(BY NGOZI ADIGHIBE)
The Primate of all Nigeria, Anglican Communion, The Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh has emphatically stated that the Church is not a monument, but a movement that must continue to move forward. He made this statement at the dedication service of the newly built St. James Anglican Church, Asokoro, Abuja.
The Primate said, “The Church is a flowing river, not a stagnant pool that becomes filled with all sorts of rubbish and is smelly as a result of being stagnant. Therefore, this Church must be a center where the gospel flows.”
The head of the Anglican Church said dedication is setting apart for holiness; explaining that through dedication that which is being dedicated becomes a property of God and used for only holy activities. He said building a Church has two phases; adding that though the phase one has been completed, the phase two is a never ending journey because human beings who come to the Church must continually be built up.
He said, “The house has been dedicated, but the human beings must also be dedicated so that there will be a flow of the Spirit from the environment to the individual and to the society and the fruit will be to the glory of God.”
Primate Okoh expressed displeasure at some of the happenings in the Church today, where the truth has become very scarce. According to him, “If we can’t find truth in the Church, where else can we find it.” He charged Christians to ensure that apart from building magnificent places of worship, they must build themselves and character, so that they are not cast away on the day of judgement.
Describing the newly built Church as a mini stadium, the Primate pointed out that the greatest tragedy for any believer will be to miss heaven after all that has been done in the Church here on earth. Hence, he urged all to be diligent in spiritual matters, ensuring that they remain rapturable and leave a legacy for future generations.
Pausing in the middle of his sermon, he prayed for the members and donors of the Church, praying that God will embarrass them with His blessings, but also warning them to guard their lips and not speak more than they ought to because of their donation to the Church. He said they must put on the garment of humility, in order to receive God’s blessings and for their gift to be acceptable to God; stressing that God can do His work.
He welcomed everyone, including the dignitaries present at the service, congratulating all politicians of the Church who took part in the last elections for attempting at all. He said, “If we have been trying in the past, we would have gone farther than we are now.”
The Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh concluded his message with a charge to all to keep moving forward irrespective of the difficulties or dangers ahead, adding that with dedicated hearts and minds, and singleness of purpose the Church will move forward and God will take the glory.
The dedication service also featured the dedication of the Church’s secretariat, multi-purpose hall, accommodation and kitchen; special song rendition by the Choir, thanksgiving offering to God and a minute of silence for the worker who died while working at the building site.
Meanwhile, at an interview after the service, Primate Okoh explained that it is a life-long assignment to build individuals in the Church and one can only do one’s very best to teach, preach and administer; adding that those who have ears will hear and others who refuse to will suffer the consequences.
Also, a former Vicar of the Church, the Ven. Dr. Princewill Ireoba, who is currently the Rector of the Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor added his voice to the message of the day, stating that it is a privilege to serve God in one way or the other and that giving should be to God and not for self-aggrandizement.