(BY NGOZI ADIGHIBE)
The Anglican diocese of Owo has ended its 1st Session of the 13th Synod held at St. Patrick’s Anglican Church, Ijebu-Owo, Ondo state, with the theme, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
The Rt. Rev. Stephen Fagbemi PhD, Bishop of Owo diocese while delivering the Bishop’s charge noted that the challenge many Christians face is that they see whatever task that is ahead as a mountain that is insurmountable and so, they undermine themselves and the power of God that is at work in them and succumb to fear. He explained that though a person may appear physically small and weak, it does not mean that such a person is unable to achieve great things, especially if that person is a Christian who has a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. According to the Bishop, “the One who lives in us is greater than the one that is in the world.”
The Bishop who explained the reason Apostle Paul made the statement, pointed out that the Apostle recognized that his human strength could not stand before that of the living God and so, he chose to submit to the higher power from which he eventually drew strength to preach the gospel. He said Paul’s personal encounter with Jesus enabled him to understand the greatness of God and recognize that there is no impossibility in life once God’s strength is available.
Bishop Fagbemi said, “The human strength fails, and meets with impossibilities of various kinds. But, in God the case is different.”
Hence, he observed that the greatest problem of the Church today is that many who attend Church, as well as some leaders in the Church have no personal encounter with Jesus Christ and thus, they do not understand the things of God. He said such persons serve as distractions for the Church, and they discourage the Church from moving in the right direction and from moving forward. The Bishop of the diocese of Owo stated that the Church is called to be an agent of change and a positive force in the society, but that this can only be done if believers do not doubt God and depend solely on Him for strength through personal relationship with Him.
On the state of the nation, Bishop Fagbemi noted that all kinds of evil have continued to manifest in Nigeria and the insecurity in the land appears to defy any solution. He said, “Many lives have been wasted; many harmless people have been attacked and killed without any provocation, yet no serious approach or strategy has been presented to deal with the issue of security.” He called on the government to act decisively, without prejudice; adding that a situation whereby any part of their land will be ceded to the Fulani herdsmen is insensitive and unacceptable.