Sunday 14 May 2017

UNLOCKING THE POTENTIALS OF ANGLICAN DIOCESE AT THE PERIOD OF ECONOMIC RECESSION- By Prof. Babajide Alo.--( Being the 2017 lecture of Anglican Communion, Ilesa Diocese.)


Let me start by expressing my profound appreciation to the Lord Bishop and Diocesan of Ilesa Diocese, Bishop S. O. Sowale and Mama West- Mrs Sowale, all our fathers in the Lord- Spiritual and Temporal, Mothers-in Israel, the entire Synod and Laity and the assembly of my Egbons and Aburos of the Anglican Communion here in Ilesa.

For me, it's always a homecoming experience whenever I have the previledge to address my people in the Anglican Community. And I do not take this privilege for granted. I therefore thank you all once again for inviting me to delivere this year's Synod Lecture.
As a member of this community, I know that synods provide an avenue for spiritual retreat for Anglican ministers, the Provost, the Standing Committee of the Catheo and the various Parish Councils, Laity and members of Diocese. It is an auspicious moment for us to reflect on our core values and mandate in order to ensure that we are obeying the Lord in fulfilling our ministry, calling and belief. It is as well a forum to share the word of God that will continue to nurture the spiritual, physical, moral, and emotional development of our people. I have no doubt that this Synod will provide that opportunity for members to be blessed in all areas.

This lecture will be prefaced with a short story that vividly illustrates the power and beauty of the Faith of our Fathers which we have Inherited especially in the area of the topic on which I have been asked to speak.

A few years ago, a largely peasant community suffered a great depression, crop failure and drought. The local in that community decided to set up a central welfare scheme to provide support and succour especially for the most vulnerable members of that community. Apart from individuals volunteering to assist the poor and needy, the church was commended for instituting that welfare scheme and encouraging Christians to practice what the Bible teaches. Years later, most of the children that benefited from that sacrificial gesture became great men and women in society helping to transform that community and making them proud.

Dated back to the beginning of our Communion, Anglican Churches have been in the forefront of demonstrating the biblical injunction of being our brothers' keeper and lightening up our communities with love of God. Our parishes have been sponsoring indegene students in their parishes, supporting widows and fatherless, visiting the sick and diseased, setting up hospitals and dispensaries among other corporate social responsibility initiatives.

The period of economic recession should therefore not weaken our hands in this good work. While unbelievers are worried and anxious about the state of the economy, their future, the unexpected happenings in their lives, Christians often take solace in God knowing that He is in control of the affairs of their lives and situations around them. Our poor , jobless brethren and the needy also take solace in the fact that they belong to a community of people that can show the love of God to them at this time.

I will kindly ask the permission of this solemn assembly to remind you of our cherished core values and traditions which I believe if we can explore will definitely unleash our God-given and value added potential.

Our Anglican roots are nourished by three streams: the Scripture, the Sacred and the Spirit.

These three streams flow from one source---the truth of our Christian witness as taught by Jesus and His apostles, and together, the Scripture, the Sacred and the Spirit form a river that defines our core values, shapes our identity, guides our words, actions and worship, and impact our immediate and distant communities.

We also believe God has a specific mission for everyone including you! We believe that serving others puts our faith into action, creating a tangible expression of God's love and transforming power to change our communities in which we live and work. This is the very core of our potential that must be unleashed during this period.

A critical component of our core values is Giving, whether in time of plenty or scarcity. Sacrificial Giving is crucially part of the principles of faith and values that Anglicans hold dear. We believe that we are to be generous with our time, talents and money as we share with those in need, support the work of God among us, and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In particular, we commit to strive toward Biblical financial stewardship (the Biblical minimum standard of giving is the tithe or 10%) (1John 3:17-18; Ezra 2:68-69; Acts 2:44-47).

Dearly beloved, therefore these tenets we hold dear and the legacies of our founding fathers must not be allowed to be eroded through passage of time or the exigencies of political or economic situation. When we step back in history and recover the virtues that set us apart from other assemblies, that make us one family, one fold under one God, we'll be able to impact our environment and communities positively and unleash our dormant and neglected potentials. The Christian community at large and our national polity will definitely benefit from our resurgence and continuation of the Biblical injunction even in the face of economic recession.

As Christians, this period of recession is not a time for us to complain, or become stingy to our God. Rather it offers to us all Anglicans a great window of opportunity to trust God more,undersatand the challenges other nations face and force us to pratically obey the scripture by for and supporting the weak, bearing one another's burden and so fulfilling the law of Christ (see Galatians 6:2). It creates a situation to pray for our political leaders. It makes Christian to understand that we have no continuing city here; that we are pilgrims here and we must be ready for home. But while we remain here, we demonstrate that we are indeed Christ's disciples by showing pratical love one to another and unlock our potentials for service to our Church and being our brother's keepers.

 This present economic situation also makes us to appreciate God's divine sustenance in times of difficulties.

But I wish to submit that in today's unpredictable socio-political and economic landscapes, the church remains a strong pillar a stabilising factor in the world of shifting values. The Anglican communion particularly stands a better chance to be one of the most potent vehicles for social transformation, and agent of change that can re-engineer moral values and transformative biblical principles in the society. We possess the principles, the teachings and the grace that can help our members to demonstrate those values like love, charity, sacrifice, self-denial, loyalty, civility, honesty, integrity and discipline that are indispensable for civilized human co-existence. And in obedience to the injunction of Scripture, we must let our light so shine that men will see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven (Mathew 5:16, 17).

Regardless of the economic recession, we must in every place where Anglicans are found, show strong leadership and exemplary followership that will continue to play significant roles in our society as sources of blessings and role models. Our lives and deeds must weigh tremendous influence on the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of millions of our people. We have the potential to provide solution to the challenges confronting our people and our nation. Without being economical with the truth, even in this period of economic doldrums, our Lord will continue to make us possess the spiritual, moral, social and material resources to assist people around us and provide some succour to those who are hurting as a result of this recession.

In concluding this lecture, I will therefore humbly suggest that in order for our Dioceses to fully unleash our potetial at time like this, we may wish to adopt the following strategies:

1. Let each and everyone of us come to reality of our times and create survival strategies for our different families. Look for additional means of generating income by the father and mother of the family. Let us not rely on our salaries or pension incomes alone!! We are entitled to become entrepreneurs of all kinds.

2. Each Anglican Diocese should consider it compulsory to relieve members who are needy or the recession has pauperished as part of our divine mandate. We should therfore as a matter urgency assess the economic situation of our members in a bid to identify ways that help could be rendered to them individuall and collctively.

3. Our Diocese should set up or retool the existing welfare programmes targeted at supporting the weak and helping the poor. This may also involve setting up self-help programmes, skills acquisition, capacity building for improved economic performance of our people.

4. Our Diocese should consider establishing an "Economic Empowerment Programme-EEP" to provide soft loans to needy parishioners.

5. The culture of "Owe" must be rivived. Our brothers who are farmers should unleas the potential of this joint/mutually supportive programme to increase crop productivity and harvest.

6. During this period, we call on more buoyant dioceses to adopt economically-weak dioceses in other for such Dioceses the weak and vulnerable especially children, widows and provide financial aid and capacity-building to young people who are ready to engage in economicall-viable ventures and antrepreneurship.

7. Special collections must be made regularly for the persons pauperised by the economic recession and the poor as done in the early Church especially in Macedonia and Achaia where they cried for help. "come over to Macedonia and help us"..... Paul commended them because out of their deep poverty, they were willing to give generously (2 Corinthians 8:1-5). A group of faithful and committed Anglicans must be put in charge of disbursing the funds.

8. Our Diosece must increase our tempo of raising funds from our distant members and members in diasporas. i. e Set up strong strategies to woo Ijesa Anglicans in Lagos, Abuja etc.

I am sure that God has planted us here at this time to make a difference. We must demonstrate the unlimited possibilities in Our God to make us weather every storm. We must show the indomitable spirit in the heart of His children not only to personally survive every adversity but to help others to swim the ocean of economic recession.

The period is an opportunity to put God to the test. Let's sow bountifully to reap bountifully (2 Corinthians 9:8 "And God is able to all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things may abound to every good work"

I thank you for your kind attention and for inviting me to share the joy of this warm fellowship with you at this years Synod. I pray that the blessing of Almighty God will abide and abound towards us all (Amen).

Greetings to all from the Bishop and members of other Diocese- the Diocese of Lagos West.

Distinguished Professor Babajide Alo, ph.D, FAS, FCSN, FNES, FIPAN, FICCON
Distinguished Professor of Chemistry & Former Vice Chancellor (Academic % Research.
University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos and Diocesan Education Adviser, Lagos West Diocese, Ikeja.

No comments:

Post a Comment