ANGLICAN CHURCH CONSECRATES THREE NEW BISHOPS TODAY

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013.

 ANGLICAN CHURCH CONSECRATES THREE NEW BISHOPS TODAY

BY

ERNEST ONUOHA

The Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion) has in fulfillment of constitutional provisions and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit elected new Bishops. They are: Ven. J. O. Odedeji (Lagos West Diocese), Very Rev. Simeon O. Borokin (Akure Diocese) and Ven. Geoffrey Okoroafor (Egbu Diocese).

It follows proper retirement notices by their predecessor: Rt Rev. Michael Ipinmoye (Akure Diocese) and Rt Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Iheagwan (Egbu Diocese).

The election was held on January 11, 2013 during the Episcopal Synod at St Peter’s Chapel, Ibru Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.

With thanks to God for the peaceful exercise, their consecration comes up today at the Cathedral of St Jude Ebutte Meta, Lagos, Lagos Mainlaind Diocese.

The Primate, Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh and his brother Archbishops and Bishops are expected to be in attendance.

Section 43 of the constitution of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) as amended 2002 stipulates that:  In the event of the translation or retirement of a Bishop, there shall be elected, a successor not later than three months before the translation or retirement of the serving Bishop and he shall be known as co-adjutor Bishop. The successor or co-adjutor Bishop shall within the three months of election, before assumption of office, understudy the outgoing Bishop.

The consecration is significant in several ways: first, it falls as Lent. Jesus, our Chief Shepherd, in Matt. 26v36-44, spent time in prayer at the Garden of Gethsemane and frequently requested that God’s will be done in the onerous task to save humanity. For Jesus, the work was not to be approached carnally but with seriousness. The implication is that for anyone to succeed as a Bishop, such must value prayer.

In Matt. 4v1-2, Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights. This was to enable Him mortify the flesh and strengthen the spirit for the work of saving perishing humanity. This is a call to the new Bishops to ensure the paraphernalia of office does not weigh them down; they should make out time to draw from the source of life, if they desire to be faithful to their calling and the flock of Christ.

Again, the consecration is taking place four days before the Catholic Pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, leaves office. The Pope had said: ‘after having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry…for this reason and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom, I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, successor of Saint Peter…’ This implies that those who engage in the work of shepherding the flock must know their limitations and not play god.

Furthermore, and most importantly too, the consecration coincides with the inauguration of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), which was founded on the feast of St Mathias February 24, 1979. Ever since, the church has had four Primates who have helped to sustain the tradition of apostolic succession. They are: Most Rev. Timothy Olufosoye (late), Most Rev. Joseph Adetiloye (late), Most Rev. Peter Akinola and the current Primate Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh.

It is to such a rich and historical Church that these new under-shepherds have been enlisted to make contributions to the business of saving souls. They are blessed to have a cloud of witnesses supporting and encouraging them to succeed in their ministerial work.

As we rejoice with our new Bishops today, we wish them a successful tenure, trusting that the Lord, who has chosen them, will enable them to perform.

Congratulations, my Lord Bishops!

VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,
Agbarha-Otor,
Delta State.

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