We’ll Raise A United Church For Christ- Bishop Atuboyedia
Rt. Rev. Enoch Atuboyedia in an exclusive interview with The Vortex publisher, Alpheaus Paul-Worika speaks on his mission and vision for the Diocese of Okrika.
How will you describe your election as Bishop?
I believe that what God has ordained, is what comes to pass in the lives of individuals. Concerning the Bishopric of Okrika, there were many interest, but at the end what God fore-ordained came to pass on the 2nd of July, when the Bishops of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion met to elect a successor-Bishop for the Diocese of Okrika. I won’t say the electoral process was all rosy. But God intervened and I emerged as the only candidate for election. When the nominations were made; after my nomination there was no other nomination, even people who had candidates dropped their nominations and at the end, I was the only nominated candidate and was voted for by the entire House of Bishops, and was confirmed by the Primate of All Nigeria on the 10th day of August, 2020.
Were you looking forward to being a Bishop when you joined the priesthood?
As an individual, I will say No. But by Divine providence, I will say yes. Because in 1993, when God started talking clearly concerning me being a priest, He gave a revelation that said I will become a priest and I will rise in the ranks of the priesthood; and I will get to the top and at the top, he has an assignment for me. By that revelation I will say yes. But as an individual, becoming a Bishop was out of it.
What is your mission in the ministry?
My mission in the ministry is to see that souls are won for the kingdom and people under the bondage and chains of the enemy are set free. That is why my passion in ministry is in prayers, deliverance and healing. I want to see men liberated from sin and the bondage of the enemy.
Tell us about the Anglican Communion and the Ministry of Deliverance, Healing?
If you read our 16, 62 Book of Common prayer, all those things are stated; prayer and fasting, vigils etc. are stated. As an individual, I have never been a member of the Scripture Union to say I learnt what I do from the Scripture Union. Neither have I been a member of the NIFES or Students Christian Movement to say I have my charismatic background from them. Everything I have today is from the Anglican Communion. By God’s grace, I started a deliverance ministry within the Diocese of Okrika since November 2005, which has not stopped functioning. That is the popular Christ the King Ministry in the Diocese of Okrika.
What is your vision for the Diocese?
My vision for the Holy See of Okrika is to first consolidate on the gains of my predecessor. Secondly, by the grace of God, to conquer new grounds. Thirdly, to raise a united church that will speak with a strong voice in the Okrika nation, so much that the land will listen and obey the voice of the church.
What kind of leadership should we expect from the Bishop?
I belong to the people, and my leadership style has been that of servant-leadership. And even at this elevated position, I will still uphold that. I will also ensure it is an all-inclusive leadership.
There seem to be so much excitement on your enthronement?
I believe the excitement is based on the fact that over the years, God has used us to touch the lives of many, Anglicans and non-Anglicans. I must confess, this is one election that even non-Anglicans are celebrating. Non-Anglicans seem to celebrate it even more. It was not just Anglicans that expected the enthronement, the entire Okrika Nation expects the enthronement with excitement.
What can you say about your predecessor?
My predecessor Bishop Abere T.R. is humility personified. He is a father, not just a leader. He accommodates and carries everyone along. Talking about him will take me time. He is an inspiration of what a pastoral ministry is and what is should be. He is someone that can be counted on at any time.
As a clergy, I was privileged to directly work under him for over 6 years. as Archdeacon of the Cathedral. At any given time, he was there as a father. I strongly believe the shoe he left behind is a big one. I don’t think I can fit into that shoe, but by God’s grace, I will do my best.
What is your advice to Youths?
They should remain focused and be directed. Once you know your God-given purpose on earth, it won’t be a struggle to have a direction. All that you need to do is to identify and pursue that purpose and remain focused no matter the distractions that come your way. And with the grace of God, you will get there.
Youths should learn to take responsibility. Many a times we shy away from things because we are not ready to take responsibilities. Apart from being a Sunday School teacher at the age of 15; at the age of 28, I was already a vicar in the Anglican Church. I was chairing the PCC meetings, directing the affairs of the church, even when some members of the PCC were as old as my father, and some even older than him. If Diete-Spiff became Governor of Rivers State at the age of 25, and ruled creditably, one can still perform better under God. Youths should rise to the challenge of taking responsibilities and moving the Nation forward.
On the Journey so far?
I was made a deacon in St. Peter’s Church, Okrika, now St. Peter’s Cathedral on the 20th of July 1997. Our priesthood ordination was moved forward because of the Lambert conference in 1998. So priesthood came up on 29th of November, 1998 here in Bethel Church. I became a church worker as a student in the Bible School in 1995. In 1995, All-Saints Anglican Church, Okochiri was established and I became the first worker of that parish and I nurtured that station. I left that station after my ordination in 1997. After 10 years, in 2007, I went back to become the first Vicar of the Church. Where I actually started the Church work as a non-priest, was where I also started as priest.
What we have as All Saint Church building today was drawn under my administration. The first bag of cement was bought by me. The foundation, roofing, virtually everything about that Church building before I left for the Cathedral was initiated by me.
What would you say to your congregation?
In as much as everyone is happy that from Bethel Church, I have emerged as the new Bishop of Okrika, they are sad that they have to part with me. For the past 20 months, God has used us to impact on the spiritual needs of the people through numerous revival programs we have carried out from last year to this day.