The Nike Diocese (Anglican Communion) has announced that the third session of her 5th Synod shall hold from Thursday, October 14, 2021, to Sunday, October 17, 2021, at St. Peter’s Church, Thinker’s Corner, Enugu, Enugu State.
According to a statement signed by the Bishop, the Rt. Rev’d. Dr. Christian Onyeka Onyia, as a religious and social organisation, the church has been intervening in all aspects of the lives of citizens residing in the episcopal area of the Diocese through the provision of basic amenities, such as building and running schools, clinics, cottage industries, among others; these also help tackle insecurity and unemployment.
The statement reads: “The Diocese of Nike (Anglican Communion) will hold the 3rd session of her 5th Synod with the theme, “Church: Mission Through Social Action” from Thursday, October 14, 2021, to Sunday, October 17, 2021, at St. Peter’s Church, Thinker’s Corner, Enugu, Enugu State. The Bishop’s Charge, which will be read on Saturday, October 16, 2021, will cover the theme of the Synod and the State of the Nation. In discussing the State of the Nation, the address will provide an in-depth analysis of Nigeria’s current political economy and its implications for its citizens.
“The Church is a religious and social organisation, guided by spiritual, ethical and social principles contained in the fundamental teachings and doctrine of Christian faith. The expectation, therefore, is that the Church will play a vital role in stimulating and influencing social change and in the improvement of the value system of society. To fulfil this mandate, the Church must address human and social needs (spiritual, mental, physical, financial, emotional, etc.).
“In recognition of this Great Commission, the Diocese of Nike has not only expressed its interest in the spiritual welfare of society, but also its commitment to positively help alleviate the needs of society. The Church has set up schools, clinics, and other facilities in the communities to support and promote the well-being of individuals. Medical outreaches hold periodically, small businesses and the needy receive seed grants, while vocational, and artisanal training among other forms of support are offered to individuals and Communities in the episcopal area and beyond by the Diocese of Nike.
“In addition, to reduce the unemployment, poverty, misery rates in Nigeria, and the insecurity associated with these social deprivations, Diocese of Nike set up cottage industries, farms and other agricultural processing industries in the communities. In the Diocese of Nike, our focus is more on rural communities, because our diocese is 30% urban and 70% rural. Most importantly, rural mission based on social action and rural development are our objectives. During this Synod, there will be medical outreaches even as the Church dedicates new cottage industries, hospitals, and vicarages.
“The personality and principles of God, manifested in the life of Jesus Christ through his earthly ministry, have captured the essence of the Church on social action. No wonder He fed 5,000 people and turned water into wine (including other miracles and acts of love). Jesus Christ, during his ministry on earth, not only provided spiritual solutions to people’s needs, but also physical solutions. To gain souls for God, the early missionaries identified the needs of the people and became a solution to those needs. It may not be possible to reach the unreached if our mission strategy is simply preaching – spiritual solutions. It is said that the person who pays the piper calls the tune.”
The Statement adds: “The Gospel will make more impact when those who need health care receive it; those who need education have schools to attend; those whose children, husbands and wives need money to start businesses get money for it; the ones who need shelter are sheltered and the ones who are naked are clothed. The Church should begin to break the barriers posed by specific cultures, languages, and historical issues on the spread of the gospel and adopt practices and programmes that enhance people’s attitudes toward the gospel. That is what missions mean to us. Missions need to be in the form of using man for societal development.
“In Matthew 28:19-20, God commanded thus, ‘Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teach them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen. This is the Great Commission. As we see in the above passage, the commandment is to teach all nations to obey all things which God has commanded. In other words, God expects that we, the church, should change society through our teaching, our words, and our action (way of life). That is what the “Church: mission through social action,” is redirecting us to.
“The Church and Christians are aware of this Great Commission but have failed to obey this great commandment because of many factors. The Church, the very institution commissioned and sent to love, save, and help society, no longer does these things, but hurts and abuses people. Many churches, bishops, pastors, senior pastors, and general overseers are currently in competition over who owns the largest number of aircraft, cars, buildings, memberships, and other worldly acquisitions. Little or no attention is paid to the members of the Church, those who surround the Church and other communities. The Church is to be a haven of rest, a place of growth, encouragement, learning, comfort, and most importantly, a place of worship. Unfortunately, there are so many hurting and wounded people out there who have given up on the Church.
“Many church-leaders have become more determined, autonomous and self-reliant people who are more committed to themselves and their selfish desires of grabbing money than to the original mandate or commission of the Church. Their burden and preoccupation now rest with the acquisition of mundane positions, influence, and titles. Sermons from the pulpit, emptied of spirituality, have gone from the proclamation of the Holy Word of God to the narration of jokes, histories and prophecies that have no biblical support.
“The work of the Church is straightforward. It has to do with evangelization and social action. The society is failing and falling because the Church has not taken the central position and has not kept up with societal expectations. The society needs the Church. The Church has no choice but to become helpful, inspiring, necessary, and kind to the members and the society at large. As a Diocese, we are rethinking and reactivating the mission strategy to win more souls for God while addressing the physical, emotional, spiritual and physical health needs of the society.”