THE Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) met for its Standing Committee Meeting (SCM) at Cathedral Church of Emmanuel, Okesa, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, September 11-15, 2012.

The well-attended event had the theme: ‘Resist The Devil And He Will Flee From You’ (James 4v7).

Preaching during a Holy Communion Service on Wednesday, September 12, Rt Rev. J. O. Akinola, Bishop of Igbomina West Diocese, set the tone for the meeting. He stressed that the Devil is no respecter of persons, having tempted the Lord Jesus Christ with food, power and possession (Matthew 4) during Jesus’ preparation for His earthly assignment. The Tempter’s aim was to ensure that Jesus failed, like the first Adam. But thankfully, Jesus stood His ground on ‘it is written’.

According to Bishop Akinola, the Devil, a cunning being, is present everywhere. He is at the bedroom, causing quarrel between a man and his wife; in the parlour with pornography; in the Church with envy, hatred and unforgiving spirit; in the school, with expo (examination malpractice) and lust of the flesh; in government with shedding of innocent blood in quest for power and position.

The Bishop, therefore, called on God’s people to resist the Old Serpent.

At the formal opening of the SCM on Thursday, September 14, while delivering his opening address to delegates, the Primate of All Nigeria, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, described the Devil as a spiritual being. Quoting John Piper, the Primate said: “Satan lies, and is the Father of lies (John 8:44); Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Cor. 4:4); Satan masquerades in costumes of light and righteousness (II Cor. 11:13-15), and has disciples within the Church through whom he teaches doctrines of demons (I Tim. 4:1).

Satan does signs and wonders (II Thess. 2:9); Satan tempts people to sin (Lk. 22:3-6; II Cor. 11:3); Satan plucks the Word of God out of people’s hearts and chokes faith (Mk. 4:1-9); Satan causes some sicknesses and diseases (Lk. 13:10-17 cf Acts 10:38); Satan is a murderer (John 8:44; I John 3:12 cf John 10:10); Satan fights against the plans of missionaries (I Thes. 2:17-18); Satan accuses Christians before God (Rev. 12:10).

He called on Christians to resist and renounce his works, especially through use of the Word of God, living a holy life, severing from all forms of relationship with the Enemy, putting on God’s armour and watching and praying, among others. (Matt. 26v41)

The Bishop of the Diocese of Enugu, Rt Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, led a Bible Study on the theme of the conference. He encouraged believers to do all in their power to put out the wiles of the Devil. He also prayed to God to send His Holy Spirit on believers because the arm of flesh would surely fail.

In attendance were: Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; his Deputy, Olufunmilayo Aduni Olayinka; State Executive Council members; an illustrious son of the state and the Diocese of Ekiti, Wole Olanikpekun (SAN), who, at the closing ceremony, treated the Bishops and delegates to a gala night.

Speaking at the occasion, Fayemi was full of thanks to the Anglican Church and the Primate of Nigeria, particularly, for bringing the meeting to Ekiti State and the Diocese of Ekiti, 46 years after its creation.

He recalled that Ekiti State produced the second Primate of All Nigeria, the retired Most Rev. Joseph Abiodun Adetiloye.

He prayed God to grant the delegates a fruitful deliberation.

Five new Archbishops emerged at the SCM. They are: Most Reverends Benjamin Kwashi (Jos); Edmund Akanya (Kaduna); Adebayo Akinde (Lagos); Caleb Maduoma (Owerri); and S. Okubadejo (Ibadan). Their presentation is slated for January 2013.

Also, at the meeting, Venerable Manasseh Okere of Ukwa Diocese serving in Aba Diocese was elected to take over from the retiring Bishop of Isiukwuato/Umunneochi, Rt Rev. Samuel Chukwuka. His consecration and enthronement will be held shortly.

The SCM agreed to re-launch missionary activities in the northern parts of the country. Sadly, as observed, most dioceses have lost human and material resources as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency in the region. Most churches have been closed and some burnt. An Anglican relief fund was put in place to immediately assist the affected.

The Primate and the Bishops were commended for training organised for Senior Pastors of the Church from the ranks of Archdeacons and Canons held January and August at the Centre. They were also commended for the Chancellor, Registrars and Legal Officers Conference held August at the Basilica of Grace in Abuja. This contributed to a harmonious relationship between the Bishops and Legal Officers of the Church. The leadership of the Church was encouraged to sustain both trainings yearly.

Finally, the meeting agreed the establishment of a Cable Network for the Church of Nigeria, to boost evangelistic activities. The Church promised not to take the back seat in media evangelism, considering its viability as a powerful tool for soul winning.

The Church of Nigeria will hold its next SCM February 2013 in Benin Diocese, Bendel Province, Edo State.

Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,
Delta State.

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