Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano has urged the three newly-ordained Bishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) to be shepherds of all Christians and not just those of the Anglican faithful in order to ensure salvation for all.
The governor made the call while reiterating the prayers of Anointing by the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, The Most Rev Nicholas Okoh when he handed over Pastoral Staff to the new Bishops. The Consecration of the Bishops was held Sunday at the All Saints Cathedral Onitsha.
Obiano emphasized that the church is in need of devoted leaders who are conscious of the divine mandate given them by God to be shepherds of the flock of Christ under their care. He advised that the import of the prayers of the Archbishop and the responsibility it confers should not be lost on the new Bishops and all christians, stressing that the admonition ”Be a shepherd and not a wolf to the flock extends” to all segments of the body of Christ including Knights of the Church, Laity, Choir, and even himself as governor and other leaders who must set good example in leadership.
He thanked the Primate for the honour of attracting the ‘epoch making consecration ceremony to Onitsha and Anambra, and congratulated the new Bishops whose Consecration he noted was the first ordination of three Bishops he had ever witnessed.
The Consecrated Bishops include; Bishop of Gwagwalada, Venerable Moses Bukpe-Tabwaye, Bishop of Niger West, Venerable Captain Johnson Nwaohalama Ekwe,and Bishop of Ijesha North, Venerable Dr. Isaac Iwabi Oluyamo. Their consecration was performed by the Primate and other Anglican Bishops in solemn sentences blended with melodic musical renditions by the Cathedral choir. The new bishops were administered with Oaths of consecration, of allegiance to God and canonical obedience to the Primate, Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion.
In his Gospel Preaching, Bishop of Akoko, The Rt. Rev. Gabriel Akinbiyi, called on all Christians to live up to their calling by living according the dictates of Christ. Bishop Akinbiyi noted the erosion of moral values in the world especially among Christians. To buttress his observation, the Bishop asked: “When you look into the world what do you see. Today there seems to be no difference between the church and the world even though the Bible said that we are in the world but are not of the world. There seems to be no difference in the actions of the church and the world with acts of dishonesty, fornication prevalent among other vices .
The Preacher said that the new Bishops were adequately prepared following a one week Retreat in Onitsha where they were camped. He however warned them that the preparation is not enough to shield them from the reality of the challenges of managing the flock of Christ. “You are challenged to live in such a way that will not bring any disrepute to the Episcopacy,” the preacher stated.
Bishop Akinbiyi told the congregation that Theology without practice is useless. He quoted the letter of St Paul in Ephesians Chapter 4 Verses 1-16 to buttress his call for unity among the faithful.” As a prisoner for the Lord I urge you to lead a life worthy of your calling; One people, one church…” He also condemned lack of unity within the church stressing that unity and purity are two foundations which must go together.
Earlier, the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate, Church of Nigeria, Anglican communion Archbishop Okoh, who noted that the church has one foundation in Christ, commended Governor Obiano for his efforts in uniting the church of Christ which he noted is already yielding results. He thanked governor Obiano for hosting the Bishops to a dinner at the Governor’s Lodge and praised his commitment and dedication to the course of ecumenism.
The Eucharistic Consecration Service which was well-attended by all the Anglican Archbishops and Bishops in the Country, was also graced by a former Governor of the state, Dame Virgy Etiaba, top state Government functionaries as well as Knights, Ladies and Dames of the Church.