Bishop Anyanwu Calls On Christians to Arise and Build for God

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Rt. Rev’d James Alozie Anyanwu (JP), Bishop, Methodist Church Nigeria, Diocese of Uzuakoli

 

Bishop Anyanwu Calls On Christians to Arise and Build for God

The Bishop, Rt. Rev’d Dr. James Alozie Anyanwu (JP), Methodist Church Nigeria, Diocese of Uzuakoli in Bende local government area of Abia State has called on the Methodist faithful and Christians across the nation to arise and build for God.

He made this clarion call during the 29th Annual Diocesan Synod of Methodist Church Nigeria held at Ebenezer MCN, Lohum, Umuimenyi Circuit.

The Synod began on Friday, April 26, 2024 with arrival and registration of the Synod delegates both ministerial and laity, opening Eucharistic Service, presentation of reports on various issues affecting the Diocese, reading of the Prelate’s Address/Apostolic Message to the 2024 Synod, the Bishop’s Address to the 29th Annual Synod, Discussion and Resolution on the Prelate’s and Bishop’s Address, presentation of candidates for the ministry as well as deacons for ordination among others.

The Synod theme, “Arise and Build” taken from Nehemiah 2:18 was apt to the compelling needs of the Methodist Church Nigeria.

In his Presidential Address, the Bishop, Diocese of Uzuakoli, Rt. Rev. Dr. James Alozie Anyanwu (JP) called on the Church to see this year’s Synod as a time to arise like Nehemiah and build for God so as to attract His numerous blessings in their lives and the Church stressing that every weapon and antics of the enemy to scuttle their plan shall not prosper.

He appreciated God for granting them amazing grace in the Diocese of Uzuakoli despite the prevailing economic hardship and insecurity across the nation.

He called on leaders of the nation to take urgent measures to alleviate the plight of the citizenry and find a lasting solution to the high incidence of insecurity that has plagued the nation.

He challenged Christians in Abia State and across the nation irrespective of their denominations to join their voices together in prayer for God to bring the ugly situation to an end.

He appreciated the host circuit, Ebenezer Methodist Church Nigeria, Lohum and others for leaving no stone unturned in ensuring the huge success of the Synod.

 

Sir Emeson Nwakanma
(Chairman of the occasion) and Prof. Udo Nwokocha (sitting)

Saturday, April 27, 2024 featured the Plenary Session ably chaired by Sir Emeson K. Nwakanma, the Chief Executive Officer of Blessed Group of Companies.

In his opening remarks, Sir Emeson Nwakanma expressed profound gratitude to God for keeping them alive to participate in this year’s Synod.

The popular erstwhile Lay President of Methodist Church Nigeria, Umuahia Diocese and incumbent chairman, Council of Knights, Umuahia Archdiocese said that everyone who is alive has a reason to be alive and present in this year’s Synod.

He called on the Methodist Church to “Arise and Build” for God stressing that if they only arise without building for God that they have not actually arisen adding that life without God and Jesus Christ is useless.

He said that the Diocese of Uzuakoli is highly favoured with amazing Bishops who are usually posted to the area.

He lauded the giant strides of Rt. Rev’d Dr. James Alozie Anyanwu (JP) since he came to the Diocese and prayed God to continue to bless him and the entire Diocese as well as to grant them a remarkable Plenary Session.

At the end of his remarks and a scintillating welcome song by the host choir, Prof. Udo Nwokocha mounted the lectern and presented his keynote address with panache.

Prof. Udo Nwokocha (Keynote Speaker)

According to the renowned Professor of Library and Information Science, Abia State University, Uturu (ABSU) and immediate past Lay President, Diocese of Umuahia, the theme of the Synod, “Arise and Build” is a call to service in the church, the community and humanity. He pointed out that service entails sacrifice and an eventual reward.

However, he noted that many are called but few are chosen and maintained that only the chosen Arise and Build as well as enjoy the eventual reward.

He challenged the Methodist faithful to aspire to be among the builders in obedience to the Word of God as reflected in the theme of their 2024 Conference.

Prof. Udo Nwokocha asserted that as Methodists the theme of the Synod, “Arise and Build” could imply that there are some aspects of the Church that they have not been getting right and needed to be mended.

He urged them to see 2024 as a year of sober reflection and soul-searching to identifying those aspects of the Methodist Church Nigeria that require building or rebuilding adding that they need the Spirit of God to guide their thoughts towards the things that require attention in the Church.

He declared that 2024 would not be a year of building houses alone but also a year of building relationships and peaceful co-existence among members of the church, which he said is currently in bad state.

To this end, Prof. Udo Nwokocha charged the Church to “Arise and Build” like Nehemiah.

He stated that there are many walls and gates lying in ruins as well as many residents who are in great difficulty in Methodist Church, particularly, Diocese of Uzuakoli.

He disclosed that there are so many local churches with cracked walls, leaking roofs, no fence and gates as well as so many circuit headquarters without buses, complete musical instruments for their bands among others.

He also enumerated other forms of walls in the Church that require rebuilding such as indigent members of various congregations who are not sure where their next meal would come from, motherless babies, widows and widowers who lost their bread winners and therefore have become destitute as well as the aged who are not strong enough to attend service regularly.

Prof. Udo Nwokocha gave a damning verdict on interpersonal relationships between Methodists, couples, ministers of the gospel and so on stressing that it is another category of walls and gates that require urgent attention in the Church.

Prof. Udo Nwokocha enjoined the Church to remain steadfast in prayers for peace and unity between the laity as well as the clergy ranging from Prelate, Archbishops, Bishops, Presbyters, down to evangelists adding that unsettled conflicts among ministers could be catastrophic for the church.

He charged the senior ministers to work hard to nip such conflicts in the bud under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Prof. Udo Nwokocha recommended that 2024 be declared A Year of Building New Structure in Methodist Church Nigeria adding that it would be a huge disappointment if they allow the year to pass without building something to justify the theme of the Synod, “Arise and Build “.

He called on all levels of the Church to engage in construction and building from Conference to local churches according to their capacity.

He outlined some of the projects to embark on at various levels of the church namely Conference projects such as building of a befitting guest house in Lagos and Abuja.

He decried the idea of lodging in guests houses built and owned by other denominations stating that he finds it difficult to accept financial constraint as a reason for not building their own.

He said that if Conference decides to build guest houses they must cut down travelling and printing work.

Coming to Diocesan projects he recommended that every Diocese of Methodist Church Nigeria should choose a project to build before the end of the year.

To this end, he suggested that Diocese of Uzuakoli should build and own a befitting hall, which could be hired for social events such as weddings, meetings among others.

He revealed that financial discipline is key to raising the wherewithal to fund the projects and called for adherence to the annual church budget as approved by the council and the Synod.

In terms of Circuit/Local Church projects, he urged each of them to also select a project for execution depending on the need and environment.

According to him, they can decide to go into poultry, piggery or fishing in commercial scale aimed at making profit.

He advised them to be prudent in the use of church fund in order to raise money for such projects and cautioned that on no account should money realized from harvests be used to pay for assessment or travel expenses.

Prof. Udo Nwokocha maintained that all development-oriented churches use church harvest proceeds for capital projects noting that it is the path to growth and progress.

Finally, Prof. Udo Nwokocha expressed optimism that Methodist Church Nigeria can turn around its fortune this year if they put the Conference theme into action.

He charged them to consider the theme as a mandate, rather than just a frivolous statement. His thought-provoking address drew resounding ovation from all and sundry.

The Bishop, Diocese of Uzuakoli, Rt. Rev’d Dr. James Alozie Anyanwu (JP) lauded him for all the points he raised aimed at moving the church forward.

He appreciated him for identifying with them and always honouring their invitation despite his ever-busy schedule.

Thereafter, Very Rev. C. N. Ugboaja, PhD, FCAI, reviewed the Summary/Appraisal of Circuits Reports to the 29th Annual Diocesan Synod of Uzuakoli.

The major highlight of the Plenary Session was donation in support of the development projects in the Diocese.

Sir Johnson Chukwu, Lay President, Methodist Church Nigeria Diocese of Uzuakoli

At the end, the Lay President, Methodist Church Nigeria, Diocese of Uzuakoli and Chief Executive Officer of Cowry Asset Management Limited, Sir Johnson Chukwu gave the vote of thanks.

He expressed profound gratitude to God for the super success story of the Synod and called on both the clergy and laity to take a cue from Nehemiah, come together and build for God.

He harped on the need for evangelism and soul-winning and encouraged the church to show more commitment and sacrifice in those areas for their light to shine so that people would see it and glorify their Father in heaven.

The Synod climaxed on Sunday, April 28, 2024 with Synod Service and closing formalities.

At the end, Rt. Rev’d Dr. James Alozie Anyanwu (JP) and his lovely wife, Ezinne Pauline Anyanwu appreciated God for making the Synod a huge success as well as the entire Diocese for their unquantifiable love and support.

In a chat with newsmen, Bishop James Alozie Anyanwu (JP) bared his mind on the Synod among other sundry issues. Excerpts.

His Lordship, let us meet you.
I am Rt. Rev’d. Dr. James Alozie Anyanwu (JP), the Bishop, Methodist Church Nigeria, Diocese of Uzuakoli.

What is the essence of Synod?
Usually Synod is a time in Methodist Church when we gather once in a year to review our performances in our various local churches and circuits for the past year and then plan how we are going to work for the year coming. It is a kind of spiritual-business meeting of the church.

How would you describe this year’s Synod?
First, we reviewed our work for the past year. We made some discoveries including our lapses. We blamed ourselves in areas we did not do well and made corrections. In areas we performed very well, we appreciated ourselves, encouraged ourselves and prayed for ourselves. We also presented candidates who are coming newly into the ministry. Nobody goes into the Methodist Ministry without passing through the Synod. It is the Synod that approves your candidature, then moves your name to the Archdiocese and from there your name is sent to the Conference that gives the final approval. We equally discussed with people who are coming for ordination and people who have completed their years as deacons. We brought them in and recommended them for ordination. We had a look at how we performed evangelism-wise. How many souls did we win for the Lord? How many new entrants have we had for the past one year. We take it very seriously when we come to a gathering like this. How many new local churches were established? We are also encouraged to go out and reach the unreached. Did we lose members? Since we met last how many newborns have we had? Are there people that have gotten married? Are there people that received special blessings and graces from the Lord? So we have seen our lapses and blamed ourselves where we did not do well and also encouraged ourselves to go and do well.

What are the high points of your Presidential Address?
The theme of my Presidential Address is “Arise and Build” taken from Nehemiah 2:18. So we tried to align what is going on in the church with what is contained in that portion of the Bible so that if there are broken walls in the church internally, externally, financially, spiritually, politically, economically and otherwise we have to rebuild them. Are there really broken walls in the Church? The answer is ‘yes’ and the solution has to be a teamwork because Nehemiah did not do that job alone. In my address also, I addressed the nation. We have seen the state of the nation and just like the theme says, the nation is broken and requires rebuilding. So I encourage our people to join hands even with the politicians to make sure the nation is rebuilt and let it bounce back again so that people would have freedom and enjoy peace. My address contains assessment of all the local churches and circuits like I told you and we are going to hold a programme whereby we expect over three thousand people to attend. We are going to have a kind of revival, a shake-up and a re-awakening of the people.

His Lordship, how does the theme of your Presidential Address apply to the family and other forms of relationship?
Yes, I did mention that also in my address. Arise and Build touches so many facets of life, relationship between husband and wife, relationship between parents and children, relationship between even we, ministers? If there are broken relationships they should be mended because we are one. So “Arise and Build” is not just about infrastructure. People who want to relate well should learn how to forgive each other rather than quarrelling or going to court, let us accept our fault so that love and unity can be restored in the family, the church and society. These are some of the things we have in mind when we say, “Arise and Build”.

What is the way forward out of the present economic hardship facing the nation?
We all are at fault. There is a lot of insincerity in Nigeria. We do not love ourselves. Every person that has an opportunity tries to amass wealth to the detriment of the down-trodden. Let us have a rethink. Prophetically speaking, even though the situation of things appear to be so terrible now but I know that it would be well with Nigeria. So let all hands be on deck to rebuild what has been broken down.

What is your take on the new administration in Abia State?
The Governor of Abia State, Dr. Alex Chioma Otti (OFR) is a prayer answered. We prayed both in the open and in secret for God to remember Abia State and I think He has answered that prayer. You can see the evidence. Everybody is excited. We are praying that people should allow him to exercise his God-given mandate to the last letter. If it is like this within few months in office what would happen within one or two years. All those that left Abia State are going to come back and Abia would really be the number one state in Nigeria. We pray for God to bless him and the entire state.