Archive for March, 2012
The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), Mr John Kennedy Opera has called on church leaders to encourage their members to go on Holy Pilgrimage to Israel, Rome or Greece. He disclosed this recently in Abuja while on a sensitization visit to Methodist church Nigeria, Diocese of Abuja, during their 18th Annual Diocesan Synod held at Liberation Methodist Church Gwarinpa , Abuja.
The NCPC helmsman stressed the importance of Holy Pilgrimage to Israel by Christians as it is an injunction from God “that Many people and strong nations shall come to seek the lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to pray before the Lord” (Zechariah 8:22).
He explained that every Christian who embarks on Holy pilgrimage to Israel with the mind to pray would be spiritually transformed at the end of the spiritual exercise. According to him “the Pilgrimage we are doing is a spiritual one”
In the words of Mr Opara “I want to encourage our spiritual fathers to sponsor people in the church because pilgrimage is for those who are spiritually rich, but materially poor”.
He stated that the Commission considered it important to partner with the church leaders to ensure that more church leaders and workers are encouraged to go on Holy Pilgrimage
He decried a situation whereby people hide under the name of pilgrimage to abscond while in the Holy land. He thus advised the spiritual fathers to guarantee members with impeccable characters who would come back spiritually transformed.
He intimated members of the Methodist Church family that the Commission had introduced two pilgrimages in one year. He explained that this year, the first airlift of the pilgrims would commence on 27th march to second week of April while the second Pilgrimage would commence in October and end in December, 2012.
The NCPC boss used the opportunity offered by the church to advise and encourage Christians to pray more and be steadfast in their prayers as the present security challenges facing the country would soon be overcome.
According to him “our enemies are defenceless in the face of our prayers”, he stressed.
Earlier, the Prelate, Methodist Church of Nigeria, His Eminence, Dr Sunday Ola Makinde in his address at the synod presented on his behalf by the Methodist Bishop of Nyanya Diocese, RT.Very S.R Notey, welcomed members to this year’s Synod.
According to His Eminence, the theme of the conference of Methodist Church Nigeria and that of the Synod this year is “Behold, I am doing a new thing” (Isaiah 43:19)
He further affirmed “indeed God is doing a new thing in our land, church and families. We might not see it or realise it, but His presence and mercies among us are enormous.
On the state of the nation the Prelate urged Christians to pray and fast more than never before to curb or totally put an end to the situation stressing that “the peace in Nigeria is a fragile one” According to him “Nigeria must be an indivisible entity”
In his own address, the Archbishop of Methodist Church Abuja Diocese, His Grace ,Most Rev. Chimaroke Iweha thanked God for another opportunity to fellowship and meet in their usual round of Synod usually held once every year.
He thanked God for the spiritual and physical growth of the church, especially the Abuja diocese.
The Archbishop further stressed that the year 2012 is a historic one as far as Methodist Church of Nigeria (MCN) is concerned. According to him “we are celebrating 170 years of Methodism in Nigeria and 50 years (Golden jubilee) of our Autonomy. ”This is the lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our sights “he said. He further expatiated that Abuja being the nation’s capital city would play a key role in the whole celebration.
On the issue of Holy Pilgrimage, Archbishop Iweha stated that the Methodist Church of Nigeria is the only church that has formed the Association of Jerusalem Pilgrims and that the body usually sponsors Christians to the Holy Land yearly.
He further averred that members of his Diocese who had performed the Holy Pilgrimage came back more spiritually rejuvenated. His words “I want to assure the Executive Secretary of NCPC that members of Methodist church in Abuja came back more reformed “His Grace further affirmed “we are making good use of the pilgrimage”
The annual Diocesan Synod is a forum for Church leaders and workers to brainstorm and discuss the progress, challenges and way forward for the Church. The 2012 Diocesan Synod is the 18th edition slated for 21st -25th March 2012.
The Executive Secretary of NCPC was accompanied on the sensitization visit by the Director of Administration NCPC, Mr Simeon Gana, the Deputy Director Administration, Mr Gad Onyeanu, the Head, Planning Research and Programme Development department, Dr. Ifeoma Unachukwu and the SA to the Executive Secretary on Media, Mr Olajide Oshundun.