SUNDAY, JULY 6, 2014

Ven. Ernest Onuoha




At the last Bishops retreat held at Ibru Centre, Agbarha-Otor January this year, among other far reaching decisions taken was on the need for Bishops of Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion) to attend a one week refresher programme with their wives at the Centre. Due to the size of the number of Bishops, the refresher programme was arranged for three contacts among the fourteen provinces of the Church of Nigeria.

The course commenced in earnest as scheduled as the first contact held from June 23rd to 28th, 2014 and the second contact is expected to come on board on 14th to 19th July, 2014. The third and final contact shall now be from 28th July to 2nd August, 2014.

Worthy of note is that the course director and his wife, Rt Rev. Ken & Dr Mrs Ngozi Okeke (Rtd) structured the training sessions to be more of a seminar type in nature so that participants could freely share with each other their experiences on the mission field. We observe with all sense of responsibility that Bishop Ken and his wife are a rare gift to Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion). Retired few years ago on the See of Niger Diocese but are very resourceful, committed and have painstakingly contributed to the training and development of the Church leadership in the Communion. Before now, they were fully involved in the training of young Bishops and their wives but now the programme has expanded to include all Archbishops and Bishops with their wives also. To God be the glory!

Interestingly, this refresher course will contribute in a way to the teaching ministry of the Church. When viewed from the perspective of Aquila and Priscilla, a couple committed to the work of God, one can but only say kudos to the Church of Nigeria under the leadership of the Primate, Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh. It was a well thought out package. That Bishops and their wives are participating at the same time in the refresher course gives us the hope of a harmonious working relationship expected in Church leadership.

Consequently, the refresher course will strengthen two persons that are together serving the Lord in a given Diocese. There is joy in serving the Lord together. It is easy to notice that they can easily share intellectual intimacy at least a case in point as found in Aquila and Priscilla after listening to Apollos were able to call him aside and properly guide him in the ways of the Lord and matters about salvation. When ministry is shared, we can easily deduce that members are blessed the more and the saints and sinners alike are drawn unto the Lord.

Also, in a shared ministry, we can see that those involved put God first in everything. It may not be easy living home for a whole one week together but as long as it is a matter concerning the Lord, it becomes quite easy because He is the one who calls and equips at the same time. Yes, Aquila and Priscilla had to leave Rome for Corinth because Emperor Claudius’ reign was not favourable to believers in Rome at that time but Aquila and Priscilla although tent makers (involved in secular job) had to move on because for them, things of God must be topmost priority. So, as the Bishops and their wives take turns at Ibru Centre for the refresher programme, we can see the beauty of their value for God as they stay to share ideas during the refresher course that will invariably strengthen the flock they are leading. God will certainly take care of the home-front while we are aware for this programme.

Therefore, we at the Centre sincerely commend the Bishops and their wives in this refresher programme at the Centre. We also appreciate the Primate who as it were is doing everything humanly possible to raise the standards of the ministry. We wholeheartedly pray that this exercise will go a long way in strengthening the participants and the teaching ministry of the Church. I think such training is of value and required at no other time than now.

Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,
Delta State.



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