25TH EPISCOPAL SYNOD


“I have observed from my readings and from life’s experiences that the men and women who have transformed societies, brought about change in communities, turned around the hearts of men and women to Jesus Christ, and made the greatest spiritual and physical impact leading to revivals and long-lasting gospel re-awakenings, have seen men and women who have consistently carried the gospel with joy to places where nobody else wants to go.  They have taken the risk for the sake of the gospel to go to forgotten areas of the world in order to bring people to Christ.  These kinds of people are those who have run the race and are running with a sense of urgency and are enthusiastic about the message they carry.  They do everything possible to get everybody ready for the return of the bridegroom.  These kinds of people are not ashamed to humble themselves first, to deny themselves and to labour and work very hard in the mission field, in the city, in the village and anywhere they are called to serve, be it through teaching, administration, health care, music, leadership or whatever is needed.  They will do all they can until every lamp is burning, waiting for the coming of the bridegroom…

Read Full Bishop’s CHARGE 2017

These people will wash the wounds of the sick, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the poor, shelter the homeless, bring hope to widows and build communities, militate against evil to set captives and the oppressed free, with the sole aim of getting them ready for the coming of the bridegroom.  Those who have their eyes fixed on this second coming also have their ears open for the cry, “Behold, here comes the bridegroom!”  Their sleep is little, their expectations high.  This is so because despite all that is happening in the world around us and beyond, one thing and one thing only is certain: Jesus will return and history will be culminated with the coming of the bridegroom.

“The Kingdom of Heaven will be like . . .”

ROCK HAVEN ARCHDEACONRY

We give glory to God for His faithfulness to us since the creation of our Archdeaconry. We are part of God’s great work of grace through the ministry of the Archbishop Kwashi. The Archdeaconry was created to take care of the increasing administrative responsibility necessitated with the growing number of church and the need to see that newly planted churches are well nurtured. All the churches and schools were all planted and established in the past 25th year. The biggest challenge the Archdeaconry is facing in terms of mission is the Seventh Day Adventist church. Most people in this area are products of this church and even though they do not understand what goes on in the church, they are threatening with different sanctions if they join other denominations. We have won some converts and discipleship is on going through our school in Kawan and churches in Kawan and Jengre.

We are able, through our scholarship programme, to see how we can reach the children  in our school hoping that in the future many of them will be firmly rooted in the gospel. Also the challenge of Sunday market has made Sunday services difficult in Jengre and Kawan towns. We are educating and helping the people to see the need to worship on Sunday, we have adopted early morning service on Sundays to cope with this.

Churches and when they were established through mission outreaches;

  1. James Anglican Church 7th mile Zaria Road           1995
  2. John’s Anglican Church Jengre                                 1996
  3. All Saint’s Anglican Church Mista Ali                       1996
  4. Emmanuel Anglican Church church                         1997
  5. Andrew’s Anglican Church Zabollo                           2007
  6. Alheri Anglican Church Fuskar Mata                       2007
  7. Paul’s Anglican Church Utan                                      2008
  8. Kauna Anglican Church Kawan                                  2008
  9. Church of the Epiphany ECWA Staff                        2010

 

SCHOOLS

  1. All Saint’s Nursery/Primary school Mista Ali   1997
  2. Emmanuel Church school, Rock Haven             2013
  3. Emmanuel High school, Kawan                           2010

The Way Ahead

 

“And the people said: `Let us rise up and build.’  So they strengthened their hands for the good work.”  (Nehemiah 2:18)

 

During the early months of his episcopate, the example of Nehemiah was constantly held before the diocese by Bishop Kwashi.  Indeed, for his first Diocesan Synod, held in May 1992, he took as his synod theme, “Arise and Build”.  In his Charge, his comments upon the book of Nehemiah, and his application of its message to the life of the church and the nation today, give clear indications of his own manner of approach to the situation with which he himself was faced in Jos Diocese.  He said, “The theme for our Synod this year is “Arise and Build”.  This is the response and reaction of a people oppressed, disgraced and humiliated.  Their social, spiritual and moral conditions were very bad.  The report about the broken walls and the burnt gates of Jerusalem (Neh.1:3) is a summary of the real estate of Israel and its people….When Nehemiah heard this report, he was sad, he wept, he mourned, fasted and prayed.  Nehemiah made up his mind to leave his position, work and comfort in Persia to go and serve his people…  He was allowed to leave… (In Jerusalem) he then called a meeting, and it was at that meeting (Neh.2:17-18) that the people saw three things in the life and testimony of Nehemiah that motivated them to respond with one voice, “Let’s arise and build”.

  1. a) Concern: The people listened to Nehemiah and saw in him a type of concern that they had seen in no-one else.  He was sincere and had no hidden agendas…
  2. b) Prayer: Nehemiah did not have fortune tellers, nor did he consult with oracles or believe in any cultic practices or prophecies.  He did not run to seers, magicians or to “prayer houses”.  He simply did what he had learnt to do, that is, to turn to God in prayer.  You all know that when your life is not right, praying becomes boring, uninteresting and burdensome.  What’s more, if you do not trust God, it is impossible to turn to God in prayer.  Nehemiah remembered the promise of God. “Call upon me in the time of trouble and I will answer you.”  Here was a time suitable to call upon God, he must have thought.  Let me draw your attention to the fact that Nehemiah was not here in prayer for his own needs or problems; he was not asking for anything for himself.  He was so moved by the condition of his people that he went without food and prayed.  Here is a leader praying for his people!  …  This was Nehemiah’s strength: he prayed at all times, for all occasions, seeking God’s guidance and direction on all things, at all times.

 

  1. c) Action: You have no business to pray if you are not ready to be part of the solution!  Nehemiah moved from prayer to action.  This is important because the problems were actual and physical.  The spiritual life of the people was nothing to write home about, the moral life was even worse and the consequence on the land devasting.  Because his prayer was realistic and born out of real concern, he took the most sincere step into action.  He was full of initiative; he was an active participant in all the life-changing policies; he was not just a spectator or dictator.

My good people of God, you will agree with me that Nigeria is in search of a man like Nehemiah… The Church, I must confess, which should have been the conscience of the nation, has hardly helped matters.  We also need leaders like Nehemiah.  We have taken each other to court; we have fought one another, and we have defrauded the offerings of the Church.  We have even divided the Church according to tribes and instigated each group to war against the other.  We have neglected the command of God to love, and we have obeyed the devil’s command to destroy each other.  Are you not concerned? ….

Nehemiah did not stop at concern: he prayed and took action. …. My dear people, this is the time to repent; earnestly to seek God; to return to our families and to do the right; to return to God and be sober and to be content with what we have; to serve one another with purity of love, and to live righteously.  It worked for Nehemiah; it can work for us too.”

In 1992 the need to begin building was clear.  Where, however, was that beginning to be made?  Unlike the problem which Nehemiah faced, it was not just a matter of rebuilding old walls.  The old walls of Jos Diocese had been the dividing walls of tribe, of self-centredness, of prejudice and of deception.  These had to be totally demolished, and God’s structures built instead.

Anyone knowing Bishop Kwashi from the years before he came to Jos, will have known that he was first and foremost an evangelist.  His conviction concerning the primacy of that calling did not change when he became Bishop.  When he was interviewed on the first  anniversary of his consecration, and asked what his top priorities were; “To train pastors and evangelists who would be known for preaching the Gospel of Christ.  My aim is to raise Spirit-led ministers who would be able to lead their congregations with great spiritual charisma and allow God to work in their lives and that of their congregations.”

Similarly, in his first Charge, he had commented: “We are not at liberty not to preach the message of salvation to the whole world.  Jesus Christ has commanded us to go into all the world and preach to all peoples of the world.  My observation in our Diocese, however, is that, not only have we disobeyed this command, we have also gone further to hoard the message of salvation.”

The question remained as to how this concern was to be translated into practical terms. So the projects began:

The first two projects concerned the establishment of two new Junior Secondary Schools, which would provide a thoroughly Christian boarding school upbringing, and would then feed senior pupils into St. John’s College, Jos (an Anglican Secondary School).  The schools were named as St. Mary’s Convent (for girls) which was to be situated at Yerwa, and St. Benedict’s Junior Seminary (for boys) at Pankshin.

It was also proposed to establish a Christian Institute which would provide training for pastors, pastors’ wives and leaders of the laity.  Courses were to include Pre-Ordination training, Post Ordination training, in-service training, courses for Church Agents and for other specific groups.  It was also to be the base for the diocesan Theological Education by Extension (T.E.E.) programme.

Even today there are rural areas in Plateau State where health care is sadly lacking.  There are villages where anyone who has the misfortune to be sick has to trek (or be carried) over the hills to the nearest clinic.  It was therefore proposed to start the “Gospel Medical Services”, a rural health outreach scheme.

The Junior Secondary Schools, St.Mary’s Convent and St.Benedict’s Junior Seminary, opened in September 1994.

The Christian Institute is the most advanced of the projects and it has already been given recognition by the State.  Affiliation with the University of Jos is in process.  In addition to one-week in-service training courses, the Christian Institute now runs three main programmes:

  1. Diploma in Theology: a two-year full-time course, now in its second year with five students.
  2. Certificate in Theology (English): a part-time one year course for graduates or those holding similar qualifications.  This is the third year this course has been run, each time with about twelve participants.  Many of the students from this course have been ordained and serve as non-stipendiary pastors.
  3. Certificate in Theology (Hausa): a new course begun in 1994 with four students.  The initial academic level is lower, and so it is envisaged that this will be a “sandwich” course, with students doing one-year full-time study, one year back working in the churches, then another full-time study year.

The diocesan clergy have benefitted greatly from the Institute: every year each pastor attends the annual Clergy School and at least one other course.

Under the auspices of the Gospel Medical Services clinics have been established at Zadiyen, Mama and Majaga and preparations are being made for one at Duduguru.  There is also a clinic at St. Luke’s Cathedral, Jos: this is a particularly well equipped clinic, and it is planned that this will be the training centre for those who will work in the rural areas.  With the current rate of inflation, the cost of medical care is proving prohibitive to many people, and therefore these clinics seek to provide the best possible care at the lowest possible cost.

The Day of enthronement

 

The Rt. Rev. Benjamin Argak Kwashi was installed and enthroned as the third Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Jos at 4.00 p.m. on Sunday 9th February, 1992.  He took as the text for his sermon, “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Mt.6:33) Here he set out clearly his priority and his agenda – or rather, not his own agenda, but that which he believed was God’s agenda for Jos Diocese.  He noted that the Kingdom of God refers to a setting or situation where everything is done under the rule of God.  The kingdom of God therefore means the rule of God.

In his very first official address to the diocese, Bishop Benjamin Kwashi said. “In much of life and living, priorities are usually misplaced.  True values are exchanged for the false in the struggle to make the most out of life.   This is almost normal because of our human frailty and nature.  The text before us is a summary of Jesus’ teachings as recorded in St. Matthew’s Gospel chapters five to seven.  He had taught about attitudes and right relationships, love for our enemies, giving, prayer and fasting.  He now goes further to reveal certain truths about heaven, about light and darkness and about possessions.  Finally he sums it up by stating the most important priority: “Seek first the Kingdom of God… Our first task in Jos Diocese is to find the Kingdom of God.  Our second task is to find the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. I come to you as one seeking first of all this Kingdom.  Therefore, I shall resist every attempt to set up a Hausa kingdom, an Igbo kingdom, a Yoruba kingdom or any other kingdom.  For that matter I shall do all within me to insist on establishing the rule of God in the hearts of people, and on furthering his righteousness in all places and at all times.  Then, and only then, shall all other blessings follow.”

 

Change and Growth

The concern shown in these projects for education, health and training correctly reflects a deep concern to build changed lives, and a changed society.  This change can only come about through the complete gospel.  As Bishop Kwashi said in his 1993 Synod Charge, “All our philosophies will come to nothing unless and until we accept the true gospel that is able to produce lasting results and the change that will last into eternity.”

As in his first Charge, so in the second, and again in that of 1994 under the theme “Let justice roll on like a river, and righteousness like a never failing stream”, the Bishop spoke out firmly against the ills of our church, our society and our nation.  His criticism, however, is never purely negative: he strongly believes in the power of the gospel to bring about constructive change.  The gospel, and only the gospel, can set men and women free from the fears and the powers of darkness which had held them in chains; the gospel can set men and women free – free to serve Christ.  Therefore throughout his episcopate Bishop Kwashi has continued to give pride of place to evangelism – and it is safe to predict that this will continue to be so for the rest of his life!  He sees evangelism as the “backbone” of the re-making of Jos Diocese.  With this backbone firmly in place all other developments can safely flow out from it in their various directions, but if the backbone is not there, if the foundation is not Jesus Christ, then the whole structure is bound to fall.  He emphasised this again in his 1993 Charge:

“I believe in evangelism. I believe in the command of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:19-20.  I believe in the outworking of that command through the work of the Holy Spirit and in the vital witness to the gospel of the quality of the life we live. …  May I point out again that the command is not from me, neither do I seek to gain anything by asking you to do evangelism.  I am simply reminding you of your responsibility to obey the command of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The growth has been particularly striking in Jos town.  In January 1992 there were six Anglican churches.  Three years later there are sixteen churches, five industrial outreach centres and work is in progress towards the establishment of yet more. The year 1995 has been designated as a year of mission, and “Top Priority”, with its clear proclamation that “Number One on our agenda must be MISSION” is not just the name of a strategy paper, it is a manner of work and a way of life.  The Mission Week (January 22-29) has brought in reports of very many people giving their lives to Christ, and also of how many Church members, having seen the effectiveness of evangelism, are now keen to continue in this way.  To God be the Glory!

No-one looking at Jos Diocese as it was in 1991, and at Jos Diocese as it is in 1995 can fail to see the difference.  However, the question may well be asked as to how it is that such transformation is being effected. That it is the work of God cannot be disputed.

Jesus said, “For which is the greater, one who sits at table, or one who serves?  Is it not the one who sits at table?  But I am among you as one who serves.” (Luke 22:27)

“I am amongst you as one who serves” are words upon which Bishop Kwashi has pondered long.  They do not fit in with the traditional pattern of the bishopric, accompanied as it is by status, grandeur, heirachy and a potentially dictatorial authority.  Yet the greatest example of Christian leadership remains that of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ had a clear vision and goal: “The time is fulfiled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:15).  He spoke “as one with authority”, though his worldly and academic qualifications were nil.  He gave birth to an organisation which has changed the lives of millions and altered the fate of nations, yet he he trained only a handful of local people, most of whom had minimal schooling and experience.   His way led through service, suffering and the cross, and it is in that way that he calls others to follow.  Yet others have followed, and in the following they have discovered freedom in his service, love in his presence, and the joy of the Kingdom of Heaven.

It is in this way that Bishop Kwashi seeks to follow, and it is in this way that he seeks to draw others to follow with him.  His is therefore a leadership which is inspired by Christ and rooted in the gospel.  His aim is not to build his own empire, or to put himself on a pedestal, but to serve his Master, and to draw others to know, love and serve Him too.

Like his Master, Bishop Kwashi sees this as an urgent task: there is no time to lose.  He is open and approachable, but his pastors know that the one thing which will incur his wrath is if the work of God is spoiled, and to waste the privilege of twenty minutes in the pulpit is most serious.  One of his pastors commented:  “His style of leadership is simple.  You can see him generally as often as you would.  He does not ostracise himself by the power and pomp of the bishopric.  He would rather be Kwashi than be a bishop to drive away a friend or foe at his door.  Yet he is not a weakling.  He is not ignorant of the traditions under which he was brought up.  He often warns his clergy that he knows his rights and powers as a bishop, and that no one should tempt him to invoke and use such.”

He may often joke about the way in which the Book of Common Prayer refers to the Bishop as being “most learned”, but in actual fact his work is always based upon thorough research (like that of Nehemiah).  He will not be rushed into decisions, but once he has prayed over a matter until he feels clear what the will of God is, then it is in vain that anyone at all tries to influence him or make him change his mind.

The leadership style of Bishop Kwashi carries authenticity and authority because he has a clear vision and a clear goal.  His conviction lends fire to his mission: he believes in what has to be done.  It has been said that “leadership is first of all not something one does but something one is”, and furthermore it has been argued that the strongest leaders are those who have received a strong affirmation of their own personhood, in a way which frees them not only to lead a cause but also to serve others.  Bishop Kwashi knows that he is first and foremost a child of God, and an evangelist who has been called by God.  The experiences of life, the difficulties as well as the joys, have served simply to confirm his conviction and his faith.  Motivation is generally contagious, and the Bishop uses every possible means and opportunity to teach, inspire and encourage his pastors and leaders, so that they in turn will inspire and lead others.

Our Lord Jesus Christ taught crowds of people, but he concentrated his efforts on a small group of twelve who were later to go out and teach others.  This is the pattern Bishop Kwashi has adopted.  He preaches at every opportunity, but he concentrates his efforts upon his pastors and leaders.  Opportunities for training are expected to be used to the full, and the opportunities now offered are far more than in previous years.  In addition, those pastors who are in or near Jos are invited to meet every Monday morning at Bishop’s court after the Holy communion service in the Chapel of Grace.  This is a regular time when the week’s activities in every church can be reviewed and prayed about.  It also provides an opportunity for a seminar, usually led by the Bishop.  It is expected that when these pastors are posted out of Jos, they will similarly gather their fellow workers together on a regular basis, and teach them and pray with them.

Needless to say, the basis of the Bishop’s teaching is the Bible.  However, this is not taught as a purely academic subject, but rather as a way of living.  The Word of God is to be lived, and it is this word, not human ideas, which is to be sown in the hearts of others.  Pastors are encouraged to serve with humility, not looking for material rewards, and to work with diligence, being loyal first and foremost to God, then to the Church, and finally to the Bishop.  Servants of God are precisely that – servants, or tools in the hands of Our Lord.  No-one is indispensable, and no person can save himself, let alone anyone else.  God’s servants are to be channels through whom God can work, and that means that those who serve Christ must first of all deal with themselves, both for their own sakes, and also so that the “glass” through which others would see God may be cleaner and more transparent.

Learning never finishes, and the Bishop uses every opportunity to guide and teach his people, both in formal and informal situations, in seminars, in conversations, when playing squash or basketball with the youth, or when chatting with the many people who call at Bishop’s court.  He himself is also keen to increase his own experience and understanding, and even since becoming Bishop he has gladly made use of various openings offered for short courses, whether in Nigeria, or in Singapore, U.S.A. or U.K.

Effective learning requires the best possible communication.  To this end, Easter Day 1992 saw the first edition of the Diocesan Newspaper, “New Times”, and since then various other publications have followed including the leaflet “Four Steps to Spiritual Growth”, the six-monthly Cycle of Prayer, a Baptism preparation booklet, and a growing number of larger books and guidelines.

Bishop Kwashi’s approach believes that in Nigeria as elsewhere in the world, traditional attitudes, values and expectations are to be retained if they are of value, but anything which in any way contradicts the gospel of Christ, or is in danger of itself becoming an “idol” is to be firmly rejected.  Hence, for example, the Bishop’s attitude to hierarchy.  Respect for God-given authority is right and proper, but self-centred seeking after status and position in the eyes of the world is not acceptable as it does not conform with the standards of Christ.

Similarly, there is no distinction made in Jos Diocese between those pastors who are “full-time” and those who are ordained but who gain their salary through doing another full-time job (“non-stipendiary pastors”).  Indeed, the commitment and dedication shown by those in the latter group is often an inspiration to those pastors who have no other employment!  One pastor who is also on the staff of the University commented:  “What you find as one serious setback in many a diocese in Nigeria today is the jealousy, envy, irritation, anguish and rejection which characterises the relationships between so-called “full-timers” and the “part-timers”.  One reason why the Church of Jesus is not growing in many dioceses is that we have left the substance (the gospel) to chase shadows (worldly honours, positions, power etc.).  When the shepherds are at war with each other, the sheep are bound to scatter.  For Bishop Kwashi whether you are full-time or non-stipendiary is of no importance.  There is work to be done and it must be done with all our being.  It must be done with every sacrifice it calls for. It must be done while it is yet day because night is fast approaching when men shall no longer be able to work.  God’s days of opportunity are here, for dedicated service, not ego-bloating; for preaching and teaching God’s flock, not for fulfilling selfish personal ambitions.  Titles are good but can become a real hindrance.  What matters is not titles but doing the work of God.  Titles are made by men and are conferred upon men by men. There is one title that matters ultimately: a faithful servant of Christ.”

What is crucial in all this, is of course the selection of those who are to be ordained.  Bishop Kwashi’s approach to this is that these people must be “fished out” one by one.  Our Lord Jesus Christ did not make a public appeal for people to apply for twelve possible vacancies!  One by one he called the disciples, and then after much prayer he selected the twelve.  Following this pattern, it is of little use merely to announce that application forms for theological colleges are available.  The people have to be looked for, called, and then secondly they must be trained well.

Some of the ordinands from Jos Diocese continue to go to the theological colleges at Wusasa, Ibadan and Akure, but an increasing number are now trained at the Christian Institute in Jos.  Training them on the spot ensures not only that they stay in Jos Diocese after the completion of their course, but also that their progress and development can be more closely monitored, and that they receive the type of training which the situation here requires.

The number of pastors working in Jos Diocese is growing, but so is the number of churches.   Supply can never meet demand!  There is a huge task ahead; the work is urgent and crucial.

The time spent as Bishop has in no way lessened the burning fire of Bishop Kwashi’s zeal for this work and for evangelism.  After a visit to do mission in U.K. in 1994, he reflected:

“The gospel is inclusive, but it is also exclusive, and by the time I had read the biography of John Wesley, I said Yes, the gospel preached by John Wesley was not all inclusive.  It was either you take Jesus Christ or you leave him and you go to hell.  So why is modern Europe now so “advanced” as to become confused as far as the gospel is concerned!  We in Africa need this truth proclaimed very mightily especially because we suffer a double disadvantage.  We don’t have all the wealth and goodies of life, and there are all kinds of civil and political upheavals.  So we need the gospel more than anybody else.  At least if we lose here on earth, we shouldn’t lose in heaven!  So there is a sense in which biographies of people such as Wesley and Festus Kivengere are confirming that the top priority of life is the work of the gospel of Jesus Christ; the mission that I should believe it and everyday learn to share it with other people because we are heading for destruction and time is not on our side.”

It was after the Bishop returned from England that the Mission Week, together with what is increasingly being known as “Mission 95” was planned, and the “Top Priority” paper was circulated.  As part of this on-going drive the Bishop now plans to make random and unannounced visits anywhere in the diocese.  He says:

“During these visits, I am going to look out for four key things.  Firstly, I am going to ask the pastor, `What is your evangelistic programme; what are you doing; who is in charge of it?’  Secondly, `What is your Sunday School programme or young church programme; what are you doing about children; who is in charge of it; is the person truly born again; is he a committed Christian; is he committed to that particular ministry?’  Thirdly I am going to look at the Bible Study programme, at what materials are being used, what the aims are, and who is leading it.  Fourthly I shall ask, `Where and how do you do your prayer meeting(s) as a church?’  These four elements are part of the revelations I had while I was in U.K. to help our pastors to be effective instruments in the hands of God.  If we allow the Holy Spirit into these four areas, the church will be a living church and we hope to have every church become a centre of evangelism.”

Bishop Kwashi was quotes in a publication as saying, “The first point is to repeat what St.Paul said to the Roman Christians as he rounded up his letter: that now is our salvation closer than when we first believed;  now is the time to cast off the works of darkness and to put on the armour of light; the day is at hand and the night is far spent.  Believe me, there is no more time to make enemies; there is no more time to look at the things of this world.  The time is too short.  The instability of the world dictates the pace now and the sooner we turn to God the better.  The uncertainties around us are far more than the certainties.  In fact, there seems to be nothing now that is certain any more.  So the better now we turn to God, the better for us and for our children.  This demands a deliberate act on our side to remove all the works of darkness and turn to Jesus, the light of the world.  Rejecting Jesus means to continue in darkness and believe me the days of doom are closer than anyone can ever imagine.  Eternal doom awaits anyone who rejects the Lord Jesus.  I urge that no-one would allow himself to go into the New Year the same old person inside.”

The story can only be told as far as it has so far been unfolded – but the story is only just beginning.  “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38).  No Christian can ever sit back and say that the work is done.  The Bishop is looking forward to his retirement so that he can forget administration and concentrate on local evangelism!

What has so far been achieved in Jos Diocese under Bishop Kwashi’s leadership is just a beginning, just a stage on the journey.  The journey continues; the way ahead must be followed; the hills and the valleys, the corners and the straight roads are as yet unknown to us, but the vision remains and the goal is clear.  Men and women everywhere must be set free, free to serve Our Lord Jesus Christ, who himself commanded all people everywhere:

“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.”

Number of Churches and Pastors

Year                                         91        92        93        94        95

Archdeaconries                       5          5          6          7          8

Chapelry                                  1          1          1          1          1

Parishes                                  8          8          18        18        29

Churches (with pastor)           17        17        23        31        42

Churches (no pastor)             57        57        78        79        78

Total No of Churches total     74        74        101      110      120

Pastors in parishes                 19        22        29        43        55

Pastors (in Sec. Schools & Colleges)  2          2          2          3          7

Total No of Pastors                 21        24        31        46        62

Growth of churches in 3 years in Jos Town

1992:   St.Luke’s Cathedral

St.Timothy’s, Nasarawa

Anglican Church, Tudun Wada

New Covenant Anglican Church

St.Paul’s Church

St.Piran’s Church

 

1995:   St.Luke’s Cathedral

Calvary Anglican Church, Tudun Wada

Ebenezer Chapel, Farin Gada    )

Shemshack Outreach                 )

Tobi Workshop, Farin Gada       )  outreach

Ehindero Printing Press             )   centres

Ande Hospital                            )

St.Timothy’s, Nasarawa

 

Jos Central Archdeaconry

St.Paul’s, Jos

St.Mary’s, Kabong

St.Andrew’s, Anglo-Jos

Holy Trinity, Rikos

St.James’, Seventh Mile

St.Mark’s, Miango

St.Michael’s, Katako

Church of the Ascension, U/Rogo

Jos South Archdeaconry

St.Piran’s, Jos

St.Bartholomew’s. Miango Road

Chapelries/Special Parishes

New Covenant Anglican Church

Chapel on the Rock, St.John’s College

Trinity Chapel, Naraguta

 

 

 

RANTYA ARCHDEACONRY IN TWENTY FIVE YEARS

written by Justice Okoronkwo

St. Bartholomew’s Church Rantya was one of the churches born out of the mission outreaches by the Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi in July 1997.  The young church set within the residential communities of Kufang, Kangang, the State and Federal Lowcost Houses has grown within the past two decades to an archdeaconry of Rantya  today.

Since 1997, the archdeaconry has grown and established three other parishes now; Church of Advent in the Federal Lowcost, with St. Judes Dong and Mission station Maifarin Mota under its care. St. Stephens Sabon Barki, with St. Thomas Gada under its care. Finally, there is St. Bartholomew’s parish, with St. Mark’s Rantya, Kauna Church New Abuja and Mission Church Rwanjeh.

St Barth’s Church in itself, has grown from a handful of families to a medium sized multicultural fellowship in Rantya, with an average population of 250 attendees. It is also the hub for monthly non-denominational Firecamp meetings, Corpers Fellowship and one of the female arms of the Bible Studies Fellowship (BSF). It has witnessed the conversion of hundrededs to the Lord, and the birth of Rantya, Kauna and Zaramaganda outreach churches as a result.  Infact, it is the church where the Archbishop’s children started before they were set off  to be the Kauna Church.

The past twenty five years have shown that the little seed of faith that sown and groomed in obedience has indeed grown to a small tree. It is a church that has been encouraged and groomed to blossom under the leadership of the Archbishop Ben Kwashi, who often reminds the congregation that St. Barth’s was called to be a community church, building bonds and enhancing social cohesion in the society.

 

The Religious “Conversion” Franchise in Nigeria

Moslem youths have found it very profitable to come to any Church and claim that they are persecuted by their families because they have ‘converted’ to Christianity.

muslim-convert
A muslim youth posing as a Christian convert in Jos

Knowing that they will be given special treatment and will have many churches raising funds to support them and be given comfortable accommodation. As a result many young muslim youths are getting ‘converted’ to Christianity.

Churches are usually more ‘excited’ when a Muslim converts to Christianity than when they get any other convert. These so called converts are pampered and celebrated. Some churches go to the extent of parading these muslim converts to congregations with the aim of showing ‘what the Lord is doing’ and for raising financial support for the converts, especially if they have families.

What use to be kind gestures and show of Christian love has now turned into a large lucrative franchise. Many Muslims are now realising that to claim conversion and persecution generates a life of luxury and care by Christians. Many therefore, especially in Jos, Kaduna, Bauchi and Gombe States, are increasing in this very lucrative business.

There are instances however where risks come with these so called converts. This risk has been experienced especially with the radical fundamental Islamism growing in Nigeria where terrorists scout out churches for attacks and for targeting of individual Christians for assassination as has been reported in Borno with the Boko Haram insurgencies.

jos-cathedralInterestingly this franchise is not unique to Christianity. Many Christians, especially in the Southeastern parts of Nigeria, as well as other non-Hausa speaking Christians have ‘converted’ to Islam where they are also celebrated and showcased as the Christian ‘converts’ to Islam. The enjoy the benefits of Pilgrimage to Mecca, additional wives, and belonging to the Umma where if one is not a muslim, he does not get any opportunities in most northern parts of the country or even in the Federal Civil Service.

While it is worth celebrating, churches need to be aware of the growing “conversion’ franchise.

Back Stories

Mission Possible Despite Insurgencies and Radical Jihadists

Ben and Gloria Kwashi
Archbishop Benjamin and Gloria Kwashi

“A Church without Mission is Dead,” says Archbishop Benjamin A. Kwashi. Speaking at the Jos Diocesan Mission Convention, the Archbishop calls on Christians to make missions the topmost priority. The Challenges posed by radical Islamist, overwhelming number of refugees, poverty and poor economy is a great opportunity for missions, the Archbishop said. Read More

Jos Missions Conference 2016
Missions Conference at St Piran’s Church Jos

Ordination in Jos Province: Signing A Death Certificate and Feeling Good about it

Another set of the “living Dead” has been ordained in the Anglican Diocese of Signing-ar-OrdinationJos. The Archbishop, Most Rev. Dr. Benjamin Argak Kwashi has always reiterated that ‘the Gospel we have is worth living for and worth dying for.” Ordination2016The newly ordained Deacons and Priests were told by the Bishop of Jalingo, Rt. Rev. Foreman that only two things will see them through in this age of persecution and killing of clergy, and destruction of Churches by Islamic terrorists. Their capacity which come from getting their source from God and their Character which is built from truth, honesty and justice.

Rt.-Rev-Nedison-Foreman
Rt.-Rev-Nedison-Foreman

‘The Church needs ‘spiritual leadership (Judges 25:21) the people need to be directed in a course that will build the Church.’ The clergy must build  Capacity and Character. The capacity is the ability to run the mileage, the mental ability needed while while character is the integrity they need to see them through.

Women Commissioned in Jos Diocese

While the debate about the ordination of women in the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communions is still at its nascent stage, the Anglican Diocese of Jos as well as other Dioceses in the north, Commission women who are married to Clergy as Co-Workers and Evangelists in theiMU-Ordination-2016r respective parishes. This commissioning, in challenging environments like Northern Nigeria, is to ensure that there is unity of focus and purpose for the couple going into Ordained Ministry as well as to continue with God’s purpose for the family in giving the Priest a helpmate in the ministry where dangers and challenges are in every corner and at every twist and turn.

2016 SYNOD:

Matthew 28:20: “Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

The Archbishop Benjamin A. Kwashi has reiterated the importance of the family in the development of the society. In his Charge, the Archbishop stressed that parents, a union between a man and a woman, play a critical part in the development of a child.

Bishop B A Kwashi“Everybody in a community knows that the child spends more time with the mother. The mother shares her blood and so her life with her child when she is pregnant with him or her. Apart from the fact that God gives life, the woman could decide to terminate or keep the pregnancy which is the same as deciding to give or take away life from the child. After a child is born, the woman in the life of a child is an all-rounder. She is an interpreter: she is usually the first to understand her child’s tongue, to be able to say what the child says. She is a psychologist who knows when the child is telling the truth or not. She is the doctor who knows when a child is sick or not. The first educator of the child, she talks to the child and passes on to the child good doctrines, ethics and other lessons.

The summary of the definition above puts a big responsibility on the woman concerning evangelism . . . . If a woman does not begin her life with Jesus Christ as the Controller and the object of her whole life, she will misguide not only herself, but also her family and several others.” Read Charge Anglican Diocese of Jos – Charge 2016

SYNOD BIBLE STUDY

 The Charge

It is official, all are called and commissioned to teach, as the Bible prescribes, in Jos Diocese

“Parents must teach. Institutions must teach. The church must teach. The women were the BA Kwashifirst witnesses to the resurrection, and were entrusted with the Risen Lord’s first command. Both women and men continue to be vital witnesses and teachers, in the home, in the school, in the community and in the church. Neither sex, nor age, nor tribe, nor background should be allowed in any way to hinder authentic, committed teaching.” Anglican Diocese of Jos – Charge 2016

KILL THE BILL

“There have been countless isolated cases of herdsmen brutality to their host communities. These notorious activities of herdsmen are capable of dragging the country fulaniinto another civil war. The Fulani herdsmen are private businessmen who take away all proceeds of the business, not sharing with either their host communities or the government.” Archbishop Okoh READ

READ Grazing bill

GLORIA LADI KWASHI: The Archbishop’s Wife

gloria at graduation

Gloria the Archbishop’s wife is not just the title of the book about Gloria Ladi Kwashi, it is a statement of a woman who, dispite all challenges and responsibilities is able to achieve what so many in her position are unable to. Read More

A Church without Mission is Dead

Most-Rev.-Ben-Kwashi
Most Rev. Benjamin Kwashi Archbishop Jos Province

The Most Rev Dr. Archbishop Kwashi has reiterated that unless a Church focuses on mission and evangelising the communities around it, it will soon loose relevance and die off. There may be fantastic monuments and buildings but the life of Christ inside it is gone and therefore it exists only as a monument as beautiful as it may look, it still remains a corpse. The Archbishop says “every Church exists primarily for missions; teaching, discipling and caring for the poor, the vulnerable, the needy and spreading the Gospel of Christ.”

 

Mike-Adegbile
Bro Mike Adegbile NEMA Exec. Secretary

Mike Adegbile, the NEMA Executive secretary who was recently kidnapped and later released by militant youths, speaking at the Jos Mission Convention, called on the Church to restrategize to reach the North Eastern Nigeria that has been devastated by the Boko Haram Islamic Jihad in the last 7 years.

Anglican In the Hands of Boko Haram/Kaduna Religious Bill

 

 

CSW: Highlights of Pursue Justice 2016, London. Details Soon.

JACOB KWASHI: More Anglicans Die at Hands of Boko Haram than all Christians in Middle East

jacob ‘Yes. We got to know the ones in the diocese of Damaturu in Yobe state. Today Damaturu is virtually gone. We only have one surviving church where there once over 47 thriving churches. They have all been destroyed, and the people have either left, been killed, homes destroyed, or simply gone no one knows where. The bishop of Damaturu is now living in Jos with my brother. The diocese once had 250,000 people, Boko Haram has killed thousands, and married off the women they have captured. Recently, the army rescued 150 women and children.’ READ FULL INTERVIEW

A DANGEROUS RELIGIOUS BILL TO BE OUT IN KADUNA STATE

christian-and-muslim-leaders-in-nigeria-463x347El Rufai now wants to amend this bill so as to pull in the power to curb public preaching, perhaps in a bid to curb any more out break of religious violence. But what this bill will ensure is the outbreak of yet another phase of violence.

If the bill that was enacted since 1984 did not curb the violence, what El Rufai should be looking at is empowering the security agencies within his state to root out radical Islamists and to have the political will to prosecute them. READ FULL TEXT

DEACONESS SUSAN ESSAM HONOURED BY THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

Sue and WelbyAwarded to Deaconess Susan C. Essam for her contribution to Theological Education by Extension in Nigeria. In December 1983 Susan moved to Jos, in Nigeria, and for eight years travelled widely, teaching, preaching, writing in diocesan publications and leading TEE. She then moved to become the Rt. Revd Dr Benjamin A Kwashi’s Administrative Chaplain and, in spite of much unrest and clashes between Christians and Muslims (over 1000 died in Jos in 2001 when the city erupted into a violence which has continued over the years) she was involved in many aspects of church life. READ MORE

The military during one of the attacks in Jos

From Brussels to Jos –  A lesson in Countering Terrorism

PART ONE and PART TWO

cresentThe Age of the Phobia; Islamaphobia, Christophobia or Westernophobia…
Primates 2016 - 1
PRIMATES’ MEETING, LAMBETH 2016

RED OTHER STORIES

SO WHAT HAPPENED AT CANTERBURY…? READ A THOUGHT

Sin, corruption and Islam: Justin Welby on the threats facing the Anglican Communion 

 ruth-gledhill Ruth Gledhill CHRISTIAN TODAY CONTRIBUTING EDITOR 

Why GAFCON truly matters By Peter Jensen

Jos Diocese Newsletters