• Friday, July 19, 2024
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The Church, the state and the post-Covid revival of 2022

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For the Christian community in Nigeria, the year 2022 started on a more promising note as the Church was literally coming back to fully embrace in-person worship and meetings after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic induced lockdown.

The hope and aspiration of defeating the pandemic was much higher compared to 2021, where opinions of many of the Church leaders were divided over safety measures adopted by the government to curtail the pandemic.

The Church got into a reset mode as worshipers returned to the cathedral. And for many, it was time to seek God afresh not minding the setbacks of the previous years.

It was on that basis that we highlighted some of the key Church activities that shaped the year 2022 on the back of their economic impact on the growing youth population and the economy at large.

Global Crusade with Kumuyi (GCK) / IMPACT 2022

As soon as the year started, the General Superintendent of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, William F. Kumuyi, convened the Global Youth Convocation (GYC) tagged, IMPACT 2022.

For the 82 year old preacher, it was a time to reconnect and focus attention on the youth population of the church in particular and the country at large. To this end, Kumuyi sustained his engagement with the youth all through the year; as the programme was held every month alongside the Global Crusade with Kumuyi (GCK).

GCK on the other hand was the brand created by the ministry to further the gospel of Christ. GCK was held on a monthly basis across states of the federation. The last GCK for 2022 was held in Ekiti State themed, ‘Great Transformation for Total Triumph’ with Jonathan White as the guest music minister.

On the other hand, Impact 2022 created a platform for the youth members of the church in response to their yearnings, and brought with it a new wave of revival in Deeper Life with the youth population taking the lead.

Beyond the spiritual atmosphere created by Impact 2022, the programme broke some ceilings that seem to limit the youth as the veil of exclusivity was taken away as one Journalist posted on his Facebook wall, “Religious folks want Baba Kumuyi to continue with the gospel of exclusivity but God had the last say”.

According to him, Church leaders who care about the future should initiate the changes they want to see while still alive. “Nigeria’s church leaders have so much to learn from Pastor W.F. Kumuyi”.

The Convocation did not only address the socio-economic needs of the youth, it created an avenue for the convener to touch every facet of the challenges facing the youth. There were prayers to pull down strongholds in the lives of the young people that have been hindrances in their lives and activities. Just as the seminar session also touched on the very essence of aspiring young adults.

Apart from creating an avenue to rekindle the spiritual fire and passion of young people to fulfill their purpose, Impact 2022 also identified with the increasing rate of unemployment and the resultant youth restiveness across states in Nigeria, and urged both the Federal and States government to mainstream youth development initiatives, fund and implement more youth-focused intervention programmes to bridge Nigeria’s unemployment gap.

New Era in CAN

It was yet another dawn of a new era for the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) as the year 2022 witnessed a change of leadership for the umbrella body for Christians and the Church in Nigeria.

For the first time in the history of the association, the Organisation of African Instituted Churches (OAIC), which is one out of the five blocs that made up CAN, produced the president of the Christian body.

Daniel Okoh, the General Superintendent of Christ Holy Church, also known as Nation Builders (Odozi-Obodo), took over the leadership of CAN from Samson Supo Ayokunle as president of CAN.

CAN, PFN political stand-point

Soon after the emergence of Daniel Okoh as the CAN president, the country’s political space threw up a challenge at the newly inaugurated leadership of the Christian body as the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) picked a Muslim running mate.

CAN alongside the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), kicked against the choice and threatened to mobilise their members against the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC.

The PFN on the other hand responded by directing member churches across Nigeria to set up the directorate of politics and governance. Away from the directives, the PFN went a step further to urge its members to put Nigeria first in their choice of who manages the affairs of the country come 2023 by looking out for credibility, reliability and capacity to move Nigeria forward.

“As a body, we have been praying for a peaceful general election and that everybody should take responsibility by getting their Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) and be strategically prepared to vote for candidates who have the capacity, integrity and credibility to move the nation forward,” John-Praise Daniel, deputy national president of the PFN said in one of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, held at its national secretariat in Isolo, Lagos.

According to the PFN, “The church frowns at the Muslim-Muslim ticket but we believe this is not a dead end and we are yet to come up and say this is the person we should vote for because we are still consulting and praying,” Daniel said.

However, in clarifying the position of the Church on the Muslim-Muslim ticket, Stephen Adegbite, the chairman of CAN in Lagos who is also a member of the national executive body of CAN said the Church do not want to take a position that will pitched it against any of the political party.

“CAN is not a political party and cannot force any political party on how to pick its candidates,” Adegbite said while hosting some journalists in Lagos. According to him, the Church got it wrong in 2015 by openly supporting a presidential candidate which prevented the leadership of the Christian body access to the presidential palace (Aso Rock) for the first two and half years of the present administration.

Catholics marks feast of exaltation

Catholics faithful were able to celebrate the feast of the exaltation of the Holy Cross in-person for the first time after two years at the Holy Cross Cathedral and across Nigeria.

In Lagos, the celebration of the Feast of Exaltation of the Holy Cross was marked along with the 50th memorial anniversary of John Kwao Amuzu Aggey, the first African archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos.

Bernard Okodua, the Vicar, Lagos region archdiocese, in his homily urged Christian faithful to carry their cross with pride as it portrays the significance of the Christian faith and belief in God through His son Jesus Christ. “It is called the exaltation of the cross or the triumph of the cross. The cross signifies punishment, pain or death; hence nobody likes to carry a cross. When we have difficulties or disappointment, we call it a cross,” he said.

Speaking on Aggey’s impact on the church, Okodua said that the Church cannot grow without local clergy. According to him, Aggey was a peacemaker in every way. “A man of God and the people; a prayerful man,” he said.

National Day of prayer

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in seeking divine intervention ahead of the 2023 general elections held a special one-day National Prayer Retreat on Friday November 4, which its leadership declared as National Day of Prayers.

“We consider this imperative in view of the fact that our nation is passing through very challenging times at the moment, despite its abundant natural, human, and material resources. It is also going to be a day to implore God’s help in preventing violence, manipulation, intimidation of voters and other electoral crimes in the forthcoming elections,” CAN said in a statement signed by John Praise Daniel, chairman, Local Organising Committee of the National Prayer Day.

CAN equally called on all Nigerians to join the solemn assembly in order to usher the country into a new era of peace, unity, safety and all-round prosperity. “May God use the programme to address the spiritual dimensions of the challenges plaguing the nation and frustrate every evil plan against the unity of the people”.

The Experience #17

The Experience, an annual gospel concert platform by the House On the Rock make a return to the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) after two years of a virtual/hybrid version due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2022 edition, which is the 17th edition of the annual gospel fiesta themed, ‘Jesus: The Exceptional One’, will be held onsite at the usual venue, TBS on Friday 2 December, 2022.

In recent years, The Experience publicity has garnered over 36 million impressions on Google and other social media adverts. A reach in excess of 5 million in social media posts, with over 1.5 million organic views on Facebook and Google, and over 600,000 concurrent live stream views.

Speaking on the annual gospel fiesta, Paul Adefarasin, the Metropolitan, House On The Rock, said that The Experience is the biggest sacrifice ever made by the church that birthed several companies every year. According to him, the musical concert is the currency of faith that the church deploy to tackle socio-economic challenges in and around the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) being home to the annual event.

“The Experience is our broken alabaster box, so to speak, in that our worship from deep within is an aroma of a sweet smell that rises to Heaven, evoking a response from God that transformationally renews the mind of His people to a ‘yes, I can’ persuasion instead of a ‘stuck-in-the-box’ mind-set that had us all in mental lockdown prior to this amazing spiritual encounter,” said Adefarasin.