I formally welcome you to this session of our synod: the Second Session of the Fourteenth Synod hosted by a committed and focused congregation, – St. Stephen’s Church, Ilugun (Ita Elega), Abeokuta. May the good Lord bless us at this period of deliberations and in-depth meditation on the spiritual issues that matter to our existence and eternity.
- STEPHEN’S ANGLICAN CHURCH, ILUGUN (ITA-ELEGA), ABEOKUTA
We wish to express our heart of gratitude to the Archdeacon and Vicar of this Church, his wife and the entire members of this Church and the Archdeaconry for their commitment to this great assignment of hosting this august body at this austere time in our nation. The Church desired to host the synod earlier but for some reasons the idea was shelved till now. I muted the idea of relieving the Church of this responsibility for two major reasons of (i) lavishly hosting the Diocesan Women’s Guild Conference late last year, (ii) the burden of financial commitments of all our parishes toward the Diocesan 40th (Ruby) Anniversary celebrated in July – August 2016 and the hosting of the Church of Nigeria standing Committee meeting by the Diocese in February 2017 and (iii) the biting National economic down turn with a snailish recovery rate. But the Church members enthusiasm, commitment and willingness to serve the Lord with all their endowments have been the driving force for them to forge ahead in the efforts to host which they have done successfully.
It is believed that their rewards shall be double portion in Jesus’ name. Let me praise the assiduousness and the courage of the Vicar, the Ven. Gabriel O. Amoo B.A. Dip. R.S., Dip.Th. and Church Executives and the Planning Committee members for putting the synod in place.
This congregation was established in 1870. It attained a parish status in 1978, it became a substantive District Church Council in 1983 and became an Archdeaconry seat in 2008. It has been a steady growing Church over years and has fostered other churches such as St. James’s Church, Elega Federal Housing Estate, Anglican Church of the Annunciation, Ilugun Olope and Gbadebo Adekunle Anglican Church, Ilugun Asalu. Many great men of God have been produced from here, ministers such as the first Bishop of this Diocese, the Rt. Revd. Jonathan Soremi Adeniyi, B.A., OFR, the Most Revd. Prof. Adebayo Dada Akinde, Ph.D. Dip.Th., (the immediate past Archbishop of Lagos Ecclesiastical Province of the Church of Nigeria and first Nigerian Professor Computer Engineer), the Venerable Archdeacon Roland Adenekan Ashley-Dejo among other serving priests in the Church of God.
Our appreciation is a large one considering events that had taken place in the Diocese between the last synod and now. Generally we are grateful for all our benefactors during the Diocesan 40th Anniversary celebration between July and August, 2016, our hosting of the Church of Nigeria, Standing Committee meeting in February 2017 and this year synod. But permit me to be specific to some extent.
On behalf of the Diocese of Egba, we are eternally grateful to these people: firstly, the Executive Governor of Ogun State, His Excellency, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, CON. FCA., his wife, Dr. Mrs. Olufunso Amosun, the Deputy Governor of the State, Chief Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga, the Speaker of Ogun State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Suraj Adekunmbi, the Secretary to the State Government, Barr. Taiwo Adeoluwa, all the members of the State Executive Council and all government functionaries that on behalf of Ogun State played one role or the other in ensuring successful hosting of the Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria and for their ever ready support for all our diocesan programmes both in the past and present. Secondly, we are also grateful to our Royal Fathers, Elder State men and Church Dignitaries who have been lending support to the Dioceses from years past and at the moment. Our appreciation goes to Oba Michael Aremu Adedotun Gbadebo, CFR., Okukenu IV the Alake of Egbaland, Olori Dr. Olatokunbo Gbadebo, other Kabiyesis, their Oloris, Egba general title Chiefs and Egba Christian Chiefs. May God bless them. The leading roles of the following people in contributing to the successes of all our Diocesan events and activities are worth recognizing, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR., Chief and Chief Mrs. Ernest A.O. Shonekan, GCFR, CBE, (the Diocesan Father), Chief Olusegun Osunkeye, CON, OFR, Chief Mrs. Abosede Osunkeye (the Diocesan Mother), Prof. and Prof. Mrs. Oladipo O. Akinkugbe, Chief Wale Jolaoso, Deacon Titus A. Soetan, FCA. (current President Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria) and his wife, Evangelist Toun Soetan, Chief and Chief Mrs. Akin Delano, Chief Mrs. Deborah M. Oluwunmi, Chief Yinka Kufile, Hon. Justice and Mrs. Ayobode Lokulo-Sodipe JCA, Dr. Soga and Chief Mrs. Abimbola Ogundalu, Chief Sesan Sofoluwe, Prof. and Prof. Mrs. D.O. Akinola, Iyalode Alaba Lawson, MFR. and Dr. and Chief Mrs. Soga Ogundalu, Mr. Olusegun Adebari and family, Chief Edmund A. Adeboye, Pastor and Mrs. Tunde Lemo, Mr. and Mrs. R.O. Sogaolu, Chief and Chief Mrs. J.B. Oke and myriad of generous givers. Also, we appreciate all the Hoteliers and Hospital Service providers for their kind considerations in offering the facilities to us at affordable prices.
In the front burner of support received from the Ecclesiastical quarters is our father in God, the Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola CON. (Retired Primate of all Nigeria). We are so much grateful to God for having you as a Sage of our time and for your counsel, your support surpasses that of show off but always tangible and substantial, unparalleled. Baba, Emi yin a gun, you will continue to enjoy God’s goodness in the land of the Living. Thanks to the Most Revd. Prof. and Mrs. Adebayo Dada Akinde, the Rt. Revd. and Mrs. Joseph Akin Odejide, Ven. (Surv.) and Mrs. Olusegun C. Osofundiya, Ven. and Mrs. Adelowo Adesina for their immeasurable donations, God will bless you Sir. These our benefactors will also be registered in the annals of our Diocesan records for their moral and financial supports always and especially when the Diocese hosted the Church of Nigeria, Standing Committee in February 2017: the Most Rev. Dr. Michael O. and Mrs. Olutoyin Fape and the Diocese of Remo; the Most Rev. Dr. Ephraim A. and Mama Oluranti Ademowo and the Diocese of Lagos; the Most Rev. Joseph and Mrs. Comfort Akinfenwa and the Diocese of Ibadan; the Rt. Revd. James A. and Mrs. Beatrice Popoola and the Diocese of Osun, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Olumuyiwa and Dr. Mrs. Dorcas Ajayi and the Diocese of Pankshin; the Rt. Rev. Abiodun and Mrs. T.O. Olaoye and the Diocese of Osun North; Rt. Rev. Dr. Humphrey and Dr. Mrs. Tunrayo Olumakaiye and the Diocese of Osun North East. All our brother bishops, our Mamas and sister dioceses in the Lagos Ecclesiastical Province were of tremendous support during the Standing Committee, money were donated, buses and drivers were provided, prayer and encouragement were offered to keep our hope and faith ignited for a successful outing. The Rt. Revd. Ezekiel and Mrs. Florence Awosoga of Ijebu, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Babatunde and Mrs. Caroline Adeyemi of Badagry, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Solomon and Mrs. Kuponu of Ijebu North, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Akin and Mrs. Atere of Awori, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Babatunde and Mrs. Olatundun Ogunbanwo of Ijebu South West, the Rt. Revd. Samuel and Mrs. Rebecca Ogundeji of Egba West, the Rt. Rev. Nathaniel and Mrs. Ogundipe of Ifo, the Rt. Rev. Dr. James and Mrs. Odedeji of Lagos West, the Rt. Revd. Michael and Mrs. Oluwarohunbi of Yewa and the Rt. Rev. Akinpelu and Mrs. Labo Johnson of Lagos Mainland.
Lastly, we must appreciate all our members for their co-operation and their overwhelming supports during our times of celebration and the time we played host to the Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria. We thanked all the Diocesan Committees and Boards and the Ad hoc Committees members for these programmes. What a high level of enthusiasm, commitment, hospitality and charity displayed. May the good Lord bless and multiply His blessings upon you all and His Church.
RUBY ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION AND SPECIAL AWARDS
It has been a yearly practice since our enthronement to celebrate the inauguration of the Diocese with pomp and pageantry. It has also been our practice to use the period to do outreaches within the urban and rural Archdeaconries of the Diocese. The 2016 celebration was marked specially because it was a milestone in our history; the Diocese turned forty (40), and the anniversary was tagged RUBY. Our appreciation for the success of the celebration has been expressed along with other diocesan activities recently executed. Our benefactors cut across this same plane and we praised their commitment and passion for the work of God without murmuring.
Many activities were involved in this programme that spanned the entire year with major ones concentrated around the months of July and August, 2016. There were laying of foundations and dedication of churches, vicarages and other projects in the city and rural areas. Some of these projects were sponsored and are being sponsored by individuals, families and the congregations. We praise God for this new wave of commitment among our members in coming forward to solely borne the responsibility of executing developmental capital projects in our parishes also for and on behalf of the Diocese. Some of the projects dedicated are the Diocesan Headquarters – Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola Office Complex, Olusegun Osunkeye Court, at Kemta Housing Estate, Idi Aba (these are 4blocks of bungalow built and donated to the Diocese by Chief and Chief Mrs. Olusegun Osunkeye), 60 room-Women Organisations hostel at Mawuko, the new Church building of St. Jude’s Church, Ikija (the second church in Nigeria), the Anglican Church of the Nativity, Abule Oloni, Anglican Church of the Christ the King, Ijemo Agbadu, St. Peter’s Church, Igbari Ake, the Vicarage of St. Stephen’s Church, Efon Adanri, the foundation laying ceremony of the Archdeacon Roland A. Ashley-Dejo Anglican Church, Baaleshi, the foundation laying ceremony of the Anglican Church of the Pentecost, Ilupeju, Asero.
One of the memorable events was the mass confirmation service celebrated in the Cathedral Church of St. Peter, Ake Abeokuta on July 24, 2016. There were Eight hundred and Nineteen confirmation candidates and nine bishops of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion in attendance to assist the Bishop on this occasion, they are Bishops Olubayo Obijole (in the Church of God), Johnson Onuoha (Arochukwu/Ohafia), Abiodun Olaoye (Osun North), Olumuyiwa Ajayi (Pankshin), Oduntan Davies (Ogori/Magongo), Praises Omole-Ekun (Dean, St. Francis of Assissi Seminary, Wusasa), Samuel Ogundeji (Egba West), Nathaniel Ogundipe (Ifo), Prof. Andrew Igenoza (Rector, Crowther Graduate Theological Seminary, Abeokuta). It was a glorious moment, the Diocesan preached in the services. Acts 2 was brought to live again, a celebration of the Pentecost. The annual anniversary lecture was held with Prof. Oladipo Akinkugbe, an erudite scholar, a guru in Medicine and an eminent Anglican of high status. The Ruby breakfast with the Aged and the Ruby Gala with Book Presentation and Award Nite, where thirty-six distinguished families and members of the Diocese were given diverse awards. Fourteen of these were post-humously awarded, three were families and Non-governmental Organisation and the rest were recognized on their personal merit. The regular Jesus Carnival held on Saturday July 24, 2017 was the hallmark of the Evangelism and Outreach of the celebration, it rounded off the Market Evangelism and Crusade programmes slated to all the market centres within and outside of Abeokuta. This spanned a whole week (July 19-23, 2017). The effect of the celebration was felt through the nook and cranny of the Diocese and Egbaland. (for more information see the appendix G)
EPISCOPAL VISITATION, EVANGELISM AND CHURCH PLANTING
From the inception of our episcopate, Evangelism has been the key thing in the diocesan programmes. The style and approach have been by the inspiration of God. In the past, such programmes had been conducted in the church building or within the church premises; later we employed the open air crusade approach; Mapping out areas and detailing ministers to combed the precincts by evangelizing among the residents with the focus of planting a new church there also had been practiced; In the recent time Market Evangelism was explored, all these and other ways had been rewarded with tangible positive influence and growth in Diocese. More churches have been established, tremendous spiritual growth has been witnessed to individually among the members and corporately in the assemblies. We will not relent on our efforts in this area of our church life.
Recently, we embarked on the Episcopal visitation to churches and archdeaconries in the Diocese with Orile Ilugun Archdeaconry being the curtain-raiser. This outing was first of its kind since our resumption as the Bishop and the Ordinary in the Diocese. It was on March 25, 2017. Many of our churches and archdeaconries have been visited in the past for conduction of various episcopal offices both statutory and occasional. But this move is for proper assessing and auditing of our churches. Apart from churches visited in the villages, we were able to touch down in other settlements that are found to be prospective areas for evangelism and church planting. We have earmarked Oloke Meji Railway Station/Forest Reserve and Olowo Village for our evangelical programme with a high hope of having new churches in these settlements.
Let me briefly mentioned the catastrophe that was recorded at St. Stephen’s Church, Oloparun when the church roof caved in and the remains became an eye sore and dangerous for use. The Diocese moved in to rescue the matter by re-roofing the structure and encouraged the congregation to fix the block work for its gable end. This rebuild mission was financed from the regular collections of the Mustard Seed, the Diocesan Annual Pledge and the Extra Parochial Fund. I wish to encourage the faithful contributors to these Diocesan Funds never to relent in their good works and to spur on the interest of others in these contributions to emulate the deeds of our benefactors for their efforts have been ministering to the needs of financially weak and other baby churches. We also want to encourage further individuals and families to emulate our benefactors in adopting other village and newly established churches for sponsorship.
Let me put on record, the efforts of the Revd. Gideon Aderogba, the Evangelical Fellowship in Anglican Communion (Egba Zone), the Anglican Students of the National Open University of Nigeria, Abeokuta Campus, the Clergy Children Fellowship of Egba Diocese and St. Andrew’s Church, Presidential Hilltop Estate, Abeokuta for harnessing their resources together for the course of evangelism and the Gospel especially for organizing and sponsoring various outreaches to the rural areas which culminated into establishment of new churches. May God continue to bless and enrich every one that has contributed to these mission works.
Newly established churches are the following:
- Anglican Church of the Pentecost, Tomo established on May 15, 2016;
- Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Baasala established on May 29, 2016;
- Thomas’s Anglican Church, Gbege established on July 10, 2016.
Let me remind us of this appeal again those that are financially buoyant and blessed with landed and material resources and are mission-oriented, to offer our resources toward the evangelical mission in our diocese.
EDMAB AND EDACHAR MEDICAL OUTREACHES
The medical and evangelical drives have been joint means of extending the diocesan evangelical concerns most especially within our rural areas. The Egba Diocesan Medical Board in collaboration with the Egba Diocesan Action Committee on HIV/AIDS & Related Diseases and the Evangelical Fellowship in Anglican Communion (Egba Zone) have been consistent in this enterprise. They regularly planning their outreaches quarterly and function in all diocesan programmes.
Let me use this opportunity to appreciate again the members of the EDMAB and EDCHAR for their role during the Church of Nigeria Standing Committee meeting hosted by the Diocese, All the Diocesan Medical Advisers, Guild of Diocesan Medical Officers, all Para-Medical Officers and Associates for their wonderful performance and support. Also, we wish to place on record our appreciation for medical support received during this exercise from the Ogun State Ministry of Health, Ogun State Ambulance Service, the Federal Medical Centre, Idi Aba, Mercy Group of Clinics, Panseke and other Private Hospitals.
THE DIOCESAN HOSPITALITY CENTRES
The Events Centres have been functioning though not optimally due to competition coming from other and new facilities within the City. These halls remain in category of the easily affordable one with spacious parking lots without being a nuisance in our immediate neighbourhood or to the public and assured security service. We will continue to upgrade what we have as we intend to do a general facelift soon in the Silver Jubilee Hall so as to enhance the quality of the service provided.
The White House is also receiving a good patronage from Christians of other denominations for their retreats and other Christian activities. It also serves the students, mostly Bishops and Priests studying in the Crowther Graduate Theological Seminary as accommodation. We hope that the annex will be completed soon with the assistance from our members.
THE NEW OFFICE COMPLEX
The Diocesan new office complex was completed and made ready for dedication on August 3, 2016 to mark the 40th Diocesan Anniversary. The building was dedicated by the Archbishop, Ecclesiastical Province of Lagos, the Most Rev. Prof. Adebayo Dada Akinde, Ph.D., Dip.Th. and formally commissioned by the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Michael Aremu Adedotun Gbadebo CFR. Okukenu IV. With retinue of Bishops in attendance, this included the Most Rev. Dr. Michael O. Fape, Ph.D. (the Archbishop Designate), the Rt. Revd. Ezekiel A. Awosoga, the Rt. Revd. Dr. Babatunde J. Adeyemi, the Rt. Revd. Dr. Solomon Kuponu, the Rt. Revd. Johnson Onuoha, the Rt. Revd. Abiodun Olaoye, the Rt. Revd. Olukemi Oduntan, the Rt. Revd. Joseph Olusola, the Rt. Revd. Dr. Johnson Atere, the Rt. Revd. Dr. Babatunde Ogunbanwo, the Rt. Revd. Samuel O. Ogundeji, the Rt. Revd. Nathaniel Ogundipe. Furnishing the office will be effected gradually as time goes on.
OTHER NEWS FROM THE DIOCESE
Extra Parochial Fund (EPF)
This is five percent (5%) of the total money received as income, less project fund, special collections and the likes that are set aside by the selected and viable churches in the metropolis and paid into a special account in the diocese to be used in addition to the mustard seed collection for processing evangelical works, assist the rural churches, the weak ones and the new churches that are the fruits of the church planting effort in the diocese. More than seventy five churches in these categories have drawn benefits of one sort or other from this fund. Ranging from buying of land, assisting in the construction works, roofing some of these new churches to helping the diocese to assist other less privileged sister dioceses.
It is disheartening that some priests, church wardens and members of the Parish Church Councils are yet to key into this means of supporting diocesan drive in the area of evangelism. It was a synod decision that the churches that are involved should make this contribution since 2010 synod session and their list is reviewed yearly. The response has not been encouraging, the flagrant refusal by churches and their officers mentioned above to remit this fund is just an act of willful disobedient, disrespect to the constituted church authority, rebellion, myopic understanding of God’s wish for the growth of His Church and the even distribution of his endowment and wealth among his people. Many churches are owing, some have not remitted money in the last three years and well over six million naira are hanging on their necks as jewelries with the negative attitude of “no one can arrest us for this act of rebellion”- Won fi gbese s’orun seso’. The list of the debtors and the amount they are owing is reflected in the Treasurer’s and Auditors’ Report.
Agriculture And Agro-Allied Businesses
The diocesan agricultural project is taking a new turn. The Diocesan Farm is now a member of Palm Tree Farmers Association and registered with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture for government assistance whenever such is provided. The Association is helping us to raise about 2000 palm seedlings and to buy some farm implements.
There had been an application for Farmland submitted to the Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture in 2015. We were interviewed and recently the State Government awarded 100 hectares of land to the Diocese for farming business on at Ajebo Road. Necessary funds have been paid and allocation is interview.
The Farm project is being enlarged to bring on board Rice Plantation at Opeji Farm Estate. We have employed an out-grower in this respect which may be increased in the near future if found profitable and desirable. Effort is being made to procure a tractor for the farm project. We are making a considerable progress in the Cassava, Maize and Yam productions.
Bane of our challenges are having adequate manpower (both of technical and labour) to man all our farm estates, incessant fire outbreak on the farm and invasion of the cattle rearers, illegal felling of trees (old species) within our farm estates. To douse some of these challenges, we are trying to acquire tractor with necessary accessories and other implements, we have to involve the Diocese in the lumbering works under Government licence to cut and process woods and being able to reduce the infiltration of illegal tree fellers within our forest conservation area and farmlands, and change our course towards modern farming techniques (use of herbicides) to keep off weeds from the farms. Above all, the campaign now is adding value to farm produce before selling so as to earn more.
In the animal husbandry section, the poultry section is yielding both eggs and meat products, the piggery is being re-engineered for a better performance, the cattle ranch is still alive with good stocks.
Omolaja Sodipo Memorial Anglican School continues to sustain its success records of pass years. We still have students of the Abeokuta Girls’ Grammar School along with the Cathedral of St. Peter Anglican Secondary School (COSPASS), Ake being presented for external examinations from OSMAS. We hope these young schools will be registered very soon for the Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations with West African Examination Council and National Examination Council. We thank all the members of the Schools Board of Governors for helping us to offer good management to them. We thank in particular, Chief Mrs. Asake Olufunke Ogungbe who donated generously to the development of the science laboratories of Abeokuta Girls’ Grammar School (Private). She is an old student of this institution and an ardent supporter of its development. In appreciation of her good gesture, we have named the Science Laboratory block after her. I wish she could be emulated by other members of our diocese and parents as philanthropists and help to develop this School as our partners in progress by donating facilities necessary for smooth running and conducive learning atmosphere for study in this institution. We are in need of more blocks of classrooms, Library, Computer Sets, Science Laboratories, Trade and Technical workshops, Administrative block and School bus. God will bless you as you respond to our plea on behalf of this institution.
Egba Dove Water
The Egba Dove Water is still in the market. The product is a hot cake highly demanded by costumers. We appreciate the management team led by Ven. O.C. Osofundiya. We thank Messr Adebisi Oderinde & Associates (firm of Auditors) for providing their service in respect of auditing the papers of our Water factory for years 2014 – 2016. For the venture to record more profits, the auditors recommended that middle class of professional hands in the area of stock taking and finance should be injected into the system to assist the management.
We rejoice with Mama Egba Dr. Mrs. O.O.M. Adekunle the President, the Diocesan Women Organizations for all the recorded successful outings in the past year. All the organisations performed creditably well: the Mothers’ Union, the Women’s Guild, the League of Gentlemen, the Ladies Guild, Boys’ and Girls’ Guilds had their conferences as scheduled. We appreciate all the churches that hosted these conferences:
The following Churches hosted the Women’s Organisations programmes in the year:
- Mothers’ Union Floral Service and Award of Couples of Honour, Cathedral Church of St. Peter, Ake on May 15, 2016
- Diocesan Women’s Guild Conference, St. Stephen’s Church, Ilugun on August 19 – 21, 2016
- League of Gentlemen and Ladies Guild Conference, Bishopscourt on September 2 – 4, 2016
- Diocesan Women Harvest, Cathedral Church of St. Peter, Ake on September 18, 2016
- Christian Parents Day, Cathedral Church of St. Peter, Ake on October 1, 2016
- Diocesan Women Organisations Christmas Party (Aged inclusive), Bishopscourt on December 6, 2016
- Re-dedication Service for the members of the Mothers’ Union, St. Jude’s Church, Oke Ijeun on January 8, 2017
- Re-dedication Service for the members of the Women’s Guild, All Souls’ Church, Ibara H.E. on January 15, 2017
- Re-dedication Service for the LOG and LG, Bishop Jonathan Adeniyi Memorial Anglican Church, Kuto on January 29, 2017
- Re-dedication Service for the BG and GG, St. James’s Church, Elega HE on February 5, 2017
- The Mothers’ Union Conference, St. John’s Church, Igbein between March 17 -19, 2017
- Girls’ and Boys’ Guilds Annual Camp, All Saints Church, Kobiti Kemta on April 8-9, 2017.
We rejoice with the women for working assiduously to ensure the completion and preparation for dedication of the 60 rooms’ studio apartment at Mawuko (adjacent to the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta). This project was dedicated on July 30, 2016 as part of the Ruby celebration. May God continue to grant the Women’s Organisations successes in all your endeavours.
THE ORDINAL AND EPISCOPAL OFFICES
EASTER MONDAY BAPTISMAL SERVICE IN THE CATHEDRAL OF ST. PETER, AKE
Earlier in the retirement of the Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola, there was a challenge thrown by the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Michael Aremu Adedotun Gbadebo, Okukenu IV that core areas of Abeokuta like Ake, Itoko, Ikopa, Ijemo, Erunwon, Itesi etc should be re-evangelized. This was like fanning up the flame of Papa Akinola’s zeal since one of the cardinal programme of his pet project is evangelism among the people of Abeokuta where idolatry and derogatory words are prevalent after 175years of Christianity in the land. Papa Akinola has been engaged in different evangelical outreach initiatives – he sponsored two Evangelists by paying their stipends and offering them motorcycles as means of transportation in the rural areas of this Diocese in 2010 and 2011; and recently, he challenged the diocese especially the Cathedral to revisit and take positive steps toward evangelizing of the core townships around its precinct. Two Evangelists were engaged for this enterprise (one a Muslim convert) and crusades were organized in different townships at Archbishop Akinola’s expense, the rest is the success story we are sharing. Over one hundred and ten people surrendered their lives to follow Jesus Christ and joined the Church. They have been under the church’s follow-up programme and teachings for about six months now and the Diocesan Bishop admitted Seventy-Nine of them among Eighty-eight candidates by baptism on Easter Monday, April 17, 2017 in the Cathedral Church of St. Peter, Ake.
We appreciate Papa, Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola, a rugged Evangelist by his calling, Oba Michael Aremu Adedotun Gbadebo, Okukenu IV, the Provost of the Cathedral, the Very Rev. Fr. Isaac Adeyemi Adeniji for taking up the challenge and ran with the vision. We thank the Evangelists Opeyemi & co. for their doggedness at this venture, the co-ordinators and teachers, Dr. Adekunle Ogun and Mr. Rotimi Oyenekan and other ministers and members of the Cathedral that contributed to this project.
INSTALLATION OF CHURCH CHIEFS
Let me recognize those that had been installed as Patrons (Baba Ijo) in the space of one year.
Chief Kunle Ogunsan – Baba Ijo – St. Peter’s Church, Aiyegunle Ogunmakin – June 25, 2016
Chief Jacob Popoola – Baba Ijo – St. Jude’s Church, Ikija Iberekodo – July 31, 2016
Three of the priests in the Diocese attained age of retirement and since they have so retired. They are
- Prof. ABJ Aina – May 25, 2016
- Johnson Babalola – July 3, 2016
- Ebenezer Tope Akinde – January 27, 2017
- Dr. L. O. Lawal – June 30, 2017
Let me use this opportunity of our gathering at the synod to appreciate the trio, they were of tremendous help to the growth of the church in various areas and places they served. They are grass root evangelists, Prof. Aina pioneered the Fountain of Hope Anglican Church, Asero while Ven. Akinde pioneered the new Lowa Archdeaconry as the Supervising Vicar and later worked as the Archdeacon of Aberuagba where he retired. The Revd. Babalola was one of the pioneering Evangelists of OOLEM in this Diocese before he was adopted into the ordain ministry. Lastly, we want to bring to your notice the retirement of the Ven. Dr. L.O. Lawal an Archdeacon of this Diocese, former Vicar of St. Andrew’s Church, Ibara and All Saints’ Church, Owode all now in Egba West Diocese. He was seconded to Archbishop Vining College of Theology, Akure as a lecturer and he has been the Sub-Dean of the School till date. Late last year he suffered a bout of stroke which he recovered from and he is 65years old this year. He has been advised to retire from active church service for him to recuperate very well from the health challenge which he has adhered to. He will be withdrawing his service as from June 30, 2017.
We appreciate all their contributions for the period they served in the church. We pray that God will grant them good health, robust wealth and constant felicity in their retirement.
Location and Transfer
There had been intra-diocesan and inter-diocesan movements of priests and locating the newly ordained in the diocese, within the last one year. We had our ordination services both of Trinity and Advent on June 26, 2010 and December 4, 2016 respectively and the following ministers were ordained into the Church ministries:
DIACONATE TRINITY ORDINATION 2016
- Philip Adeyinka ADEDAPO
- Diamond Olatunde ADEJUSI
- Solomon Oluseyi Peace OREKOYA
- Victor Makafan OLUWALUSI
DIACONATE ADVENT ORDINATION, 2016
- Benjamin Oladapo ADEKUNLE
- Adedeji Olasunkanmi ADENIYI
- Kayode Adesegun KEHINDE
- Olusiji Olaseni LEMO
- Matthew Sunday SOETAN
PRIESTHOOD TRINITY ORDINATION 2016
- Revd. Adewunmi Olanrewaju ADEBOWALE
- Revd. Samuel Olusegun ADETUNJI
- Revd. Timothy Olukunle OLADIPUPO
- Revd. Michael Oluwadamilare OMOLOLA
- Revd. Moses Oluwafemi Abayomi SOBAYO
PRIESTHOOD ADVENT ORDINATION
- Revd. Adedayo Olanrewaju ADEBESIN
- Revd. Gbolahan Adeyinka BANKOLE
- Revd. John Olusegun Kehinde OLADIMEJI
- Revd. Emmanuel Abiodun OLADIPUPO.
The Basilica of Grace, Peter Akinola Foundation Youth Centre, Lagos Road
Trinity Chapel, Bishopscourt, Onikolobo
Cathedral of St. Peter, Ake (Ruby Mass Confirmation)
Day Waterman College Chapel, Kobape
EASTER MONDAY BAPTISM IN THE CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF ST. PETER, AKE
- Peter’s Church, Ogunmakin – Vicarage, Belfry, Borehole – June 25, 2016
- Luke’s Church, Osara – New Church Building – July 25, 2016
- Peter’s Church, Igbari Ake – New Church Building – July 26, 2016
- John’s Church, Aberuagba – PVC Ceiling for the Church – July 26, 2016
- Anglican Church of the Nativity, Abule Oloni – New Church Building – July 28, 2016
- Diocesan Women’s Organisations – 60 rooms en-suites Hostels – July 30, 2016
- Jude’s Church, Ikija – New Church Building – July 30, 2016
- Diocesan Headquarters – Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola Office Complex – August 3, 2016
- Olusegun Osunkeye Court, Kemta HE, – 4 Units of Bungalow – August 3, 2016
- Bishop Jonathan Adeniyi Memorial Church, Kuto – Vicarage – November 20, 2016
- Peter’s Church, Ilogbo Olofin – Rehabilitated Water Project – November 26, 2016
- All Saints Church, Itoku – Air Conditioners in the Church – January 8, 2017
- Peter’s Church, Aiyegunle/Ogunmakin – Church Vicarage – June 25, 2016
- Roland A. Ashley-Dejo Church, Baaleshi, – New Church Building – August 5, 2016
- Anglican Church of the Pentecost, Ilupeju Asero – Church Vicarage – December 3, 2016
- James’s Church, Orile Ilugun – Apartments – March 25, 2017
We bless the name of God for sustaining the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion as a fore front Province in the Anglican Communion. We thanks God for the Primate and all the Archbishops and Bishops for playing a leading role the affairs of the Province. May the Grace of God upon their lives continue to increase in leaps and bounds. All the statutory meetings of the Church were held as at when due. The Standing Committee meetings of the Church were hosted by the Awka Diocese in September 2016 and Egba Diocese in February, 2017. The annual Bishops’ Retreat was had at IBRU Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha Otor in January 2017. We thank God for the opportunity to participate along with other delegates of the Diocese in these meetings. We immensely appreciate God Almighty for his total endowment and blessings upon us as a Diocese and enabling us to successfully play host to the Standing Committee, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion. The Pastoral letters and the Communiques of the meetings are published in the Appendices for your perusal.
Within the space of a year, some of the church fathers have retired and new bishops have been elected, consecrated and enthroned. Also, there had been the election and presentation of the new Archbishop for Lagos Ecclesiastical Province, the Most Rev. Dr. Michael Olusina Fape, Ph.D. While four co-adjutor bishops were elected in the Episcopal synod held in the Cathedral Church of St. Peter, Ake on February 22, 2017. They will be consecrated in the Cathedral of the Transfiguration, Owerri on May 7, 2017. These are the names of the retired and retiring bishops:
- The Most Rev. Prof. Adebayo Dada Akinde of Lagos Mainland Diocese
- The Rt. Rev. Ralph Okafor of Ihiala Diocese
- The Rt. Rev. Samson Olusegun Adekunle of Ile Oluji Diocese
- The Rt. Rev. Cornelius SS Bello of Zaria
- The Rt. Rev. Miller Maza of Lafia Diocese
- The Rt. Rev. Samuel Oludare Oke of Ekiti West Diocese
Their successors were consecrated on Sunday July 24, 2017 at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Ikeja Lagos along with the presentation of the Archbishop of Lagos Ecclesiastical Province and the Dean, Most Rev. Dr. Ikechi Nwosu. They are:
- The Rt. Rev. Babatunde C. Akinpelu Johnson for Lagos Mainland Diocese
- The Rt. Rev. Prof. Israel Okoye for Ihiala Diocese
- The Rt. Rev. Abel O. Ajibodu for Ile Oluji Diocese
- The Rt. Rev. Abiodun Ogunyemi translated to Zaria from Damaturu
Newly elected Co-adjutor Bishops
- For Damaturu Diocese
- Godwin Robinson for Lafia Diocese
- Rufus for Ekiti West Diocese
Province One Council
The Province1 Council or Supra-diocesan Board (West) meeting was had regularly. This Council comprises of more than sixty dioceses that domicile in the south west area including Bendel and Kwara Ecclesiastical Provinces. It is the responsibilities of this body:
- to manage and fund the Ajayi Crowther University as an Anglican and Christian higher Institutution;
- to regulate from time to time the remuneration of clergy and church workers within their domain;
- to manage and fund a registered Financial Institution that pull together all the pension fund for the clergy within the Supra-diocesan board (West) less Bendel Ecclesiastical Province as common welfare outfit;
- Collectively oversee the funding, running and management of three theological Seminaries within the geographical limits of this province.
For adequate funding and proper management of all this outfits, this body has directed that ALL collections made on two Sundays (the third one in May and the second Sunday in August) be set apart and remitted to the provincial office for these purposes along with the contributory pension fund as deducted from beneficiary’s stipend and addition made from the dioceses. To strengthen the pension fund, there are special tickets distributed to dioceses to raise funds to this effect. The expected amount from the ticket sales has just been reduced from twenty-seven million to eleven million Naira and to be paid on or before the end of the year 2018. Our Mission collection of second Sunday of the month service is to underwrite part of this demand.
Ecclesiastical Province of Lagos
The Most Rev. Prof. Adebayo Dada Akinde retired as the Bishop of Lagos Mainland Diocese and the Archbishop of Ecclesiastical Province of Lagos in August 2016 while the Most Rev. Dr. Michael Olusina Fape succeeded him as the Archbishop and the Rt. Rev. B.C.A. Johnson is the new bishop for Lagos Mainland Diocese. There had been regular meeting of the dioceses that made up this province bi-annually. The last two meetings were hosted by Remo Diocese in October, 2016 to welcome the new Archbishop and Lagos Diocese in April, 2017. In attendance were the Bishops, the Treasurers, a clergy representative of each diocese and a female delegate each. This assembly has been helpful by robbing minds together among the Diocesan executives within the province and reminding the dioceses of their responsibilities to the Church of Nigeria.
We recently found out that a group of dissident priests in the Church of Nigeria resurfaced under a strange nomenclature of Anglican Orthodox Communion and appointed a one-time priest in a neighbouring diocese as bishop for Ogun State with the cathedral within our See. In our findings, we realize that the presiding bishop of this group was also a one-time archdeacon of a diocese in Edo State.
We want to categorically state that this group or the Anglican Orthodox Communion has nothing in common with the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion neither with EGBA ANGLICAN DIOCESE and we do not share fellowship with this sect. So, it is not permitted that any of our priests should be found loitering around their conclave or be found in parley with any of their ministers or leaders. None of their ministers is permitted to function in ANY of the churches in the Diocese neither should any of the priests in our Diocese function in their assembly. Also, our members should be informed that it may not augur well with member(s) of the Diocese found in association with this group. As we have disciplinary measures for the priests so there are same for the laity. The Office of the Primate made a Press Release concerning this malignant offshoot in 2015 stating the actions and stand of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion on this establishment. We have circulated its copies among the churches and asked the ministers in charge to paste the same within the church premises. There is a copy of this release as Appendix H.
First, let me again appreciate the Governor of our State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun CON., FCA., his wife Dr. Mrs. Olufunso Amosun, the Deputy Governor, Chief Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga, Mr. Speaker, Rt. Hon. Suraj Adekunbi, the Secretary to the State Government, Barr. Taiwo Adeoluwa and other members of the State Executive Council for the immense support they gave the Diocese when we hosted the Church of Nigeria Standing Committee meeting. Your government will continue to record monumental achievements and God’s Grace at all times.
We wish to praise the confidence and sincerity with which the Governor has approached his second term in office. The trend in our country with a lot of the executives coming on the second term has not been encouraging. Most could not fulfil their electioneering campaign promises and diverted from people oriented projects to self-profiting projects. Our Governor has approached his second term with much vigour, as he is putting every effort available into the completion process of the projects emanating from the 5-Cardinal programmes of his government started during his first term and commissioning them for immediate use and comfort of the people. Let me mention the allocation and commissioning of the shops at different Model Shopping Malls in Abeokuta: Itoku – Odo Oyo, Sapon, Isale Igbein and Omida Market. This is to avoid project abandonment. New projects are being embarked on in this second session with their sod already turned seriously pursued with zeal. It is believed these projects will be completed before he ends his term in 2019. These new projects are numerous to mention. But let me mention Ake – Itoko – Ilugun – Mokola – Iberekodo route and Enugada – Ago Ika –Mokola – Saje – Kugba – Adatan Route, the works done so far is not just that of Urban Renewal but also that of Urban Sanitation. By the close of this term, the State will be wearing a total new look of modern Cities with good aesthetics in outlook and clean environment. Government’s efforts in other areas of our development are praised and further encouraged – the government should give thought to rural areas and their roads so as to fast track tangible developments and compliment government input into agriculture. The attention given to infrastructures and facilities in other areas of governance should be intensified. We thank even our Assemblymen for supporting the Governor by promulgating laws that will foster peace and security within the State. Example of such is the Prohibition of Forcible Occupation of Landed Properties, Armed Robbery, Kidnapping, Cultism and Other Anti Violence and Related Offences Law 2016 (Agbara to segun awon omo ajagungbale). It is our prayer that great successes will continue to attend all the works being put in place by the government of the day.
‘I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority ….’ (1Timothy 2:1-2). This is commandment that we need to obey and act on often. It is our responsibility to pray any sorts of diverse prayers. By this we will be at peace as a people. We thank God for answering our prayers in this nation in particular concern our President and the issue of his health. God will perfect his health and give him total restoration. Along with the prayer of healing for our President we need to ask God for the release of His spirit of wisdom to infill him. To administer this nation it takes the Grace of God and His wisdom. As God blessed King Solomon with wisdom and he adjudicated excellently in difficult cases and matters of national issues and individual interests, may God rule and direct him in proffering necessary solutions and resolutions to hydra problems confronting National life.
We thank God and praise the Federal Government with the efforts of our military outfits in suppressing the menace of insurgency in our country and being able to rescue sizeable number of the abducted girls of Chibok. We pray that the remaining girls will be liberated very soon. The issue of the whistle blowing and the current rate of exposing stolen funds and other forms of corruption is amazing. We pray that sanity will be restored to our lives as citizens of this country. The Federal Government efforts to revitalize and strengthen the economy and the value of our currency are commended. Let further effort of raising Naira value against the Dollar be intensified. Let unemployment rate among our youths be reduced considerably. Also let there be the Federal Government intervention in disarming the Fulani herdsmen, moving about the country with dangerous arsenals and weapons, sacking settlements, killing and maiming people and dispossessing them of their land.
Lastly, let there be an intervention in reviewing of the allotted salaries, allowances and severance fund for our assemblymen in this country, these are outrageous. The servant earn more than his master. Let our representatives examine their conscience, restitute and do what is right and justifiable.
With the recent election in the United States of America, the global political terrain started wearing a new look. The new President, Mr. Donald Trump, a republican succeeding a democrat regime with series of radical initiatives on America’s role in the political / socio-economic situations of the world. His moves in
- creating awareness among radical Muslims of America zero tolerance for terrorism and religion bigotry;
- denying the refugees from Middle East and Asia asylum for their tendency of becoming insurgents;
- checking the in flocks of Africans especially into America after mismanaging their home economy;
- ‘building’ walls against the Mexicans to reduce their mass movement into the US and infiltrating the labour market making citizens jobless and creating pressure on the country social securities;
- reviewing the OBAMA-CARE policy of the government in reducing its budget expenditure;
and pronouncing and reviewing other policies are to bring to the fore bear the conservative values of America without losing their identity as God’s own nation and global relevance.
President Trump’s approval of shelling the base of the Talibans in the Afghanistan by dropping the mother of bombs in their enclave. The ravaging of the ISIS in Syria and in the Arabian Peninsula.
Recently, there was a reoccurrence of Xenophobia in the South Africa targeted at Nigerian immigrants. Photographs on the social media were not worth mentioning. There were true display of hatred and hostility against Nigerians in that country. There is the need for the Nigerian government to rescue our nationals that are victims of this dastardly act. This is a bad way for the South Africans to pay back Nigeria with all the contributions to their liberation and independence.
All these call for our intercession and coming closer to God in total repentance and dependence on the divine than relying on human or world powers.
We are always grateful to God for the grace we received of Him in our family at all times. Again His mercies were showered on us immeasurably when my amiable wife, Dr. Mrs. Olubimpe O. M. Adekunle celebrated her golden jubilee birthday celebration in the Cathedral Church of St. Peter, Ake, Abeokuta on October 27, 2016. This is unique and special to us as a family, we will eternally be grateful to God. Earlier she has successfully completed and defended her Doctor of Philosophy degree in English Language from the Babcock University, Ilisan Remo. We have every reason to be grateful. Her graduation will hold in June this year. We are grateful to all and sundry that identified with us at this time of our joy and for the gifts that were given, God will grant you desires of your heart and add to your joy always.
We also shared in the joy of our members that had reasons to celebrate the faithfulness of God in their lives. Some celebrated their birthdays and some had weddings for their children. On behalf of the Diocese we congratulate the following distinguished members and friends of our Diocese on their various joyous occasions – His Excellency, Chief Ernest A.O. Shonekan, GCFR, CBE (our Diocesan Father – 80th Birthday) Chief Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR (80th Birthday), the Most Revd. Prof. Adebayo Dada Akinde (retired Archbishop – 70th Birthday), Hon. Justice Ayobode O. Lokulo-Sodipe (Chancellor – 60th birthday), Papa Ven. Olusegun Lokulo-Sodipe (90th birthday), Mrs. Stella Ajayi (70th Birthday), Mrs. Edna Obadina (70th Birthday), Comrade Jacob Adejare Adefemi (80th Birthday), Mrs. Awodun (40th Birthday), Chief Idowu Oyebola (80th Birthday), Hon. Justice Jacob O.A. Sofolahan (the Diocesan Father, Egba West – 90th Birthday), Revd. Abraham Akeju (40th Birthday), Revd. Peter O. Adebayo (40th Birthday), Ven. Oluyinka Oke (50th Birthday) and many others that celebrated their birthdays. We wish you all many happy returns of your days with longevity and prosperity.
We congratulate our father, the Most Revd. Peter J. Akinola and Mama Susan Akinola for a successful wedding ceremony for our brother, Mr. Olugbenga Akinola who got married recently; also we congratulate the Primate of our Church and Mama Nigeria, the Most Revd. Nicholas D. and Mama Nkasiobi Okoh for giving their daughter’s hand in marriage recently. May these young families be blessed and be fruitful to the glory of God. We rejoice with the Rt. Revd. and Mrs. Samuel O. Ogundeji and Revd. and Mrs. James B. Olugbebi for offering the hands of their daughters in marriage not too long. The Lord will establish the new homes and make His presence to abide with the couples and bless them. Also we commit the Rev. Victor and Mrs. Mercy Oluwatusi the chaplain to the Bishop, to the mighty hands of God as they start their lives together as husband and wife, the Lord with bless them and keep them and make them fruitful to his glory and honour.
We also remember His Royal Highness, Oba Oluremi Obayomi, the Onlese of Ilese Ijebu who has just ascended the throne of his fore fathers as king among his people. May his reign be peaceful and prosperous and he be satisfied with longevity. Kabiyesi. To others that were elevated to higher levels of responsibility in the Ogun State Civil Service, especially our brother and friend, Mr. Abayomi Oluwole Adisa Sobande, the current Head of Service and Mr. Oluwole Fateru, one of the recently appointed Local Government Head of Administration in Ogun State, we wish you a successful tenure in office with monumental achievements.
We share in the trials of our members that experienced hardship and pains in one form or the other. Those that lost their loved ones and recorded one misfortune or the other. We commiserate with you all and pray for the comfort of the Holy Spirit to soothe your aching hearts with balm of Gilead and grant you solace that transcend the comprehension of man.
IFO AND EGBA WEST DIOCESES
It is a thing of joy when anniversaries roll by. It has been celebration galore as our off shoot dioceses, Ifo and Egba West celebrated the 10th year of their creation and inauguration. Their creation made the residual diocese jittery initially because the two dioceses were created simultaneously. The Diocese of Ifo was inaugurated on March 12, 2007 while Egba West was inaugurated on April 22, 2007. Various activities were put in place with thanksgiving services to round of the celebration. We congratulate the Bishops, the Rt. Revd. Nathaniel O. Ogundipe of Ifo and the Rt. Revd. Samuel O. Ogundeji and all the member of these Dioceses on this joyous occasion. May the Church of God continue to grow in leaps and bounds.
APPRECIATING OUR RESOURCE PERSONS
The Rt. Revd. Stephen Akobe
The Rt. Rev. Steven Kayode Akobe was born in the tin Mining city of Jos, the capital of Plateau State, some 49years ago. He is the first Male child of his parents who are devoted Anglicans (though father now deceased). Young Steven as an Anglican tradition as well as a child of proud Anglican parents attended St. Paul’s (Anglican) township school Jos for his primary school education from 1975 – 1980. Due to the desire of his parents that their first male child must further his secondary school education they both sacrificed dearly to send him to the prestigious Baptist high School Jos where he completed his secondary school education and wrote his West African Examination Council Examination in 1985. His search for higher Education took him to Kwara State College of technology (Now Kwara State Polytechnic) for his IJMB. It was also at this college that he fully committed his life to the Lord Jesus Christ as his Lord and personal savior.
In the year 1988 he gained admission into the faculty of environmental studies, department of Geography and Planning, university of Jos to study Geography and the elements of planning. He graduated in 1991 and went on to serve in the NYSC programme the same year.
The definite call into the ordained ministry was received during the NYSC year and fully obeyed when he had enrolled for his masters degree in the same university just after his NYSC. He started his theological training at the Christian institute Jos where he obtained a certificate in theology in 1991, moved on to the Jos ECWA theological seminary for his Post – graduate diploma in theology and finally completed his Masters of Divinity (MDIV) at the theological college of northern Nigeria, Bukuru Jos (TCNN) in the year 2010. The Rt. Rev. S. K. Akobe also holds a Post – graduate diploma in education from the Ado Bayero University Kano. He is currently studying for his doctorate in ministry at the Crowther Graduate Seminary Igbehin Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The Rt. Rev. S. K. Akobe was made a Deacon on the 3rd July of 1994 by the Most Rev. B. A. Kwashi at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke Jos and Priested on the 18th of December of the same year and at the same venue by the same person. He then moved to Kano Diocese having served five years in Jos Diocese and about one month in Lafia Diocese. He was preferred statutory Canon by the Rt. Rev. Z. L Nyam, bishop of Kano in May 2001 and preferred Archdeacon by the same Bishop in 2006. He was elected Bishop of Kabba on the 31st of July 2010 and duly consecrated on the 12th of September 2010 at the Cathedral Church of St. Peter, Asaba;
1. Cathedral Church of St. Luke, Jos – Curate, 1994 – 1995
2. Mt. Zion Anglican Church, Mararaba, Nasarawa – Vicar, 1995 – 1997.
3. St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Nasarawa – Parish Priest, 1997 – 1999.
4. Cathedral Church of Holy Trinity, Kano – Curate, 1999 – 2001.
5. Cathedral Church of Holy Trinity, Kano – Canon Residentiary, 2001 – 2003
6. St. George’s Anglican Church, Kano – Vicar/Archdeacon, 2003 – 2010.
7. Cathedral Church of Holy Trinity, Kano – Vicar/Archdeacon, 2010
Rt. Rev. S. K. Akobe is married to his amiable wife, Deborah Abiodun and blessed with Tobi, Tomide and Toyosi. Bishop Akobe has written a couple of books -“How do l get to heaven”, “Spiritual Reflections and Meditations” and “Spiritual discipline (Lecto Divina).”The Bishop is a singer and lover of music.
The Ven. Colonel Moses Adisa Abolanle Ph.D.
Colonel Adisa Abolanle has been asked to lead the synod at the Bible Study sessions and he will preach the thanksgiving service on Sunday. We thank him for accepting these responsibilities. Ven. Moses Adisa Abolanle is a son and priest of this diocese. He was made a Deacon in June 1993 and priested in 1994. Though he is a trained infantry soldier (a combatant) and later trained for the ordained ministry as a Military Chaplain. Currently he is the Dy Director 2 Division Chaplain (P).
He is an affable family man married with children.
VEN. SAMUEL OLUFEMI BAMIDELE OMIDIJI
Ven. Samuel Olufemi Bamidele Omidiji born on 7th May, 1957
Educational Institutions Attended: St. Peter’s Pry. School, Ake, Abeokuta – 1965 – 1969
African Church Grammar School, Abeokuta. 1970 – 1974
Ansar-ud-deen Teacher Training College, Ota. 1977 – 1979
Ogun State College of Education, Ijebu-Ode. 1980 – 1983
University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos. 1987 – 1991
Theological Institutions Attended: Immanuel College of Theology, Ibadan. 1995 – 1997
Crowther Graduate Theological Seminary, Abeokuta. 2010/Feb. 2011.
Educational Qualifications: General Certificate in Education.
Grade I I Teachers Certificate
National Certificate in Education.
Bachelor of Science in Education.
Master in Education.
Theological Educational Qualifications: Diploma in Theology.
Postgraduate Diploma in Theology.
Master of Divinity.
Year of Deaconate Ordination: 1997
Year of Priesthood Ordination: 1998
Preferments: Canon – 2004
Archdeacon – 2006
Has pastored different churches in Ijebu Diocese but currently the Vicar of Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Obalende, Ijebu Ode and Archdeacon, Obalende Archdeaconry. Currently the Diocesan Chairman Board of Mission and Evangelism. Has attended many academic conferences both within and outside Nigeria. He is happily married with lovely children.
VEN. DSP. ABIODUN
Born over four decades ago in Abeokuta, Ogun State to the family of the Late Mr. Joel Olafuyi and Mrs. Felicia Abiodun of Igbore and Ijemo extractions in Abeokuta. He attended Housing Estate Primary School, Ibara Abeokta (1981-1987) and later proceeded to Ibogun Comprehensive High School, Ifo Ogun State (1987-1993) for his secondary education. He obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree in Education B.Sc Ed Guidance and Counseling (1995-1999) from the then Ogun State University, Ago-Iwoye (now Olabisi Onabanjo University). For Postgraduate Studies, he obtained Master of Science Degree, Humanitarian and Refugees Studies, (Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies) University of Ibadan, Nigeria (2013-2015).
He taught briefly as a class teacher and Guidance Counselor after Youth service at the Sacred Heart Catholic College, Ibara Abeokuta (2001-2003).
Shortly before his National Youth Service experience in 1999, he gave his life to Christ which eventually culminated into ministerial undertakings. He left for Immanuel College of Theology, Ibadan for ordination training in 2003-2005 and ordained as one of the Pioneer Priests of Ogbomoso Anglican Diocese in 2005.While in Immanuel College, he was the Chairman of All Anglican Students and Drama Coordinator for EFICT -SCM.
After serving for about 5 years in many ministerial capacities of the Diocese, He was seconded into the Nigeria Police Chaplaincy in 2009, after an induction training at The Nigeria Police Academy, Kano. Since 2009, he had been ministering to the Police hierarchy and families as a commissioned Chaplain. He served as Zone X1 Chaplain, Osogbo, comprising of Oyo, Ondo and Osun commands, (2009-2014). Presently serves as the Lagos State Police Command Chaplain, Ikeja from 2014 till date.
OTHER MINISTERIAL EXPERIENCE.
Curate, St Stephen’s Anglican Church, Ogbomoso. 2005
Pioneer Priest, Anglican Church of the Messiah, Ogbomoso 2006
Pioneer Priest, Anglican Church, Ori Oke, Ogbomoso, 2008
Administrative Assistant to the Bishop. 2007-2008
Vice Principal, Anglican Model College, Ogbomoso. 2007-2009.
The Venerable (Deputy Superintendent of Police) Emmanuel Omolaja Abiodun was preferred a Statutory Canon in 2011 and equally preferred an Archdeacon March, 2013 by the Rt. Rev. Prof. M.A.A Osunade, the then Lord Bishop of Ogbomoso Anglican Diocese.
Married to Oluwabukolami Abosede Abiodun and blessed with Oluwadarasimi, Toluwani and Oore-Ofe Oluwa.
We invited the Ven. (DSP.) Emmanuel Omolaja Abiodun to preach at this year opening service of the synod believing that God will make him a channel of blessing to us at this session.
THEME: THE COVENANT KEEPING GOD
TEXTS: Genesis 13:14-17; 15:17-21; 17:1-14; 2 Chronicles 6: 14,15
Our theme for this year synod is the Covenant keeping God and we are to be guided by these selected passages the text is Genesis 13:14-17; 15:17-21; and 17:1-14; 2 Chronicles 6:14-16. Studying through these passages we could see that the datum on which they are anchored is the word COVENANT. God’s words of promises given to his chosen people sealed with oaths. For understanding, let us look at the definition and the exegesis of this key word.
WHAT IS COVENANT?
In the Old Testament the word has an ordinary use, when both parties are men, and a distinctly religious use, between God and men. There can be no doubt that the religious use has come from the ordinary, in harmony with the general custom in such cases. There are also two shades of meaning of its Hebrew word:
- in which it is properly a covenant, i.e. a solemn mutual agreement,
- the other in which it is more a command, i.e. instead of an obligation voluntarily assumed, it is an obligation imposed by a superior upon an inferior.
This latter meaning, however, has clearly been derived from the other. It is easy to see that an agreement, including as the contracting parties those of unequal position, might readily include those agreements which tended to partake of the nature of a command; but the process could not readily be reversed.
We can simply define Covenant as a solemn agreement that is binding on all parties to the agreement and this could be in the secular or spiritual circle. Examples of such that connote both of the secular and spiritual relationships are found in the Bible:
- Agreement between nations such as Israel and Babylon and between individuals Jacob and Laban
- Agreement between God (YHWH) beginning with Abraham then the nation of Israel – the promise of God to Abraham including his progenies in Genesis 13:4 ,15, 16
– the promises that were made between God and the Israelites, who agreed to worship no other gods. This was sealed at Mount Sinai. Exodus 6
Yahweh is seen to have taken the initiative in granting the covenant by electing a people. Perhaps the simplest formulation of the covenant is the sentence: “I will take you for my people, and I will be your God” (Exodus 6:7). The law was understood to have been given as a part of the covenant, the means by which Israel became and remained the people of God. The law contains regulations for behavior in relation to other human beings as well as rules concerning religious practices, but by no means does it give a full set of instructions for life. Rather, it seems to set forth the limits beyond which the people could not go without breaking the covenant.
From these and other passages in the Pentateuch has arisen the conception of a covenant between Yahweh and the people of Israel, whereby the Israelites were to enjoy the blessing and protection of Yahweh in return for remaining obedient and faithful to Him in keeping the divine law. ***After relating the events leading up to the institution of the covenant (in the books of Genesis and Exodus), the narrative describes a widening cycle of disobedience, warnings from Hebrew prophets, and punishment. This cycle leads to the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, the Babylonian captivity, and the return to Israel. After the Jews were driven out of Palestine and scattered over the earth, the covenant between the Jews and Yahweh was interpreted by them to include an eventual restoration of their ancient homeland.
According to Christian theology, Jesus Christ, by his death on the cross, made a covenant for the redemption of humanity. Theologians differ about the precise meaning of this covenant, sometimes called the New Covenant or the Covenant of the New Testament. Some believe that Christ’s voluntary sacrifice redeemed all; others contend that only those who earn their redemption by faith alone, or by faith and good works, can or will be saved.
GOD’S COVENANTS IN THE BIBLE
At various times God entered into covenant with individuals and people (nations) in the Bible. The covenants that God made with mankind such as with Noah (Genesis 6, 9), with Abraham (Genesis 12, 15, 17), with Moses (Exodus 19-24), with David (2 Samuel 7), and finally in the New Covenant are founded and fulfilled in Christ. These individual covenants are called the biblical covenants because they are explicitly described in the Bible. Under the covenantal overview of the Bible, submission to God’s rule and living in accordance with his moral law (expressed concisely in the Ten Commandments) is a response to grace – never something which can earn God’s acceptance (legalism). Even in his giving of the Ten Commandments, God introduces his law by reminding the Israelites that he is the one who brought them out of slavery in Egypt (grace). These among the covenants enacted by God with man are further explained and concisely described:
It is seen as a covenant of works administered with Adam in the Garden of Eden. It promised life for perfect and perpetual obedience and death for disobedience. Adam, and all mankind in Adam, broke the covenant, thus standing condemned. Upon Adam’s failure, God established the covenant of grace in the promised seed Genesis 3:15, and shows his redeeming care in clothing Adam and Eve in garments of skin, perhaps picturing the first instance of animal sacrifice. The covenant of works continues to function after the fall as the moral law. The specific covenants after the fall of Adam are seen as administered under the overarching theological covenant of grace.
The Noahic covenant is found in Genesis 8:20–9:17. It applies to all of humanity and other living creatures. In this covenant, God promises never again to destroy the living creature on the Earth by Waters. He creates the rainbow as the sign of this “everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth”. Although redemption motifs are prominent as Noah and his family are delivered from the coming of the flood. Noah builds an altar to the Lord after being delivered as sign of the covenant which was sealed by the rainbow as a sign of this covenant.
The Abrahamic covenant is found in Genesis chapters 12, 13, 15, and 17 and referred to as the “Covenant Between the Parts” in Hebrew, and is the basis for covenant of circumcision in Judaism. The covenant was for Abraham and his seed, or offspring, both of natural birth and adoption. In contrast with the covenants made with Adam or Noah which were universal in scope, this covenant was with a particular people that will grow out of the loins of Abraham. Abraham is promised a seed and a land, although he would not see its fruition within his own lifetime. The Book of Hebrews explains that he was looking to a better and heavenly land, a city with foundations, whose builder and architect is God (11:8–16). The Apostle Paul writes that the promised seed refers in particular to Christ (Galatians 3:16).
The Mosaic covenant, found in Exodus 19–24 and the book of Deuteronomy, expands on the Abrahamic promise of a people and a land. Repeatedly mentioned is the promise of the Lord, “I will be your God and you will be my people” (cf. Exodus 6:7, Leviticus 26:12), particularly displayed as his glory or presence comes to dwell in the midst of the people. This covenant is the one most in view when referring to the Old Covenant.
Although it is a gracious covenant beginning with God’s redemptive action (cf. Exodus 20:1–2), a layer of law is prominent. Concerning this aspect of the Mosaic Covenant, three points are vivid:
(1) The Law of Moses was established;
(2) It was also a national covenant, giving national blessings based on national obedience;
(3) In the sacrificial system, it points to the Gospel of salvation through a mediator.
The priestly covenant is the covenant that God made with Aaron and his descendants, the Aaronic priesthood, as found in the Hebrew Bible and Oral Torah. The Hebrew Bible also mentions another perpetual priestly promise with Phinehas and his descendants
The Davidic covenant is found in 2 Samuel 7. The Lord proclaims that he will build a house and lineage for David, establishing his kingdom and throne forever. This covenant is appealed to as God preserves David’s descendants despite their wickedness (cf. 1 Kings 11:26–39, 15:1–8; 2 Kings 8:19, 19:32–34), although it did not stop judgement from finally arriving (cf. 2 Kings 21:7, 23:26–27; Jeremiah 13:12–14). Among the prophets of the exile, the messiah is believed to be a future Jewish king from the Davidic line, who will be anointed with holy anointing oil, gather the Jews back into the Land of Israel, usher in an era of peace and justice, build the Third Temple, have a male heir, re-institute the Sanhedrin and rule the Jewish people during the Messianic Age. (cf. Book of Ezekiel 37:24–28).
The New Covenant is anticipated with the hopes of the Davidic messiah, and most explicitly predicted by the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 31:31–33). At the Last Supper, Jesus alludes to this prophecy, as well as to prophecies such as Isaiah 49:8. A connection between the Blood of Christ and the New Covenant is seen in most modern English translations of the New Testament with the saying: “this cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood”.
For this exercise, we will focus much on the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants as they are consummated into the New Covenant with Jesus Christ at the focus. We could see so far that these two Old Testament covenants were fashioned alike, they take the same pattern and style. God promised Abraham and David perpetual continuity and fulfilment of His promises even to their progenies and all that are under the claim of their household (those that are attached to them by faith). Some of the texts that reveal the records of the covenants of God with these Patriarchs are cited below:
In case of Abraham – Genesis 15:17-21
17 And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces.
18 On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates—
19 the Kenites, the Kenezzites, the Kadmonites,
20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim,
21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”
1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.
2 And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.”
3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying:
4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations.
5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations.
6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.
7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.
8 Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
9 And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.
10 This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised;
11 and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.
12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant.
13 He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
14 And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”
From Genesis chapters 12–17 three covenants (between God and Abraham) can be distinguished, Genesis 12 and 15, God grants Abraham land and a multitude of descendants but does not place any condition on Abraham for the covenant’s fulfilment. By contrast, Genesis 17 contains the covenant of circumcision which is conditional.
- To make of Abraham a great nation and bless Abraham and make his name great so that he will be a blessing, to bless those who bless him and curse him who curses him and all peoples on earth would be blessed through Abraham [Genesis 12:1-3].
- To give Abraham’s descendants all the land from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates [Gen 15:18-21].Later, this land came to be referred to as the Promised Land or the Land of Israel.
- To make Abraham the father of many nations and of many descendants and give “the whole land of Canaan” to his descendants [Gen 17:2-9]. Circumcision is to be the permanent sign of this everlasting covenant with Abraham and his male descendants and is known as the brit milah [Gen 17:9-14].
Covenants in biblical times were often sealed by severing an animal, with the implication that the party who breaks the covenant will suffer a similar fate. In Hebrew, the verb meaning to seal a covenant translates literally as “to cut”. It is presumed by Jewish scholars that the removal of the foreskin symbolically represents such a sealing of the covenant.
In the covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15, it is God who is the suzerain who commits himself and swears to keep the promise. Genesis 15, it is the superior party who places himself under oath. Also the oaths in both involve a situation where the inferior party is delivering the animals while the superior swears the oath. The animals that are slaughtered in the covenant in Genesis 15 are considered a sacrificial offering.
The Abrahamic covenant is
- Exclusive: it is only for Abraham and his (spiritual) descendants. Genesis 17:7
- Everlasting: it is not replaced by any later covenant. Genesis 17:7
- Accepted by faith, not works: “Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. “Genesis 15:6
- The external sign of entering into the Abrahamic covenant was circumcision. Genesis 17:10, but it has to be matched by an internal change, the circumcision of the heart. Jeremiah 4:4
- According to Paul, since the Abrahamic covenant is eternal, the followers of Christ are “children of Abraham” and therefore part of this covenant through faith. “Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.” Galatians 3:7
- According to covenant theology, Paul makes it clear that baptism is the external sign of faith in Christ (“…you were baptized into Christ…”), and that through faith in Christ the believer is part of the Abrahamic covenant (“Abraham’s seed”). This provides the basis for the doctrine that baptism is the New Testament sign of God’s covenant with Abraham, Galatians 3:26.
- Romans 11 teaches disobedient Jews are broken off of the family tree of Abraham. It is only after the full number of the Gentiles have been grafted into Abraham’s family tree that God will pour out His mercy on the people of Israel.
- God’s Covenant with David is recorded in 2Samuel 7.
In this chapter of the Bible, we have the record of God entering into covenant with David. As king in verses 1-3, David intended to build a place of worship for God and to place and keep the Ark of Covenant instead of being under the tent as it had been for 400years sojourning in the tabernacle. He compared his house which was a state of art in building construction of that age and having a permanent abode built with bricks and mortar for the Ark rather than under the tent for easy movement as when the people were traversing the wilderness into the promised land (2Samuel 6:17). David wanted to do something for God to show gratitude, he wanted a Temple in expression of his gratitude and his concern for God God’s glory and presence to abide.
The gesture of David pleased God, it was honourable to Him because no man ever offered to do that before and God never commanded anyone to do it. This act reveals that David wanted to do more than God commanded. What about us? Can we emulate David gesture towards God and the service of God? God refused David the building of His house but He asked his son to fulfil that desire. David made all necessary preparation towards the actualizing the project. He collected all necessary materials for the project (1Chronicles 29:1-5).
In response, God made an everlasting covenant with David and Israel (2Samuel &:10ff)
- I will appoint a place for my people Israel – assured homestead, a permanent city of habitation;
- I will make you a house – a continuous and successive dynasty for the house of David.
The unconditional gift
In the book of Psalms in the Bible, there are many passages of God referring to David as his son. There is a formulaic expression of adoption in the scriptures of God drawing in those that are saved as his sons and daughters. Scripture says “I will be his father and he shall be my son,” (2 Samuel 7:14, 1 Chronicles 17:13) which directly correlates to a judicial gifting of eternal life and dwelling with the God most High. So the very understanding of son-ship in the scriptures is the very basis for evidence of why kings like David, received this unconditional gift of eternal life. There is a grace that will be bestowed upon his children even in the midst of their sins.
The position of conservative Christian theologians is almost unanimous that Jesus fulfills the Davidic covenant, the provisions of which Walvoord lists as:
- David is to have a child, yet to be born, who shall succeed him and establish his kingdom.
- A son (Solomon) shall build the temple instead of David.
- The throne of his kingdom shall be established forever.
- The throne will not be taken away from him (Solomon) even though his sins justify chastisement.
- David’s house, throne, and kingdom shall be established forever (2 Samuel 7:16).
Each of the great promises with David was partially fulfilled with Solomon, we could find him laying claim to the covenant between God and his father, David in the 2 Chronicles 6:14-16 (NKJV).
14 and he said: “Lord God of Israel, there is no God in heaven or on earth like You, who keep Your covenant and mercy with Your servants who walk before You with all their hearts. 15 You have kept what You promised Your servant David my father; You have both spoken with Your mouth and fulfilled it with Your hand, as it is this day. 16 Therefore, Lord God of Israel, now keep what You promised Your servant David my father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man sit before Me on the throne of Israel, only if your sons take heed to their way, that they walk in My law as you have walked before Me.’
The text is recalled from the prayer of King Solomon at the dedication of the newly built Temple for the worship of God by the people, Israel. The prayer is 2 Chronicles 6:12-42; has among other points raised in it the petitions (verses 14 and 15); then there are three petitions – first, that God would perpetuate the line of David (verse 16); follow by his regard to the place where his Name is put, the Temple (verses 17-20); then he would hear the prayers addressed to him toward this place (verse 21).
A covenant-keeping God.
Solomon, a pious Israelite in his belief in the LORD, like Moses (Deuteronomy 7:9), David (Psalm 25:10; Psalm 89:34; 1 Chronicles 16:15), Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:5), and Daniel (Daniel 9:4), delighted to acknowledge Jehovah’s faithfulness to his promised word. It was solely on the ground of that covenant by which God had chosen Israel for his possession (Exodus 19:5, 8), and made himself over to be their God (Exodus 20:2), that Israel existed as a nation and enjoyed the privilege of drawing near to God. Had it been possible for God to violate his consciously and graciously formed engagements, or go back in the smallest measure from his promised word, Solomon knew that Israel’s continuance as a people would instantly have become jeopardized. That YHWH had fulfilled the promise made to David with reference to the temple, was a proof that a change of heart in the promises of God toward His people could not occur. The same covenant faithfulness is the believer’s warrant for drawing near to God in prayer, and the suppliant’s encouragement in expecting an answer (2 Corinthians 1:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:24; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18).
YHWH has been a mercy-showing God to his people and this also has revealed his indispensable characteristic as a Divinity that man can hopefully address in prayer. For unless God can be merciful towards the undeserving and hell-deserving man, it is useless to think of asking anything at his hands. The notion that man may relate with God on grounds of pure personal justice must be discarded, as neither warranted by Scripture nor supported by experience. It is clear that our hopes rest only on the shown mercy of our God and that God has revealed this in his words and statutes. Exodus 34:7; Psalm 103:8; Micah 7:18; Ephesians 2:4; James 5:11.
From the explanations stated above, we could see the ultimate of God’s covenant is in the Lord Jesus Christ as he has instituted in the New Covenant. We will do some X-ray into the new covenant.
Let us examine briefly the meaning and the background of the word covenant in relation to us as God’s people, Christians.
THE NEW COVENANT
7For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8Because finding fault with them, He says: Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 9not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. 10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”13In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
In the New Testament scriptures, Jesus Christ is described in many passages as the fulfilment of the Old Testament practices and prophecies (Jeremiah 23:5-6; Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 1:31-33). The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and his ministry among men are prefigured by the things in the Old Testament. All the descriptions adduce to Christ in the Old Testament is developed further in the Epistle to the Hebrews (esp. chs. 7–10). Jesus is the last Adam and Israel’s hope and consolation: he is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17–18). He is the prophet greater than Jonah (Matt 12:41), and the Son over the house where Moses was a servant (Hebrews 3:5–6), leading his people to the heavenly promised land. He is the high priest greater than Aaron, offering up himself as the perfect sacrifice once for all (Hebrews 9:12, 26). He is the king greater than Solomon (Matthew 12:42), ruling forever on David’s throne (Luke 1:32).
Under the new covenant Jesus Christ does reign and will reign on David’s throne forever. The Father’s mercies never departed from Jesus even when he was made sin for us. Jesus is building the Father a magnificent house (Hebrews 3:3-6) in the sense that we are God’s Temple (1Peter 2:5) and the Church is God’s new house. David trusted God so much that he said ‘You are God, and Your words are true’. This was David’s foundation of faith. He knew that God was God and He is still God and that every word of His was true. This is the basis of the Covenant.
The covenant which is of redemption, is the eternal agreement within the Godhead in which the Father appointed the Son to become incarnate, suffer, and die as a main head of mankind to make an atonement for their sin. In return, the Father promised to raise Christ from the dead, glorify him, and give him a people.
Christians see Jesus as the mediator of this New Covenant, and that his blood, shed at his crucifixion is the required blood of the covenant: as with all covenants between God and man described in the Bible, the New Covenant is considered “a bond in blood sovereignly administered by God”. It has been theorized that the New Covenant is the Law of Christ as spoken during his Sermon on the Mount.
Jesus Christ – Salvific Covenant
Generally, Christians believe that the promised New Covenant was instituted at the Last Supper as part of the Eucharist, which in the Gospel of John includes the New Commandment. Based on the Bible teaching that, “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator lives,” Protestants tend to believe that the New Covenant only came into force with the death of Christ. The Christian view of the New Covenant is a new relationship between God and humans mediated by Jesus which necessarily includes all people, both Jews and Gentiles, upon sincere declaration that one believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and God. The New Covenant also breaks the generational curse of the original sin on all children of Adam if they believe in Jesus Christ, after people are judged for their own sins, which is expected to happen with the second arrival of Jesus Christ. Thus as the Apostle Paul advises that the Mosaic Covenant of Sinai does not in itself prevent Jews from sinning and dying, and is not given to Gentiles at all (only the Noahic covenant is unique in applying to all humanity), Christians believe the New Covenant ends the original sin and death for everyone who becomes a Christian and cannot simply be a renewal of the Mosaic Covenant since it seemingly accomplishes new things.
GOD’S COVENANT FOR THIS CONTEMPORARY AGE
The combination of the old and new testaments form the compendium of God’s Promises. Both the two volumes are still relevant to the Christians of today. They are God’s words and are infallible. Since God is Immortal, unchanging, immutable and He is still the same as of old. The children of Israel referred to Him as God of their fathers: God of Abraham, God of Isaac and God of Jacob and over generations He has been faithful to His promises to these patriarchs and all their succeeding generations (Numbers 23:19). This was crowned when Jesus Christ said before Abraham was I AM. His faithfulness and truthfulness to His words are unshakable.
In our watchwords for this year, God promised ‘… I will be with you and favour you with blessings..’ (Genesis 26:3). God kept His words as it was in the past. Being able to celebrate the 40th (RUBY) Anniversary of the Diocese and to host the Church of Nigeria Standing Committee meeting at the time our National economy is declared to be in recession showed clearly the FAITHFULNESS of God to this Diocese. This God is the present help in trouble (need). He alleviated our fears and anxiety emanating from the likelihood of large celebration and hosting a meeting of big magnitude within the time space of six months without any prior large deposit of money earmarked for such purposes. The Lord supplied all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19); It is by His Grace that we are alive because our existence, sustenance, good health and longevity are fulfillments of His promises – Covenants (3John2).
The Grace received now as His people in Egba Diocese is believed to be part of the fulfilment of the promises he had made with our fore fathers in Egbaland even at founding of Abeokuta in 1830. It was ‘prophesied’ that by accepting the Bible and Education the Egba nation will be GREAT. When Christianity was introduces to the people by the slave returnees, this way of life was acceptable among the people; increase was being recorded among the converts, the Church Missionary Society was invited to come in and sealed up the evangelical work that had gained ground in Abeokuta (Acts 8:8). In 1842 and 1843 the missionaries came into the town to start the Church. ‘And there has been great joy in the City of Abeokuta’. Not of old alone had such a spiritual move was recorded in Abeokuta such as the first baptism in Abeokuta in 1857, or the first ordination by Bishop Vidal of Sierra Leone in 1857 and many other first instances. What about Seven hundred and eighty-nine candidates presented for confirmation on the occasion of Ruby celebration on July 24, 2016 and the baptism of Seventy nine converts along with other baptismal candidates by the Bishop on April 17, 2017 (Easter Monday) in the Cathedral Church of St. Peter, Ake, Abeokuta. This was the result of evangelical drive of the Cathedral around Itoko, Ijemo, Erunwon, Ikopa, Ake, Ibarapa neighbourhoods, a suggestion of Oba Michael Aremu Adedotun Gbadebo, Okukenu IV and sponsored by the Most Revd. Peter J. Akinola. These are true celebrations of God’s faithfulness to us and to redeem as many that will believe in the name of Jesus Christ and confess him as their Lord and Saviour shall be saved. (Romans 8:14; 10:9-13)
My covenant will I keep with you, your children and your children’s children. (Genesis 17:7; Psalm 89:34; Leviticus 26:9; Genesis 6:18; Isaiah 59:21; Psalm 128:6; Luke 1:55,73; Romans 3:27 – 4:25; Galatians 3:8; Acts 26:6; Ephesians 2:12; Romans 15:8).
I conclude this exhortation with the hymn chosen as the Synod Hymn, ‘O God of Bethel’. It was composed based on the covenantal experience of Jacob (Israel) at Bethel where he had a dream of open heaven with a connecting ladder on his escape journey from his brother Esau. Since God’s covenant with Abraham and Isaac are in perpetuity, this covenant is renewed with Jacob. So Jacob’s oath or vow at Bethel is based and sustained on that of Abraham. It is made with the consciousness of God’s faithfulness in keeping His promises. God promised Jacob “Behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest” (Gen. 28:15)
This hymn emphasizes that God has promised His people to be with them and keep them in all places where they go. The original text was written by Philip Doddridge (1702-1751). This hymn, “O God of Bethel,” was produced in 1736 or 1737 and first published in the Scottish Paraphrases of 1745. The present text is a revision that was made most likely by John Logan (1748-1788). It was published in the Scottish Translations and Paraphrases of 1781 edited by William Cameron. The sixth stanza is by an unknown Scottish author, perhaps Logan, and was added in the Scottish Paraphrases of 1781.
The song identifies Jacob’s God at Bethel with the God whom we worship and serve.
- Stanza 1 addresses God as the one who has always fed and led His people
“O God of Bethel, by whose hand Thy people still are fed,
Who through this weary pilgrimage Hast all our fathers led.”
- Bethel was the place where Jacob had his dream, received God’s blessing, and promised to serve Him: Gen. 28:16-22
B. It is by God’s hand that we are still fed, just as He sent manna for the children of Israel in the wilderness: Exo. 16:14-15
C. And as He led them, He still leads us through our weary pilgrimage: 1 Pet. 2:11-12
- Stanza 2 says that we present our vows and our prayers before His throne
“Our vows, our prayers, we now present Before thy throne of grace;
God of our Fathers, be the God Of their succeeding race.”
- Because He is a loving Father, we can make our requests known to Him in prayer: Phil. 4:6-7
B. This is symbolized by our coming before His throne of grace for help in time of need: Heb4:14-16
C. But we can do these things only as we make Him our God, just as He was the God of our fathers who determined to serve Him with all their house: Josh. 24:15
- Stanza 3 asks Him to guide us and give us our daily bread
“Through each perplexing path of life Our wandering footsteps guide;
Give us each day our daily bread, And raiment fit provide.”
(The original read: “If Thou, through each perplexing path Wilt be our constant guide, If Thou wilt daily bread supply And raiment wilt provide.”)
- The path of life is often perplexing, and the right way is described as strait and narrow or difficult: Matt. 7:13-14
B. However, we look to God to guide us with His word as the lamp to our feet and light to our pathway: Ps. 119:105
C. In addition, we also look to Him to give us each day our daily bread: Matt. 6:11
- Stanza 4 makes the request that He cover us with His wings and lead us to heaven
“O spread Thy covering wings around Till all our wanderings cease,
And at our Father’s loved abode Our souls arrive in peace.”
(The original read,
“If Thou wilt spread Thy shield around Till these our wanderings cease.”)
- We can request that God spread His covering wings around us as we journey through live: Ps. 36:7
B. Someday all our wanderings will cease when we pass from this life: Heb. 9:27
C. And our hope is that we shall arrive at peace in our Father’s loved abode: Jn. 14:1-3
- Stanza 5 vows that we shall our whole selves resign to God and give Him all we have
“To Thee as to our Covenant God We’ll our whole selves resign,
And count that not our tenth alone But all we have is Thine.”
- God is our Covenant God because Christians have accepted His new covenant: Heb. 8:6-13
- Like the Macedonians, we should first give ourselves to the Lord: 2 Cor. 8:5
C. Then, like David, we will recognize that all things come from Him and that whatever we give is of His own: 1 Chron. 29:14
- Stanza 6 promises that because of His blessings He will be our God and our portion
“Such blessings from Thy gracious hand Our humble prayers implore;
And Thou shalt be our chosen God, And portion evermore.”\
- God is the source of every good and perfect gift, both physical and spiritual: Jas. 1:17
B. Therefore, we can continue to seek His blessings with the assurance that He will hear and answer us: 1 Jn. 5:14-15
C. But, again, we must determine that we shall make Him our God and portion evermore: Ps. 16:5
See how closely Doddridge followed the original scripture….In the old days when every Christian knew his Bible, each phrase in the hymn would at once suggest the original words, and part of the joy in singing the hymn was that constant recognition of Jacob’s parallel situation.” It is the opinion of many in our day that “old” hymns such as these, though steeped in Biblical imagery and language, just do not speak to modern mankind. Yet, if we truly understand the Bible, we will realize that we still need Him whom we address as “O God of Bethel.”
We will rise to take the Synod Hymn – O God of Bethel
Unto God, Eternal Invisible and only Wise God be all honour, power, glory and Majesty;
Now and forever more, Amen.
Your Bishop and friend,