Church not stage for comedians to perform, Elabor tells Pastors
Bishop of the Diocese of Esan, Ecclesiastical Province of Bendel, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), The Rt. Rev’d Gabriel Oseikhuemen Elabor, has cautioned pastors who give comedians platform in the church to make jest during church programmes. Describing the habit as an abomination, Elabor asserted that such practice would give Satan the opportunity to operate because people would not be seriously involved in the normal session.
The cleric expressed his disapproval while delivering his charge at the First Session of the Seventh Synod of Esan Diocese, with the theme: “Have you seen this, O Mortal?,” at St. John’s Anglican Church, Idumebo-Ekpoma, Edo State.
He said: “I consider this act as an abomination because the church is not supposed to be a secular gathering, even though it finds itself in the world. May I say this, I do not have any hatred for any comedians, they are great guys, by incorporating these guys and their comedies into worship services is where the problem lies.
He said a comedian could be a Christian, very committed and Sunday School Teacher, but, not crack jokes on the altar.
“Outside the church, he can perform his work, but within, no. A church is not a staging ground, as the congregation is not the audience! They are two different things,” he said.
The Bishop also cautioned traditional rulers to desist from struggling with the Church authority, especially on matters relating to burial rites and rights of widows to self-dignity and honour, against the backdrop of acts of victimisation, intimidation and all kinds of oppressive measures often taken by the men-folk against widows in their bereavement.
He further admonished traditional rulers, who are regarded as the custodians of the cultural ethos and belief systems in their domains, to avoid political inducements from politicians and also to be wary about strangers in their midst, pointing out that such strangers could pose serious security threats, given the current insecurity and other challenges facing Nigeria.
In the same breadth, Elabor urged Edo State Government to release Mission Schools owned by the church in Esanland, noting that in the Anglican Diocese of Esan, alone, no fewer than thirty-one of such schools cutting across the primary and post-primary categories are involved.
Elabor hinged his appeal on the positive roles of the Church in national development and pragmatic social action.
The Synod, which was rounded off with a thanksgiving service on June 20, 2021, was graced by the Bishop/President of the Synod, The Rt. Rev’d G.O. Elabor; his wife, Dr. (Mrs.) Chidalu Elabor; The Rt. Rev’d (Dr.) Chidi Collins Oparaojiaku of Egbema Diocese; Synod Preacher; The Rt. Rev’d Timothy Yahaya; Bishop of Kaduna Diocese was represented by the Rt. Rev’d Praises Omole, as the Revivalist; The Ven (Dr.) Izunna Chijioke Eze, Dean, Ezekiel College of Theology, Ujoelen, Ekpoma, Bible Study Teacher; visiting Bishops from Bendel Ecclesiastical Province; Chancellor, Barrister Sunny Agwinede and traditional rulers, among others.
(The Ven. (Prof.) Ben Egede is Media Relations Officer, Esan Diocese and Dean, Faculty of Art, Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma).
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