The first session of the six synod of the Diocese of Ughelli was held on 27th April to 1st May, 2013 in St. Barnabas Anglican Church Owhrode. The historic town of Owhrode which played host to the over one thousand synod delegates is the headquarters of Owhrode Archdeaconry and located in Udu Local Government Area of Delta State. It was the first time the town hosted the synod since it was founded in 1917.
The synod was presided over by the Bishop of the Diocese, Rt. Revd Cyril Odutemu Jp under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and his dear wife Ufuoma. They were supported by the diocesan officials, the crème of the clergy and others. Also present to lend support to the synod was the retired bishop of the diocese, Rt. Revd. Vincent O. Muoghereh, the Chancellor of the Diocese Albert Akpomudje SAN as well as the Ohworode of Olomu Kingdom, Ogoni-Ogbon Oghoro 1.
The theme of the synod was ‘O Church, keep the Lord’s Commandments’ Matt. 22:34-40; Jn. 14: 15. The guest preacher at the synod was the Bishop of the Diocese of Awka, the Rt. Revd. Dr. Alex C. Ibezim. Speaking on the theme during the Sunday service, the Bishop noted that the church appears to be in her lowest in terms of keeping the commands of the Lord; he said the Lord’s commandments are based on love for God and neighbour. No one can keep the commands except he/she receives the Holy Spirit who will enable such a person to live a holy life as God desires. He called on the clergy, laity, legal men as well as those in other professions to strive to keep the Lord’s commandments.
The service also witnessed fund raising for the building of the Ughelli Diocesan Retreat Centre at Ogoni – Olomu whose foundation was laid by the Bishop on the 18th of April. The people gave generously towards this project.
The Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Bendel, the Most Revd. Dr. Friday Imakhai led all the bishops of the province during the presentation the bishop’s charge/address on Monday of the synod. He commended Bishop Cyril for a well researched and well delivered address and said that the issues addressed in the charge were timely. In the charge, the bishop called on government to review the NYSC scheme and make it regional. In his view those in service will be more conversant with the terrain of their region than what obtains in the present when youth corp members are being sent to far away northern part of the country where some had been slaughtered. He rejected the proposed amnesty for the Boko-Haram members, instead he called on the Federal Government to first build the churches burnt and compensate those whose property were destroyed and those whose loved ones were killed .
The synod enjoined all Christians to be united, to pursue peace, live a holy life and be obedient to those in authority both in the church hierarchy and those at the helms of affairs in the nation. All Nigerians should live together and avoid infringing on each other’s rights. This will promote peace and hasten the development of Nigeria as a nation. The synod however commended the state government for enhancing transportation in the state through the establishment of the Delta State Transport Company and distribution of tricycles (keke) and renovation of infrastructures in schools in the state. She called on the government to do more. Synod however called on the Federal Government to give adequate attention to the Delta Steel Company Ovwian-Aladja, whose staff had not been paid salaries for quite a long time now. Synod wants the government to re activate the plant to its original state so that it can provide employment for our teeming population of youths in the country.
The synod ended on Wednesday with a closing benediction by the Bishop.