May we all know Jesus and the power of his resurrection. May the risen Lord reveal himself afresh to us in the breaking of bread, the reading of the scripture and singing praises as we rejoice together. Praise ye the Lord.
This is the beginning of another synod and we welcome old members and those who are coming to Synod for the first time, praying that you will all be richly blessed as you join the highest decision making body of the Diocese. We are grateful to all officers of the synod and pray that we shall all be inspired by the Holy Spirit during and after the synod for the progress of the work of God in our midst. We congratulate ourselves as we prepare for the Silver Jubilee anniversary of our Diocese in August. 2012.
Our Resource Persons:
We welcome to our Synod special guests and resource persons who will speak to us during this Synod.
1. We welcome as usual our amiable and dynamic Governor of the State of OMOLUABI, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola. We congratulate the governor on the giant strides he had taken to move the State forward. We also congratulate his Excellency on the one year anniversary celebrated with pump and pageantry and pray God to empower him to carry out all the good plans he has for the State. May Osun State continue to enjoy peace in his time.
2. The Venerable S. A. Adeyemo
The Ven. S.A.Adeyemo who preached at the opening service yesterday is one of the illustrious sons of Ada Archdeaconry. He was born about seven decades ago into the family of Rev. Jacob Adebiyi Adeyemo and Mrs. Alice Ogunwemi Adeyemo, both of blessed memory. After his primary school education, he studied at University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife) 1962 -1966, University of New Castle - upon Tyne 1975 - 1977, University of Ilorin 1990 - 1991 and then Immanuel College of Theology, Ibadan between 2001 and 2004, with the degrees of B.Sc. (Hons.) Zoology, M.Sc., PGDE and Dip.Th. After a very successful career as a teacher and Principal in many schools he retired in November 2000. He was Administrative Assistant to the Bishop of Osun from January 1 2004 to 31st January 2008. He held many posts in ANCOPS (All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools) at State and National levels. He is the current Chairman of the Management Committee of the Diocesan Nursery and Primary School, Isale Aro, Osogbo from inception -17th September 2003 to date and also the Chairman Board of Governors of John Mckay Anglican Grammar School, Ogbogbo from 2009 to date. As a result of his devotion to duty and immense contributions to the progress of the Diocese, he was preferred Archdeacon on 30th April, 2006 and appointed Deputy Education Adviser for the Diocese on 15th January 2009.
Ven. Adeyemo who is a very soft spoken preacher and an apt teacher of the word of God, has been a great asset to the Diocese, a man who has shown keen interest in the success of our Ministry especially the two schools we have established. I am sure you were all blessed through his ministration yesterday at the opening service. We specially welcome him and his dear wife to their home Church and town as a Synod preacher.
3. The Rt. Rev. Rufus Okeremi
The Rt. Rev. Rufus Okeremi who will be preaching at the synod thanksgiving service on Sunday retired recently as the first Bishop of Ife East Diocese. I have known him as a God fearing gentleman since 1978 when he was a Senior Civil Servant in Oyo State and a preacher at St. Paul's Church, Odo-Ona, Ibadan. He later submitted himself for Ordination and served successfully in many Churches including St. Anne's Church, Ibadan and St. James, the Great Cathedral, Oke Bola, Ibadan where he served as Provost. He was consecrated Bishop and served successfully as the first Bishop of the Diocese of
Ife East. He retired from active service having laid a very solid foundation for the Diocese. He is a patient teacher of the word of God and a practical Christian.
We rejoice with him and mama as they enjoy their retirement and welcome them to our synod thanksgiving service.
4, The Venerable Dr. L. O. Lawal
The Ven. Dr. L. O. Lawal was trained as a catechist at former Vining Christian Leadership Centre, (Akure from 1975 - 1977), now Archbishop Vining College of Theology, Akure. He had his ministerial and theological training at Immanuel College of Theology, Ibadan from 1979-1982, where he studied and obtained Dip.R. S. and Dip. Th. respectively. He was made deacon in 1982 and priested in 1983 by The Most Revd. T. O. Olufosoye (The Bishop of Ibadan Diocese and the first Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion); graduate of the University of Jos (Great Josite) in 1988 with B. A. (Hons.). He studied and obtained M. A. Degree in Religious Studies at the University of Ibadan in 1992, M. A. Degree in Islamic Studies at the University of Birmingham, U. K. in 1993. He bagged his Ph. D. in Comparative Religions at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile-Ife, Nigeria in 2007.
He had served in some Churches in Ibadan and Egba Dioceses in the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion. He was once the Area Adviser of PROCMURA (Programme for Christian-Muslim Relations in African) Western Nigeria Area Committee and currently the Chairman. He once lectured at the Department of Religious Studies, University of Ibadan. He is currently a Lecturer at Archbishop Vining College of Theology, Akure. He specializes in Dialogue, Interaction of Religions, Islamic Studies, Christian-Muslim Relations and Comparative Religions.
He is happily married to Mrs. Kemi Lawal and blessed with nice, God-fearing and reliable children.
5. The Rev. Canon Olubunmi Adeyinka Akinlade
Rev. Canon Olubunmi Adeyinka Akinlade B.Sc, Dip. Th. who will be speaking on the Cashlite Policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria is a Priest of Lagos Diocese but an illustrious son of Osogbo, Osun state. His parents were the late Rev. Canon Adeleke Akinlade and Mrs. Elizabeth Adunola Akinlade both of blessed memory.
After his primary school education at Ireti Primary School, Ikoyi Lagos (1973-1977), he attended Government College Ibadan (1977-1983) and later University of Lagos (1984-1988). He was at Immanuel College of Theology Ibadan (1997-2001). He was made a Deacon in December 1999, priested in July 2001, preferred Canon in May 2009. Currently, he is the Assistant Priest of Church of Resurrection 1004 Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos.
He is happily married to Nkechi Valentina Akinlade and their marriage is blessed with three children.
The family of Akinlade donated their father's building at Dada Estate, Osogbo to the Diocese. That building is now being developed as CANON AKINLADE MEMORIAL ANGLICAN CHURCH, DADA ESTATE, OSOGBO.
We welcome Canon Akinlade and his wife to our Synod and thank them for their constant financial assistance to the Diocese.
Venue of Synod
May we thank ADA Archdeaconry comprising of
i) St. Andrew's Anglican Church Ada,
ii) St. Luke's Anglican Church, Ororuwo
iii) St. Peter's Anglican Church, Iragbiji
iv) Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Ada.
v) Archdeacon Ojo Memo. Anglican Church, Ada
vi) Oba Oyedokun Memo. Anglican Church, Iragbiji
vii) All Souls Anglican Church, Adikoko, Iragbiji, and
viii) Anglican Church, Egbeda for accepting to host this Synod.
We appreciate the Planning Committee together with the clergy for all the preparation put in place for a hitch-free synod. May God bless your labour of love and reward all the members accordingly.
Ada Archdeaconry is blessed with the following Diocesan Officials:
i) The Chancellor - Hon Justice A.A.Ajeigbe
ii) The Financial Adviser - Chief S. A.Ajeigbe
iii) The Diocesan Treasurer - Chief J.O.Oyayinka
iv) The Deputy Education Adviser Ven. S.A.Adeyemo.
They have all been very useful in moving the Diocese forward. We thank them for warmly welcoming us to their homes and for hosting us.
Ada Archdeaconry is very peaceful and progressive.
St. Andrew's Anglican Church Ada, the venue of this Synod was planted by Pa. Ogunsola of Alade's compound in 1900. He was converted at Ibadan and Christened "Daniel" when he was working as a labourer in the building of St. David's Church, Kudeti, Ibadan at the time of Rev. Olubi who took time to teach the new covert the word of God.
Back at Ada, he made a few converts but the visit of Rev. John McKay in 1902 further inspired Pa Daniel to serious evangelism. Among the early converts were Jacob Odegbile, John Odusina, Moses Agbebiyi, Peter Dada, John Ige, Joseph Adeyemo, Elijah Oyelade and Abraham Winlaye.
Rev. John McKay left behind a few copies of A.B.D for teaching the new converts how to read and write. Caleb Abegunde, one of the new converts went to Okuku, his home town to plant a Church. While Daniel was busy teaching new coverts, Papa Odegbile became the first Baba Ijo. In 1922, some members broke away from the church to start the 1st Baptist Church, Ada. It must be noted however that what now becomes St. Andrew's Anglican Church Ada started with the house of Abraham Winlaye as a worship centre. In 1902, the first church building was erected at Aogun's Ajobiare's compound. The second was erected at Obada Market, while in 1910 the Church building was moved to the present site. On 2nd April 1917 Oba Omolaoye gave the congregation more land. A Church bell was also donated by one of the European missionaries, most probably the Rev. John McKay.
The foundation of the present Church building was laid on 26th December 1970 by Rt. Rev. I.G.A.Jadesimi and assisted by Ven. J.B.Olayemi. The Rt. Rev. J.A.Popoola dedicated the Church building on 22nd December 2002.
The Mission School established in 1919 has produced many great sons and daughters of Ada serving in different parts of the world.
Church workers in the Church included:
1. Mr. J.A.Dada - 1st Church Agent.
2. Mr. D.A.Adekola
3. Mr. S.O.Adetunji
4. Mr. J.A Famose
5. Mr. J.A.Oyedepo
6. Rev. T.I.Bankole 1951- 1960
7. Rev. D.A.Daramola 1958-1960
8. Rev. D.T.Ademoye 1960-1971
9. Rev. P.O.Omotara 1972-1975
10. Rev. T.A.Adedapo 1975- 1979
11. Rev. S.O.Afolabi 1979- 1985
12. Rev. J.O.Famewo
13. Rev. J.G.A.Apata
14. Canon G.O.Omonijo
15. Canon A.O.Oni
16. Ven. Isaac A.Awofadeji 1991- 1997
17. Ven. L.B.Ogunleye 1997 - 1999
18. Ven. Richard Omotoyinbo 1999 - 2003
19. Ven. Amos G. Adebayo Dec. 9 2003 - 2009
20. Ven. Fredrick B.O.Akinro 2009 - date
We praise God for the ministries of these great men of God for their various contributions to the growth of the Church.
SYNOD THEME: PRAISE YE THE LORD
The theme of our Synod is PRAISE YE THE LORD.
This theme is part of the traditional call to worship in the Anglican liturgy. At the beginning of Mattins or Evensong, the Priest calls the people to worship saying: praise ye the Lord while the Congregation responds - the Lord's name be praised. Then follows the reading or singing of the appointed Psalm. The theme therefore calls us at the beginning of a new Synod to praise God particularly as we mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of our Diocese. The theme will enable us to see the reasons for praising God as individuals or as a corporate body - the body of Christ.
"Praise" according to Webster dictionary means to extol, laud, honor, acclaim or express approval. To praise therefore is to give positive affirmation, express our approval of something. Giving our approval means that we accept or agree with what we approve of. The Psalmist calls us in the Bible passage and several passages in the Bible to praise God because He deserves it.
We are called to praise God even in difficult situations to show that we accept and approve of its happenings as part of God's plan for our lives. To praise God is also to thank Him. We cannot meaningfully praise God without thanking Him for the things we are praising Him for. To praise God is to rejoice and to celebrate the goodness and faithfulness of God. Praising therefore involves gratitude, joy and celebration. Praising God means that we accept God to be responsible for whatever has happened or is happening.
It is a recognition that God is the source of every success and achievements. We are called to thank God and not to give our praises to man. St. Paul, the Apostle in his letter to the Thessalonians asks us to do three things that are inter-related: to thank God, to pray to God and to praise Him. He says:
"Rejoice evermore, Pray without ceasing
In everything give thanks
for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus concerning you" I Thess. 5:16-18.
Praising God is an important Christian duty. Praise is sacrifice; Psalm 22:3 says that God inhabits the praises of his people. Therefore when people praise Him at worship He draws nearer to receive the prayer of His people. However, God does not need our praise to be recognized as God. He is God no matter what we do or refuse to do but we need His presence at all times, which comes through praise. Hebrews 13:15 says "through Jesus, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruits of lips that confess His name" Praise is a sacrificial offering to God and the spiritual first-fruits of our lips. When we praise the Lord, we are telling Him all the good and wonderful things about Himself.
Somebody called praise "bragging on God's nature and character". Praise is agreeing with God concerning what He has already told us about Himself. When we praise God, his presence comes nearer and a worship environment is created for God and men to come together.
PRAISE AND WORSHIP
Since the year 2000, we have been observing praise and worship time to begin our services in all Churches in our Diocese. Praise and worship is one of the keys to coming to know Jesus Christ better and creating a conducive atmosphere for soul uplifting worship of the living God. It is one thing to know God's omnipresence but quite another to experience the reality of His personal presence on continuing day to day basis. This is what praise and worship offer us. True praise is an exercise and a discipline that flows from a pure heart and a humble spirit to the throne of grace. Praise creates an environment in which God in His majesty is pleased to dwell. Praise reverses the sin of the Gardens of Eden because in praising God we now agree with God concerning Himself and His words. When we use words of praise like beautiful, wonderful, mighty (etc.) to describe God, He comes closer to us to dwell among us, instead of withdrawing from us. When we brag about God we acknowledge His sovereignty and Lordship as well as our own dependence on him. When we humble ourselves before God in praise and worship He uplifts us up into His presence.
Praise also maintains the presence of God. The Bible depicts God on His throne in Heaven surrounded by an atmosphere of unceasing praise.
"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord sitting upon the throne, high and lifted up and his train filled the temple. Above it, stood the Seraphim each one had six wings, with two he covered his face and with two he covered his feet and with two he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried and the house was filled with smoke" Isaiah 6:1-4.
John also described God as seated on a throne guarded by four angelic beings who praised Him continually while twenty-four elders, surrounding the throne also lifted up their praise to God. (Rev. 4.8; Rev 4:11). If the inhabitants of heaven would praise God unceasingly with undivided devotion we should also praise Him at all times to maintain God's presence. When we start praising God even when we are not in the mood, before long the very act of praise puts us in the mood. However, when we praise God he looks at our hearts not our moods. David, the King of Israel was called a man after God's heart because of his humility and because his heart was always with God in praises even when his feelings led him to sin. True praises comes from a humble heart that is focused on God. Let us therefore as we sing praises to God do so in sincerity to honour God who is holy. We should not pretend that we are honouring him when our hearts are far from Him. Praise and worship which we give to God every time we worship Him would degenerate into meaningless and hypocritical ritual if our hearts are not pure before Him.
God says: "For as much as this people draw near me with
their mouth and with their lips to honour me,
but have removed their heart far from me and
their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men;
therefore behold I will proceed to do a marvelous
work among these people, even a marvelous work
and a wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men
shall perish and the understanding of their prudent
men shall be hidden" Isaiah 29:13-14).
Jesus himself challenged the Pharisees over their practice of placing the traditions of men above the laws of God (Matt. 15:1-9). The full blessings of the presence of God are for those who come to Him and praise Him with a whole heart. David emphasized this fact in Psalm 24:3-6:
"Who may climb the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
Only those whose hands and hearts are pure,
who do not worship idols and never tell lies.
They will receive the Lord's blessings and
have right standing with God their Saviour.
They alone may enter God's presence and
worship the God of Israel."
Whole hearted praise maintains God's presence.
WHY PRAISE GOD
The grounds of praise are many but they could be divided into two:
i) The inherent qualities of God which include His majesty, holiness, compassion, power, goodness etc.
ii) His works of creation and redemption.
The focus for all praise in the Bible especially the Book of Psalms is God and God alone. Psalm 150 says that God deserves our praise because of His character and His work; Let us look at some examples:
Psalm 144 is a Psalm of David with the theme Rejoicing in God's care whether in times of prosperity or adversity. David says he would praise God who gives victory to the Kings who delivered his servant David from the deadly sword (v. 10). He then prays "Deliver me and rescue me from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies whose right hands are deceitful (v.11) For all that God had done for him, he praised God,
"Praise be to God, the Lord my Rock
who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.
He is my loving God and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield in whom I take refuge,
who subdues people under me" Psalm 144: 1- 2.
The Psalm then became a song for the King to approach God in gratitude for victories gained with words derived from his great ancestor.
In Psalm 145, the author, David in praising God says that a time would come when all people would join together in recognizing and worshipping God because of God's love and because he satisfies all who trust in Him.
"I will exalt you, my God the King, I will praise your
name for ever and ever, everyday I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise, his greatness will no one fathorn. One generation will commend your works to another they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty and I will meditate on your wonderful work. They will tell of the power of your awesome works and I will proclaim your great deeds. They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. (Ps.145:1-7).
In Psalm 146 the anonymous author writes about the help of man versus the help of God. He says that the help of man is temporal and unstable but the help of God is lasting and complete. Here God is celebrated as the one true God and foundation for human society, the only one who can ensure help and justice and for this He should be praised. He says:
"Praise ye the Lord
Praise the Lord O my soul, I will praise the Lord
all my life I will sing praise to my God
as long as I live".
He then challenges people not to put their trust in princes in mortal men who cannot save. (Psalm 146:1-3).
The author of Psalm 147 calls people to praise God for His universal power and providential care for all. He says:
"Praise ye the Lord
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and beautiful to praise him.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers
the exiles of Israel. He heals the broken hearts
and binds up their wounds. He determines the
number of the stars and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power,
his understanding has no limit. The Lord
sustains the humble but casts the wicked to
the ground. Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving,
make music to our God on the harp……." (Psalm 147:1-7).
In Psalm 148, the author calls all creation to praise and worship God. The Benedicite in the Anglican Prayer Book which is an alternative to "Tedium" of our Regular Morning service is an expansion of this psalm. The Psalm proclaims the unity of all creation with man as its summit and purpose. He declares:
"Praise ye the Lord,
Praise the Lord from the heavens.
Praise him in the heights above.
Praise him all his angels.
Praise him all his heavenly hosts
praise him sun and moon,
praise him all you shining stars.
Praise him you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.
Let them praise the name of the Lord
for he commanded and they were created". (Psalm 148:1-5).
The writer of Psalm 149 did not only call people to praise God but also suggest specific ways to do so - in dance, with voice, with musical instruments etc.
"Let them praise his name with dancing
and make music to him with tambourine and harp.
For the Lord takes delight in his people,
he crowns the humble with salvation.
Let the saints rejoice in this honour and sing
for joy on their beds." (Psalm 149:3-5).
In Psalm 150 which is regarded as the closing hymn of praise, God's creation praises Him everywhere in every way. The writer says:
· Praise Him in the sanctuary
· Praise Him in His mighty heavens
· Praise Him for His acts of power
· Praise Him for His surpassing greatness
· Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet
· Praise Him with the harp and lyre
· Praise Him with tambourine and dancing
· Praise Him with the strings and flute
· Praise Him with the clash of cymbals
· Praise Him with resounding cymbals
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord
Praise the Lord.
BENEFITS OF PRAISE
Dr. Stephen John of Jesus Christ Global Mission Hour of Miracles Radio and Television observed that:
1. When we praise God, we bring down His presence because he inhabits the praise of his people. Ps. 100:4.
2. When we praise God, He manifests his power. Acts 16:30-31. God's power saves, heals and delivers.
3. When we praise God, His glory comes down. I Kings 8:10-11.
4. When we praise God His anointing descends upon His servants who can now minister effectively. II Kings 3:15-16
5. When we praise God, the deliverance power of God comes into play. II Chronicles 20:1-20.
Another Bible scholar has observed that:
Praise - honours God
Praise - under girds faith
Praise- brings deliverance
Praise - Is the voice of faith
Praise - Is the language of heaven
Praise - sets the hope for God to move
Praise - releases the Angels to minister
Praise - fuels joy which is our strength
Praise - knocks down walls of resistance
Praise - stills the enemy and the avenger
Praise - Dispels darkness and depression
Praise - must precede not follow blessing
Praise - gives God the legal right to help
Praise - brings the presence of God on to the scene
Praise - Is a sure sign of acceptance of the word of God
Praise - is the highway that faith moves its blessing down
Praise - is calling those things that be not as though they were.
For the reasons stated above, we should praise and thank God for everything - in the midst of trials, in the midst of the attack when we feel as if the enemy is near us, we should not give in to pressure but lift our hands to the Lord and love God, praise and worship Him. We should always praise Him because He is our healer, sanctifier, peace, provider and shepherd. The joy of the Lord is always our strength. Praise should be part of our daily life instead of rehearsing our problems over and over in our minds.
Praises brought the Walls of Jericho down
God does not visit his people to perform wonders except the people first lift their voice in praise to God. This is a principle by which God has chosen to manifest His power. We may not know if Abraham was praising God before God spoke to him and promised to create a new nation through him or if Moses was engaged in praise singing before his encounter with God at the place of the burning bush but we know that praise brought victory to the Israelites led by Joshua at the city of Jericho. God gave specific instruction to His people to shout and blow their trumpets.
"On the seventh day they got up
at day break, and marched around
the city seven times in the same manner
except that on that day they circled the
city seven times… When the Priests
sounded the trumpets……the people
shouted and at the sound of trumpets
when the people gave a loud shout, the wall
collapsed so every man charged straight in
and they took the city" Joshua 6:15-20.
Although the Bible does not say that the Israelites were praising God but the Hebrew word "rua" used for and translated "shouted" is the same word used in Psalm 100:1 and Psalm 95:1 and translated "shout joyfully" or "make a joyful noise" "Rua" could also mean "battle cry" shout of triumph. "Rua" is the word Hebrews would use to denote a shout of joy. That shout of joy or shout of praise brought down the presence and power of God and won victory for the people of God. When the praise went up, the power of God came down.
In this story, we need to notice that Joshua trusted God and followed the instructions given to him by God. I wonder what you or I would have thought or said if we were among the followers of Joshua. Would we have grumbled or rejected the foolhardy suggestion? I also wonder what the inhabitants of Jericho thought as they stood on the fortified walls of their city and watched the Israelites march around carrying the Ark of the Covenant with them. Some people have seen the story of the fall of Jericho as a mixture of myth, exaggeration and fairy tale. But archeologists have located the ruins of the old Jericho and found ample evidence that the walls of the city did collapse at a time in history corresponding to the biblical record. The walls of Jericho did come down. The power of God was at work while his people showed their trust and confidence by praising Him with trumpets and shouts.
My dear people of God, if we trust God and have confidence in Him, praises can also bring our own walls of Jericho down.
Praises won victory
The account in II Chronicles 20 shows that King Jehoshaphat of Judah and his small Kingdom were surrounded by the powerful forces of three nations; the Moabites, the Ammonites and others. Jehoshaphat knew that little Judah could not face the combined forces and he cried out to God for help.
"We have no might to stand against
this great company that is coming against us,
we do not know what to do but our eyes are upon you".
II Chron.20:12 (Amplified Bible).
Praising God helps us to take our eyes off the threatening circumstance and look to God for help. Jehoshaphat did not just close his eyes to the problem on hand or pretended that the enemies were not real. He recognized the power of the combined forces and his own helplessness and turned to God for help.
We shall be foolish to be blind to the very real threats of evil in our lives. They are there but they should only give us greater cause to praise God and thank Him for working in them with perfect control and authority. God told Jehoshaphat not to be afraid or dismayed "for the battle is not yours but God's" II Chron. 20:15. He further assured "you shall not have to fight in this battle; take your position, be still and see the deliverance of God".Jehoshaphat appointed singers to sing to the Lord and to praise Him in their holy garments as they went out before the army saying "Give thanks to the Lord for his mercy and loving kindness endures for ever" II Chron 20:21. You can imagine what would be the reaction of the well trained and well equipped soldiers of the combined forces seeing the small band of singers coming out in the battle field against them. But praises brought power down.
"And when they began to sing and
to praise God the Lord set ambush
against the men…. Who had
come against Judah and they were
self-slaughtered" (II Chron. 20:22-23).
God won victory for His people in an unusual way
We are constantly defeated by the circumstance around us because we are not ready to accept that the battles against us are not ours but God's. When we realize that we are powerless over a given situation, we are not ready to let go and trust absolutely in the power of God to fight for us. We must believe that God's promises are sure and cannot fail. We must accept the promises of God before we understand them. Jehoshaphat believed and trusted God, and the promises of God won victory for the people of Judah.
Let us always trust God, praise him and watch Him work out His purpose for us as we face the storms of life.
Jesus, Our Perfect Example
We have seen in the exemplary life of Jesus that his life was a life of praises to God. At the feeding of the 5,000 (five thousand) people in the wilderness, Jesus did not plead with God to perform a miracle. He simply looked up to heaven, praising God and thanking him; he broke the loaves of bread and kept on giving to the people. He blessed also the two fishes and gave to the people who ate and were satisfied and the remnants filled twelve baskets. Mark 6:41-43. Praises bring down miracles.
"Most assuredly, I say to you he who believes in Me,
the works that I do, he will do also
and greater works than these he will do,
because I go to my father.
And whatever you ask in my name that I
will do that the father may be glorified, that is,
praised in the son" (John 14:12-13).
When Jesus was at the grave side of Lazarus (his friend), after the fourth day of burial he offered a simple prayer of thanksgiving "Father I thank you that you have heard me and I knew that you always hear me but because of this people who are standing by, I said this that they may believe that you sent me" (John 11:41-42).
His prayer of thanksgiving and praise for what God had done in the past in answered prayers brought the dead man back to life, after four days of burial.
The purpose of Jesus coming to earth was to make it possible for us to praise God. Isaiah foretold this and Jesus confirmed it.
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me
because the Lord has anointed me.
To preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to heal the broken hearted.
To proclaim liberty to the captives.
To comfort all who mourn.
To console those who mourn in Zion.
To give them beauty for ashes.
The oil of joy for mourning.
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
That they may be called trees of righteousness.
The planting of the Lord. That he may be glorified. (Isaiah 61:1-3).
Jesus came that we may know how to praise God in any situation we find ourselves; in physical or spiritual imprisonment, we should praise and thank God, then he will set us free. If our praises would bring down power, we must accept the good news, be well grounded in it without any doubt of uncertainty.
Praises brought down the Holy Spirit
On the Pentecost day, 120 believers were together with one accord in an upper room in Jerusalem, when the presence of God came down on them. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues as the Spirit enabled them. From the day Jesus rose up from the grave the Apostles were not idle. They spent those days preparing and creating an environment of praise.
Praises opened the doors of Prison
In the city of Philippi, Paul and Silas were thrown into jail by the owners of the slave girl who has made her masters very rich through fortune-telling until Paul cast the evil spirit out of her. Paul and Silas were severely beaten and thrown into jail. In prison they created an environment for praise. They were singing songs to the Lord.
Acts 16: 25-26 - As they praised God, power descended. Praises turned the prison to Eden and God came to visit them. The doors of the prison were thrown open:
"But at mid night, Paul and Silas were praying
and singing hymns to God,
and the prisoners were listening to them
(it was not a solemn or quiet singing).
Suddenly there was an earthquake so
that the foundation of the prison were
shaken and immediately all the doors
were opened and every one's
chains were loosed" (Act. 16:25-27).
Following this wonderful experience, at Philippi, St. Paul devoted his letter to the Philippians to praises, thanksgiving and rejoicing. When we praise God, we are thanking God and rejoicing. He says among other things (writing from prison):
1. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy. Philippians 1:3-4.
2. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.
3. Do all things without complaining and disputing that you may become blameless children of God without fault in the midst of a crossed and perverse generation among whom you shine as lights in the world.
Philippians 2:14 -15.
4. I am glad and rejoice with you all for the same reason you should also be glad and rejoice with me.
5. Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. Let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:4-6.
Praise and the Bible
Who should praise God?
1. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. Psalm 150:6.
2. Praise the Lord, Praise O servants of the Lord, Praise his holy name. Psalm 113:1.
Why should we praise God?
We should praise God because he deserves our praise.
1. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. Psalm 48:1.
2. You are worthy O Lord to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things and by your will they exist and were created. Revelation 4:11.
3. O give thanks to the Lord for He is good. For His mercy endures for ever. Psalm 136:1.
4. Oh! That man would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men. Psalm 107:15.
5. Out of the mouths of babe and infants you have ordained strength; because of your enemies that you may silence the enemy and the avenger.
When should we praise God? The bible says:
1. I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth. (Psalm 34:1).
2. Thus I will bless you while I live, I will lift up my hands in your name. (Psalm 6:3-4).
3. From the rising of the sun to its going down, the Lord's name is to be praised. (Psalm 132:3).
4. Therefore by Him, let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name. (Hebrews 13:15).
5. Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice (Philippians 4:4).
How should we praise God?
1. With my whole heart - Psalm 9:1-2.
2. With sound of the trumpet, with flute and harp, with timbrel, dance, stringed instruments and flute, with loved cymbals and high sounding cymbals (Psalm 150:2-5).
Where should we praise him?
In the house of the Lord, in the sanctuary - (Psalm 34:1-2) and of course, every where. Let us always praise God for all the good He has done and also for the difficult time He has allowed us to go through because He is able to bring good out of evil. All things work together for good to them that love God.
Therefore, as we celebrate this Silver Jubilee Anniversary of our Diocese, let us cultivate the habit of praising God at all times and in all things. Praise God not only for the good things but also for the difficult times. Let us thank God for the growth of the Diocese and for the challenges that have made us strong as a Diocese. Let us pray without ceasing, hold fast to the word of God and to his promises as we continue on our way to victory.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
The State of the Nation
One of the greatest challenges facing Nigerians in recent times is that of the threat of Boko Haram Sect., an Islamic sect advocating the establishment of Sharia Law in the States of Northern Nigeria and opposing Western Education. Boko Haram went further to order all Christians in the North to migrate to the South. Before the threat, the sect had bombed the Nigeria Police headquarters, Abuja, United Nations building in Abuja and many other public buildings and places of worship. Although the Federal Government has said that the threat should be ignored but the events that followed showed that Boko Haram sect cannot be ignored. They continue to bomb public buildings and church buildings, destroying lives and properties. On January 6, 2012, they opened fire on worshippers at a Deeper Life Church and killed eight persons. The following day over twenty people were again killed at Godwill Hotel in Mubi and Christ Apostolic Church Jimeta. There had been multiple bombings at Kano where many people were killed. Boko Haram has operated continuously at Maiduguri, Kaduna, Damaturu, Jos and other places. They claimed that they could always change their tactics and go to wherever they wanted to go. Some of the suspects arrested had escaped from Police custody. The President himself admitted that the sect had infiltrated the police, the army, the senate, the House of Representatives etc. Following the activities of Boko Haram sect and other militant groups in the country, insecurity of lives and properties is a great challenge to the country and except the Federal Government deals with the challenge decisively the peaceful co-existence of the country will be destroyed. Already, many Southerners living in the Northern part of the country have relocated to their home states. The removal of the Petroleum subsidy by the Federal Government leading to the increase of the price of petroleum products in the country was another big problem. The crisis that followed engulfed the whole country.
The probe of the NNPC which followed the crisis had opened the minds of Nigerians to know more about corruption in the NNPC. We strongly appeal to the Federal Government to put an end to the threats of Boko Haram and sanitize the petroleum sector of the economy and allow Nigerians to meet and discuss how they want to be governed and how they want to live together as Nigerians. The presidential system of government is too expensive for a developing country like Nigeria. A sovereign National Conference is very necessary and the President and members of the Federal Executive Council should not be afraid to allow one to hold.
Meanwhile the additional fund that will accrue from the oil subsidy removal should be judiciously used to improve infrastructure including roads, educational and health institutions and to provide jobs for the jobless youth. We condemn how senior citizens are treated in the country and appeal with those who manage pension fund do so with the fear of God.
We encourage our members to pray for Nigeria everyday in their homes, Churches, shops and offices. Let us all take at least five minutes every day at 12noon to pray for Nigeria, our beloved country. May God save Nigeria from disintegration.
The Government of Osun State
We commend the State government on the good programme designed for the development of the State. The programme includes: i) Banishment of poverty
ii) Banishment of unemployment
iii) Banishment of hunger
iv) Restoration of healthy living
v) Promotion of functional education.
vi) Enhancement of communal peace and progress.
Osun state is known for her religious harmony and everybody should work towards maintaining this heritage. The State government should allow religious leaders (Christians and Muslims) to sought out religious differences whenever there is any. May we advise the State government to continue to use school uniform as a means of identifying students with their schools and as a means of enforcing discipline in schools. Chief Obafemi Awolowo's policy of bringing schools closer to the people is still relevant today and will help more pupils to be educated.
The practice of retaining the names of mission schools also helps the missions to identify with the schools. Our missions can then continue to make their humble contributions to the development of their schools. If school buildings are reconstructed the name of such school should be retained for historical purpose. What should be the major concern of government now is how to improve the quality of teaching in schools and how to get students interested in serious learning in order to produce excellent results in School certificate examinations. We wish the government of Osun state well in all her good programmes for the development of the State. Long live Osun State.
The Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion
The Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion is making efforts for the spiritual growth and well being of the Church. Last year, the National Church decided to collect all offerings in churches on St Matthias Day - Sunday following February 24th including tithe and all collections to help the weak Dioceses. The same exercise will be repeated every year for now. We appeal to all Churches to take this as a sacred duty and show high degree of honesty and faithfulness in remitting the money to the Diocesan headquarters.
Church of Nigeria Relief Fund
The Eastern Provinces launched the Anglican Relief Fund in November 2011 to help areas affected by the persecution of Christians in Northern Nigeria. A little over N8 million was collected, N3 million was disbursed to support the rebuilding of Damaturu Cathedral while N1million was given to Ngbo Diocese after the Ezza and Ezilla war which badly affected the Diocese. Northern Dioceses are also organizing to raise fund while Western Provinces have been challenged to do the same.
At the General synod held in Lagos in September 2011, the Primate presented a plan to launch Anglicana Television. The plan was represented again at the Standing committee Meeting held at Awka in February 2012 and a powerful committee has been asked to work hard for the television to be in operation before the end of the year 2012.
Over 5,000 people - Anglican Christians attended the Divine Commonwealth Conference held for the first time in November 2011 at Abuja. The theme was "DIVINE COMMONWEALTH". A few of our members attended the Conference though very close to our Jesus Carnival celebration. The 2012 edition will hold from November 5 - 9, 2012 at Abuja. Parishes should begin to make arrangements for members and Priests to attend. The date of our Jesus Carnival has been shifted to be first Saturday in November to make it possible for us to participate fully in DIVCCON. May the spirit of God guide us.
Church of Nigeria Publications
The Church of Nigeria has done well again this year to make her devotional publication come out before the beginning of the New Year. "Daily Fountain" was delivered before December 31, 2011. 20,000 copies were printed in all and copies given to our diocese were distributed to Parishes freely. I do hope that no Priest sold the copies given to him. A member of the Anglican communion donated N20 million for the printing. This is the Anglican devotional Book which we should encourage our members to use. Aside the Bible Study outline, which has become so popular, Sunday School Children Manual was also printed. Members will recall that every year, Osun diocese has been publishing children Sunday School Manual for our use in Sunday Schools. We are grateful to Ven. M.O. Atoyebi's Committee for the good job they do every year to provide the manual which we print and sell to Churches. Churches should be enthusiastic in buying them for the use of our children.
May we appeal to all our members again to treat Adult Sunday Schools as equally important as the adult service. Clergy and Lay people should attend Sunday school every Sunday (9.00 -9.45 am) and listen to OSBC Programme "Lati Diocese Osun" every Sunday at 5.00pm as questions are answered on the passage studied every Sunday. This is a way by which we can grow spiritually. When we stop learning we die spiritually.
Senior Clergy Retreat Course O1
The program approved by the General Synod last September in Lagos has taken off successfully. In spite of the difficulty of the strike that followed the oil subsidy removal in January 2012, the programme was held. Two of our senior clergy, Ven Dayo Ojo and Ven. W.S.A. Ojelade attended. We thank their Parishes for sponsoring them. We appeal for similar sponsorship from other Parishes.
Course 02 will be held from 13th - 25th, August 2012 and the course fee is N30,000.00 only per participant.
Camp Land for Church of Nigeria
Three camps were proposed, One in the North, one in the East and one in the South West. They will be developed for retreats and crusades. The Diocese of Oji River has released land for the Eastern group of Churches. Another land was identified for the North while South West is finalizing arrangement to get land for the South West. This is a very good development for the spiritual growth of our members.
2012 Clergy Conference
The committee handling this very important Conference reported that it may be held at Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo in September 2012. Details will be given to the clergy later. Let me appeal to Parishes to sponsor their clergy to attend.
Dr. Alex Ibru:
Dr. Alex Ibru, the man who donated his personal property - Ibru Retreat Centre to the Church of Nigeria passed on towards the end of last year. The family together with the Church of Nigeria accorded him a befitting burial. Services were held in Lagos, Ughelli and finally at the Ibru Centre, Agbarah Otor. This man who described himself as the treasurer of God was a great man, a selfless man who dedicated himself to the pursuit of excellence. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace.
Peter Akinola Foundation (PAF)
This foundation initiated by the former Primate of All Nigeria; The Most Rev. Peter Akinola has taken off.
The programme is centred around five initiatives:
1. Youth at Cross road,
2. Mission and Evangelism
3. Anglican Unity and self-reliance
4. Stand in the Gap
5. Wake up Call.
The objectives of Youth at Cross Road include:
· Establishment and equipping of vocational training centres.
· Economic empowerment of youth through training in various skills.
· Provision of small take-off loans for trained youth.
Provinces provide transportation and feeding allowance of N250.00 daily. PAF provides tuition, board, moral and spiritual upkeep.
Our Diocese looked for youth to sponsor at the take off but found nobody because our youth are more interested in riding okada to make quick money. However, if at any time our Priests discover youth we can sponsor, they should let us know. The centre which is located in Abeokuta, offers the following courses: Carpentry, Electrical installation, Plumbing, Hairdressing, Barbing, Driving and House keeping. Compulsory courses are Driving, Computer appreciation, Book keeping, use of English and Entrepreneur skills.
There was a major legal set back in the operations of C.A.N.A. Churches in the U.S.A. T.E.C sued the Virginia Churches, seven of them, asking that they vacate their premises. Judgment was delivered in favour of T.E.C. This is a very serious set back for C.A.N.A. Please pray that the courage of CANA may not fail.
Church of Nigeria House Project in the U.K
You will recall that we reported last year that Church of Nigeria was proposing to buy a house for the Nigerian Chaplain in London. Osun Diocese has paid N1million levy given to her. This was paid from the Assessment paid by Churches.
GAFCON Primates met last year at Oxford, U.K. to prepare for a leadership meeting coming up in London in April 2012. The Conference will prepare for GAFCON General Convention to be held in 2013. Please pray along for the choice of venue and other decisions to be divinely guided.
Retirement and Election of Bishops
The following Bishops will retire this year:
i. The Most Rev. S.A. Abe; Archbishop of Ondo Province and Bishop of Ekiti
ii. The Rt. Rev. J. F. E. Edewor, Bishop of Oleh.
Their successors have been elected and will be consecrated on May 1, 2012 at St. Stephen's Cathedral, Oke Aluko Street, Ondo.
i) Rt. Rev. Dr. G. Lasebikan was elected Archbishop of Ondo Province.
ii) Rt. Rev. C.T. Omotunde - Bishop of Ekiti Diocese by translation.
iii) A new Bishop has been elected for the Diocese of Oleh and will be consecrated on May 1, 2012.
Please pray along with them.
AJAYI CROWTHER UNIVERSITY OYO (A.C.U.)
The University is growing physically. The faculty of Law, for lack of funds, to put in place infrastructure required by the National University Commission has not materialized. If the University is to continue to survive and be a force to reckon with among Universities, the Anglican Communion must support the University financially. The payment of N1,000 per member per year, is still in place and should be collected by the Parish Priests with the necessary record properly kept.
The University now has a population of about 2,500 students while the Auditorium used as a place of worship can only hold about 350 students. Consequently only 700 students out of 2,500 students have the opportunity of attending Sunday service held twice every Sunday. There is an urgent need for a bigger chapel to be built.
Ven. O. O. Olagundoye has replaced Ven. O. Akindoyemi as Chaplain. Ven. Akindoyemi has been appointed Dean of Ile Oluji Cathedral.
The Vice Chancellor has requested that prayers be said for the University in all Churches every Sunday. The second hostel under construction by the Ecclesiastical Provinces of Ibadan and Kwara is almost completed.
We ask for your regular prayers for the University to become a pride for the Anglicans in Nigeria and that the vision and mission of the founding fathers be fully realized.
AROUND OUR DIOCESE
Silver Jubilee Anniversary of the Diocese
The Diocese of Osun inaugurated on 3rd August 1987, will be 25 years old in August 2012. We have put a committee in place to work out the details of the Silver Jubilee Anniversary Celebrations.
We hope to inform you as soon as the proposal of the committee is approved by the Diocesan Board. We want to appreciate all who have served the Diocese in various capacities since inception and thank God for the growth of the Diocese. There is every reason for us to celebrate and praise God. Let us pray along that we may have a very successful anniversary celebration in August this year.
Jesus Carnival Celebration
We appreciate God and everybody for the success of 2011 Jesus Carnival celebration held on the field of Anglican Grammar School, Testing Ground, Osogbo. The Carnival was very impressive inspite of the fact that it fell on the State environmental day. All the Archdeaconries were well represented and the performance of the Central Band and the Mass Choir were wonderful. The Preacher, Very Rev. Titus Olayinka of St James' Cathedral, Ibadan and others who ministered were under the unction of the Holy Spirit while miracles, testimonies and salvation of souls followed the ministrations. We praise God for how far he has led us since 2001 and appreciate the chairman of the Planning Committee, Mr. Lere Oyeyemi, the clergy and all members of the Planning Committee for the success. To God be the glory.
What is left for us now is to continue to build on the height now attained so that our tomorrow can be better than today. Like St. Paul, "we must not say that we have arrived but press on towards the good mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus and if in anything we are otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto us" (Philipians 3:13 - 15).
Praise Ye the Lord, the Lord's name be praised.
Diocesan Camp Ground
We informed the Synod last year of our proposal to develop our land at Ilobu as a Diocesan Camp Ground which will become a place of spiritual rejuvenation for different groups in the Diocese - for Retreat, Jesus Carnival, Boys Brigade Camp, Girls' Guild Rally, Women Programmes and Personal Retreat. When fully developed, the camp ground will have the following facilities:
a) A podium that can accommodate up to 5,000 people.
b) A chapel
d) Archdeaconry Chalets
f) Seminar/Prayer Room
g) Female Hostel
h) Male Hostel
i) Games House
j) Parking space
k) Lock up shops
l) Open space etc. etc.
The land which is 6.144 hectares has been surveyed and cleared. The master plan is already approved by the Diocesan Board and a Committee of Professionals meets regularly to plan for the development which shall be in stages.
When we held our Diocesan Award in August 2011, we raised some money through Episcopal Awards given to some of our members. We shall receive a detailed report during this Synod and discuss the way forward. The project is our project for the glory of God and for the growth of evangelism. The Camp Ground should become our pride and symbol of our Unity when fully developed. Once again, we appreciate the Vicar and congregation of St. Michael's Anglican Church, Ilobu for protecting the land for us all these years. Let us all join hands as a Diocese to build the CAMP GROUND for our use and for generations yet unborn.
Diocesan Harvest Thanksgiving
In order to get fund to develop the Diocesan Camp Ground, we are proposing to organize Diocesan Harvest Thanksgiving Service which will bring us together as one family to thank God and for moving His work forward. A committee headed by Engr. T.O.Oyediran is working hard for the First Edition of such thanksgiving service. If you are invited as a Special Guest please honour God with your resources and invite your friends to join you in thanking God for his mercies which endure for ever. The day should be treated as our Diocesan Day of Thanksgiving.
One Day with Jesus
Our programme of One day with Jesus held on October 1 is becoming very popular. As events unfold in Nigeria, we now see the need for everybody to regard the National Day as a day of Intercession to God. Only prayer can save us from corruption and the Boko haram war threatening the unity of the Nation. May we remind you to keep your diaries free of other engagements on October 1 and spend the day with God in prayers. We appreciate St. Michael's Anglican Church, Ilobu for successfully hosting the 2011 edition. From Boko Haram and corruption, good Lord deliver us. Amen.
Board of Fellows
We express our profound gratitude to the Diocesan Board of Fellows for releasing N1,700,000.00 (N1.7million) to John McKay Anglican Grammar School, Osogbo for the purchase of Science Laboratory equipments. The money came to the school when it was most needed and for this we are very grateful. The Board of Fellows has also served as "think tank" for the Diocese, giving the Diocese brilliant ideas for development. We want to appreciate the Chairman, Prof. Omoniyi Adewoye and appeal to all Fellows of the Diocese not to allow the Board of Fellows to die. We encourage members to meet regularly and recruit younger people to join the Board. If you are invited, please take it as another opportunity to serve God. Regular meetings and meaningful contributions at such meetings will move the Board forward.
The Youth of the Diocese
We commend various youth leaders for providing good leadership for our youth. Camp glory was well attended and for the first time, Chief Popo Bolarinwa made our youth so happy at the 2011 Camp Glory by providing a very big cow to feed them. The Diocesan Conference Centre at Bishopscourt premises provided a good atmosphere for their camp and retreat.
The Diocesan Youth Chapel is now ready for roofing and we ask for your financial support at this synod to get the building roofed.
We appreciate Otunba Abiola Oloke who is helping us to complete the Anglican Corpers Chapel at their orientation Camp, Ede. The Primate of All Nigeria commended Osun Diocese openly at the Standing committee meeting of the Church of Nigeria held recently at Awka for looking after the spiritual welfare of the Youth Corps members posted to Osun. His daughter served in Osun State a few years back and I guess he knows everything about us. We urge Ven. Gbenro Fabuluje and Canon Peter Oyebanjo to continue with the good leadership they are providing for Youth Corps members who come from all over Nigeria. All other youth leaders should present themselves as worthy examples to the youth. Ven. Ebenezer Adewole also demands our commendation for combining the work of Diocesan Youth Chaplain with his Archdeaconate duties.
The women of our Diocese under the leadership of Mama B.T.O. Popoola continue to function effectively. More Parishes benefited from the mobile clinic services led by Mrs. B.T. Badejo. All other programmes were equally very successful. As they prepare for another Joint Conference to be hosted by the Cathedral of All Saints, Osogbo we wish them well. The women have also produced special Ankara super print cloth for the 25th Anniversary of the Diocese in August.
Those who want to buy the Ankara cloth can do so through their Archdeacons or Vicar's wife or come personally to the Diocesan Headquarters, Isale Aro, Osogbo. However, the anniversary cloth should not be used until first Sunday in August 2012. We congratulate the women executive committee for this bold initiative and we appreciate Rev. Canon I.O.Jokotola for being an effective Women chaplain.
AQUADOS (Water) Factory
After surmounting the initial problems of a new factory, and official approval by NAFDAC, our water factory Aquados is gradually becoming popular in the town. We appreciate the Investment Committee headed by Chief S.A.Ajeigbe for working round the clock to see to the day to day running of the factory. Please read the report of the factory presented to the Synod and give your suggestions to the committee - if you have any. Your suggestions can go to the Synod Secretary, Ven. Dayo Ojo who is also the Secretary to the Committee.
Other members are:
i) Chief S.A.Ajeigbe
ii) Chief Jimoh Buraimoh
iii) Mr. Pade Odedele
iv) Chief J.O. Oyayinka
v) Ven. Odunayo Igbeda.
vi) Mr. E. A. Adediji - (Accountant)
a) The Diocesan Nursery and Primary School, Osogbo marked her tenth year anniversary last year with pump and pageantry. We thank God for the growth of the School and the achievement of turning out Primary School leavers with solid foundation for higher education. Reports reaching us show that those who went through our School are doing well in their pursuit of higher education.
The Management Committee headed by Ven. S.A.Adeyemo has laid a very solid foundation for the school. We appreciate them as they continue to manage the affairs of the school. Recently we built a block of four class rooms with a Computer Room with the School Fund while the Parents/Teachers Association promised to refund the money spent on the building. We hope the promise will be kept. May we reassure you that money invested on the education of our children at the Diocesan Nursery & Primary School is well spent and will bring good returns in Jesus name.
John McKay Anglican Grammar Schoo, Olu Ode, Osogbo
We want to appreciate parishes that had paid their education levy fully in support of John McKay Anglican Grammar School, Osogbo. With the money raised through education levy we were able to provide enough class rooms as the population of the school kept increasing. The results of the first Junior School Certificate Examination written last year 2011 is one of the best in Osun State. If we work hard we are sure of having a better performance when they write the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE). The results are printed below for public consumption.
John McKay Ang. Grammar School Olu Ode Area, Osogbo
Osun State Ministry of Education, Osogbo
Result for Year 2011 Junior School Certificate Examination.
S/N SUBJECT DISTINCTION CREDIT PASS
1. English Language 13 29 -
2. Mathematics - 20 22
3. Yoruba Language 1 35 6
4. Social Studies 1 33 8
5. Integrated Science 42 - -
6. Christian Religious Know. 7 35 -
7. Agricultural Science - 22 20
8. Physical & Health Educ. 3 31 8
9. Introductory Technology 34 8 -
10. Business Studies 6 29 7
11. Home Economics - 4 38
12. French 3 32 6
PERCENTAGE PASS 100%
Diocesan Marriage and Family Care Committee
The Committee continues to make a very good impact on the Diocese. A seminar was recently held for Archdeaconry Marriage and Family Care Committee members through which the activities of the committee could reach the grassroots. We urge our members to reach the Committee through the Chairman, Evangelist Agunlejika of St. Luke's Anglican Church, Alekuwodo, Osogbo or Rev. M.O.Oluwapojuwomi, the chaplain to the Committee for help.
May we also appeal to Archdeacons, Vicars and Parishioners to co-operate with the Diocesan and Archdeaconry Committees so that we can be effective in this special assignment of caring for families.
The foundation inaugurated in December 2011, is now properly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission. We want to appreciate Dr. Femi Oladimeji's led committee for personal commitment to the success of the Foundation. Read the Committees report to know more about the Committee's activities since inauguration. The Registration No. is
The Social and Economic Development Commission of Osun Anglican Diocese has been changed to Social & Economic Development Foundation of Osun Anglican Diocese -SEDEFOAD in order to be properly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Abuja.
While still pursuing the noble role of Free Eye Surgery for which SEDECOAD has been known; the Foundation had a major breakthrough late last year. SEDEFOAD proposed to Hope Worldwide Nigeria (HWWN) USAID a project aimed at improving the well being of vulnerable children through a Community-led approach. On 23rd December 2011, a sub- agreement was signed between SEDEFOAD and HWWN to implement Assistance and Care for Children Orphaned and at Risk (ACCORD).
SEDEFOAD was awarded two Local Governments: Irepodun and Olorunda (Oba Ile and Oba Oke Communities) as sample sites which will spread to other areas of our Diocese in future by the grace of God. The project will support 1,000 vulnerable children including 250 care givers in the local communities. The beneficiaries will be vulnerable children including orphans and children whose parents are chronically ill, children living with guardians and other children of the community identified as most vulnerable.
The project's activities include:
1) Provision of loan to 40 care-givers at a minimum of N10,000 each.
2) Provision of Nutritional support to children in dire need, that is, malnourished children or children whose parents died at the point of birth.
3) Educational support to only 10 children monthly.
4) Organize kids clubs for all the enrolled children across the Zone.
5) Organize fund raising to support other vulnerable children..
6) Collaborate with National Population Commission (NPC) to issue Birth Certificate for vulnerable children.
7) Establish Committee at community level to monitor and raise fund for the vulnerable children.
SEDEFOAD has conducted advocacy/sensitization visits to stake holders including the Chairman and Directors of Information and Social Welfare in Irepodun and Olorunda Local Government Areas, Community development Associations, Traditional Institutions, Religious bodies and other local associations within the two areas.
A capacity assessment exercise was carried out in Irepodun Local Government Headquarters. Efforts are on to meet those of Olorunda Local Government.
The Staff of SEDEFOAD have also attended specialized training for the project on Fund Management, monitoring and Evaluation of programmes, proposals, writing, formation of Savings Loan Association and Service delivery. The Project Manager is Rev. A.O.Oke. The report of SEDEFOAD will give more information. We are grateful to Evangelist Femi Ayedun, Chief Bosun Omole and others who worked so hard to get to where we are. This is a major achievement and for it we praise God. Please pray for SEDEFOAD for greater achievements in the service of humanity.
Diocesan Assessment Review
The Diocesan Board approved the recommendation of the Budget Committee to review the ratio for assessing Churches. With the review, weaker Churches now pay less and stronger Churches carry more load. We appeal again to Churches to give first priority to payment of Assessment. The policy of the Diocesan Board and agreed to by the Clergy is that workers will take their salaries as they pay their assessment. If assessments are not paid; we cannot get money to pay workers.
May we again remind you that assessments are based on the total budget of the Diocese for the year which include:
i) Payment of salaries of workers (Clergy and Lay).
ii) Gratuity and Pension of retirees.
iii) Funding of Theological Colleges where Clergy are trained.
iv) Funding of Schools in the Diocese.
v) Payment of levies to Church of Nigeria, Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province, Supra West, Province etc.
vi) Funding of ministries - Youth, Women, and Children etc.
vii) Funding of Meetings - Local and National.
viii) Funding of Evangelism and Mission Work.
ix) Maintenance of Diocesan Headquarters etc.
In order to move the Diocese forward, now that we are 25 years old, Parishes should struggle to balance their assessments before the end of June every year. May God continue to prosper his work in our hands.
Diocesan Guild of Stewards
We commend the positive contributions being made by the Ushers in our various Parishes. They need further training and re-organization so that they can be more effective. In recognizing such roles, we are proposing to organize them into the Diocesan Guild of Stewards. May we ask the Dean of the Cathedral to head a Committee of Statutory Archdeacons to arrange for their training, appoint officers and then we can formally inaugurate the group. Your suggestions on the effective re-organization and training should be sent to the Dean of the Cathedral, Ven. Dr. I. I. Oluyamo.
While we commend the Government of Osun State for encouraging cleanliness; we must also encourage our members to keep their homes and surroundings very clean at all times. Cleanliness is next to godliness. People also say that health is wealth. We must talk about the advantages of environmental sanitations in our Churches while the Pastors should make their vicarages good examples of cleanliness. Vicarages should be kept clean in and out at all times.
Our Clergy are always very neat in their robes and I am proud of them. This personal cleanliness should now be transferred to vicarages and Churches - cub-webs on ceiling should be removed, pews should be strictly kept clean, flowers should be planted in the Church and vicarage premises, toilets should be provided in Churches where there are none. Burial grounds should also be kept clean at all times so that the spirits of our departed members can bless us. A new Church Cemetery Inspection Committee headed by Ven. M.O.Aina is now in place, but they will not look after the dead alone, they will also inspect Churches and Vicarage premises. They are our Diocesan Sanitary Inspectors. Please co-operate with them.
New Anglican Schools
We must commend ourselves for establishing schools to replace the old mission schools already taken over by government. In establishing schools we must aim at excellence and high quality education. The moral standard of teachers and pupils should be very high. Anglican Schools should be established not just for the sake of making money but our Schools must be like the old mission schools or even better.
We congratulate the following Parishes for establishing schools:
1) St. Paul's Anglican Church, Ikirun
2) St. Peter's Anglicah Church, Ede
3) All Saints Cathedral, Osogbo
4) Anglican Churches, Inisa.
5) All Souls Church, Oke fia, Osogbo
We are putting in place a monitoring Committee to be called Diocesan Education Committee. Members are:
1. Ven. S. Adeyemo (Chairman)
2. Canon A. A. Adeyeye
3. Canon I. O. Jokotola
4. Mr. A. A. Olatunji
5. Mr. O. O. Ajayi
6. Rev. A. O. Dairo
1. To monitor the standard of all the Anglican private schools in the Diocese and to ensure high standards in academics, character and morals
2. To carry out advisory - inspection visits to the schools and submit written reports to the Diocesan.
3. To see to the physical development of the schools and offer advice when necessary.
4. To ensure effective teaching and produce good results.
5. To promote effective PTA participation in the affairs of the schools.
6. To monitor the progress of the pupils/students up to tertiary institutions and keep records.
7. To advice the Bishop on education.
But let me warn that Education is not the only industry where we can invest Church money. Parishes can look into other economic ventures where they can invest their money.
OBA ADENLE I MEMORIAL ANGLICAN CHURCH (OBAMAC)
We have prayerfully renamed St. Peter's Anglican Church, Dagbolu, Osogbo after Oba Adenle I in recognition of his devotion to the worship of God and immense contribution to the growth of Christianity when he was on the throne. Oba Adenle I was a member of Ero Mimo Society of the Cathedral of All Saints, Balogun Agoro, Osogbo and god father to many people.
His children are also contributing immensely toward Church development. The Church Committee of St. Peter's Church Dagbolu has presented to us the plan of a new Church building which will befit the status of this great traditional ruler. We hope the family will rally round to make this plan a reality. Henceforth, St. Peter's Anglican Church, Dagbolu shall be known and called OBA ADENLE I MEMORIAL ANGLICAN CHURCH (OBAMAC) DAGBOLU, OSOGBO. All former documents remains valid.
BISHOP FAGBEMI ANGLICAN CHURCH (BIFAC) ILUDUN, OSOGBO
We have named two edifices after Bishop Oni Fagbemi, our predecessor in office in recognition of all that God enable him to do in laying a very solid foundation for this Diocese. We have named the shopping complex at Isale Aro, Osogbo after him and also established a new Anglican Church, at Iludun, Osogbo equally named after him. The retired Bishop has personally contributed to the fund for the building of the Church. Now that the Church building is ready for roofing, we appeal to all Parishes and individuals to give financial assistance for the completion of the construction work. Bishop Fagbemi Anglican Church should become the pride of everybody in the Diocese. Thank you so much as you give generously.
Workshop for Parish Councillors
We welcome on Board new Parish Counciliors in various Parishes. In order to appreciate the assignment God has placed on their shoulders, we shall now be organizing Diocesan Workshop for all parish councilors in the month of March.
Ven. W.S.A.Ojelade will be in charge of the workshop which is voluntarily compulsory for all Parish Councillors to attend. The first one was held on March 24, 2012.
New Churches Inaugurated
S/N NAME OF CHURCH DATE
1. Anglican Church of Ressurection, Oke Irun, Igbajo April 19, 2011
2. Anglican Church of Ascension, Kobongbogboe, Osogbo June 5, 2011
3. St. Mark's Anglican Church, Osogbo December 24,2011
4. Cathedral Of All Saints, Osogbo January 21, 2012
5. St. John's Anglican Church, Ifon February 4, 2012.
S/No. Archdeaconry No. Of Candidate
1. Cathedral 36
2. Osogbo 45
3. Ilobu 35
4. Inisa 36
5. Ada 20
6. Ikirun 49
7. Ifon Osun 26
8. Oyan 21
9. Igbajo 5
10. Osogbo North 57
11. Ede 22
12. Oba 36
Trinity Ordination 2011
1. Rev. Adekunle Joseph Abiodun
2. Rev. Atoyebi Matthew Adebisi
3. Rev. Dairo Abel Olanipekun
4. Rev. Fawunmi Reuben Sunday
5. Rev. Olanrewaju Ebenezer Bolaji
6. Rev. Oluwadare Sesan Isaac
7. Rev. Salami Olalekan Olaitan
8. Rev. Taiwo Josiah Olatunji
Rev. Samuel Olugbenga Oyelade
Ven. Familoye Joseph Olaniran
2011 DIOCESAN AWARD
Last year we held a Diocesan Award Service on 7th August 2011 to mark the 24th Anniversary of our Diocese. The service which was well planned by a special committee headed by
Mr. Lere Oyeyemi was a huge success. We congratulate the awardees and wish them well in their various endeavours. We are also very grateful for their donations which had helped us to start work on our Diocesan Camp Ground.
The Awardees and their donation
1. Otunba Grace Titi Laoye-Tomori Deputy Governor of Osun State. (Handsome donation)
20. Evang. Jaye Awoniyi Osogbo St. James Church, Illie.
CHRISTIAN COUNCIL OF NIGERIA, SOUTH WEST ZONE
2011 BIBLE QUIZ
To the glory of God, the Diocese of Osun participated actively in the two stages of CCN, Osun State CCN Bible Quiz involved some clergy of the Diocese in coaching participants by our order.
For the Adult Section, the Diocese led in the State with Mr. Samuel Adewusi and Lady Evang. Olasunkanmi both from All Souls' Church, Osogbo.
At the South-West Zonal Bible Quiz, Mr. Samuel Adewusi lifted a trophy as the winner for Adult Section, followed by Lagos and Kwara States. The result is shown below:
CCN SOUTHWEST 2011 BIBLE QUIZ RESULT
Primary 1-3: Lagos - 1st
Primary 4-6: Lagos - 1st, Oyo - 2nd, Osun - 3rd
J. S. S. 1-3: Lagos - 1st, Kwara-2nd, Oyo-3rd
S. S. S. 1-3: Oyo-1st, Ekiti-2nd, Lagos-3rd
Tertiary: Lagos-1st, Ondo-2nd, Oyo-3rd
Adult: Osun-1st (Mr. Samuel Adewusi) Lagos-2nd, Kwara-3rd.
THE DIOCESAN RADIO SUNDAY SCHOOL QUIZ 2011
The 5th edition our Radio Sunday School Quiz progressed steadily under the coordination of Ven. Dayo Ojo and Mr. Kunle Adeyemo, our Diocesan P. R. O. who anchors it. The Quiz had two sections, the English section comprises of English Speaking parishes while the Yoruba section involves all Churches as stage one and stage two on Archdeaconry basis which determines the winners. The result of the section is shown below:
3rd Position: St Peter's Anglican Church, Inisa
2nd Position: The Youth Chapel, Osogbo.
1st Position: All Souls' Church, Osogbo.
3rd Position: Ikirun Archdeaconry
2nd Position: Inisa Archdeaconry
1st Position: Osogbo Archdeaconry
My dear people of God, as we begin another Synod, we express our profound gratitude to all Synod members and thank everybody for the cooperation we have received from you. We appreciate diocesan Officials, Bishop's Nominees, diocesan Board Members, distinguished clergy and Clergy wives, members of various Committees and indeed every member of our Diocese.
We are happy to be your chief servant under God. My dear wife and I promise to remain committed to the progress of our Diocese. We praise God for leading us so far and for our humble joint achievements. Let us all resolve to make our worship and work acts of praise to God. Let us praise God not only with your lips but also with everything that God has given to us. Let us teach our children to always praise God with the resources that God has given to them.
Let us renew our commitment to the promotion of God's work and move our Diocese forward. May His work continue to prosper in our hands.
Thank you and God bless.
OMMUNIQUE FROM THE STANDING COMMITTEE OF THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA (ANGLICAN COMMUNION) HELD FROM 1 - 5 MARCH, 2011 AT THE CATHEDRAL OF THE TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR LORD (CATOL), OWERRI
The Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the leadership of the Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh, Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria with his wife Mrs.Nkasiobi Okoh, President of the Mothers' union and Women's guild, met at the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of our Lord (CATOL), Diocese of Owerri, from March 1-5, 2011. One hundred and sixty bishops, one hundred and forth-eight clergymen and ninety-five members of the house of laity were present. The Most Reverend, Bennett Okoro, Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Owerri and the Rt. Rev'd Cyril Okorocha, Bishop of the Diocese of Owerri welcome the delegates. Goodwill messages were given by His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, represented by Elder Godsday Orubebe, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs; His Excellency Ikedi Ohakim, the Executive Governor of Imo State; His Excellency Chief (Dr.) Ernest Shonekan, former Head of Government; Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy Senate President, and Rt. Revd. Emmanuel Adekunle on behalf of Most Revd. Dr. Peter J. Akinola, former Primate of the Church of Nigeria.
The theme of the meeting was 'These Dry Bones shall live again' (Ezekiel 37:4-6), and at the conclusion, the Standing Committee issued this Communiqué:
2. THE VALLEY OF DRY BONES
Prophet Ezekiel's vision of 'The Valley of Dry Bones' (Ezekiel 37:4-6) describes concern and sovereignity of God over the affairs of His seemingly 'dead' and hopeless people. This provides hope for Nigeria because to God, no situation is hopeless. Though basic infrastructure, education, healthcare, and security are virtually collapsing, God can restore all of these and bring new life to the nation. We call all Nigeria to prayer, righteous living, and a heartfelt love for one another and so put themselves in a position to be revived by God.
3. LEADERSHIP IN NATION BUILDING
The Standing Committee calls for credible leadership which is the critical issue of the Nigerian nation at every level. Nigeria has immense human and nature endowments and a great passion for God, and yet we often fall far short of our potential. The Standing Committee enjoins all politicians to work for the biblical concept of servant-leadership which requires core values such as humility, personal responsibility, transparency, integrity, accountability and hard work.
4. VOTERS REGISTRATION AND FORTHCOMING ELECTIONS
The Standing Committee notes the commitment of Nigeria people to free, fair and credible election in 2011. This was demonstrated by the large turnout and resilience shown during the recently concluded voters registration exercise despite its various inadequacies.
As we prepare for the crucial forthcoming election, the political class must stop their wanton display of impunity to matters of security, unity of Nigeria, poverty, unemployment and corruption. Issues, not penalties must inform their agenda and manifestoes. The Nigeria election is charged not to sell its votes nor compromise its conscience in any way, but vote for credible political candidates. In particular, we call on the young people of our nation not to mortgage their future by allowing themselves to be used as thugs or pawn in the hands of desperate politicians.
5. RELIGIOUS / ETHNIC/ POLITICAL CRISES
Religious, ethnic and political crises persist in the nation despite repeated efforts to curb them. A situation where the security of lives and property cannot be guaranteed by the state and where a citizen is not safe to live anywhere in the country is unacceptable. Governments in all parts of Nigeria are called upon to respect the constitutional and fundamental human rights of every person. They must make maximum use of security forces to protect every Nigeria and to bring to book, all perpetrators and sponsors of organized and serial killings for religious, ethnic and political reason. Nigeria must not be allowed to slide into anarchy. We are a multi-religious and multi-ethnic nation where all citizens' right must be protected without compromise.
6. MERGING OF AREA AND SHARIA COURTS
The Standing Committee observed with dismay the recent merging of the administration of the Area Courts and the Sharia Courts of Appeal in the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja. The implication of which is to make Sharia law applicable to non-Moslems. This is not only unconstitutional but also contrary to public policy. We call on the administration of the federal Capital Territory to rescind the policy as this is likely to undermine the relative peace that exits in the centre of unity of Nigeria. We must work together across religious and ethnic divides to build a peaceful and progressive nation.
7. EMERGENCE OF ISLAMIC BANKING
The Church expresses profound concern over current changes in the banking sector which promote Islamic Banking. Based on the Central Bank of Nigeria's circular dated March 4, 2009 (with ref. No. BSD/D/Dir/Gen/Nib?01/008) to sensitize stakeholders on the merits of institutions offering non-interest financial services in Nigeria, and following the perceived "favourable and Supervision of the Institutions offering Non-Muslims from the emerging non-interest banking business. The Sharia banking has inbuilt mechanism of collecting interest in the form of various Zakat that the borrowers are subjected to pay.
Also by the proposed plan to establish the CBN Sharia Council, which would obviously comprise only Muslim, (as the members must have skills in the philosophy of Islamic law, good knowledge of written Arabic and exposure in the areas of business or finance especially in Islamic) the CBN governor unmasked the agenda that non-interest banking is nothing but Islamic banking system. This is definitely unconstitutional as it is contrary to the spirit and letter of the Banking system. This is definitely Institutions Act (BOFAI) as well as section 10 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The CBN Governor should be mindful of the fact that Nigeria is a secular state.
The Church calls on the Federal Government and our law makers seriously to consider the explosive implication of the Islamic/Sharia Banking; what it portends for the future and the appropriate steps to be taken to protect the fundmantal rights of all faith communities in this Country.
8. ALMAJIRI EDUCATION
Standing Committee notes with concern the recent educational policy in respect of the Al-majiris in the Northern part of the Country. While we are not against solving the social problems created by the Almajiri especially in a secular state such as Nigeria Moreover, the benefit of educating the Almajiri can only come if they are reintegrated into the large Nigeria pluralistic society, through an already existing public educational structure where they can realize the benefit of interdependency, of both North and South, Christian and Muslim.
We call for the integration of the Almajiri education into the already existing universal Basic Education (UBE) programme from primary to junior secondary school. The government should implement the UBE to the letter. Equals must be treated equally.
It is duty that we owe one another to administer the country on the basic equality of opportunity, rights and privileges.
The Church of Nigeria is fervent in prayer for the peace, unity and progress of our nation. It is convinced that if we will turn to God and follow God's guidelines, the fortunes of Nigeria shall be revived unto a better tomorrow where our 'dry bones' shall live again.
Thus says the Lord God unto these bones; Behold I will cause breath to enter into you and you shall live……….. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army (Ezekiel 37:5-10).
The Most Revd Nicholas. Okoh
Primate of All Nigeria
From the first Divine Commonwealth Conference
Held at the National Christian Center, Abuja, Nigeria
7th-11th, November, 2011
In the name of God: the Father, and the son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
The first Divine Commonwealth Conference was held at the National Christian Centre, Abuja, from Monday 7th to Friday 11th November 2011. It was an international, non-denominational spiritual conference initiated by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) under the leadership of the Most Reverend Nicholas D. Okoh, primate.
We, the participants, numbering over 5,000 Bishops, Clergy and Laity, deeply appreciated words of encouragement and goodwill from notable leaders from Nigeria, other parts of Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, including the retired Primate of the Church of Nigeria, the Primates of West Africa and Kenya, the Methodist Archbishop of Abuja and the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
1. We gathered as the people of God and members of the Divine Commonwealth determined to celebrate our oneness in Christ and reaffirm our unity around the fundamentals of the Christian faith; recognizing that we have been called into "one body…. One Spirit….one hope…. One Lord, one faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. " We reaffirmed our commitment to uphold our faith, loyalty and faithfulness in season and out of season as His worthy disciples in all places and circumstances.
2. We are thankful for our Christian legacy established through the European missionaries who brought the Gospel to Africa and the many African Evangelists who, like Bishop Ajayi Crowther, spread it far and wide. We hereby renew our own commitment to make disciples of all nations and our determination to reach out to the ends of the earth with the Good News of God's transforming love through Jesus Christ our Saviour, the Sovereign Lord of the Divine Commonwealth.
3. We applaud the commitment of the GAFCON Primates to hold fast to "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" and against the erroneous teaching that have infiltrated our beloved Communion. We also join them in declaring our refusal to be bogged down by relentless debates about matters we consider settle. Instead we move forward in proclaiming through the world. We reaffirm the faith articulated in the Jerusalem Declaration and its reminder that we have a rich heritage in Scripture and the historic tradition of the Church.
4. We came together as members of the Divine Commonwealth, not identified with any secular order but founded by God- what our great African theologian, Augustine of Hippo, called the city of God. It is described variously in Scripture as the Kingdom of God, the Body of Christ, the Church, and the Communion of Saints on earth and in heaven.
5. We recognize that in the Divine commonwealth, all worldly distinctions are rendered secondary. We assembled as women, men, youth and aged, ordained and lay, from different tribes and regions, rich and poor, to chart ways that promote that Commonwealth in the wider society and in the Anglican Communion.
6. We gathered to recall the principle features of the Divine Commonwealth as revealed in the Holy Scripture. We maintain that all human is made in the image of God, is loved by God and is created for society, for relationship, and especially for marriage between one man and one woman. Yet due to sin and the Fall, "profound moral issues arise from the outrageous paradox of human dignity and human depravity."
7. We grieve with those of our own community who have witnessed this paradox first hand as they have experienced the outrageous and murderous behavior of some who seek to terrorize, maim and kill Nigerians in Plateau, Bauchi, Kaduna, Yobe, Gombe, Borno States and parts of the Federal Capital Territory especially that of Christians, is intolerable. It has carried on with impurity for far too long, it demands decisive and immediate action from the Federal Government.
8. While we are grateful for the words of concern expressed by some national leaders we call on the Federal Government to rise to the challenge set by the terrorists, by giving solid and sustainable protection to the lives and property of all vulnerable and dispirited ethnic and religious groups in these places. This is the time for the federal Government to act if we are to save the nation from further bloodshed.
9. We know that the Divine Commonwealth is distinct from the "City of this world" and yet it is interested in our social and political life. We are "in the world but not of the world". As Christians we are called not to avoid or oppress unbelieving people but to meet them lovingly and to present them with the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in the light of the Church's transformative agendas we call on our leaders and all Nigerians to challenge corruption and greed in our society and to live their lives in obedience to God's commands.
10. We are convinced that no community without the living God at its centre is a true commonwealth. Neither is a "Commonwealth of Nations" a true commonwealth if it does not stand for righteousness. In this regard, we were shocked by the recent statement from the Prime minister of the United Kingdom, the right Honorable David Cameron, to the effect that his Government would aid only those Countries that adhere to "proper human rights". It is clear that his true agenda is to force the normalization of homosexuality and gay marriage as a "human right". While acknowledging the sacred worth of every human being we reject this erroneous notion as contrary to God's intention for humankind and harmful to those he claims to protect. Another implication of this is that the "Commonwealth of Nations" is still being treated as a body of unequal partners, where, because of economics status, some nations are still vulnerable to manipulation. We urge the Federal Government of Nigeria to resists any such intimidation on this matter.
11. We believe that the family is an essential building block of the Divine Commonwealth and the institution of marriage worthy of our full support. We stand with those who are working to protect marriage, family life and values pastorally in local congregations we support the national Assembly in its efforts to protect marriage as between a man and a woman.
12. Finally, we proclaim that the Divine Commonwealth is not only a present but a transcendent reality, as "our citizenship" is in heaven. And we eagerly await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. We have been reminded that the Second Coming of Christ,"6 is an essential teaching of the faith and we eagerly look for Christ's return. We recognize that Christ will come unexpectedly and that it is futile to set human timetables for His appearing. We do know that His coming will be time of distress, where the forces of order and religion will be utterly perverted by Satan and many will be persecuted for their witness to Christ. Many for these signs are present today and thousands of Christians have been martyred for their faith. However, the end is not yet.
13. As members of the Divine Commonwealth we heed
the prophet Micah's counsel, "To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with our God,"7 until the time when the
Saviour will come with a shout of command and the events
of the end-time-resurrection, judgment, reigning with Christ,
a final Commonwealth, the new Jerusalem, and a new
heaven and earth - will come to pass, and God will be all in all.
To Him who is able to keep you from falling and present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy - to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forever! AMEN.
The Most Revd Nicholas D. Okoh,
Primate of All Nigeria /Convener.
THE MESSAGE TO THE NATION FROM THE 10TH GENERAL SYNOD OF THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA (ANGLICAN COMMUION) HELD FROM THE 19TH-23TH OF SEPTEMBER 2011, AT THE ARCHBISHOP VINNIG MEMORIAL CHURCH CATHEDRAL, OBA AKINJOBI ROAD, G.R.A. IKEJA, LAGOS.
The Tenth General Synod of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Comprising the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Leadership of the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, held at the Church Cathedral, Oba Akinjobi road, G. R. A, Ikeja, Lagos; between September 19-23, 2011. The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria sent encouraging words to Synod in a goodwill message and we were honoured by the presence of the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Her Excellency, Hon. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire representing the State Governor, His Excellency, Mr. Babatude Raji Fashola (SAN), and the former Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria His Excellency, Dr. Alex Ekwueme. We also received gracious and kind words from two former primates of our Church, The Most Rev Dr. Abiodun Adetiloye, and the Most Rev. Peter Jasper Akinola.
The theme of the Synod was 'Restoring the years the Locusts have eaten' - Joel 2: 25-27, and at the conclusion, the synod issued this message to the nation.
2. RESTORING THE YEARS THE LOCUSTS HAVE EATEN
The Synod theme, taken from the book of prophet Joel Chapter 2 verse 25-27 was exhaustively considered through the Sermons, Bible studies and Seminars and was related to every aspect of our country such as, the peace, economy, education, politics, infrastructures etc. However, God gas promised to restore the wasted years as a nation if only we will all genuinely repent of all forms of unrighteousness now prevalent in the country. Synod therefore calls all Nigerians to repent and turn to God so that a "time of refreshing may come from the Lord" Acts 3:19. We call all Nigerians to prayer, righteous living, and a heartfelt love for one another and so put themselves in a position to be revived by God.
3. THREAT TO PEACE AND UNITY
Synod is greatly disturbed by the level of insecurity of lives and property in the nation. The frequent and continual killings, bombings, kidnappings, armed robbery, religious unrests ethnic and political crisis, terrorist activities (especially the Boko-haram menace) have imposed great distress on the populace. A situation where a citizen is not safe to live anywhere in the country is unacceptable.We therefore join other well meaning Nigerians and international bodies in strongly condemning the recent bombings, particularly that of the United Nations building in Abuja and the killing of innocent people in Jos, Maiduguri, Kafanchan, Bauchi and other parts of our Country. The Government is called upon as a matter of urgency, to decisively contain this national embarrassment and bring the perpetrators to book. Synod also demands that Security Agencies in the country be restructured and adequately equipped to curb this menace. Synod calls on Government to compensate all those affected by these reckless and unjustifiable actions of wanton destruction of lives and property, and synod calls upon all section of the country, cultures, and sub-cultural groups, and religious groups to work for the peace and unity of the country and avoid putting section and sub-cultural group interest above that of the nation. Synod further observed that seeking group advantage over others promotes injustice, hence should be discouraged by all in the common interest of our national peace unity and progress.
Synod notes with dismay the unabated presence of corruption in all aspect of our national life. This has hindered Nigeria's economic growth and created pervasive institutional mismanagement. Synod calls on the three arms of government to reinvigorate the anti corruption agencies, and create barriers which will prevent people from corrupt practices. Furthermore, past and present corrupt persons should be brought to timely justice, to send a clear message to all.
5. THE STATE OF INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE NATION
Synod commends the Federal and some State Government for the attention given to the rehabilitation and construction of some public utilities such as the effort at resuscitating the railways and the dredging of waterways. However it is important to make the coast lines of the rivers secure. But Synod also observes with great concern the unceasing decay of their public infrastructure in the nation, such as highways, feeder roads, city roads, etc. synod calls on Government at all levels to take appropriate and immediate recovery measures to check this decay, as well as provide more infrastructures so as to give the much needed hope and relief to the impoverished and disillusioned citizens of our Country.
Specifically Synod urges the Federal Government to ensure that those partnering with her in the delivery of crucial projects such as the whole area of power and the second Niger Bridge expedite delivery.
6. URGENT REVAMPING OF THE ECONOMY
The Church of Nigeria notes the Federal Government effort at revamping the economy also urges the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency invest more in different sectors of our national life, especially in the whole area of Agriculture, that will accelerate the much needed growth in the economy and provide employment.
7. INDUSTRIAL HARMONY
It also been observed that our nation has suffered setbacks due to incessant strike actions embarked upon by the organized labour. We therefore call on the Federal and State Government to honour all agreements with the Labour Unions, particularly on the issue of the minimum wage. This will add value to the life of the Nigeria worker.
Furthermore, Synod calls on the Government to consider having only one body to regulate the salaries of all public officers. This will help to harmonise workers' salaries/wages and guarantee that all categories of public officers are fairly treated. It will also stem the tide of incessant strikes in our country. Synod joints other international Agencies to call on the Federal Government to create an authentic middle class in our nation, to bridge the gap between the super rich and the abject poor. Moreover, Government and ASUU should save Nigerians another nightmare of ASUU strike.
8 NON-INTERREST BANKING
Synod notes with dismay, the ploy by the Central Bank of Nigeria to further engender strife by the use of official government apparatus CBN to champion the cause of one religion in a religiously pluralistic nation. This act is not only misconceived but also contradictory to the spirit and provisions of our National Constitution. Synod therefore, calls on the CBN and the Federal Government to make general provisions and guidelines for non-interest banking and allow citizens to pursue their special areas of interest. The CNB should borrow a leaf from the Ministry of Education.
9. HUMAN RIGHTS
Synod recognizes that the enforcement of human rights is
an essential element in the administration of justice, but calls
on all people of God to beware of the perverse and self re
definition of liberal secularism and human rights by some
international bodies whose main agenda is to impose
unbiblical life styles on humanity.
10. DIVINE COMMONWEALTH CONFERENCE
Synod notes with delight the forthcoming Divine
Commonwealth Conference (DIVCCON) being organized
by the Church of Nigeria from November 7th - 11th 2011
and believes it will be a valuable contribution to the much
needed Peace and Unity in the Country, as prevalent in
the Godhead. This then should hasten the manifestation of
the environment for the much sought transformation and
restoration of the nation. Synod therefore endorses the
participation by all.
11. GLOBAL ANGLICAN RELATIONS
This Church is determined to uphold the authority of the
Scripture, and the uniqueness and Lordship of Jesus
Christ. Synod remains resolute in our decision to uphold
the sanctify of male-female marriage, the Historic faith,
and the pre-eminent position of the Bible as the rule for
faith and morality.
12. CONCLUSION - CALL FOR PRAYER
Synod calls for prayers and cooperation with the Federal
Government as it honestly believes that this Administration
is the transit gate for Nigeria's entry into mature and
patriotic nationhood, economic progress, overall
development and national rebirth. This Church is
convinced that if Nigeria will turn around from all ungodly
ways, turn to God and follow Him, Nigeria shall be revived
and all that the locusts have destroyed shall in God's
mercy be restored.
"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten and the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm my great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed - Joel 2:25-27.
The Most Revd. Nicholas D. Okoh
Primate of All Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
PASTORAL LETTER FROM THE 10TH GENERAL SYNOD OF THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA (ANGLICAN COMMUNION) HELD FROM THE 19TH - 23RD OF SEPTEMBER, 2011 AT THE ARCHBISHOP VINING MEMORIAL CHURCH CATHEDRAL, OBA AKINJOBI ROAD, G.R.A. IKEJA, LAGOS
My dear people of God.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give all glory, honour and praise to the Almighty God for His mercies and grace which are renewed to us every day, and for the hope of salvation which we have in His Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.
The 10th General Synod of our Church was held under the protection of the Almighty God at Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Ikeja in the Diocese of Lagos West from 19th -23rd September, 2011. A total of 163 Bishops, 306 Clergymen, and 614 lay members of our Church were present (including the women delegates). Led by the Holy Spirit, we reflected on the theme: Restoring The Years The Locusts Have Eaten…" (Joel 2:25- 27) Like the nation of Israel in the days of Prophet Joel, our country has been under a very serious attack by locusts which have inflicted great devastation, decay and harm to every part of our national life - social, economic, political, spiritual etc, the result of which include growing level of insecurity, deplorable state of infrastructure, high degree of moral decadence, and the prevalence of corruption.
The Church, the family and the individual Nigerian are not spared from these attacks as most plans and programmes for the improvement of life and living in the nation have only succeeded in the breach. Indeed an enemy has done this!
However, the good news is that our most gracious and merciful God has plans to restore unto us the years these locusts have eaten. His voice which clearly came to us through sermons, bible studies and other presentations in this synod reassured us of His promise to make our nation, Church, families and individuals the envy of others. Yes, He is set to usher in a time of refreshing. Nevertheless, genuine repentance, confession of sin and determination to enthrone righteousness are the preconditions for the fulfillment of this divine promise. We therefore charge you in the name of God to commit yourselves to a life of obedience, holiness and trust. Let us Endeavour to rid ourselves of all those things, attitude and behaviors that offend God, and strive daily to put on righteousness so that these promises will manifest.
It is an incontrovertible fact that return to true spirituality is the only condition that will engender this restoration. In order to bring about this, our Church is putting together an international conference tagged: divine Commonwealth Conference (DIVCCON) which will hold at the National Christian centre, Abuja from 7th-11th November, 2011. We call on all to pray for its success.
We should do well to remind ourselves that every Anglican is baptized to be an evangelist. We propose by the grace of God to equip every lay person in our church to fulfill this time-honoured divine mandate.
May we also implore you to be steadfast in prayer for our nation and her leaders, most especially our President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, that God will give them the grace to overcome the various challenges buffeting our nation now, and so that under them, we may attain greater heights in all that is good, noble and excellent.
Brethren, it is a fact of life that quarrels, bickering, divisions and strife hinder growth and development. They also impede the progress of the spread of the gospel and ridicules the Church of God before the unbelievers. May we therefore passionately appeal to all the areas in our Church that still have unresolved problems and disagreements to do everything possible to sink their differences and allow peace to reign.
Our church is determined more than ever to uphold authority of the Scripture, and the uniqueness and Lordship of Jesus Christ. Our resolve to relate and partner only with groups and organization that have a common mind in this matter is not negotiable. We must be on the alert to prevent the insidious attempts to legitimize sin in the name of human rights as being promoted by some international organisation.
Beloved in the Lord, we deeply appreciate and are encouraged by the love and support we have received from you since our assumption of office as Primate. The success of the St. Mathias Day Special Collection bears eloquent testimony to this. We have plans to put in place programmes and projects that will be of mutual benefits to both the Church and the society. In no distant time, we shall unfold our programme for our youth and disadvantaged brethren, and how we can diversify our method of evangelism in keeping with the challenges of modern technology. We encourage our youth to continue to keep faith with the Anglican Church and remain steadfast in supporting and building it up. May we remind ourselves once more that the Anglican Youth Fellowship is for the youth and not for grandfathers and grandmothers! It remains an organization for people under the age of 40 years. Our Youth must be given the opportunity to develop and grow in our Church.
We condole with the families of all those who lost their dear ones in recent mishaps that befall the nation especially the bombings in various locations and institutions in the country, victims of unrests especially in Jos and Maiduguri, and the youth corpers who died in post-election violence in various parts of the country. We also remember the victims of flood disasters in Lagos and Ibadan as well as other types of occurrences. We remember particularly the families of a former Dean of our Church, Archbishop of the old Province II and Bishop on the Niger, the Most Revd. Jonathan A. Onyemeluwe, the prolocutor of the house of clergy, Ven. Barr. Alex Adichie, and the Chancellor of Ogbomoso Diocese, Hon Justice Ruth Gbemisola Oyetunde. May God be pleased to grant their souls eternal rest and their families the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit.
We are deeply grateful to the Bishop and good the people of the Diocese of Lagos West for setting a new standard in hosting our national meetings. We pray that their labour of love will attract God's blessing and favour.
May the grace of our Lord Christ,
The love of God and the fellowship of the
Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh
Primate of All Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
PASTORAL LETTER FROM THE STANDING COMMITTEE MEETING OF THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA HELD AT THE CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF ST. FAITH AWKA FROM 14TH - 18TH FEBRUARY 2012.
My Dear people of God,
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Standing Committee of our Church met under the protection of the Almighty God at the Cathedral Church of St. Faith Awka in the Diocese of Awka, Anambra State from Tuesday 14th to Saturday 18th February 2012. Our thoughts and reflections within this period centered on the Theme: Pressing on towards the Goal (Phil. 3:13, 14). We rejoice at the new insight, fresh inspirations and deeper understanding of the word of God with which the Holy Spirit nourished us at the gathering.
The message came more forcefully reminded us that the Christian life is a race and a pilgrimage. It is fraught with many dangers and challenges. It is a race that has a goal, a target and a focus. Our goal is to be with our Saviour Jesus Christ in the Kingdom which He has gone to prepare for us. It is to spend eternity with God at the second coming of Christ. We should therefore keep this in focus and vigorously press on to it.
There are some things in our society today that tend to distract us from pressing on to this goal - the care of the World demonic forces, evil customs and traditions, outright, persecution, poverty, temptations, ethnicity, and more recently the growing level of insecurity in our land. No doubt, the menace of the Boko Haram sect, as well as the effects of the removal of subsidy on petrol tempt not a few Christians to give up in the race. We urge that we more than ever, renew our faith and commitment not to fall by the way side because it is only those persevere to the end that will be saved.
God is not unmindful of the prevailing situation in our nation. As a community of the faithful, we strongly believe that God is working His purpose out and surely behind the frowning providence hides His smiling face. We need to avail ourselves of the enormous spiritual resources that are ours through diligent study of the Bible and fervent prayers, knowing quite well that "…we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against power, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in high places".
We must therefore lay aside every weight and the sin which easily ensnare us and run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.
We urge you all, especially our fellow pilgrims in the northern part of this country not to be discouraged by the devastations and destruction that are going on now. We all stand by you in these difficult times. We have resolved as a Church to work very hard to intensify evangelism and Church growth. With God on our side, all years the locusts have eaten will be restored. The Church of God will continuously match on and the gates of hell shall never prevail against it.
Furthermore, we direct that adequate security arrangements be put in place as a matter of urgency in all the Churches of our communion to ensure the protection of lives and properties for the days are evil.
Brethren, we implore you to remember that every Anglican is baptized to be an evangelist. We must make conscious efforts not only to deepen our faith in Lord, but also share the same with others. We call on the leaders of our Church at various levels to help the people of God exercise their gifts and fulfill their ministries. Specifically our youth must not be left behind in this heavenly race and deliberate efforts should be made to create a space for them to serve.
As we enter the Lenten season, please pray for our political leaders that God will give them the moral strength and courage to serve for the ever all good of all Nigerians to the glory of God. Pray also for us for the grace to tackle the problems challenging the smooth running of our Church especially the unwillingness of some Christians to work together. A situation where communities intermarry, go to the same market, belong to the same local government council, but refuse to belong to the same diocese detracts a lot from our Christian character. We call on those who have taken it upon themselves to sow the seed of disunity among brethren to have a change of mind as this could make them lose focus and eventually cause them the crown of glory.
We thank you most sincerely for your support that ensured resounding successes in both the first St. Mathias Day contributions and the first Divine Commonwealth Conference (DIVCCON). We are grateful to God for the high turn out of participants from both within and outside the country last year and urge you all to work harder for better results this year.
Beloved, we count it a blessing to have you as partners in progress in this divine project. May we continue to press on towards the goal of eternal life so that at the second coming of Jesus Christ, we all shall be presented spotless and without wrinkles.
May the peace of the Lord be always with you.
The Most Revd. Nicholas D. Okoh
Primate of All Nigeria.
COMMUNIQUE FROM THE STANDING COMMITTEE MEETING OF THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA (ANGLICAN COMMUNION) HELD FROM 14 - 18 FEBRUARY, 2012 AT THE CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF ST. FAITH, AWKA, ANAMBRA STATE
The Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the leadership of the Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh, Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria (Anglican Communion) with his wife Mrs. Nkasiobi Okoh, President of the Women and Girls' Organizations, met at the Cathedral Church of St. Faith, Awka, Anambra Sate, from February 14 - 18, 2012. One hundred and thirty-eight bishops, one hundred and thirty-five clergymen and eighty members of the Ecclesiastical Province of the Niger and the Rt. Rev'd Alex Ibezim, Bishop of the Diocese of Awka welcomed the delegates. Goodwill messages were given by His Excellency Mr. Peter Obi, Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, the Right Honorable, Emeka Ihedioha, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, retired Primate of The Church of Nigeria, Most Revd Dr. Peter J. Akinola (ably represented by the Rt. Revd. Emmanuel Adekunle) and the retired Bishop of the Diocese of Awka and former Dean of the Church of Nigeria, Most Reverend Maxwell Anikwenwa.
The theme of the meeting was 'Pressing on towards the goal' (Philippians 3:13-14), and at the conclusion, the Standing Committee issued this Communiqué:
2. PRESSING ON TOWARDS THE GOAL
The Apostle Paul had lost everything. He was despised by his old associates and feared by his new friends. He counted all of his earthly possessions as worth nothing compared with the joy of knowing Jesus Christ. Instead of being discouraged he forgot all that was behind and pressed on towards the goal for which God had called him heavenward. He is a wonderful testimony and encouragement for the many Nigerian Christians who had lost everything in recent months. He is also a reminder to all Christians who must avoid situations that can choke life out of them, make them unfruitful and distracted from their focus on the Kingdom of God. Our only true security is to be found in our relationship with the living God.
The Standing Committee commends the Government on efforts towards realizing an uninterrupted power supply in the country.
The Standing Committee commends the Government on efforts to rehabilitate railroads across the country and build new ones.
The Standing Committee commends Government's efforts to enhance the production and quality of local Rice, as a step in the right direction, as this will help to provide employment and restore the respect of our country and self sustainability.
The Standing Committee commends the Government for trying to check the corruption in the oil industry and calls upon Government to ensure that all those found guilty are punished accordingly.
4. CONCERNS ABOUT NATIONAL SECURITY
The Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) hereby reiterates its call on the Federal Government to take all necessary measures to provide adequate security for all Nigerians and urgently reiterates that call. It also strongly urges all relevant law enforcement agencies to ensure that all those responsible for this current terror campaign are quickly arrested and brought to justice.
The Standing Committee encourages all Churches to provide robust security arrangements for worshippers.
We remained committed, however, to the principle that all Nigerians should be free to live and work and worship in any part of our great country.
The Standing Committee joined with the Primate in praying that God would rescue Nigeria from disunity, insecurity, economic afflictions and political dysfunctions.
5. FUEL SUBSIDY CRISIS
The Standing Committee calls on the Federal Government to show more than a cursory interest in the plans of States and local Governments on how the money accruing to them from oil subsidy would be spent.
The Standing Committee calls on Government to provide palliatives for the people before contemplating total removal of subsidy anytime.
6. FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY
Considering the divine mandate to " Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it'', the Standing Committee calls upon Government to do something quickly to diversify the economy and save the country from unwholesome dependence on oil. Government should encourage Nigerians to live responsibly by paying income tax whether in Government service or not. To stem the current dependence on oil as a singular source of national income and the importance of increasing employment and providing additional revenue, the Standing Committee encourages Nigerians to establish agricultural enterprises to achieve these goals.
7. DIVINE COMMONWEALTH CONFERENCE (DIVCCON)
The Standing Committee was grateful for the initiative that led to the Divine Commonwealth Conference held in Abuja in November 2011. We believe that this conference was an important demonstration of our desire to engage in the complex issues confronting Nigeria from the standpoint of Biblical truth and Christian faith. We were encouraged by the overwhelming response to the conference, the powerful blessing that resulted and support the plan to make this an annual gift to our nation. We note that the 2012 Edition of DIVCCON will be held in Abuja during the week of November 5th.
8. RENEWED COMMITMENT FOR NATIONAL EVANGELISM
The Standing Committee acknowledges that we have been commissioned to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you". We believe that this mandate offers the best hope for the future of our nation and indeed of our world. We therefore recommit ourselves to the work of grace filled evangelism throughout our nation assured of God's favor if we obey God's call.
"… Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3: 13-14).]