Abuja, April 28, 2005- The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has donated a Land cruiser jeep to the Primate of Congo, the Most Rev Dirokpa B Fidele, to ease mobility and support evangelical work in the area.
Archbishop of Lagos Province, the Most Rev Ephraim Ademowo and the Bishop on the Niger, the Rt. Rev Ken Okeke, presented the vehicle to the Primate of Congo in Kinshasa on behalf of the Primate of All Nigeria, the Most Rev'd Peter Akinola. The donation, which is to encourage the bond of love and partnership among African Anglican Churches, is coming a few months after the maiden Africa Bishops Conference resolved that financially challenged Provinces should be supported by the more privileged Provinces.
Many years of civil war in the Congo DR has killed some 3 million people, rendered millions more homeless, and completely ruined the country's economy. The Church is also affected by this colossal loss of human lives and property. Stories abound of families sharing sleeping accommodation by observing shifts. Feeding is a problem as well as education with the clergy even finding it difficult to send their children to school.
Archbishop Ademowo said he saw deplorable conditions of living in the DR Congo and admits that the level of poverty is still very high. "The Province really needs a lot of assistance', he said, adding that years of civil war has made the infrastructure of the country very dreadful.
This view was also corroborated by Bishop Okeke: "Because of the incessant war in Congo the economy in the country is chaotic. In the capital there is no adequate transportation and life is generally difficult. This also affects the Church itself.'
The Land cruiser Jeep worth thousands of dollars was received with joy by the Primate and the Church. "When we handed him (Archbishop Fidele) the key to the car, he was enthused and excited," Ademowo said. Congo is one of the largest African countries in terms of land mass and one can only imagine the many evangelistic opportunities good transportation can aid.
The visit to Kinshasa provided an opportunity to appraise the request for a missionary Bishop from the Church of Nigeria. According to Bishop Okeke, who is also the Chairman of the Church of Nigeria Missionary Society (CNMS), the Missionary Bishop will be based in Kasai region, which is annexed to the Diocese of Kinshasa. His responsibilities would include preparing the missionary diocese to become a full-fledged Diocese.
"The Anglican Church in Kinshasa is so young and poor that there is only one church building with deficient design that can sit only 50 people. The other sites are yet to be developed.' There are four priests and ten deacons in Kinshasa diocese. Their monthly support is very low. There is a lot the Church of Nigeria can do for them in terms of assistance and empowerment. ' Bishop Okeke said. The Anglican Church in Kinshasa is just 8 years old and Archbishop Fidele doubles as the Bishop of Kinshasa.
The Anglican Church came to Eastern Congo some 80 years ago, but failed to thrive in the western part of the country where she is now moving in to spread the Gospel.
Article from Church of Nigeria News