BY SUNDAY EGEDE
THE Diocese of Ika which was created 12 years ago is one of the Dioceses in Bendel Province of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion. Recently, the Diocese had its 12 Diocesan Mothers’ Union and Women’s Guild Conference which took place at Saint Peter’s Anglican Church, Boji-Boji Owa in Ika North-East local government area of Delta State.
The four-day conference which started on Thursday, July 26, 2012 with the arrival of conference delegates and opening service by the host church was attended by dignitaries from within and outside the Ika Diocese. Prior to the commencement of the conference, the Archdeacons’ wives and clergy/workers’ wives successfully organized their local conferences at the Archdeaconry, Parish and station levels in preparation for the Diocesan Conference.
As part of effort aimed at ensuring a successful conference, members of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) headed by Dame Esther Nwagbogwu left no stone unturned in their preparation for the conference and their highly committed efforts yielded the desired result as mothers in the diocese had a fulfilling and rewarding Mothers’ Union and Women’s Guild Conference.
During the conference, women in the diocese who filled the church auditorium to its capacity created a perfect blend of beauty with their colourful ceremonial attires and head gears to match. With the stage set, the President of the Mothers’ Union and Women’s Guild in the diocese, Dame Mercy Yetunde Onekpe mounted the podium to present her welcome address where she said “every one of us has been kept alive for a purpose which we must strive to achieve for our maker (God). In our little corners, families, market places, work places and churches, let us endeavour to find out God’s assignments for us and do them to His glory”.
Presenting her 24-page presidential address which has “The Just Shall Live by Faith” as its theme, Dame Onekpe started with three categories of prayers which included conference prayer, women’s guild prayer and mothers’ union prayer where she expressed appreciation to Almighty God for lifting their (members of the Mothers’ Union and Women’s Guild) spirits up in His comfort to keep pressing on in spite of daunting challenges.
Speaking further, the President of the Mothers’ Union and Women’s Guild gave a historical analysis of the host church (Saint Peter’s Anglican Church, Boji-Boji Owa) as well as those who have served there as workers from 1989 till date. She also briefed the conference participants with news from the Church of Nigeria where she intimated them on the outcome of the Bishops’ wives retreat held at Saint Mathias Church, Wuse Zone three, Abuja during the first quarter of this year.
She equally briefed them (the conference participants) on the latest development in the Bendel Province as well as the latest news within the Ika Diocese. Dame Onekpe disclosed that during the year under review, 51 members were admitted into the Mothers’ Union, 118 into the Women’s Guild and 40 into the Girls’ Guild within the Ika Diocese, adding that Fathers’ Union and Men’s Fellowship were, also, growing impressively in the diocese as a total of 44 persons each were admitted as new members. While congratulating them, she prayed for their spiritual growth and upliftment.
The Bishop’s wife who is also called ‘Mama Ika’ within the Anglican Communion, gave a progress report of the diocesan women female hostel project which she said was decked in December, last year, pointing out that more blocks have been molded to take the building up to the roofing level. According to her, women in the diocese are working very hard to promote the work of the church and enhance income yielding projects in their localities.
“Examples of these projects are shopping plaza at Saint Peter’s Church, Boji-Boji Owa; lock up shops at Saint Andrew’s Church, Owa-Oyibu; residential house at Christ Church, Umunede and lock up shops at Saint Luke’s Church, Ute-Okpu just to mention but a few”, she said, adding that more are into palm oil business to help cushion the financial commitment in the church.
While acknowledging the efforts of Soul Winners Group of the Cathedral of Saint John under the leadership of Sir S.N Ileh for their regular visits to the Agbor Prison and hospitals, she, also, commended members of Daughters of Christ of Saint James Church co-ordinated by Lady E.E Okoh for their visit to the Osiomwon Leprosarium during the last Mothering Sunday celebration, noting that their visit has brought great joy and relief to the inmates at the rehabilitation centre.
Speaking on the theme of the conference “The Just Shall Live by Faith”, Dame Onekpe said “men of faith talk and act as if the promise of God had already been fulfilled. For instance, they see building erected, enemies defeated and problems surmounted in reality through the eyes of faith”, pointing out that all the blessed men and women in Hebrews Chapter 11, looked through faith’s telescope and saw realities.
According to her, with God, there is no hopeless situation, adding that a certain amount of pressure was necessary to release our faith. Continuing, she said “it is when there is nothing you can do to avoid the inevitable that you start trusting in the impossible; so the crisis you are experiencing today could be a blessing in disguise; an opportunity to experience a greater degree of God’s power at work in your life”.
During the four-day programme, wives of the various Archdeacons in the diocese gave report of their activities vis-à-vis Mothers’ Union and Women’s Guild in their respective archdeaconries. Diocesan Girls’ Brigade and Girls Guild, also, presented their report. Equally presented was the financial report of the Mothers’ Union and Women’s Guild. The ceremony was rounded off on Sunday, July 29 with a special thanksgiving service where those who won various prizes during the diocesan Bible quiz competition were presented with their prizes.
BY SUNDAY EGEDE