The General Synod of the Church of Nigeria has convened in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, this week, under the theme “Thou shalt not steal”. The 12 meeting of the Synod is taking place in the Cathedral of St Paul, Garrison in the Niger Delta province. There, the Bishop of Ijebu, Ezekiel Ayodele Awosoga, said that stealing was responsible for the fall of man and many nations.
He defined stealing as corruption, misappropriation of funds, embezzlement, robbery, forceful seizures of neighbours’ property, as well as sinfully spending your own money in a way that deprives you of a meaningful life.
Bishop Ezekiel describing stealing as “a terrible sin” and warned Christians against indulging in it, saying: “if God can punish kings and nations because of stealing, we should be careful of what we do.”
He continued: “the reason why God is against some rich men is because they do not pay their workers and have made themselves rich through the wages of depriving people.”
In a Bible-study for young people at the Synod, the Primate of Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, urged them to know that life was about responsibility. He said that the young people had a responsibility to support their parents and guardians as they were in turn supported by them.
He said that the Anglican Church had a responsibility in building up young people, and said that the church would continue to provide the best for the youth with a view to making them socially responsible.
Ahead of the Synod, Archbishop Nicholas made a courtesy visit to Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike at Government House, accompanied by other archbishops and bishops of the Church. The Governor spoke about the fight against corruption, saying it “must not be vindictive in nature.”
“Those of us who are privileged to serve should know that it is by the Grace of God that we serve,” the Governor said. “Therefore, we must serve to the Glory of God.” The Governor thanked the church for holdings its Synod in Rivers State.
Archbishop Nicholas explained the thinking behind the “Thou shalt not steal” theme of the Synod, saying that the emphasis of the Anglican Church is to encourage sacrificial living, righteousness and the good of the society. On the unity of the country, he said: “The Church believes in one Nigeria. We advocate that everything should be done to ensure there is peace.”