In our efforts to actualize the creation of the Anglican Diocese of Mbaitoli, we have encountered challenges of various nature and magnitude. The first is financial challenges. The Steering Committee has taken bold steps to prepare detailed estimates of the process up to the inauguration of the Diocese, opened reliable bank accounts, organized and sensitized the Anglican Communities in Mbaitoli area, made appeals for donations and contributions. The response has been slow but encouraging; some individuals have made outright donations. Groups and individuals who made pledges of money and materials are making good their promises. The positive aspect of the fund-raising efforts is the glaring willingness and enthusiasm of the entire congregation to make some: contribution, no matter how small, towards the actualization of the project.
Unfortunately, these donations and contributions are not coming as heavily and as quickly as expected. Two factors responsible for this can be identified. Firstly, there is the general economic situation affecting our rural churches, coupled with the crushing demands, contributions and levies, at the Diocesan level resulting in decreasing attendance in some local Churche
Secondly, there is the negative propaganda emanating from certain sections of misguided clergy and some individuals who are working in some churches in the Mbaitoli Area. They claim that there is an embargo in the creation of new dioceses and do not therefore see any justification for any donations or contributions towards the project. Groups and individuals, who would like to give financial support, prefer to with-hold their money. The Steering Committee of the Proposed Diocese of Mbaitoli puts extra effort, time and money to counter such propaganda.
The most daunting challenge is the long-expected support and encouragement from the Diocesan, Our Lord Bishop of Owerri. This is not yet forthcoming. When the Steering Committee of the proposed Diocese of Mbaitoli was formed in 2007, a guiding policy was adopted; to follow due process; devoid of rancor, acrimony, castigation, confrontation, controversy or conflict with Church authorities, leaders and officials. This policy has been followed religiously till date without the accompanying reciprocation.
It has been a peaceful due process all the way. This is our sincere belief. Besides, we have come to realize that the Anglican Diocese of Owerri and the Church of Nigeria as a whole, may not easily recover spiritually and morally if the sordid actions that discolored the creation of a new Diocese in the recent past are re-enacted.
In August 2008 the Steering Committee formally applied for the creation of Diocese of Mbaitoli, out of Owerri Diocese. This was followed V by a request to our Lord Bishop of Owerri, for an audience. So far, there has not been any action or reaction. A delegation of women from the Proposed Diocese of Mbaitoli made similar request that was unsuccessful.
In 2009, our application was updated and submitted through the Diocesan Registrar of the Diocese of Owerri, in compliance with our Lord Bishop’s directive. No attention has been given to it. It has neither been presented to the Diocesan Board nor to the Synod for necessary actions. It was in July 2, 2010 that our Lord Bishop first granted audience to a delegation representing all the then eight (8) Archdeaconries of the proposed Diocese. The second was on the December 2010. This delegation made two requests;
Firstly, for a chaplain to be appointed by our Lord Bishop, to guide and advise the committee in order to facilitate the process of actualization; Our Lord Bishop appointed himself chaplain.
Secondly, a request for his approval to start clearing and developing a site identified for the Bishop’s Court was made. The women group eager to clear the bush on the site, was warned to keep off or face arrest; all these in God’s name.
In spite of these major challenges, the Anglican churches in Mbaitoli, made up of nine Archdeaconries, nineteen Parishes and fifty-four Church Stations are united and determined in applying for the creation of the Proposed Diocese of Mbaitoli. It is justified and merited; for a speedy approval of our application. May God grant us our legitimate right in Jesus Name.