L-R: Most Rev’d (Dr.) Ephraim Adebola Ademowo, Erstwhile Bishop, Archbishop of Lagos and Dean Emeritus, Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion; Rt. Rev’d Ifedola Gabriel Okupevi, Bishop, Diocese of Lagos; Rt. Rev’d Chukwuma Chinekezi Oparah, Bishop, Diocese of Owerri and Rt. Rev’d James Olushola Odedeji, Bishop, Lagos West, at the the opening service for the second session of the 35th Synod of the Diocese of Lagos, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), held yesterday at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos.
By Odinaka Uruakpa
Members of the Diocese of Lagos, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) have been tasked to discover and put to good use the gifts that God has endowed them with, as they are called to support the work Christ has charged them, through the leadership of their Bishop and Diocesan.
The charge was given by the Rt. Rev’d (Dr.) Chukwuma Chinekezi Oparah, Bishop of Owerri Diocese, while delivering the sermon at the opening service for the second session of the 35th Synod of the Diocese of Lagos, Church Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), held yesterday at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos.
Speaking on the theme of the Synod, “The earnest expectations of the sons of God”, taken from Romans 8:18-26, Oparah said the book of Romans is intended to give spiritual direction, encouragement and guidance to the community of believers in Rome, as well as all Christians in the world, to share in the kingdom of God.
Stating that encouragement is part of the gifts that Jesus Christ has given to the church, he added that the bishops have come from across the country to firstly encourage the diocese (Lagos), as well as all Christians.
Said he: “To encourage someone, and to encourage one another is a good gift that we need to uphold”.
The Bishop said the Synod is also intended to guide the community of believers, so that they will continue to grow from strength to strength, renewing their commitment to Jesus Christ, and becoming born again, which is the desire of God, as well as building a stronger church in this age and the years to come.
Said he: “God is interested in the salvation of man through the reconciliation of Jesus Christ, who sacrificed Himself for us, rose and ascended to Heaven where all believers will share everlasting glory with Him.”
On his letter to the Romans, the Bishop said Paul’s aim and vision for Christians in Rome to enable them to work together among themselves and to accomplish God’s will for their lives.
Said he: “As far as we are humans, we are bound to step on one another’s toes. But as Christians, we have to be conscious to forgive easily, so that we can work together”.
Thanking God for the Lagos Diocese and the recent consecration and enthronement of the Diocesan and Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Ifedola Gabriel Okupevi, Oparah said the move was a notable one as the leadership came from among the people, adding that God knows each one of them.
He urged the people; priests and Laity, to do all they can to work with and support the bishop, so that Lagos Diocese retains its enviable position among other dioceses in the country.
Oparah said the gift of generosity and support are amazing ones that God gives for believers to build the church community. He added that another gift, and a silent one is the gift of service which he said few people possess.
Said he: “If you want to be great, you must be a good servant. Do everything with humility and God will remember you in His kingdom.
“The earnest expectations of the sons of God is that our names will be written in Heaven. Together we will build a formidable diocese in Lagos, so that generations to come will know that God used you for the foundation of the gospel in this great city”.
Speaking on the theme of the synod, and state of the nation, the Rt. Rev. Ifedola Gabriel Okupevi, Bishop, Diocese of Lagos, said there are so many things bothering the minds of Nigerians.
Said he: “There are so many things troubles, so many challenges. And this theme is apt at this time. It is the earnest expectations of the sons of God.
“We are expecting a better day. We are expecting a better Nigeria. We are expecting good economic environment. We are expecting that our children should be on a gross map for good. We are expecting a better tomorrow. So, that is why it is just to give hope to the masses, hope for every person in Nigeria, so that they can put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and hope for a better tomorrow”.
In his message to the lay faithful, as well as every Nigerian, he urged them to live in love, in peace, in joy, to forget whatever evil has happened in the past. He added that they should continue to pray for their leaders.
Said he: “We should forget about the past, and forge ahead. We should cooperate with the present government and move forward”.