Triumphant convocation has become a big name in Diocese of Lagos West — Bishop Odedeji
For three days, the Diocese of Lagos West, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) under the leadership of Diocesan Bishop, The Rt. Rev. James Odedeji, gathered all parishioners at the Diocesan field in the church premises in Ikeja, Lagos from December 7 to 9, to observe their yearly Triumphant Convocation programme and prayed for the country and Nigerians. At the crusade, Bishop Odedeji spoke to The Guardian Correspondent, CHRIS IREKAMBA on what inspired the Diocese to hold the crusade, among other issues.
What really inspired the three-day crusade, Triumphant Convocation, tagged: “We are more than a conquerors”?
When I came on board about nine years ago, the Holy Spirit dropped it in my spirit that I should organise a forum, where champions would gather yearly to pray together. I know we have wonderful programmes in our parishes, in archdeaconries and other levels, but this is a general one that all churches must be present. By God’s grace, you saw the crowd that attended the event’s opening. It was so encouraging because everybody needs prayer and they believed on this mountain, including those who attended the event in the past. There were so many testimonies from people, whose prayers were answered by God after attending the programme. How about those who were jobless and God provided jobs for them? Many sicknesses have been healed by God on this mountain, and every year, people look forward to Triumphant Convocation. However, last year, we didn’t hold it because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, people were asking us,
“When is triumphant convocation going to hold”? It has become a big name in the Diocese of Lagos West, and we really thanked God for another glorious outing this year.
So, every year, we gather champions here to pray and thank God for what He has done for us since the beginning of the year and to receive more strength for the years ahead. It all started in 2013 and people through His grace have been triumphing over all limitations. This year, we called on God as the owner of His church to help us as we meet this year and by His grace, participants went home with multiple blessings.
I appreciate the efforts of administrators in all the archdeaconries in ensuring that their members were present at this event, because this programme is the peak of all that we do in the diocese. This way, we can have a strong fellowship before our Maker and we thank God for those who got the vision of our yearly gathering. If there is anytime we really need to pray, it is now.
Just few days ago, some gunmen in Nasarawa State issued a public statement that people should stop going to church, or else, they should be ready for attack. The church is being attacked and people are discouraged; so there is need to pray. Therefore, the church of God must pray and I have told people several times that if any person is around you that does not like prayer, run away from him/her, because prayer is our power. Take prayer away from any of us and we become hopeless. This year, one of our invited guest speakers was Bishop of Jalingo, the Rt. Rev. Foreman Nedison, a powerful man of God and a preacher you would love to listen.
What is the message people should take away from this gathering?
People should be steadfast, unmovable and demonstrate their faith in God and know that there is God, despite negative criticisms, distractions and no matter what anybody is saying. God is still God and owner of His church. He cannot be bankrupt; He has the ability to deliver His people.
Will this crusade impact positively on insecurity in the land?
What you have mentioned is part of the reason for this gathering. We need to pray for our country; there is no situation that is beyond prayer. God can still bring back the lost glory. In those days, when we were much younger, we loved travelling in the night and you would enjoy your journey but that joy is no longer there, as we speak today. Travelling to your neighbourhood has become a taboo. I believe so much that if people can pray, ‘if people who are called by my name can pray and turn from their wicked ways; if they will forsake their sins God will hear them from heaven and will heal their land.’
You lamented that the church is under severe attack…
Unfortunately, those who are supposed to encourage the church for us to have positive result are enemies of the church. Can you imagine that in some states, the government says you need permission to preach the gospel?
You need certificate before you can proclaim the gospel and where everything has to be censored, we cannot go far. You cannot cage God. The man that is talking is merely a mortal before God. He can sleep and not wake up again.
There was a story that happened in Brazil in 1984 during a particular election. This man, Tancredo Neves came to the campaign ground on the last day of the election and was boasting that even God could not stop his victory. Truly, he won, but on the eve of the swearing-in, he died. God demonstrated to him that He is God indeed. Our political leaders are playing with fire and they don’t know God. This is because if they do, they will know that God is the same God of mercy and at the same time, He is a consuming fire. Since various governments have been seeking help from other means without any result, they should try God. They have had summits, and yet there is no solution. Why can’t they try God and see if He will not be glorified? Remember Elijah who told the people that God is the only One Who answers by fire and He demonstrated it. Time is coming when everybody will realise that without God, nothing can be achieved.
I implore Nigerians not to lose hope. In our state of hopelessness, God is our hope. In our state of helplessness, God is our help. He can still make things better.
Any word for political leaders?
Our leaders should listen to God. They should be sensitive to the plight of the masses and be accountable, as everybody will be brought to book on account of what he/she has done. They should know that no king reigns forever. Although they are there today, they won’t be there tomorrow. Everything on earth has duration. Once you know this, everything you do must be handled with care.