Christians in Nigeria have been charged to shun divisions in the body of Christ and embrace unity for national development.
Catholic Archbishop of Calabar, Most Rev. Joseph Ekuwem, gave the admonition on Sunday in Abuja at the 2023 annual Lecture and Merit Award of the National Missionary Seminary of St. Paul in Gwagwalada said the essence of the lecture was to reposition the church and its members on its outreach and services to people in Nigeria.
Speaking on the title: “Missionary Cooperation and Integral Development’’, the cleric said the greatest achievement of the church is not about structure and properties acquired, but consistent drive on evangelism and “bringing the good news of salvation to the people by preaching the proclamation among those who have not known Jesus Christ.”
“People of God are expected to cooperate with one another in the exercise of missionary activities for an effective realisation of the mission of Christ entrusted to them.
“The aim is to examine the concept of mission and missionary cooperation and its theological and missiological ramifications, theological principles for missionary activities and apply them for integral development,’’ he said.
Ekuwem enjoined Christian leaders and their congregations to always examine issues that promoted cooperation and better understanding among different denominations in Nigeria.
He noted that: “where there is unity there is progress’’ and stressed that Christians should walk together in love and purity as it would assist in national development.
Mr Hyacinth Ichoku of Veritas University, Abuja, said the Church, as an agent of peace, reconciliation and healing has to contribute in addressing the political, cultural, ethnic and other fractures within Nigeria.
He said theologians must begin to think of adopting the approach of social scientists, if they were to address fully, the limitations of human responses in the society.
Ichoku emphasised the need for denominations to jettison competition among themselves and embrace cooperation.
“We should emphasise things that will unite the Church and shun things that can divide us,’’ he stressed.