As is customary of Jesus Christ during his mission work on earth to withdraw into solitary places for spiritual edification, the Anglican Diocese of Niger Delta of the Church of Nigeria withdrew her entire clergy and wives into the solitary home of the Ibru Retreat Centre for a seven-day intensive spiritual edification exercise, covenant renewal as well as spiritual rejuvenation.
The week long retreat which took place between Monday 7th and Saturday 14th October 2019, had in attendance the lord Bishop of the Diocese of Niger Delta and wife Rt. Rev & Mrs Ralph C. Ebirien JP, the entire Clergy and their wives, as well as invited Guest Speakers.
“Equiping the Saints” Ephesians 4:12 was the theme of the retreat; it featured seminars, workshops, and talks, which were the preparative tools to re-engineer the spiritual intentionality of the entire clergy on the focus of their calling.
Prominent in all the teachings, is the call by the Bishop of the Niger Delta Diocese, on the church and homes to Pedagogy as a habit of the church. According to him, proper teaching of the gospel in the church and home is the panacea to the challenges of the society today. Such challenges like social vices, church growth decline, and moral decadence are a consequence of lack of sound and consistent teachings in the church. He however, avered that, the church must be intentional about the ministry of teaching and to bring it back like the return of the ark in order to solve both present and future societal moral decline, and church repressive growth.
Also remarkable in the retreat program was the Talk on the Theme delivered by Rt. Rev Blessing Enyinda. The speaker who gave ample exposition on the theme as drawn in Ephesians 4:12 revealed that the job of priesthood of the church is not a profession neither is it necessarily a means of livelihood. To him, a proper understanding of this, is the first step of equipping oneself for the job of equipping the saints (the church). In his teaching, he further upheld that, the abysmal drifting away from the originality of the true purpose of divine call by present day pastors, is responsible for the decline in the spiritual and all-inclusive growth of the church. Thus, the Anglican priest and Bishop of Ikwere Diocese of the Niger Delta province holds firmly in conclusion that the overall edification of the church should inter alia be paramount.
Other topical issues subjected to seminars, discourse, and workshops are; Secrets of Church Growth by Mr. Kiki Briggs; The Clergy Home by Mrs. Victoria R. C. Ebirien; and A workshop on The Clergy and Church Vestments, facilitated by the Ven. Rufus T. Etire. The uniqueness of this year’s retreat saw a practical discussion on “Clergy Relationship”. The discussants and the House saw greed, oppression, rumour peddling, jealousy, loss or lack of trust among Clergy, loss or lack of vision and direction from God among other things as causes of friction among Clergy. They asserted that if each would identify and or would be utilized in his area of call, realize that ministry is not competetory but complementary and everyone is given his due, then there would be a harmonious working environment.
The program which was equally laced with other sundry activities that are characteristic of the true Anglican tradition, was planned by a committee headed by Ven Wisdom Edighotu.
Canon Amon Ijonama