The House of Bishops, Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, has unanimously endorsed the decision taken by the National Joint Council of Knights (JCK), to suspend any Council whose Bishop invests more than 30 Knights at a time, within a period of three years or 10 Knights per year.
The Bishops acknowledged the National JCk's stand while reacting to some issues raised in a welcome address presented to them by the Chairman, Owerri Provincial Joint Council of Knights (JCK), Sir Samuel Urechukwu, who is also the President of Okigwe South Council, and the Traditional Ruler of Umueleke Autonomous Community, Ehime-Mbano LGA, at a meeting of the Bishops and the Provincial Council Presidents/Secretaries, held at the Cathedral Church of Saints Peter and John the Divine, Nkwerre, last weekend. They noted that much as the decision was taken to guard against the investiture of too many Knights at a time into the sacred order, the National JCK should not try to throw over board the discretionary power(s) of the Diocesan Bishops in some circumstances.
The Prelates, also lent a very strong support to the issue of associate membership of Knights, and said it would give the Knights and Ladies the opportunity to choose which Council they would wish to belong to as full members, and where they would want to remain as associate members, between their council of investiture and their home council, so as to avoid embarrassing situations or disagreements, such that arose in the recent past, between one Council and another in the event of the death of a Knight or Lady.
On the issue of non-inclusion of Knighthood in the Church of Nigeria Constitution, those who spoke on the matter noted that, it was not really an issue that could be handled so easily at the level of the Church of Nigeria, because of obvious divergent interests, but rather advised the Provincial JCK members, to go back to their respective Dioceses and seek for the entrenchment of Knighthood in their own constitution as a starting point.
During an open forum, the joint meeting condemned a situation whereby some parents try to shield their grown-up children from coming forward to make meaningful donations towards the work of God in the church, or as they exhibit interest to erect structures for the church, adding that, as parents, it is obligatory for them to ensure that their children receive sound moral and godly training, so that when they grow up* to become youths or into manhood, it would enable them to remain and marry, and or wed in the Anglican church.
The meeting also identified the improvement of welfare packages and recreational facilities in the church as some of the strategies that could keep the youths back from migrating from the Anglican Church to elsewhere.
In a comment the Archbishop of the Owerri Ecclesiastical Province and the Bishop of Ideato Dioceses, His Grace, Most Rev. Caleb A. Maduoma, at whose instance the joint meeting was scheduled, thanked the Bishops and the JCK members, for attending the meeting, the essence of which, he said, was to rob minds together, and for the Knights, as Leaders of the Laity, to advise the Bishops on what is going on in their respective churches, to enable the church move forward in the Province.
In his own comment, the host Bishop, and Archbishop Emeritus, His Grace, Most Reverend Benneth C. I. Okoro Ph.D, welcomed everybody to the joint meeting, but used the opportunity to call on all Knights and Ladies in the Province, to strive and update their financial positions in their various Councils, so that each Council can live up to its responsibilities at all times.
Earlier in a Eucharistic service, the Dean of the Cathedral of SS Peter and John the Divine, Nkwerre, Venerable C.C.B. Okorie, in a homily which he captioned: "LIVING AS A FAMILY OF GOD" (Ps. 1331) noted that, as children of God, we should be seen as a chosen people, set aside and called for a special assignment, to use the word of God to transform the whole world. He spoke about the goodness of living together in unity, not only in peace but also in unity of God, so that everyone could get along, adding that, living together in unity brings harmony.
Venerable Okorie, who also conducted the Holy Communion service, posited that, unity matters a lot for the growth of the church, citing such church groups as EFAC, Choir, Mothers Union, Boys and Girls Brigade etc, as thriving in unity and marching together.
(c) Christian Voice Newspaper