The 62nd ECWA General Church Council (GCC) meeting was held from the 16th to the 20th of March, 2015 and had in attendance ECWA Executive, ECWA Trustees, Chairmen, Secretaries and Delegates from the 80 District Church Councils (DCCs) in Nigeria and the United States of America (USA).
In his address at the opening of the GCC, ECWA President Rev. Dr. Jeremiah M. Gado expressed gratitude to God for His grace and the safety He granted all council members and also commiserated with the entire ECWA family, the Christian community and other Nigerians over the death of their loved ones.
The death of the immediate past Vice Chancellor of Bingham University, Prof. Felix Anjorin was announced and the Council commiserated with the immediate family, the university community and prayed God to grant them the fortitude to bear the loss.
During the 5-day meeting held at the ECWA International Conference Centre, Jos, elections were held: Rev. Dr. Jeremiah M. Gado was re-elected as President for a second term of 3 years, Rev. Eliazer Baba was re-elected for another term of 3 years as ECWA Assistant General Secretary while Dr. Kalu Umeh from Enugu District Church Council emerged as the new ECWA Treasurer following the expiration of the tenure of Elder Madugu Gana.
The 5-day meeting featured report presentations, discussions on issues concerning the Church. National and global issues of concern were also deliberated upon. Three additional Districts Church Councils were created namely: Bwari and Pyakasa DCCs out of the present Garki DCC, and Fate/Tanke out of Ilorin DCC. This brings to Eighty Three (83) the number of District Church Councils, (DCCs) in ECWA. At the end of the meeting, the Council resolved as follows:
ECWA THEME FOR 2015: Council re-emphasized the theme for 2015, “FOR I AM PERSUADED” taken from Romans 8:38 and reminded members that “For us to remain true to our calling and in other to be able to stand firm till the end; we must be able to convincingly affirm, like Apostle Paul that we are persuaded that neither death nor life, nor Angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
WAR ON BOKO HARAM: Council noted that after so many years of devastating effects of Boko Haram on government properties, security outfits and especially on the Church of Jesus Christ, the Federal Government is making history with the ongoing military operations aimed at routing this evil terrorist group out of Nigerian soil. Council commended the Nigerian security operatives and the Multi-National Joint Task Force. Council called on them to adhere strictly to the rules of engagement in the course of carrying out their duties and prayed that God will preserve, protect and grant them total victory.
STATE OF THE CHURCH IN THE NORTH: Council observed how Boko Haram and other Islamic fundamentalists have continued to persecute Christians especially in northern Nigeria. Council lamented over the scores of churches destroyed, Christians killed, their homes and businesses looted and set on fire.
FREEDOM OF WORSHIP: Council frowned at the way and manner Christians especially in northern Nigeria are being treated at best as second class citizens or at worst worthy only of death of the kind not even dogs are subjected to. The guaranteed freedom of worship by the Constitution of Nigeria seems to be only for some and not others.
THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE: Council observed with satisfaction the successful conduct of the National Conference and the adoption of the Report by the Federal Executive Council (FEC). We urged that the implementation be carried to the latter by all tiers of government.
STATE OF THE NIGERIAN ECONOMY: Council noted with utmost worry the state of the economy viz-a-viz the drastic fall in the price of crude oil and the declining value of the Naira. Council therefore advocated for a renewed commitment to the diversification of the economy instead of the over dependence on oil.
STRATEGIC URBAN CHURCH PLANTING: Council reaffirmed its commitment towards planting more Churches in the urban areas and called on all ECWA Pastors and members to prayerfully support this vision.
2015 GENERAL ELECTIONS:
The 2015 general elections are around the corner. ECWA is a non-partisan Christian denomination.
ECWA is calling on its members to ensure they collect their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and let them vote for leaders of their choice because that is their civic duty.
Council equally advocated that adequate security be provided before, during and after the General Elections.
INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC): Council called on INEC to:
- Ensure the conduct of a free, fair and credible election,
- Be an unbiased umpire. Other aspirants should accept defeat in the spirit of sportsmanship and those who win should be magnanimous in victory.
- Do all within its power to ensure that no eligible Nigerian voter is disenfranchised.
Therefore, whoever wins the forthcoming elections, ECWA demands:
- That the Rule of Law and the Fundamental Human Rights as enshrined in the Nigerian constituted be respected by the government
- That Christians like any adherents of other faiths be allowed to practice their religion freely anywhere and at any time. That no religious group in Nigeria be allowed to dominate, marginalize or lord it over other religious groups.
- That all perpetrators of all forms of violence and their sponsors be brought to book, no matter how highly placed
- That Government at all levels should put in place adequate measures to protect the oppressed and the church in the north from Islamic fundamentalists, jihadists and other terrorist groups.
- That the Federal Government rebuilds all the churches burnt down by Boko Haram insurgents and other religious extremists.
- That the Government pays compensations to families that lost their loved ones, those maimed by the Islamic terrorists or those that lost their properties.
- That the Government rehabilitates citizens displaced by the terrorists.
- That the Federal Government builds and funds an equal number of schools for Christians all over Nigeria as it did in the case with Almajiri schools in Northern Nigeria
- That the Federal Government does all within its power to prevent pre, and post-election crisis with its attendant devastating effects on Nigerians.
- That Government at all levels use Constitutional means to prevent discrimination against Christians in Northern Nigeria.
- The creation of equal opportunities for admission, employment, appointment and promotions, irrespective of religion or ethnicity.
- That the Federal Government’s fight against corruption be intensified.
Long Live ECWA!
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Rev. Dr. Jeremiah M. Gado Rev. Prof. Samuel W. Kunhiyop
ECWA President ECWA General Secretary