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NDD Ends Maiden Summit, Plans For The Future, Eulogises Bishop Ebirien

“Niger Delta Diocese: Past, Present and Future” is the theme of a two (2) day maiden Diocesan Stakeholders summit which called for a conscious and deliberate effort to plan for the future of the Diocese as well as pour accolades on the Diocesan and second Adjutor of the NDD, Rt. Rev’d Ralph Cornelius Ebirien, JP whose episcopacy centre’s on maintaining the legacies of his predecessors, with bold efforts to take the Diocese to new heights.

The 6th Diocesan of the famous Diocese of the Niger Delta, Rt. Rev’d Ralph ‘Cornelius Ebirien was eulogized by the historian, Professor John H. Enemugwem, FHSN, who delivered the lead paper at the summit.

He described Bishop Ebirien as bishop co-Adjutor who succeeded his predecessor having performed meritoriously for about six months and recalled that the first bishop — co-Adjutor Rt. Revd H.A.I. Afonya “was more of a suffragan that cannot succeed his Diocesan”.

According to Prof. John Enemugwem “bishop Ebirien is contributing towards a better realization of the Niger Delta Diocese in the twenty first century”, adding that “details of Ebirien’s contributions would be history at the expiration of his episcopacy which will chart forward the Niger Delta career in the ecclesiastical balancing of Nigeria. It would be recalled that bishop Ebirien was consecrated as bishop-Adjutor in 2010 to assist and succeed Rt. Rev’d Gabriel Pepple, and diligently performed his duties for about six months and was enthroned as the bishop in the same year.

Earlier in his summit prelude, the director of training Venerable, Rufus T. Etire, JP has said the maiden summit was part of matters arising from the synod 2016, explaining that there were obvious issues of concern the people like Nehemiah need to “inspect, identity, examine and tackle” as stakeholders. Venerable Etire said seeing things the way they are, the way they ought to be, and how to get them done or put them right as recorded in Titus chapter 1:5 were the objectives of the summit.

According to the Director of training, the bishop has called for the maiden stakeholders summit to amongst several reasons “appreciate where we are as a Diocese, where we ought to be, and how to get there, identify some of our challenges as a Diocese, their causes and effects of such challenges, and to chart the way forward. He remind stakeholders that God did not call them to sit on the fence, watch things go wrong and be progressively unproductive but to be proactive and bear enduring fruits, John 15:16, of righteous activities /deeds that would contribute to propel the Diocese to a higher level.

Speaking further on the reasons for the maiden summit, the director of training added” talk to ourselves who are stakeholders to learn not listen with our ears only but also with our hearts that we may think relatively the same, speak firmly the same way and act or do things in concerted manner to actualize our dreams as a Diocese and finally to challenge every stakeholder to rise to his or her responsibilities so as to bequeath our rich heritage to posterity unsoiled”. Ven. Etire ravealed.

In a related development, the very Rev’d. Richard Ibituru Hart, Dean of the cathedral, Bonny, while presenting a paper on the sub theme. “Preserving our Ancient Landmarks” based on proverbs 22:28, maintained that an objective consideration of the topic bring into focus the burden of an inspired need to re-audit or look at the integrity status of the church’s landmarks which may not be in good standing.

The very Revd Hart equally posited that the summit sub-theme was a driving force for the leadership of the Diocese rededication to the needful business of maintaining the church’s cherished landmarks as well as the need for a gentle reawakening of human and material instruments of service to preserve the God given landmarks.

The Cathedral dean who identified historical formularies such as liturgy, history and symbols, vestments; church administration and structure, and the tripod mission of Schools, Health and Spiritualities as landmarks of the Niger Delta Diocese also proffered ways the landmarks could be preserved to include; organized and assiduous teachings; prayers and fasting; discipline; enactment of relevant preservation policies; development of church libraries, archives and museums; use of information technology especially the social media; extensive training and re-training of all critical players especially the clerics and diocesan officials amongst others.

Landmarks preservation however attracts some gains as enumerated by the cleric. They include Glorifying God even as the church becomes faithful to the God of the landmarks, winning respect from others as the Diocese shall rule and lead others from distinct angle, and going forward in the right direction.

The maiden summit also had “The Privileges and responsibilities of a stakeholder in the church of God” as a sub-theme and presented by the Legal Secretary Sir, Barr. Simeipiri Paul who challenged stakeholders on self examination if they had actually achieved the core mandate of propagating the gospel of Jesus Christ., as recorded in Matt. 28;19.

On how the church got it wrong, Sir Paul having observed several issues and admonished stakeholders against treating the church as though it is no longer church of God but personal churches, and harped on the level of spirituality and the quality of sermon on pulpits.

Speaking on the way forward the legal secretary who observed that the diagnosis of a problem was half its solution, opined that the Diocese seeks the face of God and be ready to pay the price of restitution that would enable the church enjoys the abundance of the spiritual and material benefits of God.

According to him, II Chronicles Chapter 7:14 which states “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear them from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land,” should be the peoples new stand.

Meanwhile, in his keynote address, the Diocesan Rt. Rev’d Ralph Cornelius Ebirien JP, thanked the director of training, welcome participants and appreciated the vicar of St. Andrew’s Church, Mile 1 Diobu Ven. T.E.I. Opuiyo for hosting the two day summit, as well as various presenters for scholarly work, and called for more study into them, to place them on vantage position, and broaden their knowledge on issues brothering on the history of the Diocese. Bishop Ebirien, also expressed gratitude to former bishops of the Diocese for the legacies left behind, saying the summit was to reappraise efforts, see how predecessors performed, so as to draw lessons and plan for the future.

The Diocesan emphasized that the Diocese would pay more attention to the youths adding that the greatest challenge was commitment and urged the faithful to imbibe the spirit of giving.

He finally charged participants to take home what has been discussed, use them to develop and build the church to enable it stand the test of time. ###


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