DIOCESE OF NIGER DELTA AT IBRU CENTRE
REV. CANON GABRIEL KPAGBAN
THE Ibru International Ecumenical Centre Agbarha-Otor, Delta State played host to the Diocese of Niger Delta (Anglican Communion) from October 7 to 12. It was at the occasion of the clergy and wives’ retreat for the year. Diocese of Niger Delta is situated in Rivers State. Over 140 persons attended the retreat with the theme: ‘The Separation of the Ministers’, and text taken from Numbers 1:47-54. According to the chairman of the planning committee, Ven A. A. Ogbidor, the choice of the theme was to remind participants that the clergy are called to be separated from sin and pollutions of the world for the purpose of serving God all through their lives, and also to challenge them to sanctify themselves like the Levites and make themselves vessels of honour.
The Bishop of the Diocese, Rt. Rev. Ralph C. Ebirien, who led the retreat alongside his wife, Umaro, drew the attention of the clergy to their duty as contained in the lyrics of the hymn: ‘to watch and pray and never faint, by day and night their guard to keep, to warn the sinner, cheer the saint, to feed thy lambs and tend thy sheep’. He expressed concern over recent developments in the country and encouraged the clergy and their wives to use the opportunity of the retreat to pray for the nation and its leadership.
In addition, the secretary of the planning committee, Rev. O. Y. Amakiri said that the retreat was planned with the aim of taking the clergy and their wives away from the daily pulverise of ministry just as Jesus did. He said the retreat was meant to create an atmosphere for the clergy to relax, but most importantly to wait on the Lord and to trust Him for new strength. Others who spoke during the retreat include: Ven. Aderemi Oni, Very Rev Richard Hart and Dr. Steve Ogan among others.
Apart from the lectures, fasting and prayer for the Church and the nation, the retreatees also created time for different recreational activities such as jogging, football, swimming, table tennis, draughts and chess. It was a week well spent as everyone participated and was happy. The Ibru Centre commended the diocese for its regular use and patronage of the facilities in the centre and wished they came again. The programme ended on a beautiful note with participants fully refreshed and decked out for the spiritual task ahead.