I SAW MYSELF PREACHING IN A BIG CHURCH – Bishop Odedeji
It was a memorable day at the dedication of new ultramodern building of St Paul s Anglican Church, Oke-Afa, Isolo, Lagos as a new history was made in the Diocese of Lagos West. It was a joyous occasion for the Rt Revd Dr James Olusola Odedeji, the Diocesan Bishop, the Vicar of the Church, the Venerable Chiedu Anyadi Ekpunobi and the entire congregation of the Church. According to the Vicar – We rejoice and dance because we do not find our worthiness for this rare privilege and we could not even account for how Jehovah sourced the huge financing amongst us. The atmosphere was electrifying with God presence as Bishop Odedeji performed the liturgical service of dedication of this great edifice.
The completion and the dedication of the building were historical to the Diocesan Bishop because of the surrounding events from the inception. According to him, while he was the Dean of Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Ikeja GRA, Lagos, he was invited by the then vicar of the Church, the Reverend Theophilus Nwabalisi (Now Venerable) to minister on a Sunday morning in 2011. He decided to sleep over in order stay fresh in the morning. While sleeping in the night, he dreamt that he saw himself preaching in a big Church. As he woke, he exclaimed that it was the Church he would preach the next day. He tried to encourage the then incumbent to rebuild the Church, but he was transferred. So he could nothing because he was just the Dean and not the Diocesan Bishop.
The Bishop continued that when he came on board as the second Bishop in 2013, the Parish Church Council (PCC) came with a gift of money to welcome him. He told the PCC to go and use the money to lay the foundation of a new Church. When the Church was not responding to him, he summoned the Vicar, the Venerable Ekpunobi to the Bishop’s Court to demand from him where his loyalty lied. The Vicar was then given the ultimatum of 15 days for the laying of a new Church and maximum of 3 years for the completion of the church.
While delivering his sermon at the service of dedication, he highlighted 5 points to recognise a dedicated Church. Firstly, a praying Church. A dead church is a prayerless Church. He appealed to the members to gather always to pray in the new building. Secondly, sacrificial church. The church must be sacrificial by giving generously to the poor and the needy. Thirdly, true Church of God. The Bishop cautioned the members on tribalism. He said the Church was not an Igbo church but for everybody where they are loved and cared for. Fourthly, loving, caring and sharing. The Diocesan stressed the fact that everybody must be treated well without partiality. Lastly, obedient Church. He acknowledged the fact that the building of the Church was a demonstration of an obedient Church. He then encouraged them to always the word of the Lord.
The Revd Oluwole Ibikunle