The Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, has consecrated two new Bishops for Mbamili and Oke-Osun Dioceses. They are the Ven. Obiora Uzochukwu for Mbamili Anglican Diocese and Ven. Oluwagbemiro Ayodele Fabuluje for Oke-Osun Anglican Diocese.
During the consecration service held at All Saints’ Cathedral Church, Onitsha, Anambra State, The Most Revd. Tunde Adeleye, Archbishop of Niger Delta Province and Bishop of the Diocese of Calabar, admonished the laity and priests to help their bishops succeed. He said the Bishop is a human being and may depend on them for counsel, so they should help him succeed by being available and offering wise counsel.
Speaking on the topic, “How to help the Bishop to succeed”, which he said is a part two of what they discussed at the Bishops’ retreat, Archbishop Adeleye enjoined the congregation, particularly the priests and laity to pray for their Bishop. According to him, if they are praying for their Bishop, they would never abuse him or speak ill of him.
The preacher lamented that some priests are problematic in their Dioceses and make things difficult for their Bishops, especially when they did not choose them to be the Bishop. He explained that such priests know what the Bishop should have done off the top of their heads, and once he does not do it, he is not a good Bishop.
Archbishop Adeleye remarked that a Bishop might not always be right, but one should never abuse him because God has anointed him. He added that instead of them castigating their Bishop, they should go to God in prayer. He called on them to be useful to their Bishop and allow him to use them for the work of God. The cleric pointed out that while being available if there is any correction, they should accept it because the Bishop is the one chosen to lead the Diocese.
The Bishop of Calabar Diocese charged the laity and priests to obey the Church patiently and not argue to belittle their Bishop or speak to him as if he does not know what he is doing. He reiterated that they should esteem their Bishop very highly, respect and honour him. He warned the priests against allowing the laity to teach them to disobey their Bishop; adding that they are digging a professional grave for themselves if they do so. He said, “Don’t follow people to disobey your Bishop because you are holding his license.”
The Most Revd. Adeleye concluded his sermon with an admonition to all present to follow their Bishop with their minds, pray for him and desire what is right for him. He urged them to remember that the Bishop they are trying to stress is a husband to a wife and father to children, who also have a future. He advised that they should always ask themselves if the Bishop would be happy when he hears about what they are doing; stressing that they should not do what would make their Bishop sad.
The Rt. Revd. Obiora Uzochukwu takes over as the Bishop of Mbamili from the Rt. Revd. Henry Okeke, who translated to the Diocese of Ideato; while the Rt. Revd. Oluwagbemiro Ayodele Fabuluje succeeds the late Bishop Foluso Taiwo as the Bishop of Oke-Osun Diocese.
By Ngozi Adighibe