By Vera Wisdom-Bassey
Methodist Church of Nigeria was recently agog as it marked its 180th anniversary. People came from within and outside the country and converged on Badagry, Lagos, where the church took off from. The place is known as Freeman Memorial Cathedral, adjacent the palace of the Akran of Badagry.
History has it that Freeman of the Methodist Church in England was the first missionary to come to Nigeria in 1842, which gave rise to the 180 years anniversary celebration. The three-fold celebration started with a three-day crusade at Teslim Stadium, Surulere, with the theme “Preparing for the coming of the Lord”. The Bible reading was taken from Revelations 22:12.
Guest ministers present at the crusade to uplift the souls of the congregants were Pastor Paul Enenche of Dunamis International Gospel Centre, gospel artiste, Tope Alabi, and Chinwedu Arine from Abuja. Other activities marking the grand finale included songs ministrations from different artistes.
At the crusade, Prelate of the Methodist Church, Dr. Chukwuemeka Uche, commended all the people that attended the crusade. He also prayed for the prelate who would succeed him, charging him to do more in expanding God’s kingdom on earth.
He stated that the theme of the crusade was given to him by God as he waited on him for a day in the chapel in his house. He promised God that after retirement, he would be a field evangelist. He looked forward to becoming an international evangelist moving around the world with his wife, preaching the gospel.
He said in the course of waiting on the Lord for the theme of the crusade, God gave him the topic, ‘Behold I come quickly and my reward is with me’.
According to him, people have remained rebellious to him in the ground that he’s tired and there is nothing else his God can do again, just as his son said: “It is finished.”
“Therefore, God asked me to go and read Revelation 22:10-12. He said, ‘he that is unjust let him be unjust still, he that is righteous let him be righteous still, my reward is with me’. But those who decided to become spiritually hardened let them go ahead, God is coming with his reward,” he said.
He lamented that two weeks earlier when he traveled to Germany, he saw a Reverend smoking cigarette. He said he also saw two women kissing each other, developments that touched him, saying that people were making mockery of Christianity and were not ready to repent.
He said that his 40 years in the ministry has led to understanding different categories of Christians.
Meanwhile, 180 people were consecrated by Prelate Uche at the Badagry church and lots of awards were given to deserving members of the church who have served God in different capacities across the branches in the country.
His wife Mrs. Nneoma Uche, was the first to be awarded, followed by the past prelate’s wife Mrs. Makinde, while other members of the church took their turns.
Also present at the programme was the head of Ghana church, Reverend Paul Kwabena Boafo, who took the sermon. He called on the Methodist Church Nigeria to know that God was not done with them yet , but still needs them to go out there to witness to the people. He encouraged them to live holy life just as the founder, John Wesley, did before God called him home.
“We owe the future to our children and it is standing for God,” he concluded.
Speaking also, the secretary of conference, Rt. Rev. Micheal Akinwale, reminded Nigerians that many of Nigeria’s founding fathers were products of Methodist Church, among them were Obafemi Awolowo and Nnamdi Azikiwe who attended Methodist Boys High School.
According to him, the award is symbolic because of the input the people made in the church. He stated further that the church doesn’t give awards to hoodlums, but to people of impeccable character and integrity.
The third phrase of the celebration was a thanksgiving service at the church at Tinubu Square, Marina, Lagos on September 25.