Over 70 bishops of the Methodist Church across Nigeria gathered in Lagos to deliberate on peace in the nation during the 36th Methodist Council of Bishop themed ‘Strive for peace and holiness, without which no person can see the Lord’, held in Lagos recently.
The event featured a number of bishops who shepherd Methodist Churches across the country joined force in teachings, equipping and encouraging mission and service in the church and helping set directions to fulfil God’s mission in the world.
The Prelate Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence Dr. Samuel Emeka Kanu Uche, noted that the Council envisioned have cross-pollination of ideas on how to manage dioceses thereby impacting positively on the life of the church and the nation at large while also prayerfully deliberating on other ecclesial, national and international developments with a view to advising those in authority on the proper way to go about governance so as to ensure social harmony, political instability and peaceful policy.
While urging Lagosians to work assiduously and diligently towards promotion of peace and harmony within the state¸ he called on members of the church to fulfil their civic responsibilities by ensuring that they pay taxes and rates and to participate actively in politics. He advised all citizens who have attained the age of 18 to go for the collection of their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) and jointly put a credible government in place for the betterment of all.
The Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Luke Odubanjo, said the conference would not only focus in spiritual growth of the bishops but also serve as an avenue to join forces in prayer to put an end to ugly events in Nigeria. “In recognition of our duties and responsibilities to this country and her leadership at all levels and our commitment to the citizenry, we wish to reiterate that as church, we are unapologetically committed to the restoration of moral and social values, good governance, democratic principles and well thought-through, effective and efficient socio-economic policies, reforms and interventions capable of turning around our collective fortunes as a church,” he said.
Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, in his welcome address said, “It’s our firm belief that your gathering in our dear state will evoke divine blessings on us. We therefore look forward to your prayers which we believe will not go unanswered.” Charging the bishops on religious roles towards the forthcoming elections, Ambode said the church should not relent on ministering to its congregation against immoralities that may result to crisis during the elections.
Ambode who was represented by his Special Adviser on Religious Matters, Reverend Kolawole Verralls, said, “2019 general elections is gathering momentum, given the enormous role religion plays in our lives and the influence wielded by religious leaders, you have very important role to play in admonishing Nigerians on the need to show high level of patriotism and eschew all tendencies that may result to chaos.”
Ambode who said it was significant that the 36th Council of the Bishops is holding at a critical period in our nation’s democratic dispensation, called for greater participation in the political process that will lead to enthroning the right people in leadership positions. “It’s a civic responsibility and a process that we all must involve in, and this process starts with registration for and obtaining our Permanent voters Card (PVC), which is the only way to vote in credible leaders. As we speak, activities towards the 2019 is ongoing, as the council settles to commence deliberations, I will enjoin you to pray for God’s continuous peace and tranquillity in our state and nation,” he added.