It is with gratitude to God that I stand here on behalf of the Executive and members of this Church Committee to address you at this occasion of the 12th Congregational Forum of our Church, the Centre of Praise and Miracle.
Today’s occasion is significant because it is the first in the life of this administration which came to office in January, 2020. Let me extend to you felicitations of a happy Easter in advance, a period which always reminds us of the sacrifice our Lord Jesus paid to redeem man from eternal damnation and gives us hope for life eternal.
I thank the Almighty God for his faithfulness over the affairs of the Church despite the festering challenges facing the Church and humanity. You will recall with nostalgia that soon after we assumed office in January 2020, COVID-19 pandemic reared its ugly head with attendant restrictions and lockdown. Churches, for months, were under lock and key and the economic lifeline of many members suffered. When we were about heaving a sigh of relief, End-SARS protest took its toll coupled with the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic which is still a major challenge facing us today.
In all these, we are grateful to God that the doors of the Church have not remained closed. To God be the Glory.
I must place on record my special appreciation to the General Superintendent and Chairman of Conference, Revd./Dcns. Ekpedeme Moffat Effanga for his fatherly support to the Church. Our Superintendent and Resident Minister, Rev./Dcns. O. T. Benson deserves a special mention for providing the spiritual direction and guidance throughout the turbulent times.
I am deeply grateful to members of the Church Committee, Fellowships, Associations, the Choir Groups, Departments, Committees, Units and the entire congregation for the spiritual and moral support to my administration in the past one year. Surely your labour of love will not be in vain.
Sadly, within the year, the Church lost prominent Elders and members of the Church; members whose support and contributions will ever remain indeliblein our minds. May their souls remain in peace till we meet to part no more.
In my inaugural speech on 5th January, 2020, we promised to uphold the principles of truth, love, transparency and holiness.
We promised to speak and depend on truth for “His Word is Truth” and truth shall set us free; John 8:32. Guided by the Holy Spirit, Our 10-point Agenda focused on:
- Evangelism/Revival – to win more souls for Christ.
- Prayers – to make our Church “a house of prayers, praise and miracles”. (Mark 11:17).
- Fellowships/Associations – to strengthen and support Fellowships and Associations as groups where God will identify talents for His services.
- Sunday School/Children’s Ministry – to bring children to the knowledge of God.
- Choir Groups/Evening of Hymns – to harness the powers of praise and worship to draw men, women and children to experience miracles in their lives.
- Combined Service – to use the service as a means of strengthening the 6 sister Churches.
- Committees – to work with various Committees, both ad-hoc and statutory for the physical and spiritual development of the Church.
- Church Investment – to explore other investment options and expand learning opportunities for our children like in the establishment of asecondary school.
- National Conference – to meet our obligations to the National office in payment of tithes, national assessment levies, etc.
- Project Envelopes/Inputs/Congregational Forum – On assumption of office, we had suspended the use of the Project Envelopes as we needed time to identify the Project for the year. The ban was later lifted after we had identified and initiated action on the project for the year.
Today’s Congregational Forum is a fulfillment of the promise we made to adopt a bottom-up approach in gathering inputs for policy direction from the congregation that elected us on Sunday, 22nd December, 2019.
This administration is aware of the expectations of this great congregation. We cannot say we have arrived as much still remains to be done. However within the one year of this administration we have recorded these modest achievements:
- Increase in Church Registration/Membership:
From an average membership of 647 in 2019, we registered a total of 934 members in 2020. The registration and renewal of membership exercise was a huge success and it culminated in the production of the 2020 Church Register. The 2021 exercise is ongoing.
- Strengthening of Weak Associations:
The performance of Associations like Nka Emem, Nka Edidemere, Nka Unwana at the 2020 Harvest Thanksgiving service was a testimony to the foresight of this administration in injecting fresh minds and hands to build the erstwhile weak Associations. We pray for God’s mercies and blessings to the new and old members of the various Associations.
- Participation in Seminars , Conferences and National Church Events:
Members and officers of this Church attended various workshops, seminars and the 133rd National Conference, in addition to ones hosted by the church.
- Support to the National Office and Superintendency:
By your support and prayers, the Church was able to meet her obligations in the payment of tithes, mission funds, National Assessment, etc. The Churchalso rendered significant financial support to the sister Churches in the Superintendency.
- Successful Organization of Major Church Events:
Despite COVID-19 pandemic and the End-SARS protests with attendant economic challenges, this administration was able to organize the following events:
- Harvest ThanksgivingService – with the theme “Fruitful Harvest Despite the Season” Psalm 107:37-38. Indeed God used the innovations of the Chairman and members of the 2020 Planning Committee to bless the church.
- 24-Hours Harvest of Praise with the theme “Nothing Can Stop the Praise”.
- The Project Thanksgiving for the Purchase of a 100KVA Generator.
Apart from the physical and financial gains these events brought to the Church, they affirmed that with God nothing is impossible. When it appeared that we were all cast down, there was a lifting up (Job 22:29).
- Capacity Building and Provision of Basic Tools for the Security Men:
In addition to the 2-day In-Service Training for the securitymen, basic tools, equipment and kits have been provided to boost the morale of the securitymen.
- Raising of Church Fence behind the Baptistery and Provision of Security Wires:
Following an attempt to burgle the Resident Pastor’s Manse, this administration approved the raising of the fence behind the Baptistery and installed security wires at highly vulnerable points within the premises.
- Provision of Photographs of Past Church Committee Chairmen:
As a way of documenting the history of past Chairmen, this administration has been able to dig into the archives and provide framed pictures of past Chairmen of this Church from 1988 till date.
- Provision of 2000-Litre Gee-Pee Water Tank to Uyo Prison (Correctional Centre):
Through the instrumentality of the Prison Ministry of the Church, this administration was able to provide a 2000-litre Gee-Pee Tank to the female ward of Uyo Prison.
- Renovation of Church Secretariat, Church Roof and Installation of Ceilings:
Phase I of the on-going renovation exercise by this administration has seen to the face-lift given to the Secretariat, Church roof and ceilings which were blown off by a severe windstorm during the lockdown.
- Payment of Inherited Liabilities:
This administration inherited unpaid staff leave grant for 2019 as well as Contributory Pension Arrears of July to December, 2019. These have been cleared; the details running into several thousands of Naira. As at today, salaries of staff running into more than Five Hundred Thousand Naira (
N500,000.00) monthly are paid regularly in addition to meeting statutory financial demands of the church.
This administration has shown prudence in the management of funds. The innovation of using the Maintenance Committee for checks and balances in the accounting system has reduced the running cost significantly of some units and departments. More still needs to be done.
I must commend the Finance Department, the Exco for keeping track of all income and expenditure by this administration. With the presentation and approval of the 2020 Annual Account from 1st January to 31st December, 2020 and its approval by the Church Committee, this administration intends to draw up a budget for the following projects for year 2021:
- Roll over of 2020 Project Fund Launch for the purchase of a Generator.
- Commencement of Work for the Building of the Business House behind UBA, Udo Ikpe Street, Uyo.
- Support to the School Board for the Secondary School Project.
These are gigantic projects. This administration believes that Rome was not built in one day and that the journey of a milestone begins with a step. We shall pursue these projects painstakingly but without compromising the spiritual life and welfare support to members and host community as part of our corporate social responsibility.
The different Units, Departments and groups will still be supported for better performance.
CHALLENGES IN THE CHURCH:
- Poor attitude to registration in Fellowships and Associations.
- Poor attendance of members at Bible Study, Fellowship and Association meetings.
- Rising welfare and employment needs of members against the backdrop of dwindling financial resources; and lack of employment opportunities.
- Obsolete equipment in Media and Music Departments.
- Poor state of Infrastructure in the sister Churches.
- Refusal of members to serve in Committees.
- Non-compliance of Fellowships and Associations to Treasury Single Account as directed by the National Conference.
2021 is our year of Exceeding Progress. The challenges may be enormous but with faith in God, we willconsolidate on the gains made so far and exceed our expectations.
I must thank all of us for the support we have enjoyed so far. We look forward to more support from you in the years ahead.