…..as St. Barth’s extols founding fathers
By Sam Eyoboka
Bishop of Ogori Magongo Local Government Area of Kogi State, Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion), Rt. Rev. Festus Davies, has blamed the travails of the Nigerian Church on the penchant for materialism by gospel preachers.
Preaching the only sermon at the thanksgiving service to round up the 60th anninversary of St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church, Aguda, Surulere, Lagos, the bishop who stood in for the vice chancellor of Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, Rt. Rev. Professor Dapo Folorunsho Asaju commended the invaluable contribution of members of the church.
The bishop reminded them of the noble role St. Bartholomew played as a true disciple of Christ to grow the church among the heathen. The cleric therefore urged the members, especially the young ones, to take evangelism as a primary duty, in order to save the world for Christ.
According to him, the Church today had abandoned its first love, as it now emphasises prosperity preaching over and above the salvation message.
“The challenge the Church is facing today is that the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries stood for the undiluted word of God, but the present generation is diluting the word of God to the extent that everybody is now preaching what he/she likes.
“Everybody preaches what suits him/her and not what Christ stood for. Healing and prosperity in the Bible are good but that cannot be our major emphasis. Once they get the gospel right, there is healing, deliverance, and breakthrough…but Christ first and all other material things will be added to you and not the other way round.”
Continuing, he asked: “How can you talk about healing when Christ has not been preached; where do you get the healing from? Until we go back to the old time religion we will not get ourselves right,” he maintained.
The bishop noted that the Church has lost its respect in the society, because preachers now preach to please politicians for what they would gain from them.
According to him, “the government no longer respects the Church because preachers tell politicians what they want to hear in expectation of pecuniary gains.”
The Aguda church recently completed its 60th anniversary with several social outreaches to the community including fixing potpoles, providing security outposts in the neighbourhood, provision of an air-conditing unit for the chapel within the Aguda Police Post among others.
The year long celebration thank-sgiving service attracted several of its baby parishes across the state and and was rounded off with an award ceremony to recognise the sterling contributions of founding fathers of the church who had laboured tirelessly to bring the church to where it is today.
The Lagos Mainland Diocesan bishop, Rt. Rev. Akinpelu John-son, in his exhortation, admonished the church members not to relent in well doing that the church is known for, adding “people hear of St. Barth’s Aguda, and remember that Bartholomew was one of Jesus’ disciples, who took the gospel to as far as India.
“What we know of St. Barth’s is that they preach the gospel and evangelise. So, as we rejoice today, we should do so knowing the history of the church,” he stated.
The cleric enjoined them to strive to complete the new building under construction before the 70th anniversary.
The awardees included the longest serving vicar and archdeacon of the church, Ven. Ben Nwane-kwu, Papa T. N. Njoku, and people’s warden, Sir Henry Oranusi, among others.