A lot of eye-brows were raised recently among the Anglican community in the Diocese of Owerri when the Diocesan Co-ordinator of the Anglican Christian Fathers Fellowship (ACFF), Sir Baldwin Onozie, FNSE, DCF put out a media announcement for the first conference of All Anglican Men of the Diocese of Owerri.
Many questions immediately wormed in the minds of many Anglicans in the Diocese and beyond. To get these questions answered, Sir Engineer Onozie last Tuesday was at Christian Voice office to speak to senior journalists on the essence of the 4-day conference which begins on Thursday, June 7th to Sunday 10th, 2012 atChristChurch, Owerri.
Sir Onozie recalled that the first ACFF conference of the Diocese of Owerri was held atChristChurch, Owerri in 2005 adding that the fellowship under the able leadership of the pioneer co-ordinator, Hon. Sir Sydney Ukonu, has a good foundation. He contended that the sentimental perception ofChristChurchas the first host of the ACFF which has become a success story, played a part, apart from other considerations, in chosing the venue as the first host of the All Anglican Men’s Conference.
On why the conference became necessary despite ACFF, the co-ordinator listed four groups of Christian Fathers in the diocese and their peculiarities, advantages and limitations.
He rated the Anglican Christian Fathers Conference (ACFF) as being at the apex of fathers’ organizations in the Anglican Diocese of Owerri with strict membership qualification of being, according to biblical injunction, the husband of one wife. Adherence to this injunction qualified a typical ACFF member to be entitled to take the all-important Holy Communion – a communicant.
The second category of fathers, he explained, are the very active men in the Church, who infact in some communities literally carry the burdens of their local churches on their shoulders, but are excluded from taking the Holy Communion because they are married to more than one wife.
Sir Engr Onozie identified the third group of men as the young ones married to one wife and qualified to be members of ACFF but shy away from membership apparently not feeling at ease belonging to the same fellowship with their biological fathers or their mates.
The fourth group of men at which the conference is targeted are the young men belonging to the Anglican Youth Fellowship (AYF) or Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Church (EFAC) who might not have attained marriage age.
The co-ordinator explained that the objective of the conference is to bring all these categories of Christian men together to give them a sense of belonging as members of the Christian fold in spite of their status and to make them fully aware of contentious and tangled issues in the Church through Bible study and expositions apart from other social activities during the conference. He believes that through the programme, the men would be better armed to play their roles as family heads and potential family heads.
Sir Onozie highly praised the Bishop, Rt. Rev. C.C. Okorocha, PhD for his rich vision in conceptualizing and approving the conference reiterating that through it, all Christian men in Owerri Diocese would be assured of a role in the church as he described the bishop as uncompromising in following the dictates of the Bible.