SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2010
DIOCESE OF NIGER DELTA HOLDS CLERGY & WIVES RETREAT AT IBRU INTERNATIONAL CENTRE
BY GABRIEL KPAGBAN
The Clergy and Wives of the Diocese of Niger Delta held their annual retreat at the centre from 1 – 6 of November. Theme of the retreat was “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Prov. 29:18.
The retreat was led by the Bishop of the Diocese, Rt. Rev. Ralph Collinius Ebirien (JP) and His wife Mrs. Victoria Ralph (Mama Niger Delta).
The Bishop used the opportunity to unfold his vision to the Clergy and Wives. His vision was a four-fold one which embraced Evangelism, Discipline, Human Development and Economic Development.
In pursuance of this vision he said an evangelism committee will be set up which will be headed by a layman and chaplain which will be a clergy. He told the clergy to always uphold the liturgy of the Church of Nigeria.
In the same vein the wife of the Bishop, Mrs. Victoria Ralph took time to share her vision for the women. She dwelth on Ecclesiastics 9:8 “Let your garments be always white; and let the head lack no ointment”.
She exhorted the women always to live a life of transparency and a life of total commitment to the service of God. As Pastors wives, they have to be role models, diplomatic, respectful and also adopt the servant leadership style of Jesus Christ. She said new Clergy wives will also be trained so that they can be effective in the performance of their new roles.
Some of those who gave lectures at the retreat were Ven. Ruphus T. Etire. He spoke on the need for clergy and wives to adopt the vision of the Bishop.
Ven. Amavey C. Abbey – Kalio spoke on “Identifying your spiritual gift”. He stressed that spiritual gifts were not given for the selfishness of individuals, but for the benefit of all. He counseled that people should avoid gift envying and gift projecting.
Revd. Canon Umorami S. Azeri spoke on “The Church as agent of political sanity. He told the clergy and wives to be active in politics through the registration exercise, and also vie for political offices.
According to Ven. Amavey C. Abbey, the clergy and wives were pleased with the serene environment of the Ibru Centre. He said the retreat afforded them the opportunity to relax, pray and project ahead.
Also, Revd. Canon John Ubulom said this year’s retreat was unique in that it was the first of such they have held with the Bishop after his consecration.
In the closing service at the St. Peter’s Chapel at the Centre on Saturday morning, Revd Canon Dennis Horsfall charged the clergy and wives to always remember that they are noble people and as such, should maintain that standard of nobility without compromise. Details of their communiqué is shown below.
The retreat, after fervent prayers for the church and the nation resolved as follows:
1. Commended the visionary and purposeful leadership of the Primate emeritus, His Grace, the Most. Rev. Peter J. Akinola D.D in whose Primacy the Church witnessed a tremendous growth, and the Bishop emeritus Rt. Revd. G. H. Pepple JP, whose episcopacy took the Diocese to an enviable level and prayed God to grant their successors, the Most. Revd. Nicholas D. Okoh, the Primate of All Nigeria and the Rt. Revd. Ralph C. Ebirien JP, Bishop, Diocese of Niger Delta the grace to do more
2. The retreat commended the efforts of the present administration of our President Dr. Goodluck E. Jonathan and states that Nigeria needs God-fearing and visionary leaders.
3. The retreat called on the church to be alive to her spiritual responsibilities for the betterment of the society to which she is part of.
4. The retreat called on the children of God to dutifully study the word of God and give themselves to prayer as these are the veritable instruments of adaptation to the various challenges of life.
5. The retreat in line with the word of God which says “When the righteous rule the people rejoice” (Prov. 29:2) sees the need for Christians to be actively involved in the process of governance in order to bring sanity to our polity.
6. The retreat called on ministers and believers alike to catch the vision of heaven, seek God constantly with all their hearts, purge sin out of their lives, identify and sharpen their spiritual gifts and the gifts in others for the edification of the church and enlargement of God’s kingdom here on earth.
7. The retreat finally calls on greater security measures by the government as it affects the lives of people so as to make kidnapping and other related vices a thing of the past.