The Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion has urged the participants at the just concluded consultation on Theological education in the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion to clearly chart the Roadmap and Proposals for Theological Education, Mission and Ministry of the Church.
The Consultation which held at the Ibru Centre, Agbarha-Otor, from Tuesday, July 18, to Friday, July 21, 2023, with the Theme: “Theological Education and Christian Ministry in the Contemporary World”, had in attendance over one hundred (100) theologians and theological educators including all the Rectors and principal officers of all the Theological Colleges of the Church of Nigeria; Eight Bishops, Six Professors of Theology and Christian Studies; Lecturers of Theology or Religious Studies in Theological Colleges, Institutes, Diocesan Training Centres and Universities, including Five women; Staff of Archives and Monument Centre of the Church of Nigeria; Crowther Missions Institute, Osoogun and a representative of the Diocese of Accra, Ghana.
Archbishop Ndukuba who expressed the need for the consultation said; “it is to appraise, brainstorm, pray and come up with strategic actions plan and framework that will help develop a comprehensive theological training program for effective and transformative ministry in our contemporary context and times. As stakeholders we need to come together, to share insights and experiences, and develop strategies for equipping ministers for effective church ministry.”
He noted that in the midst of many challenges confronting the Church and Society today, there is a need to raise servants of God that are well equipped to lead the Church, stand for the Truth, defend and uphold the Orthodox faith bequeathed to us with Integrity.
He further stressed that the level of moral decadence and recklessness among preachers of the Gospel in our time is appalling and calls for a radical change in our Theological training philosophy and praxis particularly with the realities of the 21st century starring at us.
“The 21st century has been marked by significant changes and advancements in various aspects of human life. These changes have been driven by technological innovations, globalization, social shifts, and evolving political landscapes. The interconnectedness of the world has increased significantly in the 21st century. The Social media platforms have amplified these changes which includes changes in family structures, lifestyle choices, and attitudes toward traditional institutions. The rise of Islamic extremism and Islamization agenda, revival of traditional worship, Idolatry, modernization of occultism and occultic practices, sexual aberrations, fraudulent Youths, populism, nationalism, and political polarization and oppression has impacted our missions and ministry.”
Primate Henry opined that the panacea to these myriads of doctrinal aberrations can only birthed in Theological Institutions that raises ministers with Sound Biblical and Doctrinal training. Ministers of the Gospel who are sold out to Christ centered Pastoral care, proactive Missions, Evangelical Anglicanism, balance Ethical and Community Engagement.
Ultimately, our expectation is that this summit will clearly chart Roadmap and Proposals for Theological Education, Mission and Ministry of the Church of Nigeria. A way forward that is SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound), he added.
Among numerous burning issues to be addressed during the conference are;
• A comprehensive review of the relevance and effectiveness of Current Curriculum for Priesthood formation,
• Educational standard and spirituality of priesthood candidates,
• Accreditation and Quality control of seminaries,
• Condition of service, salary and career path of Lecturers in Theological Colleges and
• Training of Lay ministers and clergy wives,
• Duration of theological Certificates, Diplomas, Degrees and priesthood formation,
• Procedure for establishment of new Theological colleges in regions that have none in CONNAM, Niger Delta among others….
The Consultation was effectively planned by the Bishop Theologian, The Rt. Rev’d. Prof. Dapo Asaju, The Rt. Rev’d. Dr Stephen Fagbemi (Bishop of Owo) and the Director of Theological Matters, The Venerable Dr. Princewill O. Ireoba.
By Korede Akintunde