WELCOME MESSAGE TO THE INAUGURAL MEETING OF THE OGUN STATE CCN by Bishop Dr. J. Akin Atere

WELCOME MESSAGE TO THE INAUGURAL MEETING OF THE OGUN STATE CCN APEX LEADERS HELD ON THE 13TH OCTOBER, 2020 AT ST. PETER’S ANGLICAN CATHEDRAL, AKE-ABEOKUTA, AT 11.00AM

Your Graces,

My Lords,

Distinguished Pastors and Colleagues,

All Brethren in Christ,

 

I welcome you all to the first meeting of the Ogun State CCN Apex leaders’ meeting. On behalf of myself, my deputy and the entire membership of the State Executives, I express our hearts of gratitude and appreciation for your response to the invitation. As leaders in the Church of God at your Caliber, to spare few minutes to attend to any other things like this meeting would have caused you a lot of sacrifices because of the crowded schedules of our calling. Therefore, we are not taking this sacrifice for granted. Once again, we are more than grateful.

Let me say that this body, is not one of the constitutional organs of Christian Council of Nigeria, (CCN).What we have are (1) The General Assembly (2) The Board of Trustees (3) The Standing Committee (4) The National Executive Committee (NEC)  (5) The  Zonal Chapter  (6) The State Chapter  (7) Divisional Chapter (8) The Local Government Chapter. BUT as your servants that it has pleased you to give the mandate to direct the affairs of Ogun State Chapter at this time, we have put head together and find out that for us to serve you well and better, we have thought it wise to bring the Church leaders together, especially if we have to make any meaningful impact in the office.

Again Brethren, many reasons has informed this meeting, starting from the reasons for the formation of CCN. It is recorded that the Council originated through an informal meeting of a small group of missionaries who met in 1929 to discuss the line of action concerning the then educational policy which negatively affected a larger number of Nigerian Citizens. Thus the CCN then took off on a mission of facilitating and building capacity of grass root citizens through the churches. It will interest you to note that CCN through its three research centers: Institute of Church and Society, in Ibadan, Jos and Arochukwu interfaces between the Church and society, ensuring a sustained Christian lifestyle that promotes unity in a multi-diversified and secular Nigeria. It is no longer news that not one out of these still function for the purpose they were established. How long shall we fold our arms and watch this heritage go down the drain in our own generation. We therefore hold it a duty to begin to study what is going on around us and collectively express our observation and probably offer suggestions. Only the leaders can do this more effectively.

Some of the functions of this Council also include:

(i)      Promoting unity of Christian Churches in Nigeria that worship one God in the Trinity of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit and that accept the scriptures of the Old and New Testament as sufficient in their teachings concerning salvation and as supreme standard under the Holy Spirit, in all matters of faith and conduct.

(ii)     To act as a forum by means of which members-churches may consult together and, when necessary, make a common statements and take common action(s). This reason has encouraged us in particular to believe that this meeting is necessary.

(iii)    Act as a consultative body whereby, chiefly through its Departments, member churches, may work together in sponsoring projects or programmes of common benefits and interest. We have proposed some programmes that we hope to present before you at this meeting, before taking it to the executive.

(iv)    To generate such funds that will make for the realization of the vision, mission and value statements of the council. These funds shall be used to run the council and establish such institutions that will make the council relevant to the needs of the society at large. One of our major challenges is how to fund this state chapter of CCN. We may need your advice on this critical issue.

(v)     CCN is meant to encourage an ecumenical spirit in member-Churches expressed in mutual respect for one another and for cultural/doctrinal differences. This is because though, we have so many things in common but we still have our denominational uniqueness.

(vi)    We are to be diligent to observe trends of event in our society, commending, challenging and condemning as necessary and participating in courageous actions of intercession, justice and mercy to the glory of God.

(vii)   We are that ecumenical body charged to promote love, peace, harmony, justice and unity, being bound together in koinonia  in one Christian faith and witness and in a common humanity, and committed to theological dialogue and sharing of resources with one another for  the good of all creation.

CCN brings together many of the historic denominations in Nigeria as listed here. The membershipare:-

  1. The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria (PCN)
  2. The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
  • Methodist Church of Nigeria (MCN)
  1. Nigeria Baptist Convention (NBC)
  2. The Salvation Army
  3. United Evangelical Church (Founded as Qua Iboe Church)
  • The African Church
  • The Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria (LCCN)
  1. The Church of the Lord (Prayer fellowship) Worldwide (TCLAW)
  2. The First African Church Mission
  3. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (A.M.A. Zion)
  • Community of Christ Nigeria Mission Centre Inc.
  • The African Episcopal Church Nigeria
  • United African Methodist Church Organization

It then means brethren, that we may not be able to achieve much of the entire above if you are not directly involved. One major blessing common with all the member churches is the grace of Hierarchy, power flow from the head to the lowest. It is easy for the follower to follow the vision, order, advice and rules of the head of each denomination. If we can secure your endorsement or cooperation, successes of our administration will be guaranteed.

Many of the leaders in the Divisions and Local Government Chapters are our subordinates, for the fear of their masters; we may not have the best. You may not even be privildge to have full information of CCN operations and programmes.

Another thing we can cherish in CCN Churches is the level of training for our Church leaders. Hardly can anyone be posted to head a Church/Parish without going through sound theological training that makes him spiritually and mentally matured. This is the edge we have above others. We should therefore be seen as initiator of policies and should not be treated as novice.

Mobility of our Priests/Pastors also shows that no one can claim ownership of any congregation, since he can be moved anytime. This also is to the credit of the CCN. Since the Church Apex leaders hardly move as often as the low ranked pastors, they can then maintain the balance if they are well informed of CCN programmes.

Your Grace, Your Lordship and my distinguished Pastors, you can see the wisdom in your invitation to this first meeting.

We have much information for you for your consumption and many for discussion so as to know your opinion before we can take any step. In a meeting of dignitaries as this, we believe that the world and Nigeria in particular must have a message that is why we have invited some journalists both electronic and print media men to cover our observation, message and prophecies for our State and the Nation, Nigeria.

This meeting is also meant for us not only to know one another but more importantly to make new friends and associates. This is our constituency, where we can be more comfortable.

I wonder if we know that CCN was established before CAN and that CAN is more of Christian political body. That is why it beat my imagination that some preferred to serve in CAN and play down his role in CCN. At the last general meeting, we all decided that no one can go to CAN without the knowledge of the authority of CCN but some of our leaders find it difficult to follow the protocol.

May I then appeal to you all to come around us, support us because we have a lot of programmes that we shall be sharing with you at this meeting. With God and you behind us, we can surely move mountains.

I want to sincerely appreciate and thank my brother, the Bishop of Egba Diocese (Anglican Communion) for hosting us. May God continue to prosper the Diocese and your own anointing will never run dry in Jesus name. Amen

 

Your Brother and Friend,

 

Rt. Rev’d Dr. J. AkinAtere

Chairman, Ogun State CCN