SUNDAY, JUNE 12, 2011
DIOCESE ON THE NIGER HOLDS SYNOD
REV. CANON GABRIEL KPAGBAN
The Diocese on the Niger (Anglican Communion) in the Ecclesiastical Province of the Niger holds her second session of her 28th synod on 2nd to 5th June, 2011 at the Immanuel Church and St. Stephen’s Church, both in Onitsha. The theme of this year’s synod was “Forgetting what lies behind… I press on” Philippians 3:13-14.
This year’s synod was presided over for the first time by the Bishop of the Diocese, Rt. Rev. Owen C. Nwokolo and his wife Mrs. Nonye Nwokolo.
Present to grace the occasion was the immediate retired Bishop of the Diocese, the Rt. Rev. Ken Edozie Okeke and his wife Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Okeke. Also present were the Most Rev. Dr. J. A. Onyemelukwe, Most Rev. Dr. Christian Efobi, Rt. Rev. (Dr.) Emmanuel O. Chukwuma, OON, other Bishops and a crème of the clergy and laity both from within and outside the diocese who came to grace the occasion of this year’s synod. These included Ven. Prof. Israel Okoye, a Professor of Political Science of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka who spoke on the topic: Envisioning Anglican Churchmanship and Mission.
The Rector of Ibru Ecumenical Centre, Ven. (Barr) Ernest Onuoha as well as the Chaplain of the Centre, Rev. Canon Gabriel Kpagban were also present at the synod to felicitate with the president of synod as well as to appreciate the Diocese for anticipated patronage and the use of the centre for their future retreats.
The Bishop’s Charge contained a wide range of issues such as Church of Nigeria news re-emphasizing the Church’s stand on the need for a sound theological Education for her clergy which has resulted in the establishment of Crowther Graduate Theological Seminary at Abeokuta; the state of the nation in which the church congratulated the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan on his election as the President of the country and gave the credit for the free and fair elections to him for his appointing a credible Nigerian, Prof. Attahiru Jega as the Head of INEC; the killings in the North in which the church expressed disgust in the killing of innocent citizens in some part of the North.
The Bishop said that his visions for the next 5 to 10 years are: (1) The need for continued emphasis and systemized teaching on prayer, spirituality, Christian commitment etc (2) Vision of doubling the average church attendance in the next 5 years (3) A more serious focus and well coordinated youth ministry (4) Clergy training, among others.
Speaking on the theme of the synod, the Bishop called on all Christians to emulate the Apostle Paul, who forgetting what was behind but always striving towards what is ahead in order to know Christ.
The guest preacher at the synod was the Bishop of Mbamili Diocese, Rt. Rev. Henry Okeke. He called on delegate to have delight in always pressing to what lies ahead.
Other activities during the synod was the cutting of the cake by the Bishop and his wife, launching for funds for Mission and Diocesan Projects which was led by the college of launchers from the Inland Churches, Immanuel and St. Stephen’s Church.
The synod came to a close on 5th June, 2011 with a thanksgiving service organized to thank God for His goodness in this year’s synod and the success of the synod.