SUNDAY, JANUARY 2, 2011
A REFLECTION, ARCHBISHOPS’, BISHOPS’ ANNUAL RETREAT AT THE CENTRE
The fire of beginning each year with an annual retreat at the Ecumenical Centre was ignited by the then Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of all Nigeria, Most Rev. Peter Jasper, Akinola now retired. And being a good and surest path to closely walking with God, the new Primate, Most Rev Nicholas D. Okoh is towing the same spiritual path.
And so, the Archbishop’s and Bishop’s annual retreat kicks off on 3rd and will end on 8th January, 2011. This all important retreat is to be presided over by the Primate himself, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh.
As a spiritual exercise, the retreat will focus on prayers, fasting, Bible study, lectures, personal and groups devotion. Bishop Zac Niringiye of Church of Uganda will be in attendance as a lead resource person and he is going to be assisted by some other anointed men of God from Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion.
From all intent and purposes, this retreat is timely coming at the beginning of a new year. This now sets the spiritual tone particularly in this year of God’s unlimited blessings. The Archbishop’s and the Bishop’s are conscious of the fact that: “unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain” (Psalm 127: (1b). The need to seek strength from God in beginning a new year may not be overemphasized. But seeking the face of God is the only way to come out from life pressing and threatening issues like poverty, sickness, unemployment, religious crises, political rivalries, and insecurity.
I think the spiritual gathering of the Archbishop’s and Bishop’s at the Centre is a welcomed one. Alone with God, it will afford them a greater opportunity to call upon God, who created the world-“ex-Nihilo” to look mercifully upon our Nation Nigeria as the elections are around the corner.
The current mood of the moment is that the political parties are busy choosing their party flag bearers and because politics has to do with struggle for power, who gets what, sometimes decorum is jettisoned. Usually, such leads to the polity sometimes being heated up. Politicians do not know that each time, God is watching.
Interestingly, all eyes are on INEC to perform and we pray that they succeed. But the retreat of the Archbishop’s and Bishop’s will enable them to openly cry to God; For His intervention on behalf of the suffering masses. We do know that “if the righteous is in power the people will rejoice but if a wicked one is on the throne, the nation groans Prov. 29:2”. I know and I believe it, “the prayers of the saints availeth much”. God will surely answer the prayers of our fathers in God and through their prayers He blesses our dear country and her suffering citizenry.
We sincerely thank in a special way the Patron of the Centre and his wife, Dr. Alex Uruemu and Maiden Ibru for ceasely yielding their resources to ensure that the yearly annual retreat at the centre is a huge success.
Also worthy of commendation is Mr. Goodie Ibru; who single handedly undertook to write off the feeding costs of the Bishops at this retreat. What else can we ask for, than for God to add His blessings to those who honestly serve Him, yield themselves and also yield their resources.
As we await the arrival of the Primate, Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion tomorrow, we sincerely say a big welcome, happy New Year and a prosperous one indeed.
Happy 2011 retreat.
Ven. (Barr) Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,