BISHOP HOLDS ONE DAY SYNOD
DIOCESE OF LAGOS WEST
CHURCH OF NIGERIA (ANGLICAN COMMUNION)
PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS Delivered at ONE DAY SYNOD of the Diocese of Lagos West HELD ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2013 AT 10:00 a.m. AT AT ARCHBISHOP VINING MEMORIAL CHURCH CATHEDRAL, IKEJA OBA AKINJOBI ROAD, G.R.A., IKEJA, LAGOS BY THE RT. REVD. JAMES OLUSOLA ODEDEJI (M.A., B.A (Hons), Dip. Th.)
Loving Father, we thank You for all You have done for us as a Diocese, the innumerable good things You have given us, for everything we see of You through our Lord Jesus Christ. We appreciate Your great love, constantly reaching to us, Your love and care that never ceases, Your mercy that is never exhausted, Your eternal purpose which is surely coming to fulfillment. We are most grateful for the successful transition from the first Diocesan to the current Bishop of this Diocese. May your name be forever praised.
Breathe over us all, good Lord, Revive every aspect of our service unto You, give us new life to stay focused on daily basis, continually work out Your purpose in us; help us to keep our side of the bargain, to be a people whose lives clearly witness to Your love. Deepen our love for You and others. Help us to be faithful in our relationship with You and other believers.
Loving Father, speak to us again as we gather together; challenge and confront us through Your Word; meet with us in our prayers; fill us with a new sense of Your majesty. Ever present God, help us to find You always, let our daily living be illuminated and enriched by Your presence, enable us to focus our thoughts upon You, equip us to do what You have called us to do with new conviction, vision, hope, and faith, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.
PRAYER FOR THE NATION
Most merciful God,
In whose Almighty hands
Are the destinies of nations and individuals,
Have mercy on Nigeria;
Forgive her sins.
Save us from all forms of crisis
That in peace and freedom,
We may honour you from
Generation to generation;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
+ Abiodun Adetiloye
Your Excellency, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, FDLW The Executive Governor of Lagos State,
Your Excellency, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire The Deputy Governor of Lagos State,
Your Grace, The Archbishop of the Province of Lagos, The Most Revd. (Prof.) Adebayo D. Akinde,
Your Grace, The Archbishop, The Most Revd. Dr. Ephraim Adebola Ademowo, OON
Your Grace, The Archbishop, The Most Revd. Joseph Akinfenwa
The Rt. Revd. Dr. Peter Awelewa Adebiyi, Rtd. Bishop, Diocese of Lagos West
Hon. Justice Babasola OpeOluwa Ogunade, The Chancellor, Diocese of Lagos West,
My Lords Temporal,
Distinguished Government Functionaries,
The Diocesan Officials,
The Eminent Clergy and Wives,
Esteemed Synod Delegates from all Parishes,
Gentlemen of the Press,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Let me open this Address with the Psalm of David in Psalm 103:1-5 which says, Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits. Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all thy diseases; who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies; who satisfies your mouth with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle s. >
On this note therefore, we return all honour, glory, adoration and majesty unto our God for all His goodness and loving kindness upon our Diocese. Precisely on Wednesday, 9th of January, 2013 the news of our election filtered into our Diocese with unprecedented jubilation and words of encouragement from both the house of Clergy and Laity. Six weeks after, on Sunday 24th of February, 2013, at St. Jude s Cathedral, Ebute Metta, Lagos, our Consecration took place alongside two other brother Bishops. On the exit of our referred father, mentor and Bishop of Bishops, The Rt. Revd. Dr. Peter Awelewa Adebiyi, who by Divine permission was the first Bishop of our Diocese, (1999 2013), on Saturday, 27th of April, 2013, due to his retirement, we were enthroned as the 2nd Bishop of our Diocese on Sunday 28th April, 2013.
As the 2nd Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos West therefore, we welcome all in attendance at this one day mandatory Synod and I pray that the Lord in His infinite mercy will meet with us all at the point of our needs, in Jesus name. Amen.
We specially welcome the number one citizen of Lagos State, State of Excellence and Aquatic Splendour, His Excellency, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, FDLW. We equally, though in absentia, thank our first Lady, Her Excellency, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola, without whose support, the monumental achievements of our brother would not have been possible.
Let me also welcome our own, a parishioner of note in our Diocese, Her Excellency, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State. We are very proud of you as a good ambassador of our Diocese. May the strength of God continue to attend your ways. Amen. We welcome all Government functionaries, Captains of Industry, Academic Gurus, and all other eminent personalities here present. We are so much delighted and honoured with your presence. The time you have come to spend with us will not be a waste, in Jesus name. Amen.
On behalf of our Diocese, we warmly welcome our fathers in God, the Archbishops, the Bishops and the entire house of Clergy. The anointing of God upon us all will not run dry in Jesus mighty name. We welcome our Diocesan Officials, ably led by our dear father, Hon. Justice Babasola OpeOluwa Ogunade, the Chancellor of our Diocese, whose commitment towards the growth of our Diocese in particular, and the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) in general cannot be quantified. Despite the loss of his wife, Mama Adenike Kikelomo Ogunade recently, and the eventual burial on Friday, 6th September, Baba was still with us at Bayelsa State Standing Committee Meeting between 9th and 13th September, 2013. What a commitment to the cause of the work of the Kingdom!
On this note therefore, kindly let us rise in honour of our late mother, Mama Adenike Kikelomo Ogunade, a.k.a. Lady Ogunade. May the soul of our dear departed rest in perfect peace. Amen.
Let me welcome very sincerely and in a special way, my better half, Mrs. Lydia Oluwakemi Odedeji, Mama Lagos West. I will always be grateful to you for your love and tolerance. We will get to heaven together, in Jesus name. Amen.
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE VENUE OF THE SYNOD Archbishop Vining Memorial Church, Ikeja, started as an amalgamation of two worship centres of expatriate and Nigerian civil servants each of which was an offshoot of St. Saviour s Church, Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos (as it was then known). The two worship centres were an Ikeja Magistrate s Court building and an office space at the Southern Police College, Ikeja, across the road, where Nigerian Police personnel and many recruits worshipped. That congregation was truly inter-denominational, comprising members from the Anglican, Methodist, Baptist and Apostolic denominations.
The Anglican Diocese of Lagos quickly saw in those congregations the vision of a dynamic growth-oriented church and had, even before the merger in 1964, posted visionary pastors like the Rev. A. May, the Rev. Yinka Olumide and the Rev. Payne to officiate as Vining priests to the congregations. Other priests came on an ad hoc basis from other denominations.
Some of the foundation members of these two groups were Pa J.A. James and family, Mr. S.M. Odukwe and family, Mr. F.O. Ogbu and family, Mr. Kolawole and family, Mr. Akinjobi and family, Mr. A.A. Bassey and family, Chief B.B. Olowu and family, Chief N.E. Ogundana and family, Mr. N.I. Iyun and family Dr. Sofunde and family, and the family of Mrs. Dorothy Ikoku. Many of them are now dead.
The early interest shown by the Anglican Diocese of Lagos encouraged these worshippers to initially name that amalgamated worship centre The Anglican Church, GRA, Ikeja.
Rev. Seth Irunsewe Kale, when the foundation of the church building was laid on February 25, 1968, the church was officially named Archbishop Vining Memorial Church, Ikeja.
Why was the church called Archbishop Vining Memorial Church and who was Archbishop Leslie Gordon Vining after whom the church is named?
The early visioners saw the enlightened inter-denominational and cosmopolitan congregation and the location of the church within the elite Government Reserved Area of Ikeja with the adjoining industries as indices for a rapid growth which would be further stimulated by a catalytic name that should be magnetic. Very many Nigerians who had occupied commanding heights in government, business and the church had passed through the tutelage, warmth and hospitality of Archbishop Leslie Gordon Vining and so, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the church was named after this enigmatic Archbishop.
Archbishop Vining Memorial Church, Ikeja, was named after a holy and humble man of God, a charismatic and magnetic leader loved by both young and old, born evangelist who had wonderful flair for making and keeping friends. It is any surprise therefore, that this church feels impelled to live up to the high standards of her mentor?
The retired Primate and Archbishop Metropolitan of Nigeria and Archbishop of the then Province 1, the Most Rev. (Dr.) Joseph Abiodung Adetiloye uniquely occupies the privileged position of being the last priest ordained by Archbishop Leslie Gordon Vining and has taken an unparalleled interest in the nurture and dynamic growth of this church since he became Bishop of Lagos in 1985.
It was during the Rt. Rev. Adetiloye s reign as the Bishop of Lagos, that Archbishop Vining Memorial Church became the seat of Ikeja Archdeaconry in 1990. The church continues to play a leading role in provincial and diocesan programme, it hosted the conference on The Church of the 21st Century for all delegates from Lagos Diocese in 1996 and the 5th general Synod of the Anglican Province of Nigeria in September 1996 and January 1997.
1. Revd. Canon J.A.I. Falope - 1970 1971
2. Revd. Canon Yinka Olumide - 1971 1872
3. Revd. E.A. Babalola - Jan. 1972 Feb. 1973
4. Revd. Canon C.A. Akinbola - March 1973 Aug. 1975
5. Revd. B.O. Okunnuga - Aug. 1975 Aug. 1982
6. Revd. J.A. Adepoju - Sept. 1982 April 1985
7. Revd. Canon Yinka Olumide - April 1985 Jan. 1987
8. Revd. P.A. Kolawole (Acting) - Feb. 1987 Aug. 1987
9. Ven. Dr. P.A. Adebiyi (later Bishop)- Sept. 1987 May 1993
10. Ven. S.B. Akinola - July 1993 Nov. 1996
11. Ven. S.S.O. Kunnuji - Nov. 1996 April 1998
12. Ven. Dr. Olusegun A. Adeyemi - May 1998 Nov. 20, 1999
AVMCC DEAN s ROLL CALL
1. Ven. Dr. Olusegun Adeyemi (later Bishop)- Nov. 1999 Sept. 2005
2. Ven. Olubanjo Oshewa - Jan. 2006 June, 2008
3. Ven. Christopher Ayejoto (Acting) - June 2008 Jan. 2009
4. Ven. Godwin Amaku (Acting) - Feb. 2009 June 2010
4. Ven. James Olusola Odedeji - 1st July, 2010 To Date.
OUR SYNOD RESOURCE PERSONS
a. The Rt. Revd. Babatunde Ogunbanwo (Our Guest Preacher) Rt. Revd. Dr Babatunde Ogunbanwo is the Bishop of Ijebu South West. He was born in the Vicarage about Fifty years ago by Ven. and Mrs. Joseph Ogunbanwo at Odogbolu- Ijebu in Ogun State. He studied Agriculture at the then Oyo State college of Education, Ilesa before proceding in 1988 to Immanuel College of Theology, Ibadan for the Ordination course. He was made Deacon in June 1993 and ordained Priest in June, 1994 by the first Bishop of Remo Diocese, Rt Revd E.O.I Ogundana. He served in Remo Diocese from 1991 to 2009 rising through the ranks: Canon in 1999, Archdeacon in 2000, Provost in 2003. He was elected Bishop of Ijebu South West in October 2009 , Consecrated on January 10 ,2010 and Enthroned on 13th January, 2010.
Bishop Ogunbanwo is a graduate of the University of Ibadan, Ibadan where he bagged both the Bachelors (B.A Hons) and Masters (M. A Ethics) Degrees. He bagged the Master of Philosophy (M. phill) from the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago- Iwoye and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, PieterMarisburg, South Africa specializing in New Testament Ethics.
An astute preacher, who has a pronounced ministry gift of an evangelist, committed to the declaration of the undiluted Word of God without fear or favour.
He is married to Mrs Olatundun Ogunbanwo and they are blessed with lovely children.
b. Revd. Canon Goke Agara
Revd. Canon Goke Agara, we all know, is a Canon of our Diocese and a rare gift to this generation. A product of Immanuel College of Theology, born on 8th August, 1968. An indigene of Amusigbo Quarters, Idoani in Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State. He started his primary education at Aketan Methodist Primary School, in Oyo between 1974 and 1975 and ended up at New Eden Primary School, Oremeji Mokola, Ibadan, 1975 1980. He had his Secondary School Education at Ajibode Grammar School, Ajibode, Ibadan, 1980 1985. He further attended Federal College of Education, Osiele, Abeokuta from 1989 1992. He had his Seminary training at Immanuel College of Theology in Ibadan, 1994 1997. He had his first degree at University of Lagos, Akoko, 1998 2001 and second degree in same Institution in 2002 2003.
He taught briefly at the Federal College of Education Nursery and Primary School, Osiele, Abeokuta. After his ordination he had a 3-months stop over at Archbishop Vining Memorial Church between July to September, 1997. He was the Vicar of St. Peter s Anglican Church, Sogunle, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Mazamaza, Christ the King Church, Pedro. Headmaster, Abiodun Adetiloye Anglican Primary, Festac, Minister in Charge, Church of Praise Festac Town, Cathedral Priest, Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Vicar, St. Peter s Anglican Church, Abule Egba, Vicar, Bishop Ajayi Crowther Memorial Anglican Church, Gowon Estate and now Principal/Chaplain of Anglican Comprehensive High School, Ipaja. He is married to Oluwatoyin Abosede Agara, blessed with AnuOluwa and OreOluwa.
He has led our Bible study sessions in the past and adjudged excellent. He has fed us with the manna from heaven, and I have no doubt, as you do, that he has vindicated us of his choice to lead this One Day Synod Bible Study. May God continue to bless his ministry.
THEME OF THE ONE DAY SYNOD
Suffice it to say that this one day Synod is a child of necessity. This is because the 2nd Session of the Fifth Synod of our Diocese was held between 3rd and 7th April, 2013 under the leadership of my father, my tutor, my mentor and my Bishop, the Rt. Revd. Dr. Peter Awelewa Adebiyi. Our status at that time was Bishop Co-Adjutor. However, on our enthronement as the 2nd Bishop of the Diocese, the Canon Law demands that a day Synod, at least, be held, to take over the mantle of leadership and set our vision before the Church, ably represented by the members of the Synod both Clergy and Laity.
Our theme for the Synod Revive Thy Work Oh Lord taken from the book of Habakkuk 3:2 explains what our vision for the Diocese shall be. The passage reads O Lord, I have heard Your speech and was afraid: O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy.
Habakkuk knew that God was going to discipline the people of Judah, and that it wasn t going to be a pleasant experience, but he accepted God s will, asking for help and mercy. Habakkuk did not ask to escape the discipline, but accepted the truth that Judah needed to learn a lesson. God still disciplines in love, to bring his children back to Him. There is the need to accept His discipline gladly, and ask Him to help us change.
Hebrews Chapter 12 verses 5 & 6 have this to say And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him: For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.
We may want to ask Who loves his child more the father who allows the child to do what will harm him, or the one who corrects, trains, and even punishes the child to help him learn what is right? It s never pleasant to be corrected and disciplined by God, but His discipline is a sign of His deep love for us.
However, we may respond to discipline in several ways:
a. We can accept it with resignation;
b. We can accept with self-pity, thinking we really don t deserve it;
c. We can be angry and resent God for it; or
d. We can accept it gratefully as the appropriate response toward a loving Father.
God is not only a disciplining Parent, but also a demanding Coach Who pushes us to our limits and requires our lives to be disciplined. Although we may not feel strong enough to push on to victory, we will be able to obtain it as we follow Christ and draw upon his strength. Then we can use our growing strength to help those around us who are weak and struggling. Just like the nation of Israel was called by God to be a light to the world, all Christians, by extension, have been called to do same. The Body of Christ has been given the task of reflecting the truth in the Word of God, but many congregations have failed God in this respect. Therefore, revival is inevitable to remain what God has called us to be.
Revival is God s work, and it must come from above. We are in danger of looking to what God has done, and is doing, and count on that as the pledge that He will do more. And all the time, it may be true that He is blessing us, up to the measure of our faith and self-sacrifice, and cannot give more until there has been a new discovery, and confession of what is hindering Him. Or we may be looking to the signs of life around us, and congratulate ourselves on all the agencies that are being created, more churches being established, increase in assessment paid; while the need of God s mighty and direct involvement is not really felt, and total dependence on Him is not cultivated.
To have the spiritual discernment that can understand the signs of the heavens, and indicate a coming revival, we need to enter deep into God s mind and will, as to its conditions, and the preparedness of those who pray for it, to bring it about. surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret unto His servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7). It is the spirit of absolute dependence upon God, giving Him the honour and glory, that will prepare us for revival.
There is no gainsaying the fact that revival must be asked and received directly from God Himself. An extraordinary spirit of prayer, constraining believers to much secret and united prayer, pressing them to labour fervently in their supplications, will be one of the surest signs of approaching floods of blessing. If there is to be a mighty divine awakening, it will be born in the wholeheartedness of our prayer and faith for it.
Let no believer think himself or herself too weak to help, or imagine that his or her prayer are not needed. Let every believer stir up the gift that is in him or her, and begin to cry every day,Will Thou not revive us again; that Thy people may rejoice in Thee? Every revival has come as the Pentecost came, as the fruit of united, continued prayer. It is in the closet, with the door shut, that the sound of abundance of rain will be heard. An increase of secret and united prayer with ministers and members will be a sure agent of blessing.
We want revival to come upon every parishioner in the Diocese, the young and the old, the proud and the satisfied, to break them down at His feet. God will give us this, but only on the condition that those who feel the sins of others take their burden of confession and bear it, and that all who pray for God s reviving power for His church shall humble themselves and confess the sins of the nation, and of the people of God. If there is no forsaking of sin, there can be no revival of God s merciful intervention.
Revival Is Dependent on Repentance:
People of God, let us remember that the promises given to five of the seven churches in the book of Revelation are dependent on one word - REPENT. If there is to be a revival in the Diocese of Lagos West, there must be repentance. Let all who long for revival hasten it by asking the Lord to prepare His prophets to go before His face, crying aloud, lifting up their voice like a trumpet. It is for this returning to the Lord that the great work of intercession is needed. Let us begin as individuals in secret, to plead with God, confessing whatever we know of sin or hindrance, in ourselves or others.
Brethren, Come, let us return unto the Lord, He will revive us, He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord; His going forth is prepared us the morning, and He shall come unto us as the rain unto the earth (Hosea 6:1-3).
OUR VISION AND MISSION STATEMENT
Our Episcopate ministry will stand on the tripod of:
a. Spiritual Growth of the members of our Diocese
b. Aggressive Evangelism and
c. Youth Development.
a. Spiritual Growth of Members: It is no longer news that our Diocese is blessed with both human and material resources. We have about the largest number of churches in the whole of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). As I speak today, we have about 280 churches in the Diocese of Lagos West with Priests above 300.
In the Cathedral of Archbishop Vining alone, we have an average of 5,000 Parishioners, not to talk of other churches. We can therefore boast of about 150,000 worshippers in our Diocese. Among these people are the who is who in Nigeria today. However, many of our worshippers are not really getting it right when it comes to the things of the Spirit. These people believe so much in their wealth, intellect, positions, and donations toward projects in the church, as a passport to heaven; forgetting that only salvation of their souls will take them there. Many take Sermons as mere routine talks and communion as mere religious activity. However, such people are not being discouraged, but the fact remains that the listed are not sufficient for committed Christians.
In the gospel of St. John, a man named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews came to Jesus by night, wanting to search for facts about spiritual things. Responding however, Jesus answered, Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God - John 3:3. What did Nicodemus know about the Kingdom? From the Bible he knew it would be ruled by God, it would be restored on earth, and it would incorporate God s people. Jesus revealed to this devout Pharisee that the Kingdom would come to the whole world John 3:16, not just the Jews, and that Nicodemus would not be a part of it unless he was personally born again (John 3:5). This was a revolutionary concept: the Kingdom is personal, not national or ethnic, and its entrance requirements are repentance and spiritual rebirth.
The Diocese, under our episcopacy therefore, will henceforth lay emphasis on spiritual rebirth of members. Undiluted word of God will be encouraged from the pulpit, while attendance at Bible study classes, prayer meetings, vigils, Christian Seminars and spiritual uplifting retreats will be given our utmost priority.
We want to inform all our Priests that the era of arm-chair priesthood is over. We must join forces together to checkmate the exodus of our members to new generation churches. We should be ready to either fall in or fall out. The Anglican Church that I know, is evangelical, Pentecostal and spirit filled. The house of laity is also charged to support us in the pursuant of this agenda by making themselves available in all our spiritual exercises and stop running around.
b. Aggressive Evangelism: Gone are the days when evangelism was carried out by merely assembling to preach and to share tracts. Today, evangelism is better carried out through the type of life we live outside the church. The best sermon is the one preached by our lifestyle. Today, people want to see us beyond what we say or preach. A Preacher must not be seen to preach alone but to walk his talk.
The Diocese under the new dispensation will encourage our Churches as much as possible, to impact their community. The Community School, Motherless and Old People s homes must feel the impact of our churches in their areas. Indigent students in schools around us must be able to look up to church as the last hope. The churches that have the resources must be able to provide water from our boreholes for the use of the community. We must not only preach love, but be seen to show it. Hebrews Chapter 13 verses 1-3 says, .Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them those who are mistreated since you yourselves are in the body also.
Our Lord Jesus spoke about the final judgement in St. Matthew Gospel Chapter 25 verses 35-40: For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty, and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in. I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to me. Jesus audience was surprised with the statement and so they asked when they did all those things. He answered them in verse 40, And the King will answer and say to them, Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to me.
Our churches must rise to the occasion of evangelizing with our Time, Talents and Treasure. Until then, we are yet to get there. The focus of this parable is that we should love every person and serve anyone we can. Such love for others glorifies God by reflecting our love for him.
c. Youth Development: We are deeply worried about what has befallen churches in the United Kingdom and United States of America. Many churches are without congregation while some church buildings are already mortgaged or sold outrightly. One begins to wonder at what time the churches in those areas got it wrong. In order not to suffer the same fate, churches in Nigeria in particular, and those in Africa in general, must begin to invest in our Youths. Failure to do this may spell doom for the church especially in the nearest future.
The Diocese under us will invest into our youths to check their exit to the new Generation Churches where they often attract them with positions such as Assistant Pastors, Band Leaders, and Choir Leaders etc knowing their quest for such positions. We know the youths have their excesses; church leaders must be ready to guide and check their youthful exuberances. They must be allowed to worship in their own way but within the dictates of our liturgy. Our youths are very restless and so they must be allowed to use their energy to serve God.
The Youth Chaplaincy will be empowered to put programmes together to suit the purpose of these youths. More Youth Chapels would be built to accommodate them while young talented Priests would be posted to man the Chapels.
NEWS FROM THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA
a. Uniform Seminarian Training
The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), under the leadership of our Primate, Most Revd. Nicholas Okoh, has recently made a pronouncement on the need for intending postulants from various Dioceses to take a joint admission examination into our Theological Colleges. The exercise is to be coordinated by the Crowther Institute of Advanced Theological Studies, Abeokuta. By this exercise, it is expected that uniformity and standard would be enhanced. It has also been proposed that the same curricular activities be put in place in all recognised seminaries.
b. Clergy Emoluments
It was recently discovered that a lot of Dioceses owe their Clergy several months stipends due largely to perceived non viability of such Dioceses. This ugly trend has caught the attention of our Primate, who, at several fora, had expressed his concern and the need to nip the trend in the bud. The Scripture emphasizes that The labourer deserves his wages (Luke 10:7).
To this end therefore, a visitation panel had been raised up by the office of the Primate to investigate into the possible cause(s) of the perennial problem and to recommend solutions. If however it is ascertained that some Dioceses are indeed not viable, then the need to merge Dioceses with their parent ones and create offices of Assistant Bishops may be inevitable.
c. Election, Consecration and Retirement
Consequent upon the vacant Sees in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), due to recent retirement of some of our Fathers in God, new Bishops have been elected as follows:
(i) Rt. Revd. Nathaniel Ogundipe took over from Rt. Revd. Joseph Odejide (Rtd.) as Bishop of Ifo Diocese.
(ii) Rt. Revd. Manasses Okere replaced Rt. Revd. Sam. Chukwuka (Rtd.) as Bishop of Diocese of Isiukwuato Umunneochi.
(iii) Rt. Revd. Simeon Borokini took over from Rt. Revd. Michael Ipinmoye (Rtd.) as Bishop of Diocese of Akure.
(iv) Rt. Revd. Geoffrey Okoroafor replaced Rt. Revd. Prof. Emmanuel Iheagwam (Rtd.) as Bishop of Diocese of Egbu.
(v) Rt. Revd. James Olusola Odedeji also took over from Rt. Revd. Dr. Peter Awelewa Adebiyi (Rtd.) as the Lord Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos West.
(vi) Rt. Revd. Martyn Minns, CANA, also retired.
The following were also either elected or re-elected Archbishops in their various Ecclesiastical Provinces:
(i) The Most Revd. Prof. Adebayo Akinde, Archbishop, Province of Lagos (Elected).
(ii) The Most Revd. Dr. Caleb Maduoma, Archbishop, Province of Ideato (Elected).
(iii) The Most Revd. Dr. Segun Okubadejo, Archbishop, Province of Ibadan (Elected).
(iv) The Most Revd. Edmund Akanya, Archbishop, Province of Kaduna (Re-Elected).
(v) The Most Revd. Benjamin Kwashi, Archbishop, Province of Jos (Re-Elected).
d. Office of the Dean (Church of Nigeria)
The mantle of Deanship of the Church of Nigeria has fallen on The Most Revd. Ignatius Kattey, the Archbishop of the Niger Delta Province. He succeeded The Most Revd. Ephraim Adebola Ademowo, who by the special grace of God, remains our Archbishop and Dean Emeritus.
e. St. Matthias Day Project
Let me place it on record that the Diocese of Lagos West has continued to play a leading role in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). For three years running, i.e. (2011 till date), we contributed a sum of 55.32million Naira in the order of 14.08 million Naira in 2011, 20.35 million Naira in 2012 and 20.88 million Naira in 2013 respectively towards the Project. I want to thank all our Churches for heeding our clarion call to rise up to the needs of our up-coming Dioceses. The Lord will reward you all richly in Jesus name. Amen.
The Global Anglican Future Conference has come to stay. The next edition will be holding from Monday the 21st to Friday the 26th of October, 2013. From all indications, this edition will hold on African soil, precisely Nairobi, Kenya. Representatives to this Conference will include the Bishops, their wives as well as some members of the Clergy and Laity. Let us remember to pray for the success of the Conference.
This Conference has no doubt, become an annual event of the church. The third edition will hold between Monday the 18th and Friday 22nd of November, 2013. Efforts are in top gear to ensure that our Diocese is fairly represented. It is our prayers that more lives will be touched in the cause of this Conference in Jesus name. Amen. Let me encourage our laity and especially the Youth wing of our Diocese to be part of the Conference for the year.
NEWS AROUND THE DIOCESE
a. Election, Consecration and Enthronement
By the grace of God, our election as the second Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos West took place at Agbarha-Otor on Wednesday 9th of January, 2013 in a meeting of the House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). Prior to our Consecration, the three of us that were elected Bishops, Ven. Borokini (Akure Diocese), Ven Geoffrey Okoroafor (Diocese of Egbu) and Ven Olusola Odedeji (Diocese of Lagos West) were together for a five- day retreat, coordinated by our father in the Lord, Rt. Revd. Dr. S.O.M. Adebola, the Lord Bishop of Yewa Diocese. On behalf of my other colleagues, we register our gratitude for a good foundation laid for us by our referred father, sOMA
On Sunday, 24th February, 2013, at a well attended Consecration Service, presided over by the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), The Most Revd. Nicholas D. Okoh, we were consecrated into the House of Bishops. Between the period of our election, consecration and eventual enthronement, spanning about four months, we assumed the status of a Bishop Coadjutor, under the tutelage of our father and mentor, The Rt. Revd. Dr. Peter Awelewa Adebiyi. It was an experience not to be forgotten so soon. For your kind heartedness, Papa Adebiyi, I thank you so much. As you advance in age, so your strength will be like the eagles in Jesus mighty name. Amen.
Let me assure you that each time you hear about this Diocese which you pioneered, you will always have cause to jubilate. We will not let you down, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
b. Familiarization Visit to All Churches
We commenced the tour of all the churches in our Diocese with a visit to Archbishop Abiodun Adetiloye Anglican Church, Ajao Estate, in Oshodi Archdeaconry, on Tuesday 4th June, 2013. By His grace, all the churches have been successful visited as we rounded off the tour at the Cathedral of Archbishop Vining Memorial Church, Cathedral here in Ikeja, GRA on Wednesday, 18th September, 2013.
Our Diocese is about the largest in the country with about 280 churches. The purpose of the visitation exercise is to introduce ourselves, and to share our vision and mission with members of our Diocese. We thank all our church leaders, the Administrators and other brother Clergy for their support to make the familiarization tour a huge success. We equally extend our gratitude to all our church members for their hospitality and unprecedented warm welcome accorded us in all our churches. It is our prayer that God will take our Diocese to a higher level, which will continue to enhance our leadership position in the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion.
c. Covenant Seed Project
Our visit to all the Churches in our Diocese has given us a broad perspective of the needs of many of our Churches. Within the few months we have been in office as your Bishop, request for financial assistance from various Archdeaconries has been so frequent that one wonders where the fund needed could be secured. Our only source has been the Covenant Seed collection from all the churches in our Diocese. However, our observation within these few months has been that of a dwindling income from the project.
To this end therefore, we have the plan to change our approach of addressing all this important collections. Our Diocese will be zoned into 6 centres and a Covenant Seed Committee will be inaugurated to enable us work assiduously to encourage our members on the need to be faithful in their discharge of this responsibility.
From time to time, the centres will be appraised to determine how obedient each centre is to this Episcopal directive. Many of our churches have benefited from the Covenant Seed and we must be ready to reciprocate the gesture for others to benefit.
We hereby direct our Priests to take the payment more serious than before as the level of obedience may henceforth be a determinant for any benefit from the Diocese.
d. 2013 Clergy School
The Clergy School for this year came up between Monday 9th and Friday 12th July, 2013 with our Sister Dioceses of Badagry and Awori in attendance. We want to thank our able Principal, The Rt. Revd. Babatunde Joseph Adeyemi of Badagry Diocese, and our Vice Principal 1, The Rt. Revd. Dr. Akin Atere of Awori Diocese, for making the School a huge success. God will continue to bless your ministry. We also appreciate our Resource persons at the School - Papa Very Revd. Dr. Yinka Omololu, the former Provost of Christ Church Cathedral, Marina. Others are Papa Sola Oduko, Ven. N. Adewole, Ven. A.S. George, Ven. D.O. Ilegbusi, Revd. Canon S.A. Oluwawalemi as well as our Medical Team, Rev. Dr. Chijioke Okere and Dr. Mrs. Folu Olatona. The organising prowess of the Administration Department in the Bishop s office, is equally commendable. You are all appreciated for a good job. God bless you richly in Jesus name. Amen.
e. The Clergy Welfare
Let me appeal to our churches to take the welfare of their Priests as paramount. We can get the best out of our Priests if we take care of them. It is henceforth the responsibility of each Parish to take care of the health of its priest, wife and four children. However, if a church is not buoyant enough to pay the medical bill of the Priest in charge, the Archdeaconry must be ready to pay. The Diocese will only come in when it is absolutely necessary to do so. Only the Missionary Archdeaconries can primarily turn to the Diocese for assistance in the payment of medical bills of their priests, priests wives and their children under 18 years.
We want to encourage our Priests to be conscious of their health position at all times, this is because health is primary and fundamental to all other activities; be it physical or spiritual. Our Parishioners must know that whatever we do for the Priests are done unto God, Who has chosen them as His servants, and He will not forget your labour of love, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must know that the Clergy are men of God, called and commissioned to do His work; they must therefore be respected and honoured. Church members must be cautious of the way their priests are treated, even when they are caught in any misconduct or the other. We must be careful not to judge any priest as judgement is of the Lord, who has called him. Hear me O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established: believe His prophets, and you shall prosper II Cor. 20:20.
f. Ordination Qualification
The Diocese of Lagos West will henceforth consider only Candidates that have completed prescribed Ordination course in a recognised Theological School or Seminary for ordination. Under no circumstance will anyone be admitted and ordained into the priesthood order without adequate qualification and training in our Diocese. This is to ensure quality among our Priests.
We have discovered that some Priests have not completed prescribed Diploma Course in Theology contrary to expectation. Priests in this category have been directed to do so and submit relevant Diploma certificates before the end of year 2013. We have concluded a plan to organize OPERATION SHOW YOUR CERTIFICATE before the next Synod. Any Priest without the Diploma Certificate will be shown the way out of the Diocese.
g. Clergy Movement
As at date, the position of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has not changed as regards the ordination of Priests based on the need of the Diocese where the services of such Priests will be needed. Bishops therefore have the authority to ordain only those Priests whose services will be required after their theological training. However, reports have shown that many Ordinands often go to their home Dioceses after organised training for ordination, and thereafter seek transfer to other Dioceses, especially the Diocese of Lagos West. Many of these runaway Priests are not trained. Preferment is the property of the Diocesan Bishop. A Canon in Lagos Mainland Diocese cannot be Canon in the Diocese of Lagos West. Preferment is not transferable.
We also have it on good note that some are ordained by their Bishops so that they could be donated to the so called buoyant Dioceses for purposes known to the Donors. The dangers inherent in these are:
(i) There will be more Priests than available Churches at the receiving end.
(ii) There may be more self-called and half-baked Priests who are only looking for food to eat.
(iii) This may also bring unhealthy rivalry among the Priests of the Diocese and those imported. The Diocese of Lagos West for instance is large and preferment is not easily attainable, whereas in some other Dioceses, a six year old Priest may be preferred a Canon or even Venerable. It should also be noted that preferment is not transferable from one Diocese to the other.
(iv) Divided loyalty cannot be ruled out. A Priest that to donated in another Diocese will have his loyalty divided among two Bishops, the one that ordained him and the one he works with. However, St. Matthew Gospel Chapter 6:24 says, No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be loyal to the one, and despise the other, you cannot serve God and Mammon.
(v) Domineering Attitude:
Often times, Priests that are imported into the Diocese are found to be uncontrollable by their Vicars and Archdeacons or even the Bishop. They do threaten their superiors with possible reports to their home Bishops. They also cause confusion among Bishops all in their bid to gain recognition or for other selfish reasons. Such Priests go around to our members to instigate them against the constituted authority.
h. Property Acquisition and Development
Issues relating to property acquisition and development now form bulk of what churches bring to the office of the Bishop. We need to know that the office ought not to be the first point of call on issues of this nature.
We have the Property Department which handles all land matters and we are set not only to empower the department, but to also broaden the scope of its operation. In our Diocese today, we have some church projects that had been ongoing for 10 years and beyond because there were no proper planning and the projects were unusually big to cope with. We therefore, have it in mind to set up a Technical Committee, comprising of professionals, to work on proper design of a prototype and all churches that may want to embark on Church building projects in the nearest future must ensure they build to specification and standard.
i. WOMEN ANGLE
The women of our Diocese under the leadership of my able wife, Mrs. Lydia Oluwakemi Odedeji, swung into action as soon as we were enthroned and within a brief period of our enthronement and now, the following activities had taken place.
Ladies, Boys and Girls Guild Conference took place at Caroline Adefiola Adebiyi Women s Conference Centre, Ipaja on 1st of May (May Day), 2013, with the theme Clay in the Porter s Hand Isaiah 64:8. The Oto Awori Archdeaconry sponsored the programme and the Archdeacon, Ven. A.O. Adefoluke conducted the service ably assisted by the outgoing Women Chaplain, Ven. Israel Owoyele.
Flower Harvest was held on 26th May, 2013 at the Church of Pentecost, Festac Town. The programme was organized to sensitise our women about the need to live in an hygienic environment and to inculcate in them the need to beautify their homes and churches with flowers.
Annual Wave of Prayer conducted by our women, took place in our Cathedral, between 21st and 25th June, 2013. All the Archdeaconries were involved and it was well attended.
Ladies, Boys and Girls Guild Workshop came up between 15th and 17th August, 2013 with about 90 delegates and 60 coordinators. The theme of the workshop was Be an Example I Tim.4:12. The delegates were taught how to make hats while health talk was also delivered.
Women s Guild Conference: The Women in our Diocese converged at the Caroline Adefiola Adebiyi Women s Conference Centre for their Annual Conference with the theme The Vessels of Honour 2 Tim. 2:21 from 29th to 31st of August, 2013. The conference, which witnessed unprecedented turn out of women of about 800 delegates had in attendance representatives from Dioceses of Egba, Ijebu South West, Ifo, Ijebu, Lagos, Badagry and Remo respectively. They all wished our women well. On behalf of my wife, we want to register our appreciation to all Dioceses that were represented and those that prayed for the success of the conference.
Activities of the 3-day conference included series of lectures by notable resource persons, health talk by the Medical team, vigil as well as Bible quiz competition. The quiz competition was won by Ikotun Archdeaconry. The Presidential Address, delivered by Mama Lagos West, was greeted with a standing ovation. Not only that the conference was well organized, but that the delegates observed decorum throughout the session. We say congratulations to our women on the success of that conference.
The Caroline Adefiola Adebiyi Women s Conference Centre has witnessed some physical developments. A 1000 seater Dinning Hall has just been built and was used during the Women Conference. This helped to preserve the conference hall only for services and meetings.
Anglican Girl s College, Ketu, Ijanikin is also wearing a new look as a block of 10 classroom has been put up for use by our students as from this new academic session.
j. Appointment of Dean
As we are all aware, the office of the Dean of the Cathedral has been vacant since our election as the 2nd Bishop of our Diocese. We are waiting on the Lord for His guidance to choose the right candidate. It is our hope that the new Dean will be appointed before the year 2013 runs out and whoever is so appointed will surely be installed and instituted come January, 2014.
k. Confirmation Services
Since our enthronement, we have conducted confirmation services in the following Archdeaconries:
a. Opebi Archdeaconry - 12th May, 2013 -
b. Festac Archdeaconry - 19th May, 2013 - 74 Candidates
c. Cathedral - 19th May, 2013 - 70 Candidates
d. Idimu Archdeaconry - 29th June, 2013 - 99 Candidates
e. Somolu Archdeaconry - 2nd Sept. 2013 - 44 Candidates
f. Ojo Archdeaconry - 30th Sept. 2013 - 110 Candidates
Also on 28th August, 2013, a total of 141 Candidates were confirmed at a service held at All Saints Anglican Church, 41 Road, Festac Town. It is our prayer that God will establish these members and keep them till the end.
l. Trinity Ordination July 2013
The first Ordination since our enthronement as the 2nd Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos West came up on Sunday, 7th July, 2013. Seven Ordinands were made Deacons while Sixteen Deacons were priested. STATE OF THE NATION
(a) ASUU Strike/Decay in Educational Sector
It is only in a country like Nigeria that teachers in our Universities will embark on strike for as long as 3 months without solution to the problem which led to such face-off. I often get worried when I am confronted with whether our leaders do visit other countries of the world to see what obtains. This could be the developed or even the developing world as ours.
If therefore our children cannot go to school for 3 months or more, why do we complain of a fall in the standard of education in Nigeria?
In the whole of Africa, only a few Universities in this country make the first 100, while only Obafemi Awolowo University made the first 10 and it is the first from the rear. To save our Universities in particular and our educational sector in general, from total collapse, the Federal Government of Nigeria must make haste, not only to dialogue properly with the Executive of ASUU and to fulfill the promise made to the teachers as claimed in the pact signed by both parties in 2009, but to also consider a state of emergency, in the education sector to receive the required attention, from all the three tiers of governments.
An idle hand, they say, is the devil s workshop. Students that have been home for 3 months may be lured into bad gangs and thereby allowing crime to be on the increase in the land.
Suffice it to say that 20% savings from what is currently paid to all our political office holders, could be profitably utilised to revamp the already decayed educational sector of this country. We hope that our politicians will look into the right direction and save the country educational sector and the future of our teeming youths from total collapse. These are future leaders who determine what happens to this entity called Nigeria after most of us may have gone.
(b) INSECURITY IN THE LAND
Boko Haram Insurgency
We want to thank God for the efforts so far put in place to curb the violence being perpetrated by this deadly sect under the guise of religion. Let me commend the Federal Government for the declaration of the State of Emergency in the three States where the activities of the sect were prevalent, even though the decision was lpng overdue as many lives as well as properties worth billions of Naira had already been lost.
However, the fact remains that there is serious insecurity in the land. If therefore there is going to be any meaningful transformation agenda as propounded by the present government, a lot more is expected in the area of total overhauling of the entire security Agencies of the nation. The Military, the Police and all other paramilitary bodies must be properly equipped with modern weaponry. Nigeria has attained that level where the point of entry into any of our Military cum paramilitary agencies should not be lower than the first degree if real transformation will take place. Education must be one of the indicators or even key to any meaningful transformation agenda. Today, in these agencies, there are enemies from within and not until enlightened people are asked to man our security outfits, Nigeria is yet to get there. The Security Agencies are advised to be more careful in order to avoid the loss of innocent lives A case in point is the recent killings within Apo Village at Abuja which we advised, must be properly investigated.
c. Kidnapping for Income
In Nigeria today, you have to think twice and be sure that it is absolutely needful for you to embark on an outing before you leave your domain. The reason is not farfetched, you may not come back home so soon, especially if your destination is towards the Mid-Western, Eastern or the Niger Delta areas of the country. We are worried because these kidnappers do not only kidnap money bags but men of God, the Clergy and even common people of this country. What readily came to mind was the kidnap of the Archbishop of the Niger Delta Province, and Dean of Church of Nigerian (Anglican Communion), The Most Revd. Ignatius Kattey on the eve of the Church of Nigeria Standing Committee meeting that was held within his Province.
This is indeed an ugly trend that must be curbed with full government might. If we are serious as a nation, asking Investors to come and invest in our economy, we must go beyond empty declarations that the nation is on top of all her security challenges. Our little research into the activities of these men of underworld, revealed that they work on a network of members drawn from among all strata of people in the society including those in our security agencies. We therefore wonder how a thief could be given an assignment to pursue a fellow thief and there will be a positive result. Our entire security network must be addressed in such a way that all bad eggs be flushed out from the system and new blood injected, who would be trained to cope with modern security challenges and with loyalty and patriotism that we face as a nation.
d. Rape of the Under-aged
Rape of young girls is fast becoming a new wave of violence against the female child. Men that are as old as 60 and 70 years of age are now being found to be involved in violent rape of children of 10 years and below. When accosted however, they throw shame into the winds and claim such barbaric acts are works of the devil.
We need to say here that punishments for these kind of offences should be so weighty to serve as a deterrent to others. Since arrests of these heartless men commenced, we have not heard that they were given appropriate sanctions. There may be the need to revisit our laws with a view to dispensing heavy penalties for this very callous and mindless behaviour from our so called elders. The earlier this was done the better for this nation.
e. 2015 Election
A lot of events are now being revealed to convince the people of Nigeria that our elected office holders have abandoned us to struggle for positions in far away 2015. Recently, about four political parties have fused up to form one party while some new groups are also warming up to become political parties. This is good if the reason is to enlarge the coast of the opposition. Worthy of mention also is the current face off within the ruling party in Nigeria. While some claimed to belong to the authentic party other ones are up in arms to be identified as the real owners of the party.
Recently, the visit of a faction of the ruling party to the house of parliament nearly marred the sitting of the House. For those of us that watched the events on the electronic media, it was an outright disgrace and a disappointment to the teeming electorates of this country. Members violently rising against fellow members in the hallow chamber. Is this really honourable?
The fractionalized Nigerian Governors Forum is another pointer to what the electorate should expect in year 2015. In a free and fair election, one need not be told that 19 is greater than 16 and that whoever score 19 must be the winner. The reverse is however the case in Nigeria. May God have mercy!
We therefore wish to implore our politicians to please consider delivering the dividends of democracy to our teeming populace rather than to begin to exert their energy on 2015 general elections. Many youths are unemployed, the Retirees are not paid their severance entitlements as when due while the minimum wage is being debated to be removed from the Exclusive Legislative list. God will save this nation and her leaders.
f. The Judiciary
Out of the three arms of government, the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary, majority of Nigerians still consider the Judiciary as the last hope of not only the common man but also the uncommon and not-so-common.
However, events of recent past have proved that this saying might not be totally true. Penalty for big time stealing for instance, is light punishment while the one for pick pocketing is life imprisonment, often times depending on how the prosecutor is treated by the people concerned. It is no longer news that corruption has eaten deep into the fabrics of some officials of the bench.
However, we need to commend the current leadership under the Chief Justice of the Federation, the Hon, Justice Aloma Mukthar for her unrelenting effort at sanitizing the Judiciary. While many judges have been shown the way out of the bench, many are under close watch. If justice could not be guaranteed in our law Courts, where else do we go? We pray for Mama Aloma, that God in His infinite mercy, will continue to strengthen her and secure her life. Nigerians appreciate you.
g. Lagos State
All Lagosians and non Lagosians alike could attest to the fact that Lagos State is indeed a State of Excellence and Aquatic splendor. It is indeed a pace-setter. We thank God for the leadership of our amiable Governor, Barrister Babatunde Raji Fasola, SAN, FDLW.
Suffice it to say that our familiarization visit to churches under our Diocese recently, afforded us the opportunity to get acquainted with various developmental projects that are ongoing in the State. In all areas visited, we came across one project or the other. This was in addition to the gigantic road constructions that are ongoing around Ikorodu, Ojo, Mile 2, and Ikeja areas as well as the intra rail project that is moving on steadily. It is our prayer that even after leaving the office as Governor; your vision for Lagos State will not die off in Jesus name. We are interceding for another visionary leader to succeed your tenure in Jesus name.
The Psalmist says Unless the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain Ps. 127:1.
On this note therefore, we give glory to God, who has made today s Synod a reality. May His name be praised for ever. Amen.
Let me thank my father, the Rt. Revd. Dr. Peter Awelewa Adebiyi, who not only picked me up on his translation from the Diocese of Owo to become the pioneer Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos West, first as his Chaplain, later preferred me a Canon, then Archdeacon, the Dean of the Cathedral and today the 2nd Bishop of our Diocese.
I must say without mincing words, that all that God has done for us today has been with the effort of Papa Adebiyi. It is my prayer that the Lord should grant Papa Peter Awelewa and Mama Caroline Adefiola Adebiyi longevity of life, good health and a sustained prosperity in Jesus name. I want to thank all the Legal Officers of our Diocese, under the leadership of Papa Chancellor, Hon. Justice B.O. Ogunade, for the support we have received since we became the bishop of this Diocese.
Let me appreciate very sincerely the organizers of this one day Synod, ably led by Chief Funsho Ologunde, the Synod Secretariat, my Administrative Assistants, other Officers of the Diocese, the house of Clergy and the Laity for making this epoch event a success.
I wish to register our gratitude to our resource persons, Revd. Canon Goke Agara, who led the Bible Study and my Lord Bishop of Ijebu South West, The Rt. Revd. Dr. Babatunde Ogunbanwo, who preached the Sermon. The Lord will continue to bless their ministry in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
At this juncture, I want to appreciate my wife, Mrs. Lydia Oluwakemi Odedeji, Mama Lagos West and my children for their support since we began this bishopric journey together. We shall all be rewarded richly in Jesus name. Amen.
St. John s gospel 15:4-5, says Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we must abide in Christ to ensure our preparedness for our heavenly Jerusalem. Abiding in Christ means:
a. believing He is God s son I John 4:15,
b. receiving Him as Saviour and Lord John 1:12,
c. doing what God says I John 3:24,
d. continuing in faith I John 2:24 and
e. relating to the community of believers, Christ s body John 15:12.
The only way to live a truly good life is to stay close to Him, like a branch attached to the vine. Apart from this, our efforts are just unfruitful. We must daily receive the nourishment and life offered by Christ, the vine. When we bear much fruit, God is glorified. Let us examine ourselves if indeed we have come into a right relationship with God. Joy comes from a consistent relationship with Jesus Christ.
Let us stand and sing together from Church Hymnal 623
Revive Thy work, O Lord .s
1. REVIVE Thy work, O LORD!
Thy mighty Arm make bare;
Speak with the voice that wakes the dead,
And make Thy people hear,
Revive Thy work, O LORD!
Disturb this sleep of death,
Quicken the smouldering embers, now
By Thine Almighty Breath.
2. Revive Thy work, O LORD!
Create soul-thirst for Thee,
And hungering for the Bread of Life,
Oh, may our spirits be.
Revive Thy work O LORD!
Exalt the SAVIOUR s Name;
And, by the HOLY GHOST, our love
For Thee, and Thine, inflame.
3. Revive Thy work, O LORD!
Give power unto Thy word
Grant that Thy blessed Gospel may
In living faith be heard.
Revive Thy work, O LORD!
And give refreshing showers;
The glory shall be all Thine own,
The blessing, LORD, be ours. Amen
Thank you so much for your attention, may God bless you all.
Rt. Revd. James Olusola Odedeji
Bishop, Diocese of Lagos West.