The just concluded Church of Nigeria’s Legal Conference
To the glory of God, the seventh Edition of Church of Nigeria’s Legal Conference that held from July 31 to August 3, at Basilica of Grace, in Gudu District, Apo, Abuja in Abuja Diocese, ended successfully.
The conference was well attended by Chancellors, Registrars and Legal officers of the various Dioceses of the Communion and had its theme as: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria to the utmost parts of the earth,” (Acts 1:8). Preaching a sermon at the opening of the conference, Archbishop of Ondo and Bishop of Ondo Diocese, the Most Rev. Dr. George Lasebikan, said it is anomalous for Christians to maintain two lives—on Sunday and other days. He was of the view that whether privately or publicly, professionally or religiously, they ought to show that they are Disciples of Christ. He, therefore, encouraged all the delegates to be witnesses for Christ and through it fulfil this gospel mandate.
Goodwill messages were received at the conference. First, from the Primate of All Nigeria, Most Rev Nicholas D. Okoh delivered on his behalf by Rt. Rev Dr. Stephen Ayodeji Fagbemi successor Bishop of Owo, second, Ondo State Executive Governor and Chancellor of Owo Diocese, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu ably represented by the Deputy Chancellor, Oladipo Aigbedo Okpeseyi, SAN and finally by the New Chancellor of Church of Nigeria, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, SAN.
In his welcome address, the chairman of Planning Committee and Registrar of Church of Nigeria, Barr. Abraham Yisa, (MON) said since inception of the conference, its burden has been on how best to improve the friendship, understanding and fellowship between the legal officers and the Bishops of Church of Nigeria. Looking back now, he was full of thanks to God that the Holy Spirit has blended it so well. He observed with enthusiasm that the legal officers of the Church are now vanguards and witnesses to the risen Christ. He, therefore, implored all legal officers to sustain this tempo, as well continue their advisory role to the Bishops, without waiting for it to be solicited.
Various papers were also presented and deliberated on. They include, but not limited to the following: “Human sexuality, Revisionism and Development in CANA/ACNA” by Barr. Muyiwa Sobo, “Marriage, Divorce and Inheritance in the Anglican Communion” by Most Rev Dr. Ikechi Nwosu, “Herbs and Orthodox Medicine by Rt. Rev P. O. J. Imasuen and Dr. Peter Madu, “Discipline in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion): Bishop, Clergy and laity” by Rt. Rev David Onuoha and “Deeds in General: Relinquishment, Dedication and Acceptance” by Hon. Justice B. A. Ogunade (Rtd.) among others.
The conference set time aside to praise God and to pray on a wide range of issues, including the Church, the nation and the world. God, Who never withdraws from the affairs of men, will definitely receive all thanksgiving and adoration due to Him. Yes, He will answer because He says: “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you and you will honour Me”, (Psalm 50:15, Jeremiah 33:30).
Therefore, it is important we thank God for the Primate and his brother Bishops for their co-operation, moral and financial support and prayers over these years for the Legal Officers Conference. It is hoped that this wonderful event will be sustained, more so now that the Legal Officers are seeking an impetus in Theological Training in order to continue to make their advisory role to the Bishops be in line with the tenets of the Church. To God be the glory, Amen!
Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical
Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.