To be a member of the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion (EFAC) mandatorily requires the ability and commitment towards believing, behaving, and teaching of the Bible like the “Ezra Christians.
This was made known by the Anglican Bishop of Qwerri, Rt. Rev, Cyril C, Okorocha Ph.D while speaking at a one-day retreat organized by the Directorate of EFAC, Diocese of Owerri at the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Lord (CATOL) Owerri last weekend.
Bishop Okorocha who was speaking on “The Role of EFAC in Church Planting and Growth” noted that like Ezra, members of the EFAC should take time to study, practise and bear the Bible, arguing that their individual characters should not contradict their belief at any time.
While expressing the hope that the church would not only grow when we believe, behave, and bear the Bible but would do so when we stop cheating and telling lies, the Prelate charged the membership of the Fellowship to let the beauty of Jesus be seen in them at a time in which we find ourselves these days.
According to the Prelate, whosoever that is an EFAC member but does not listen or respect his Priest, and even encourage or relate with his fellow members, is not a true member of the Fellowship.
Bishop Okorocha who made bible references including Ezra 7 and Acts 1711 in the course of the exposition, used the occasion to warn the church members to be more vigilant and security-conscious, because of the unfolding plans and evil devices of the Boko Haram insurgents in this part of the country, and prayed that God would remain our Fortress, Refuge, and Strength at all times.
Earlier in his ministering, the Archdeacon in charge, Aladinma Archdeaconry, Venerable Paul Nwozuzu had traced the history of EFAC, mentioning late Rev. John Stott as one of the Founders of EFAC in England as far back as 1961 when, according to him, the Church of England started experiencing doctrinal disagreements and misrepresentations of the mission and mandate of the church.
He stressed the need for every member of the church to mature in Christ, pointing out that, once one becomes a believer in Christ, one was bound to face challenges and to run the race with burdens.
The Clergyman enumerated some problems militating against the membership of the Fellowship to include, lack of foundational teachings, in-fighting among members of the church, money-minded attitude, lack of accountability, lack of interest by some Station Priests in EFAC affairs, selfish and unforgiving attitude between the Priests and Laity, pride, desire for self-glory instead of giving God the glory etc.
Nevertheless, the Archdeacon advised the church leaders at all levels who have the gift of either healing, pastoring, teaching, administration, or evangelism, to endeavour to work together in love, to enable them achieve the aims and purpose of the Fellowship and, above all, take their Father’s business seriously, and to resist any attempt by any body to spoil or sabotage it, particularly as they are co-workers in Christ Jesus.
In an interactive session, some members who spoke, underlined the importance of close relationship between the Station Priests and their congregations henceforth.
It was agreed that henceforth, Priests should show more interest in what the EFAC in their respective churches are doing and that, on no account should the church EFAC conduct elections or take vital decisions concerning the operations and welfare of their members without the knowledge of the presiding priest, adding that the spiritual life of every priest should be able to inspire members of his congregation.
In a vote of thanks, the Director of the Directorate of EFAC in the Diocese, Venerable Simeon Duruji, expressed immense gratitude to the Bishop for the opportunity of organizing the one-day retreat which, he noted, has not only set aside age long differences and misunderstanding between EFAC members and their priests but would henceforth bring about improved relationship and a striking balance between them.
He warned that it has now been made categorically clear, that EFAC is not a church in a church and that all members should take note of that.
The Director also thanked the Resource person at the Retreat, Ven. Paul Nwozuzu, for ably ministering to them, and the Archdeacons and other priests, for gracing the occasion with their attendance and participation.
It was also an occasion in which the Diocesan EFAC Choral Group made beautiful renditions to the glory of God.
More than 1,000 members of the Fellowship and other faithful in the Diocese attended the retreat.