The Most Rev’d Joseph Akinfenwa, bishop of Ibadan Diocese, Anglican Communion, admonished newly consecrated bishops in the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion not to be distracted. He stated, “There is a lot of work to be done, this is a divine recruitment”. “Don’t be distracted, this should be taken as a challenge, not an achievement or an enjoyment and pomposity of office. This should be taken as a call to serve your Lord and your maker, It is a call to service,” he added.
Bishop Akinfenwa made this call during the sermon at a service in which the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, The Most Rev. Henry C. Ndukuba, consecrated four new bishops for the church at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Cathedral Church, Ikeja, Lagos on Sunday 27th, August 2023.
Those consecrated were; The Rt. Rev’d Collins Babalola for Diocese of Ajayi Crowther, The Rt. Rev’d Festus Nwafili for the Diocese of Ndokwa, The Rt. Rev. Ifedola Okupevi for the Diocese of Lagos, and The Rt. Rev’d Ebenezer. O. Saiki for Diocese of Akoko-Edo.
Also was the presentation of two Archbishops, they were The Most Revd Dr. Michael Fape for the Province of Lagos and the Most Revd Dr. Timothy Yahaya for the Province of Kaduna, and a new Dean of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, The Most Revd Dr. Blessing Enyindah of Ikwere Diocese.
Meanwhile, bishop Akinfenwa implored the newly consecrated bishops to erase the thought of being a bishop as an achievement instead they should take it as a challenge. He said, “Our episcopate these days has to be pastoral, has to be evangelical, has to be apostolic If we will not offend the Lord, even though they call us Lord Bishops.”
‘By now I am sure people would have been congratulating you. You must have received all kinds of visitors. Even as we talk now, some people are preparing for the celebration. I am not saying it is wrong to celebrate but look beyond the celebration, look beyond the merriment. There is work to be done. There are souls to be saved.’
“Those leading the church can’t be preaching monarchical episcopacy. Our episcopate has to be pastoral, it has to be evangelical, it has to be apostolic.”
Archbishop Akinfenwa also cautioned the clergy not to grow swollen heads for being addressed as ‘Lords’ “Even if they call us lord Bishop, be careful. We should not be acting as Lords and lording over the people we are supposed to serve. We can’t be bishops, archbishops and be commanding people to bring us tributes”
Akinfenwa asserted that the current economic environment has thrown many Nigerians into severe pain despite the promise that it will be for a limited time doesn’t seem to be coming to an end. He recounts that when people are in severe pain and pushed to tears, it is the Clergymen who offer their shoulders for people to lean on and cry upon.
He expressed his gratitude to God for the ministry and tenure of the outgoing Dean of the Church of Nigeria; Archbishop Buba Lamido and his wife and welcomed the new Dean of the Church of Nigeria, two Archbishops and the four bishops who were consecrated to the new level of service.
According to him the presentation of archbishops and the consecration of bishops is essential so that the gospel of the kingdom can be preached in all the world. It is important to note that any Christian institution that desires to be relevant to God can only have one priority which is missions, evangelism, and soul winning. He stated that “God’s interest is that sinners should not perish, but that they should be saved.
He said “The primary purpose of any church is to preach the gospel and win souls. Any church that seeks to please the Lord must prioritize soul winning.”
So our eyes must be on sinners out there who need the Savior desperately because Jesus died for them too, and God wants them in the fold very quickly, that is why He keeps recruiting people into His work, that is why He has called all those we were presented today for consecration.” he added.
By: Orioye Esther
Edited by: Korede Akintunde