The 2019 Diocese of Lagos Anglican Communion centenary anniversary celebration has ended recently with a Eucharistic thanksgiving service held at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina.
The year-long event started with a rally held at Tafawa Balewa Square. There were also lecture and gala night, where heroes and legends who have contributed immensely to the growth of the church in the last 100 years were awarded.The thanksgiving service commenced with four precessional hymns, bible readings and sermon.
In a special collect at the service, Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria (Anglican Communion), His Grace, the Most, Rev Nicholas Okoh thanked God for the works of the missionaries since 1842, and place the church occupies in the entire church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), as first among equals.
He also expressed gratitude to God for the positive impacts of christianity in the life of Nigerians through the church.”Our hearts are full of thanks to God for the ministries of your servants, both clergy and laity in their several generations to build and nurture this diocese. We therefore ask God to graciously bless the faithful and episcopal legends who served the church, but are now no more; such as Rt Rev F. Melville Jones, the pioneer bishop of Lagos from 1919-1940, The Most Rev Leslie Gordon Vinning, The Rt Rev Adelakun Howells, The Rt Rev Seth Kale, The Rt Rev Festus Segun and Most Rev Dr Joseph Abiodun Adetiloye.”
Okoh also prayed for the living legends of the diocese, Most Rev Dr Ephraim Adebola Ademowo and the incumbent Lagos Diocesan Bishop, Rt Rev Dr Humphrey Olumakaiye.
At the lecture titled; The Church and Good Governance in Nigeria, held at All Souls Church, Lekki, Chairman of the occasion, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi called on the church tostop showing favoritism to people who have no genuine source for their wealth, as that goes a long to encouraging corruption in the society. “The church should stop worshipping them. When you go to some churches today, it is about money. But, Jesus had to cleanse his temple when he found out what was going on there.”
He also advised the church to continue to speak against the evils those in offices do, and preach to the ordinary people who sell their conscience for a token and thereafter, suffer for the rest of four years in which the politician will stay in office. “We need to play an important role as a church to ensure that the system is working. We must follow correct politicians, otherwise corruption will continue in our society.”
Speaking on the topic: The church,as vanguard of good governance, former governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi identified bad leadership as the worse form of corruption in any country or society.
He observed that if corruption in the church must stop, criminals must not be ordained bishops and Pastors. “The solution is to look for people who can do the right thing at the right time. You do not ordain a criminal a Bishop, after you start to chase him up and down. If we begin to look at the process with which people come into office, I think, corruption will reduce in the society.”
Obi was of the view that many of those being celebrated in the churches today do not deserve such due to source of their wealths. “It is unfortunate that we praise many of them who come to donate stolen monies in the church, when we should call police.
In a lecture titled: The role of the Church in combating corruption in Nigeria, Chairman , Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay said in the present circumstances of this Country, the Church its must be clean of corruption and should play an effective and positive role in the fight against corruption, by not engaging dipping hands into Church funds, inflating costs of equipment and services during procurement, receiving outrageous financial benefits for services to the Church, using membership of Committees such as harvest committee for self-enrichment, etc.
He said only a Church leadership free of corruption can have the moral authority to exhort the laity against corruption.
Sagay explained that there is no doubt that all Nigerian institutions have been tarnished by the brush of corruption., pointing out that if the Church, as an institution, does not take bribe or get involved in other obvious corrupt practices, the behaviours of some men of God leave much to be desired. “They not only celebrate, but venerate those whose sources of wealth are questionable. They accept gifts (offering) from just about anybody without asking questions. This gives the impression that anything is acceptable in the house of God.”
In a Lecture titled; Promoting the Common good in Nigeria, the Judge, National Industrial Court, Lagos Division, Justice Osat Obaseki-Osaghae said since it was the christian missionaries and the churches that preached and worked most for the poor in the provision of schools, hospitals, maternities, orphanages etc in the past, there is need for the church today to re-assert its position as the champion of the poor and needy.
She regretted that the church is the guiding light for good governance structures designed to improve the lot of all Nigerians especially the poor, and bring about the common good, but today, poor or bad governance has resulted in mass poverty. “The church is being challenged in the work of consideration and provision for the poor. Shall we abandon our Christian responsibility to help the poor, the orphans, the handicapped, the widows, the aged, to government that grace may abound? God forbid.”
The Lagos Diocesan Bishop, Rt Rev Dr Humphrey Olumakaiye felt so elated for a successful anniversary, as God blessed all beyond imagination.
Olumakaiye assure that the diocese of Lagos will ensure that the church’s divine mandate namely; priestly, prophetic , prayer and pastoral ministry, are pursued aggressively. “We will now be Higher, Deeper and Stronger in fellowship. So, I urge christians to should shun materialism and concentrate on the word. As Christians, we do not need any embellishment, rather, the gospel is enough to take us to heaven, bearing in mind that we will give account of any position we occupy.”
He assured that the church will continue to play plays her Godly role in teaching the christian virtues of transparency, honesty, righteousness in government, dignity of labour, true obedience to the word of God and a life of selfless service, as well as ensuring that the church makes live worth living for people around her.