Makinde (middle - sitting) flanked by Methodist clerics
Over the past nine months, the entire members of the Methodist Church Nigeria have witnessed a host of activities put together to mark the 170 years of methodism in Nigeria and its 50 years as an autonomous church.
A culmination of all these activities took place in the last one week starting with a special inter-denominational remembrance service on Sunday September 23 at the site of the Agia Tree in Badagry where it all began on September 24, 1842 with the arrival of Thomas Birch Freeman on Nigeria’s shores. The event which started on Monday September 24 was the formal opening of the grand finale week at the Gateway International Stadium, Sagamu, Ogun State, which ran through Tuesday September 25, 2012. There was a grand performance by the Association of Methodist Brigade, march past by representatives of all the participating Archdioceses in their various colours won by the Archdiocese of RIYE, football competition won by the Archdiocese of Ibadan, Bible quiz competition, which was won by Archdiocese of Enugu, and singing competition, which won, by the Archdiocese of RIYE. There were also the athletics events which included 100 metres races for U-17 boys and U-21 girls and 4X100 meters races for U-17 boys and U-21 girls.
Speaking during the occasion, the Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence, Dr. Sunday Ola Makinde, said that as a socially responsible Christian organisation and being the pioneer of education and quality healthcare service delivery in the country, the church has decided the establish a N5 billion Methodist Medical Centre not only to mark its 170 years in Nigeria, but in response to the desperate need for an intervention in the healthcare system which is struggling at the moment.
“This is a continuation of the progressive partnership we forged with the people of this great nation one hundred years ago, in 1912 to be precise, with the establishment of Wesley Guild Hospital, Ilesha, and the under-fives clinic at Imesi-Ile in the late 1950s. The pioneering work of David Morley and Margaret Woodland at Wesley Guild Hospital Ilesha is worthy of mentioning here,” Makinde noted.
The road to achieving this worthy cause began on Thursday September 27, 2012 with a fund raising dinner and a determination not to look back until this project is completed.
Sunday September 30 marked the grand thanksgiving service at Methodist Church of the Trinity Tinubu, Lagos, with members across the country in attendance.
Describing as remarkable the journey of fulfillment and accomplishment, Makinde noted, “But like the scripture say, ‘the harvest is plenty, but the labourers are few.’ We simply cannot afford to rest on our oars, not when our country Nigeria is in desperate need of qualitative change and transformation. The poverty level in the country is deepening just as unemployment is at an all time high. Social justice has become a mirage while the gap between the rich and the poor is at an unprecedented state. Today, there is no middle class in our society and the economy is not encouraging for entrepreneurs. We are at a crucial and critical stage in our drive to nationhood. The threat of insecurity has become a daunting and monstrous challenge.”
He noted however that as a church, Methodist is not prepared to close its eyes to these ills. “We are not prepared to keep quiet and watch the ship of state sink. Rather, we are committed, more than ever to join forces with the progressive elements in the land in ensuring that we have a safe landing,” Makinde said