Nigeria: Cleric Okays Women Ordination

Awka, Nigeria - Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Nicholas Oko on Thursday in Awka, Anambra State capital, endorsed the ordination of women as deacons in specific areas in Anglican Communion.

Interacting with Bishops, clergy and laity of the Province on the Niger at Emmaus House Awka during his Episcopal tour of Provinces in Nigeria, Archbishop Oko said women ordination for now would stop at deacons for specific purposes like hospital work and school services.

He lamented the numerous demands for dioceses in the communion saying a new procedure for creation of a diocese will be out by September this year to checkmate the unhealthy demands for autonomous dioceses by those even without the requirements for an Archdeaconry.

He emphasised that he is revisiting the priorities of the Anglican faith to recover the bible reading Anglicans are known for even as he decried the stereotypes in sermons often caused by lack of being educated in the scriptures. He warned tat henceforth no clergy without requisite educational qualifications will be ordained and appealed to the clergy to further their studies.

Archbishop Oko commended the establishment of the Paul University and appealed that he be brought closer to happenings in the institution for better administration and moving it to greater heights. He appealed for genuine support from the 9 Bishops in the Province of the Niger to enable him succeed.

At Government House Awka, during a courtesy call, Oko said the church was maintaining good working relationship with governments at all levels and always praying for those in authority, while thanking Governor Obi for attending their inauguration in March this year.

He explained that the visit was to interact with the members of the province and get their input that will enable the church chart a new course, review its priorities and articulate a new policy.

The Dean, Church of Nigeria and Bishop of Awka, Most Revd. Maxwell Anikwenwa said the Primate had distinguished himself in service to the church and humanity but appealed to him not to ignore the domestic challenges of the numerous dioceses created.

He appealed to Archbishop Oko to revive the retreat of Bishops like the one in Jerusalem on Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), adding that the domestic challenges are large number of dioceses which posed some Herculean challenges including the inability of the many missionary dioceses to cope with their financial needs as well as some strange practices and doctrines that are gaining ground in some of the churches.

Earlier in his vote of thanks, the institution's Vice Chanellor, Prof. Gaius Igboeli, commended the new primate and solicited his prayers and support for the development of Paul University.

Prof. Igboeli thanked the primate for the pastoral visit and assured him of the commitment of the management to the ideals behind the establishment of the Anglican University which he according to him, was the first in the South East and the second in Nigeria.

Responding Governor Peter Obi said the church has important role to play in reversing the crisis confronting the country.

Governor Obi said the church could discourage excesses among politicians and redirect them to serve the society selflessly. He stressed the need for the State and the church to work together to entrench a strong moral tone that will enhance sanity in the society.