The Anglican Diocese of Lagos West is on the march. The Diocesan, The Rt. Revd Dr. James Olusola Odedeji, and his team have taken great steps to assure its future by investing considerably in the future of the young ones, both spiritually and physically. In the past one year, laudable moves against the vagaries of this perilous time have been made by the Diocese to the glory of God. One of such steps is the decision to send some of the youths to the Peter Akinola Vocational Centre, Abeokuta where they are equipped with skills in Information Technology, mechanical and electrical vocation, Installation and maintenance of CCTV in homes and offices and installation of solar panel for alternative energy supply, among others.
All due to the vision and mission of the Bishop Odedeji who, as soon as he assumed office in 2013, announced that Youth Empowerment is one of the cardinal points to be pursued vigorously by his administration. He has not looked back since.
In an interview with Triumphant Convocation News, the chaplain of the Youths Chaplaincy that could soon be transformed into a full-fledged Directorate, Ven. Ariire Kolawole, said he had enjoyed working under the leadership of the Lord Bishop in making bold attempts to transform lives of the young ones. His words, “we have the Diocesan to thank for the giant strides we have taken. He keeps pushing and supporting us, reminding us that the future belongs to our youths. I am sure you know about the Akinola Vocational Centre where useful and relevant lives are being moulded. It is obvious that this is the future of the country.
“The days of relying solely on white collar jobs are over and we have to take the driver seat in propelling our country in the right direction. In the past year, we sent no less than 32 youths to the centre and Lagos West was made proud as the best three came from here. Not only that, the Centre is affiliated to Ajayi Crowther University where they equally distinguished themselves in the certificate examination. We are convinced that this is the way to go.”
Ven. Kolawole, who is a vibrant evangelist and Vicar of Bola Memorial Anglican Church, Ikeja, added that many young ones have also been given scholarships to acquire university education, while indigent secondary school students have received help.” These steps are complemented with spiritual programmes aimed at building the morals of the young ones. There are periodic seminars, retreats and quiz competitions. In particular, we have the WORD Conference during which priority is given to teaching the word of God. In addition, there is the Annual Camp where youths from all out parishes and archdeaconries are gathered to learn the word of God and mould their character. The feedback we have is that this is yielding handsome fruits.”
One spiritual programme that has left an indelible mark in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) is the Joshua Generation, a brainchild of the Primate. It is a gathering of children of God from all the Dioceses in the country. There are sessions for teaching the word, counselling, exposition, prayers and seminars. All those who attended the programme at Nsukka in April this year, according to Ven. Kolawole were bubbling with enthusiasm when they returned. The archdeacon of Ikeja himself was brimming with enthusiasm as he said, “we could not believe the attendance. When the programme opened on Monday at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, there were 15,000 participants, but, by Wednesday, we had 30,000 on the roll. Quite amazing. Our Bishop mobilised our youths for full participation. All our representatives were fully sponsored and supported for accommodation, feeding, literature and allowances.”
What are plans for the future? Ven. Kolawole could hardly hold back the smile that lit up his face in answering the question. He said, by the grace of God, the future is very bright. When the Chaplaincy is transformed to a Directorate soon, a variety of schemes and programmes will come on stream as all the youths, including those serving in voluntary organisations such as the Boys’ and Girls’ Brigades, Royal Gems and Vessels, among others, would make up the Directorate. From the youths that we have now and the qualities we see, our Church has a very bright future.”
Indeed, the Anglican Diocese of Lagos West is marching forward, with well-equipped youths leading the battle charge. The kingdom of darkness is in trouble.
By Revd Mobolade Omonijo
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