In less than ten years of existance the Diocese of Lagos West has created two new dioceses — where there was one, there are now three. There are plans for more dioceses, as the archdeaconaries expand with more and more people to minister to.
I attended confirmation this morning with Bishop Adebiyi in Iba Archdeaconry. Held at the Church of the Epiphany, 110 ten persons were confirmed. One man was in his seventies, two were in their sixties, and a few were over 20, but by far, most were of “normal” confirmation age. Everybody was dressed in white; the females sat on one side of the church and the males on the other. First up were the females, including three pregnant women.
Bishop Adebiyi confirms an average of 7,000 each year! The Diocese of Lagos West has half a million registered members, but there are more — it’s hard to keep count. This is a “rural” diocese in Lagos State. It is probably the most progressive in the Province of Nigeria. It is blessed with many riches, including financially.
The confirmation service was a lively one. All the confirmands looked stunning dressed in white. The females sat on one side of the church, the males on the other. The Bishop’s message was quite interactive and positive. (The services here are peppered with many “Amens.” In the name of the Father -Amen – in the name of the son -Amen – in the name of the Holy Spirit – Amen -.) He exhorted them to be firm in their life in Christ, praying regularly, and to do good works. He reminded the confirmands that they are “Christians by faith, Anglicans by choice.” Wherever they go in the world, they will be part of the Anglican family. A family that I am proud to be a part of and privileged to visit in many places on the globe. I always feel at home.
The people in Lagos West are certainly making me feel at home. I marvel at how courteous everyone is. Manners, as I remember them growing up in the British Virgin Islands, where, sadly manners is no longer a part of the day to day routine. But here, people acknowledge their elders and their superiors by curtsying. Some might say it is submissive, but I find it endearing. “Good morning” and “good day” greetings are the norm rather than the exception.
Church growth. The young people are coming to church in droves. The numbers in the pews are expanding. People love their church. They give generously. I am on my way to a memorial service for one of the departed saints of this Diocese who gave many million nairas to her beloved church.
Church growth. I am trying to decipher the secret.