By Gloria Ikegbule
The Lutheran Church of Nigeria (LCN) Western Zone recently rounded off her annual convention in Lagos with a call on Nigerians to embrace unity, fairness and equity in their conduct.
Speaking during the grand finale of the three-day event whose theme was “Christ lives in us for us to be one,” held at the LCN Western Zone headquarters, Ladipo Labinjo, Surulere, Lagos, the bishop of the zone, Rt. Rev. Gabriel Sadadi, said: “The factions in Nigerian society at the moment do engender oneness and togetherness. In fact, that is where we should start from.
“Whether we like it or not, Christianity plays a very big role in Nigeria. If we Christians are one, there will be tendency for the same oneness to be extended to the larger society. Mark you, once we are one as a nation, there is nothing we cannot do. Nothing might be impossible before us.
“This fragmentation one sees today in our society denies us of progress; it denies us of development. If someone ascends to power we don’t have to say because he is not from our region, therefore we should do everything possible to bring them down no matter what good the policy they bring on the table. Indeed, because we lack oneness, it affects us. So oneness has to be preached beyond the church; it has to be preached in our society.
“We discovered that something is lacking in Christendom; that oneness is not there. We merely parrot it, preach it, but in practice, it is lacking. So, we are using this opportunity to rally our people to come together in unity.
“We have to strive to be one. Nigerians should see themselves as one. It was probably not a mistake that we were made as one country. If we think of division, we might continue to divide. We have to look at oneness in total.
“It is for this reason that we urge those in authority to look beyond their people, their villages, their states and their regions. They should look beyond those who voted for them. They should work towards the welfare of all. Once they are elected into office, they must be father to all. They must become governors to all; they must become a president to all. This has to reflect in appointments, in distribution of amenities and the commonwealth. There must be fairness and equity; these elements promote oneness. The reverse of this brings division, bitterness and rancour.”
Bishop Sadadi revealed that theme of this year’s event was inspired by the fact that unity is strength, adding that Christ has a very cordial relationship with the father and that is why he says “I and my father are one.”
Daily Sun learnt that no fewer than 500 participants from all the states in the South West region were represented at the event which climaxed with the installation of eight people: five men and three women as elders and deaconesses of the church respectively. Bishop Sadadi said that with their elevation, they would become somehow part of the ‘ministerium.’
On what qualifies an inductee for the office of elder or deacon, he said: “Anyone to be installed must be seen as spirit-filled as the scripture says; he must be of good moral character – someone who has a stable marriage. When they get to the office, people will begin to assess them. And if it were a deacon, she must be of strong moral character among other virtues.”
Other highlights of the event were prayers, deliverance and fellowship.
One of the new elders, Dr Edem Udo-Ime, expressed gratitude for being so elevated in the Lutheran Church, but maintained that it was a call to greater service and not for personal aggrandisement.
“This is not an exulted office. If someone sees it as so, he might not be able to do the work; it is a call to higher moral responsibility.
“It is only one office that is exulted, that of God. So this is a call to service. It is a call to responsibility, to assist the minister. We are like assistants now to the minister where he is not there. We have to assist him.”