SUNDAY, MAY 17, 2015
PROVINCES EAST OF THE NIGER CLERGY CONFERENCE
In order to increase the faithfulness and commitment in services being rendered in the vineyard of God and at the same time to update the Clergy, the Clergy of the five Provinces East on the Niger comprising the Ecclesiastical Provinces of Niger, Oweri, Niger Delta, Aba and Enugu met at the Scripture Union camp of faith, Okigwe in Imo State from 4th to 8th May, 2015. The Primate of All Nigeria, Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh in conjunction with the Dean of Church of Nigeria, Most Rev. Christian Efobi and all the other Archbishops and Bishops in these provinces gave their blessings to the conference with the theme: ‘take heed unto thyself’, Acts 20v28.
The conference started with a Holy Communion service led by the Archbishop of Owerri province, Most Rev. Caleb Maduoma assisted by the Bishop of Okigwe, Rt Rev. Edward Osuegbu who also later preached in that service and the host of other Clergy within the province. In a brief sermon, Bishop Osuegbu called on all Clergy to beware of the perilous time and to guide their faith jealously as they do the work of ministry. He pointed out that some ministers of God had fallen because of the love of the present world and this he supported from the scripture: ‘like brother Demas who fell along the way,’ II Tim. 4v10. He prayed God to keep the Clergy focused and spiritual as they serve God and humanity.
The Bible study throughout the conference was taken up by the Bishop of Amichi Diocese, Rt Rev. Ephraim Ikeakor. His Bible study was centered on the theme of the conference. He was of the view that the life style of the Pastor is more important than his sermon. According to him a carnal and immoral Pastor can never raise a spiritual and righteous congregation for the eternal destination and salvation of multitudes are tied directly or indirectly to the life and lifestyle of Pastors. Therefore they should live righteously and stop rampant spiritual genocide and homicide.
The theme expositor was Barrister Emeka Nwankpa and his teaching challenged the Clergy to reconsider the call of God in their lives and through it to be faithful in order not to be a cast away on the last day. He said God was waiting on the Anglican Clergy particularly in Nigeria for the great revival He wants to do in the continent of Africa and nay the world. He therefore encouraged the Clergy not to disappoint God for this great assignment.
Interestingly, the conference was a time for reflection, study, prayers, discussions and seminars. Seminar topics handled and resource persons include: Liturgy Alive, Ven. Dr Fineface Ndubuisi Aka (JP), Understanding Calling, Ven. Obinna Ibezim, The Challenges of the 21st Century and the Ministry, Rt Rev. Cyril Okorocha (PhD), The Church and Society, Ven. Ernest Onuoha, The Anglican Temperament and Practice, Ven. Emmanuel Uzuegbulam, The 21st Century and Eschatological Implication, Most Rev. Ikechi N. Nwosu (PhD), Holiness and Ministry, Ven. Prof. Sam Ike, The Ignoble Heritage, Gehazi and Greed, Ven. Alex Usifor, The 21st Century Minister and ICT, Ven. John Adubasin, Beyond Active Service, Preparation and Retirement, Rt Rev. Chidi Oparaojiaku and marriage by Dr Stem Ogam. This Clergy conference had 2,425 Clergy in attendance and was coordinated effectively by the Bishop of Ohaji-Egbema Diocese, Rt Rev. Chidi Oparaojiaku.
Another landmark during the conference was the revival hours handled by Most Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, Archbishop of Enugu Province and Bishop of Enugu Diocese with the Most Rev. I. C. O Kattey, Archbishop of Niger Delta North and Bishop of Niger Delta North Diocese. It was a refreshing experiences in the presence of the Lord as Clergymen yielded their lives and became obedient to the word of the Lord on that mountain.
I think the import of the conference would be felt shortly as Clergymen serve in different Church locations within their provinces. We say kudos to those provinces and by extension the Church of Nigeria for such a spiritual exercise. We pray God to continue to use the Clergy in the work of mission to recover souls for Himself. It is also our further prayer that God through the Holy Spirit will continually stir the Clergy to do the needful on the mission field.VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.