[ACNS] Bishops should be “the leading light, shining to help those still groping in the dark,” the bishops of the Anglican Church of Nigeria heard last week at their annual retreat where they explored the nature of the role of bishop.
The comment was made by the Bishop of Ekiti West, the Rt Revd Samuel Oke, who said that bishops should work with “pragmatic zeal to lead sinners to Christ.” But he said that governments also have a role to play to “rise up and help the needy, the have nots [and] the down trodden.”
The Bishop of Idah, the Rt Revd Dr Joseph Musa, said that bishops should be “an example of the Flock of God” and a gift to the Church “because he is of impeccable character, humble, respectable and just.”
And he said that “in spite of the buoyant nature, glamour and pageantry that comes with their office, they must shun bogus living capable of beclouding their sense of reasoning.”
It was a point echoed by the Bishop of Udi, the Rt Revd Augustine Chijioke Aneke, who said that bishops “should not be carried away by the posh and largess of office” or the “enormity of power and control” which they experience when they are consecrated and enthroned.
Bishops were not millionaires, politicians or power brokers, he said. Their main duty was “to take care of the people of God in everything.”
No man was infallible, and bishops should be open to criticism for checks and balances. “A leader must not walk alone, but must have people following him with prayers so that Satan would not demolish what had been built,” he said.
“As the true servants of God, bishops must be a solid example: sober, watchful, diligent, reliable and dependable,” he said. A bishop should also have an “approachable disposition that will lead them in managing their family well as a good example for the larger congregation to follow.”
Earlier, the Rt Revd Dr Emmanuel Ugwu, Bishop of Awgu / Aninri, spoke of the need for Christians to be forgiving and to “give their neighbours a second chance in all its ramifications”. His comments were made in a sermon at the consecration of three new Anglican bishops.
He spoke of the biblical references to God providing second chances and charged the new bishops “not to be rash in their decisions, and always give a second chance to every worker under them.”
The three new bishops, the Rt Revd Foreman Nedison, bishop of Jalingo; the Rt Revd Olubunmi Adeyinka Akinlade, Bishop of Ife; and the Rt Revd Prof Andrew Olu Igenoza, Rector Crowther Graduate Theological Seminary, were consecrated at the Cathedral Church of All Saints Ughelli Delta State.
The executive governor of Delta state, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, said that consecration involved the “setting apart in high authority” and said it was “a divine honour and great responsibility.”
Governor Okowa asked the congregation for “fervent unceasing prayers” for Nigeria as it faced a downward trend in the economy. “The Church has a great responsibility to the nation and should not allow negative comments to stop her from praying for God’s intervention,” he said.