By Revd. Oluwole Ibikunle (Diocesan ICT/Media Co-coordinator) Visit www.dioceseoflagoswest.org for more info.
The 1st Session of the 8th Synod was held between Thursday May 20 and Saturday May 22, 2021 at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos. It commenced with Holy Communion Service with 11 Bishops in attendance who joined the Diocesan Bishop of Lagos West, the Rt Revd Dr. James Olusola Odedeji. The opening sermon was preached by the Rt Revd Abel Ajibodu, the Bishop of Ile-Oluji, on the theme of the Synod, “We are more than Conquerors” (Romans 8:37). Prior to the Synod, Bishop Odedeji had directed that the attendance at the Synod would include the Clergy and a lay delegate from each of the Churches in the Diocese. This was to ensure that the Diocese abide by the rule of covid-19 pandemic of 50 percent capacity of the Church commanded by the Government. Bishop Ajibodu acknowledged in his sermon that there is hunger and insecurity in the land and so we need Christ to be more than conquerors.
The two days Bible Study was mind blowing and faith explosive facilitated by the former Dean of the AVMCC and Bishop of Ido-Ani Diocese, the Rt Revd Adegoke Agara. He biblically pointed out various enemies combating us today and ways to strategically dislodge them spiritually in order to be more than conquerors. He concluded that we must emulate the saints triumphant to overcome tribulations, distress, famine, nakedness, persecution, peril and sword which must not hinder our victory as in Romans 8 of the Holy Bible.
Bishop James Olusola Odedeji commenced his Presidential address to the Synod by appreciating the Almighty God who saw us through the pandemic of covid-19 that shook the church to the foundation and the world at large. This made the 2020 Synod physically impossible but was done online through the teleconference technology of Zoom application, diocesan website and other social media platforms. That created a new normal synod where the issues of the church were discussed and annual account was passed virtually by the Synod.
The Rt Revd Dr. James Olusola Odedeji welcomed the Executive Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr Tayo Akinmade Ayinde. Mr Tayo Ayinde is a member of the Diocese of Lagos West at St Peter’s Anglican Church, Alausa. During his address, the Bishop Odedeji relayed a message through him to the Governor that Diocese of Lagos West (Anglican Communion) occupies the largest percentage (i.e. two-third) of the land mass of Lagos State covering Imota to Oto-Awori and also Akute side and Sango-Ota. Also, that the Cathedral is seated at Ikeja, the State capital of Lagos State. Hence, the Governor is a member of Lagos West Diocese that demands his regular attendance at our Synod and other occasions to see his people.
Bishop Odedeji in his Presidential charge, pointed out that life is a battle field and that if there is a grace of God upon one’s life, attack of the enemies is inevitable. He stated that the mighty are falling and weapons of war are perishing (2 Samuel 1:27). According to him, the Bible declares that the Christians are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us (Romans 8:37). He said that though we are in the midst of insecurity of Boko Haram, kidnapping, and killer herdsmen, covid-19, #ENDSARS , hungers and so on, we are more than conquerors. In his charge, he identified satan, principalities and powers, human satanic agent, sin, oppressions and flesh as enemies of man. He provided solutions of winning the battle as faith and fearlessness, confidence in God’s victory, obedience to Divine instructions, thinking like a victor and not a victim, praising God always and to remember God who gives victory.
Bishop Odeeji also reported to the Synod in his charge that the new Bishop’s Court is 85 percent near completion. According to him, the mustard idea of having a befitting Bishop’s Court for the Diocese has now become a reference point to other Dioceses in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).
On the State of the nation, Bishop James Odedeji said the protection of lives and of property of citizens is the primary responsibility of any responsible government. He said banditry attacks have greatly escalated and that it has extended to the whole nation in form of mass abduction, kidnapping, raping, maiming , armed robbery, killing of innocent masses, herders versus farmers, destruction of Government properties. This has led to rise of regional security outfits like “Amotekun” in the West and Ebube Agu in the East. He charged the Government to rise to the occasion.
On the economy, Bishop Olusola Odedeji said Nigeria is practising an unrealistic and unworkable federalism because 52.56 percent of total revenue is taken to the Centre and the remaining distributed to 36 states and 774 local authorities. This has crippled the nation’s economy.
Bishop Samuel Sowale of Ilesa Diocese delivered a thought provoking Synod lecture on Anglican Spirituality. He pointed out that Anglican worship and lifestyle are based on holiness. Revd Canon Dr Okere delivered a lecture on the Church and family health and stated that families should surround themselves with good people who will add value to them.
The Synod ended on Sunday May 23, 2021 with a Holy Communion thanksgiving service and was majorly attended by senior administrative clergy of the Diocese with a few laity. The Rt Revd Prof Dapo Asaju delivered the closing sermon on the theme of the Synod. The service ended with various thanksgiving to God from the Archdeaconries, Legal Luminaries and the Diocesan Bishop’s family.
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