By Gilbert Ekezie
Over one thousand indigent members of the Diocese of Lagos (Anglican Communion) from across one hundred Parishes, gathered at the Archbishop Adebola & Mrs. Oluranti Ademowo Christian Resource Centre (Faith Plaza), Bariga on Thursday, December 16, for the year 2021 Diocese of Lagos Christmas get together with the Archbishop & Chief Missioner, The Most. Rev. Dr. Humphrey Bamisebi Olumakaiye.
At the gathering, the beneficiaries received, Christmas packages which had bag of Rice, Vegetable Oil, Ankara fabric, spaghetti, tomato puree, loaves of bread, and other food items/condiments to enable them also enjoy the Christmas celebrations with their families.
This yearly event was organized by the Directorate of Welfare (Ministry to the Less privileged) inaugurated by the Archbishop Olumakaiye through the leading of the Holy spirit on the 15th of January 2020 to care for the poor within and outside the Diocese.
The Archbishop was unavoidably absent due to another Episcopal assignment, but was only represented by the Provost of the Cathedral, Very Rev Bola Ogunfeyitimi.
In his speech on behalf of the Archbishop, Ogunfeyitimi said the get together becomes necessary as Christmas is all about celebration, joy and peace because what God, out of his Divine volition did, by giving Jesus Christ to save mankind.
He also explained that Christmas needs to be celebrated because it shows that God loves the world so much that he gave his only son, Jesus Christ, that whosoever believes in him, shall not be condemned. “Looking at the situation in the country and the world at large, one becomes perplexed of what the future holds. But, with Jesus Christ in our lives, we can face the future because he has good plans for us.”
Olumakaiye describe Christmas as a season of hope and a time when people should put their trust in Christ where victory is assured.
Olumakaiye used leaders at various levels to be responsive to the yearnings of the people. ,”To be insensitive, is to be ungrateful to what God has done for them. When one has climbed a higher position of office he should identify and cater for those under him.”
The Archbishop observed that there is a wide gap between the rich and the poor in Nigeria at the moment, and admonished those in authority to do everything possible to bridge it. “Unfortunately, many Nigerians are languishing in abject poverty, while some are swimming in wealth. The gap must be bridged so that the common wealth which God used to bless us could get to everyone.”
Speaking earlier, Director Of the Directorate of Welfare of the Lagos Diocese, Venerable Uche Ekwensi said the programme was the vision of Archbishop Olumakaiye when he took over in Lagos two years ago .
According to him, as one who has compassion towards the poor, he set up the Directorate of Welfare to cater for those in need. “The church played a key role during the lock down as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and after, we continued to distribute money and food items to the poor within and outside the Lagos Diocese. Drugs, disinfectants and cleaning items were also donated to Lagos State government for the use of frontline workers.”
Ekwensi also informed that the Church, through the Directorate of Welfare, had end of the year celebration last year where items were also distributed to make lives easier for the people. ” We will continue to have programmes like this till Christ comes because the essence is to reach out to the poor and make them smile, especially during Christmas.”
In their words of appreciation, some of the recipients; Mr Joseph Adedotun, Mr Samuel Akinrimisi, Mrs Helen Eze and Mrs Efeme Agese thanked Archbishop Olumakaiye for his kind gesture and father role in catering for the less privileged in Lagos Diocese.
They also prayed God to continue to keep him and his family, so he could be able to actualize his good dreams. “In fact, we are very grateful to our father in the Lord for what he has been doing for us in the Diocese. May God continue to bless him abundantly.”