(BY NGOZI ADIGHIBE)
The retired Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical province of Ondo and Bishop of Ondo Anglican Diocese, the Most Rev. Prof George Latunji Lasebikan has warned Christians not to substitute reliance on God for personal initiative. Speaking on the theme, “Be still and know that I am God” at the just concluded Divine Commonwealth Conference held at the National Christian Centre, CBD, Abuja, the retired Bishop explained that to be still is to drop everything and allow God; adding that being still is a spiritual disposition that does not come without challenges.
According to him, in the world today, the lives of Christians are being threatened and the church is under siege, with its buildings being targeted for destruction in the name of aesthetic value. He added that there are also problems within the church, because many members are focused on promoting their own selfish interests, forgetting to put God first in all things.
The erudite scholar said that no one can love the Church more than the one who lay down His life for her. He therefore urged Christians not to fret or be anxious about anything, because God has the master plan. Prof. Lasebikan stressed that God’s plan for man is for him to always be at peace, trusting in His sufficiency and ability to see them through every situation.
He described knowledge as key to life; because according to him, it opens one up to life’s opportunities. He pointed out that if a person knows God, such a person would love Him, know His likes and dislikes and how to please Him.
He said, “To say you are a Christian that loves God is to live like Him; not just in words but in actions and behaviour.”
The retired Archbishop acknowledged that the world had become unsafe, with wars all around; he however concluded with a charge to all Christians to seek to know God, because the knowledge of who God is will bring about faith and trust in the truth that God is dependable.
In his closing remarks, the outgoing Primate of the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh urged the Church to continue to march forward with the truth of the gospel of Christ; stating that the future of DIVCCON holds great promise and is pregnant with possibilities. He challenged the Church to move with determination to the permanent site and not settle in its temporary venue. He charged delegates not to allow the words they have heard to die with them, but share it with others so that they too can prepare to attend next year.
Primate Okoh emphatically stated that the Anglican Church belongs to God and not any tribe or man and therefore, the easiest way for the Church to disintegrate is for members to disregard the leadership of the Church of God. He called on Anglicans to support the leadership of the Church and on clergymen not to seek to pull down their Archbishops and Bishops.
The closing ceremony was rounded off with the presentation of two new Archbishops for the Church of Nigeria. The Most Rev. Isaac Nwaobia, Bishop of Isialangwa-South Diocese was presented as the new Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Aba and The Most Rev. Christopher Omotunde, Bishop of Ekiti as the new Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ondo.
Awards were also presented to the first three Dioceses, with the largest number of delegates at the conference and to the Rt. Rev. Johnson Ekwe, Bishop of Niger West, who was declared as the Minister of High Praise.
The 2019 Divine Commonwealth Conference had in attendance a total number of 3,481 delegates from the Houses of Bishops and Clergy and over 8,681 registered delegates from the House of Laity (from 154 Dioceses of the Church of Nigerian Anglican Communion), of which two persons were from CANA. There were also 27 registered delegates from other denominations.