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The Knights and their code of conduct A rejoinder to the opinion by Sir Sydney Ukonu

After reading the views expressed by Sir Sydney Ukonu over the disgraceful treatment meted to the Knights and Ladies of Owerri Diocese when they went to bury their member at Ikperejere in Okigwe South Anglican Diocese, I have come to the conclusion that the whole condemnable episode was as a result of the infighting among our Bishops, and also a veritable display of ENVY. As Sir Sydney pointed out, when elephants fight the grass bears the brunt. ENVY is the most ridiculous of ideas, because there is no single advantage to be gained by it. When you compare what you want with what you have you will be unhappy. It is not trying to keep up with the Joneses that causes so much trouble, it is trying to pass them. The only competition worthy of a wise man is with himself. If envy were a disease, most people would be sick. In 2nd Corinthians 10:12 St Paul says “They are only comparing themselves with each other, and measuring themselves by themselves. What foolishness”. Envy consumes nothing but its own heart. It is a kind of admiration for those whom you least want to praise. If you want to be miserable, envy somebody.

The truth of the matter is that Knighthood in the Anglican Church today is a creation of the Bishops and its demise would be by the Bishops. The signs are there for all to see! The fact that one created something does not make one a member of his creation. The Bishops are not Knights and may not be conversant with the code of conduct within the Knighthood. The Knighthood is made up of responsible people who have been assembled to be used in the Church. They are not babies! They are not nonentities! Many were already mature Christians before some of the Bishops were born. That they were investitured by the Bishops does not make them footballs to be kicked about by the Bishops. If the Bishops do not want the institution of Knighthood, why not scrap, it instead of turning it into an object of ridicule to the extent of asking Knights to derobe in public.

I cannot imagine a member of the Mothers Union being asked to remove her blouse before entering the Church because a dead member living at Aba did not register with the local branch of the Mothers Union.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. This phenomenon should not be allowed to continue. Some fair minded Bishops should speak up and condemn this monstrous evil before it destroys the Knighthood, and by extension the Church. The only reason pride lifts us up is to let us down.

The Joint Council of Knights which is the umbrella body coordinating the Code of Conduct of Knights in the Church of Nigeria categorically states that Associate membership is not compulsory. No Knight can be a full member of two Councils at the same time. Why are our Church leaders doing their utmost to upturn the applecart? Many of our Knights especially those in the cosmopolitan town of Owerri have lived their lives in Owerri, consequently got investitured in Owerri Diocese.

They are now being forced to go to their home diocesan Councils to register or be disgraced/excommunicated since they will not be accorded the honour due to them at death if they fail to register. I had the mistaken belief that our spiritual leaders would be concerned about the spiritual well being of their members both at home and in diaspora. It is now clear that they are more concerned about the size of the cash pockets of these members. This is certainly damaging to the morale of the Church followership.

We (the Knights) in Owerri Diocese have always emphasized on the need for every Knight/Lady to relate positively with his/her home Church. The reports we have are that our members are doing just that. The Archdeacon in charge of St Simon’s Church Ikperejere gave a good testimony about the late Sir Lemchi Ezuruike. Yet he was disgraced NOT for being a backsliding member in his church, but for not registering with Okigwe South Diocesan Council of Knights. The emphasis should not be forcing Knights who may not even afford the means and time to shunt between their base station and their home Council of Knights engagements just to put extra cash into the coffers of their home Dioceses in order to please their home Bishops. This is not fair! This is not Christianity! This is another way to progressively kill the Knighthood. This is another way to damage the morale of those in the Knighthood and by extension, the enthusiasm of those in the Church. One needed to hear the reaction of members of the congregation of St Simon’s Church Ikperejere.

Let me end this brief remarks with the words of John Burroughs;

“The lure of the distant is deceptive

The great opportunity is where you are”.

I want to emphasize that wrong is wrong no matter who does it or says it.

Truth does not cease to exist because it is ignored and it does not change depending on whether it is believed or not. Truth exists; only lies are created bended knees, I implore our Church leaders to have a mind through which Christ thinks; a heart through which Christ loves; a voice through which Christ speaks, and a hand through which Christ helps. If you really want to defend what you believe and teach, live it.

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