The stand of the Diocese of Owerri, Anglican Communion, on the issue of the Church’s participation and burial of a member who fails to renounce or withdraw his or her membership of an organization, group, or association, considered by the church to be a secret society or movement, has been re-stated.
The Senior Chaplain to the Anglican Bishop of Owerri, Venerable Zion Ngoka, made this disclosure at the end of the midweek service held last Wednesday at the Chapel of Saint Mark, Bishop’s Bourne, Owerri in reaction to questions which some concerned members of the church asked him on the issue.
The Archdeacon referred to Resolution No. 7, adopted along with other resolutions, statements and communique at the 1st session of the 18th Synod held at the Cathedral Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord (CATOL) Owerri from Thursday 1st to Sunday, 4th October, 2009 on the theme of the Synod: THE RETURN OF THE GODS: – “Its implications and Challenges For The Life and Mission of the Church in the 21st Century.”
The resolution says: “Standing upon the authority of the Scripture. That we cannot serve God and the baals, God and the gods of this world often demonstrated in all kinds of cults, spiritual, mystical movements and secret societies (like Okorosha, nmanwu cult, Nze-na-Ozo, Rosicrucianism, Eckankar, Ogboni, Free Mason, Odd Fellow, Owu-nmiri, Grail Message, Abdrushinism, Lodges and the like), the taking of obnoxious titles, practices and the like, in the guise of culture and traditions, the Synod hereby resolves and reiterates that persons indulging in such stances and practices shall not be allowed to the Lord’s table nor shall the church participate in their burials, nor extend any honours to them.
According to him, this resolution was thereafter communicated to all the Archdeacons/Administrators, Parish Priests/Priest-in-charge, Catechists /Church Teachers-in-charge and to members of the Anglican Diocese of Owerri vide a circular letter dated 3rd February, 2010 with the caption: “Synod Decision of the Anglican Diocese of Owerri on Cults, Spiritual Mystical Movements and Secret Societies.”
The Senior Chaplain warned that, much as the church welcomes people or worshippers into its fold, it is the responsibility of the church to teach and guide such people or worshippers and also to warn them against the implications and consequences of belonging to any of the organizations stated above and their likes.
He observed that such decisions were not taken with anybody in mind, and as such, its implementation should also be carried out regardless of whether it affects a highly or lowly placed person.