Nigerians have been challenged to endeavour to be the light of the world that would shine brighter and brighter as the darkness increases, and should not for whatever reason compromise their faith or ethical values.
The Anglican Bishop of Owerri, Rt. Rev. Cyril Okorocha Ph.D gave this challenge while delivering an address at the 1st All Anglican Men’s Conference with the theme: “They Are Here (Our Children Are Here): The Role of Fathers in Future of Society”, held at Christ (Anglican) Church, Owerri.
Bishop Okorocha noted that Nigerians have become a shameless race who have lost their sense of self-worth and therefore no longer have any sense of honour, making reference to self-styled and self trained preachers who, according to him, bag doctorate degrees over night and suffer from title-mania, quote the Bible profusely to give credence to their topsy-turvy ideas, and have no idea what damage they are doing to the minds of the younger generation. According to him, their teaching lacks both logical coherence and biblical authenticity.
The Prelate posited that it will not be possible for anyone to reject the teaching of the Bible, especially if the teaching relates to the person and ministry of Jesus, as historically passed down and traditionally understood and remain authentically Christian.
The frightening aspect of this axiom, the Bishop noted, is that one can be a good church member (church man), a distinguished leader in the church and not be a Christian.
While observing that the church has gone astray because she neglected the Bible, the man of God argued that without the Word from God, the church would have no message for the world, and no culture or values for our children who are here and who are watching us, and yearning to hear the truth from their parents as well as expecting to be guided in the Word of God and nurtured under a godly heritage, so as not to join cults or new age movements.
Bishop Okorocha therefore called on all people of God to return to the Word if they want to be identified as Christians and respected by their children as authentic, stressing that without holiness and righteousness, no one can see God, be that person a parent or a child.
The conference featured seminars on “Identifying Fake Drugs, Preparation For Retirement”, and Bible Study/Expositions, handled by the Chaplain of the University of Benin Chapel, Venerable Solomon Maku.
In his remarks after the bishop’s address the Registrar of the Diocese, Barr. Ndukwe Nnawuchi, hailed the address, saying that it depicted the Bishop as a great teacher and researcher.
Also, Rev Canon Chike Samuelson, who spoke on behalf of the clergy, said that there is confusion in the land as all groups have abandoned God, resulting in the loss of direction.
He reiterated the Bishop’s call for all to return to God so that God would return to us as well.
Speaking on behalf of the laity, Dr Dan Onwuke who promised to translate the address into Igbo, described Owerri as Phillipi where the Gospel will spread and urged the people to plant the word of God in their hearts.
Welcoming the delegates earlier, the Coordinator, Sir Baldwin Onozie, assured them of fruitful deliberations.
At the thanksgiving service on Sunday to mark the end of the conference, Sir Onozie thanked Bishop Okorocha for giving him the opportunity to serve the diocese in that capacity as well as the ACFF principal officers and the LOC for making the conference a huge success.
The guest preacher, Ven. S.O. Maku of All Saints Chapel, University, of Benin, stated that the collective efforts of the clergy and laity are required for God’s work to prosper, especially in handling the challenges facing the youths.
Ven Maku listed the attributes of good fathers in building up good families and urged fathers to always maintain such qualities to raise a good Christian family for the growth of the society.
He noted that a good father protects the family, provides for it, is in partnership with the members, pastors the family as well as establishes an altar where they pray together.
The 1st lesson drawn from Deut 6 was read by Sir Duke Njiribeako, while Sir Chukwuma Uchegbu took the second lesson from Ephessians 6:1-6 as the service was conducted by the Bishop, Rt. Rev. Cyril C. Okorocha, PhD. The intercessory prayers were handled by Ven. Zion Ngoka and Rev. Can Akajiaku Chukwuocha.
The occasion featured merit award to faithful Anglican Elders including one post-humous award to Late Mr. Dennis Nzeocha Nwobi, the bishop’s father-in-law who helped in translating the English Bible to Igbo. The awardees are Hon. Justice Duke Njiribeako, Sir Onyenso Nwachukwu, Sir Israel Onwuka, and Eze, Sir Herbert Obichere.
Others who were recognized in absentia are Sir Emma Nworgu, Eze Dennis O. Nwaba, and Sir Churchill Madueke.
Other features were the cutting of the conference cake, and celebration of the Bishop’s birthday.