Enugu – The Bishop of Nike Diocese (Anglican Communion) in Enugu State, the Right Reverend Christian Onyia, says the Church must rise to its responsibility of being a beacon of hope and harbinger of solutions to myriads of societal challenges.
Onyia gave the task in a statement he signed on Wednesday, to herald the forthcoming Third Session of the Diocesan 5th Synod holding from Thursday, Oct, 14 to Sunday, Oct. 17.
The prelate said the Church was made by Jesus Christ to be a haven of rest, a place of growth, encouragement, learning, comfort, and most importantly, a place of worship, but unfortunately, there are so many hurting and wounded people in the society, who have given up on the Church.
According to him, many churches, bishops, pastors, senior pastors, and general overseers are currently in competition over who owns the largest number of aircraft, cars, buildings, memberships and other worldly acquisitions.
“Little or no attention is paid to the members of the Church, those who surround the Church and other communities,’’ he said.
Onyia recalled how Jesus Christ, during his ministry on earth, not only provided spiritual solutions to people’s needs, but also physical solutions, adding that to gain souls for God, the early missionaries identified the needs of the people and became a solution to those needs.
He noted that the gospel would make more impact when those who need health care receive it and those who need education have schools to attend.
“Those whose children, husbands and wives need money to start businesses get money for it; the ones who need shelter are sheltered and the ones who are naked are clothed.
“The Church should begin to break the barriers posed by specific cultures, languages, and historical issues on the spread of the gospel and adopt practices and programmes that enhance people’s attitudes toward the gospel.
“That is what missions mean to us. Missions need to be in the form of using man for societal development,” he said.
On the forthcoming synod, Onyia, disclosed that the event, which would hold at St. Peter’s Church, Thinker’s Corner, Enugu, has as its theme- “Church: Mission through Social Action.”
He revealed that the synod would feature medical outreaches, setting up of new cottage industries, hospitals and vicarages in the diocese as well as “the Bishop Charge”.
According to him, the diocese before now has been intervening in all aspects of the lives of citizens within its jurisdiction through the provision of basic amenities, such as building and running schools, clinics, cottage industries, among others.
“All these social interventions also help tackle insecurity and unemployment among citizens in the area of Diocese, which is 30 per cent urban and 70 per cent rural,” he said.