The Diocese of Esan (Anglican Communion) held her weeklong clergy retreat at the Ibru International Ecumenical Centre on 17th – 21st January, 2011. The theme of the retreat was “CALLED TO SERVE” (Matt. 20:28). The retreat was organized early enough in the year so that the members of the clergy could settle down to review the work ahead of them in the year, pray for God’s guidance and also wait upon God to hear from Him for the assignment He would have for them in the year 2011.

The retreat was lead by the Archbishop of Bendel Ecclesiastical Province, The Most Revd. Friday J. Imaekhai, PHD (JP) who also doubles as the Bishop of the Diocese. He used the occasion to prepare the clergy for the full mastery of the use of the New Liturgy as contained in the Book of Common Prayer. He also appreciated the Rector of the Centre, Ven. (Barr) Ernest Onuoha and the Chaplain, Rev. Canon Gabriel A. Kpagban for the arrangement they put in place to host the retreat.

Those who preached in the Eucharistic services during the retreat were Ven. J. E. Osueni, Ven. C.O. Imarhiagbe, Ven. A.O. Isobor and Ven. F. A. Nkemjaka. Ven. F. A. Nkemjaka spoke on “Freedom from boundage; Rom. 8:1-3. He urged the retreatants to fully give their lives to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour so that they could be empowered to conquer sin on a daily basis. Ven. A. O. Isibor spoke on the topic “Jesus is the only remedy for sin”. He submitted that the fallen man always struggles with sin but that salvation from sin can only be found in Jesus Christ. He encouraged the conferees to seek the Holy Spirit, to put their faith on Jesus Christ alone who can take them out of the struggles with the flesh.

The major resource person of the retreat was the African co-ordinator of the “Equipping the Saints’ World – Wide Disciple Training Programme”. Pastor Robbinson Eluyemi. According to him ministers need to go and ‘do’ evangelism in obedience to Christ’s command in Matthew 28:19, He said there is the need for the church to involve more of its members in evangelism instead of leaving the bulk of the work in the hands of the Pastors alone. The Priest should endeavour to disciple their converts and even the existing church member in order to conserve the fruits of evangelism. He opined that if the members are fully disciple, they would in turn contribute financially to the growth of the church.

In an interview, the coordinator of the programme on behalf of the Diocese, Rev. Canon Austin E. Obilebo said the aim of the retreat was to enhance the productivity of the Priests, so that they would remain focused and committed to the mandate which God has given to them. He thanked the archbishop for the opportunity given him to serve, and staff of the centre for good service delivery in terms of water supply, electricity, good food and also appreciated the serenity of the environment.

The retreat came to an end with a thanksgiving service after a prayer vigil during which the priests prayed for their Diocese, individual needs, members of their congregation the President and all those in authority, and the nation in general.

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