SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014.
DIOCESE OF NNEWI HOLDS RETREAT AT IBRU CENTRE
REV. CANON GABRIEL KPAGBAN
AGAINST the backdrop of hustles and bustles of life, the need for men of God to access serene facilities, where they can withdraw for spiritual refreshment becomes pertinent. The Ibru International Ecumenical Retreat Centre not only offered the required serene environment, but also played host to the Diocese of Nnewi. The theme of the retreat is Making Full Proof of Your Ministry in Contemporary Times (2 Timothy 4: 5). The bishop of the diocese, Rt. Rev. Prof. Godwin I. N. Okpala, JP, OON, presided over the event, which was attended by 116 clergymen.
The facilitator was the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Kaduna and Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Kebbi, the Most Rev. Edmund Akanya. Some topics discussed during the retreat include: Making the full proof of your ministry in contemporary times; Ministers of God in our contemporary times; Let’s go across to the other side and Let’s settle the matter. Others are; If you return; Lessons from Ants as we make full proof of our ministry; Be strong; Exposition on the second epistle to Timothy, and a Health Talk.
The retreat called on all clergy to acknowledge the spiritual and ministerial gifts, which God has given to them for the purpose of evangelising the world, equipping the saints and building up the body of Christ. The retreat agreed that the ministry is our mission, which is the task God has given to His ministers. And if clergy were not able to identify their ministry and calling, they would not be able to make full proof of it either.
The retreat admonished ministers not to be discouraged, when faced with challenges in the course of fulfilling their God given ministries. No matter the hurdles one faces in life, he should not waver in his resolve to make full proof of his calling. The clergymen were called upon to return to God in repentance and abstain from things, which would infringe upon their ministries, such as pride, enmity, carelessness, immorality, selfishness and corruption among others. The clergy were also encouraged to settle every matter with God. The scripture shows very clearly that men should settle their matters with God through prayers and reading the word of God.
The retreat urged the clergymen to be rooted in the Holy Scriptures, as this will enable them to be relevant in their local congregations, and also to help checkmate false teachings that lure people into syncretism.
The retreat enjoined the clergy to create time to be alone with God, as there is need for renewal of strength and commitment in the service of the Lord. Since Jesus Christ went on a retreat with His disciples, it is now very necessary to emulate such spiritual journey, which will enable us to be closer with God.
All clergy were enjoined to take matters of their health seriously. In this regard, regular health checks and exercise become a sine qua non.
The clergy appreciated the President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, for kick starting the second Niger Bridge. They also commended their Bishop for bringing them to the Centre, as well as the management and staff of the Ibru Centre for their care.