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A HANDOVER NOTE
UBONG UMOH OKON (MIN)
CHURCH OF CHRIST-NIGERIA,
IKOT EKPO, IKA L.G.A, AKWA IBOM STATE
18TH AUGUST, 2023
I have immense pleasure and delight as I put down these notes to the Church. I thank God for everything, and I thank the entire Church for cooperation, understanding and support while my service lasted. I have seen great maturity here, though more still needs to be done. The work/ministry of a Preacher is not tenure-based. It can end anytime whether the Minister has served for a short or long time. One only knows when one starts the journey but does not know when and how it would end. It is a journey of faith as the future cannot be exactly predicted. The following notes do not only show what aspects/areas I’m handing over, but also gives some insight into my efforts and services while I was the Minister here. Items here are not arranged in any specific order.
- CHURCH DEMOGRAPHICS: I met a large congregation in 2013 when I started my ministry. By God’s grace, I handover still a large congregation which, to my estimation is strong, united and spirit-minded. The population as at June, 2021 when I left stood as: Men 60; Women: 99, Children: 103, Totaling 262. There are many distant members. The registers containing the names of every category of persons are there in the Church store in care of the registrar.
- CHURCH ROUTINE ACTIVITIES/PROGRAMMES: Normal Church activities/ programmes that are fixed would remain on. These include Sunday Worship Service, Daily Morning Devotion (5:00am-5:45am); Monday Youth Bible Class (5pm-6pm); Women Bible Class (Tuesdays, 5pm-6pm); General Bible Class (Wednesdays, 5pm-6:30pm); Evening Devotion (Thursdays 6:30pm-8:30pm); Men/Leaders Class (Fridays, 5pm-6pm). On Sunday Worship Service, every first Sunday of the month is Praise Worship during Sunday School. Here, assorted songs of praise and choruses are rendered to God with occasional accompaniment of prayers. Also, first Sundays usually have two rounds of offerings – Lord’s day giving and giving for benevolence. Third Sundays also witness two offerings – normal Sunday offerings and giving for evangelism. Last Sundays usually feature Indoor Lecture and two rounds of giving also – normal Sunday offerings and giving to support the Minister. On some months, the Indoor Lecture usually featured a panel discussion on issues from the month’s theme; on some others the Indoor Lecture usually featured Groups Discussion on the issues from the monthly theme; sometimes we adopted the open forum strategy whereby the floor was open for individual inputs/viewpoints (biblically) on the monthly theme. We were contemplating having split Sunday School Sessions whereby men, women, youths, etc., had their separate classes; but this could not happen for lack of sitting space due to the on-going building project. It was my duty to draw programmes to reflect these activities.
- BUSINESS MEETING: It is the business meeting that the Church meets to discuss and deliberate on issues that will enhance its progress. Because of the large population of the congregation and plenty of issues cropping up on a daily basis, the business meeting usually holds twice a month. This happens on every first and third Saturdays. Where circumstances do no permit Saturday meeting, it is usually moved up to Wednesday of the approaching week during General Bible Class period. Despite this arrangement, there are usually needs for emergency meetings to iron out emerging issues that can’t wait till normal Business Meeting days. In that case, the men of the Church (youths and elderly) usually meet shortly after morning devotion. Many problems have been solved using this strategy. I hope the trend would continue after I left.
- OFFICES AND DUTIES: During my stay, I ensured that work and duties were shared out to people. Hence, there were some crucial offices that had to be in place for effective/smooth running/operation of the Church. Most of the offices operated as committees with a head in each section. The outstanding offices/committees include:
- The Secretariat: In charge of all correspondences and some documents and materials. At the head is Bro. Emmanuel Essien Akpan. Bro. Inyene Okon Akpan assists him. They do all dispatch of letters from the Church.
- Finance/Account Committee: In charge of all financial transactions (income and expenditures). They render accounts every month during the General Business Meeting. The officers here are Bro. Essien Ituen Umo (Treasurer); Bro. Etim Alfred Umo (Financial Secretary).
- The Registry: In charge of all registers to record attendances at Church activities. They usually give a summary report of how each member attended/participated in Church activities for the particular year. The work here was handled by Bro. Etim Alfred Umo and assisted by Bro. Victor John Asanga (Evang). There are registers for Sunday Worship attendances, Morning Devotion attendances, Evening Devotion attendances; various Bible Classes attendances and children’s attendances on Sundays. I encourage the Church to continue keeping these records.
- TECHNICAL COMMITTEE: In charge of power supply, Public Address System and related activities. They ensure that there is fuel for the generator and that the generator is serviced regularly. The committee is headed by Bro. Etok Udo Etok.
- WELFARE COMMITTEE: In charge of refreshment for visitors to the Church as well as during Church manual work such as the building project. Bro. Edet Essien is the head of this committee.
- EVANGELISM: During my stay, evangelism was no relegated to the background. The major evangelism programme is the annual 4-Day Youth Forum that is usually staged in August. In time past, Annual General Gospel Meeting/Lectureship is usually incorporated in the event. This one usually took place in the Church premises while the Youth Forum took place at the village primary school. The on-going building project forced the Church to put the Gospel Meeting on hold. On these events, there are usually great harvests of souls for Christ. Aside from the events described above, we also occasionally carried out house-to-house evangelism as well as Open-Air Lectures to spread the message of Jesus Christ. We normally rotate among the three communities of Ikot Usen, Usuk Ibiaku and Ibiaku Iko Udom. The Preacher (1) encouraged brethren to do personal evangelism because this could work effectively. Many brethren have done this and the result is encouraging. In addition, those members who were internet compliant were encouraged to use the social media space to propagate the gospel under what is termed social media evangelism. An ICT Committee manned by Evang. Udeme Umo Inyang and Evang. Victor John Asanga was created for this purpose. The Church of Christ, Ikot Usen is on Facebook and Twitter. There is also an e-mail address of the Church. Right now, I created a WhatsApp Group for the Church so that members, home and aboard can interact and share ideas and information and help in evangelism. I encourage the Church to work on these areas unrelentingly. Besides all these, the Church through my encouragement normally sponsors the youths to Youth Seminars at various places across the State. Our women often attend women seminars. All these help to boost evangelistic capacity of members.
- BENEVOLENCE: The Church under my watch never took the biblical injunction to “bear one another’s burdens” very lightly because it is said that is so-doing we “fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2; I John 3:17-18). Cases that required benevolent interventions arose almost on a daily basis. Some were internal, some external. The Church always had to show a hand, no matter how small to help solve our brethren’s problems. Sometimes, due to our community relation ethos, the Church usually lent a helping hand to non-members who were in dire need or under unforeseen calamities such as armed robbery and such like disasters. There were occasions in which the Church took up hospital bills of some members with serious health challenges. When a member of the Church dies, the Church would appeal to members to make special donations to help the bereaved family. I often to advised the Church not to rely on the Church purse for such transaction. The system worked so magnificently. It should continue. The amount given for benevolence depended on the gravity of the situation. No specific amount was fixed to avoid making it a law. This act should continue after I left.
- DOCUMENTATIONS AND FILINGS: When I came in 2013, I met a Church that had reached a high standard in documentations. I encouraged it and built upon that foundation. There are files for the various documents. These include Monthly Duty Schedules, Funeral Programmes, Condolence Messages, Letters of Disfellowship, Letters of Restoration, Letters of Introduction/Recommendation, Invitation Letters (internal and external), Letters of Appreciation (internal and external). This action should be maintained. The most recurring of these documents are the Monthly Duty Schedules. The whole activities of the Church for the entire month is captured. This ranges from Sunday Worship Activities, Week-days activities, Morning Devotion Schedules, Thematic Analysis to Allied duties/functions. It is usually a five to six page document and copies are usually made available to those involved in one activity or the other as well as the notice board and the file.
- FINANCIAL MATTERS: Despite the huge financial load of the Church arising from day-to-day recurrent expenditures, I left the Church with a positive account balance of N7,525 (Seven Thousand, Five Hundred and Twenty-Five Naira) only in June, 2021 as carried forward to July. I made sure that Church Accounts were rendered monthly as the standard was. There was a slight delay in the account rendition for May and June, 2021 due to the ill-health of the Financial Secretary (Bro. Etim Umo). I hope the Church would find time to consider the accounts in July or August meetings. The income sources of the Church were mainly freewill offerings on Sundays, Special offerings (general) for specific functions like childbirth/blessing, recorded donations for specific occasions like burials. On spending modalities, no money from the Church was spent without proper appropriation. In most cases, the men/leaders would meet and put heads together to arrive at an amount suitable for a particular issue/person. One person never woke up and decided on an amount. This mass participation engendered transparency and eliminated the grounds of suspicion. Upon reaching agreement in-house on the amount to spend the treasurer is authorized to dispense the cash to its destination/beneficiary.
- CHURCH FILES AND DOCUMENTS: Most of the Church documents and files are in the cupboard in the store-room. As the Church building is under construction, certain important files were kept in my custody. These I gladly handover, these include; Church Land; Matters File; Progress Reports File; Church Land Survey File. There are Files for Invitations, Incoming Letters, Outgoing Letters, Disfellowship Letters, Restoration Letters etc., all of which are in the store-room in the cupboard.
- INSIDE CHURCH PREMISES: As at June, 2021, the Church premises harboured the main Church building (uncompleted storey building). A heap of sand, gravel and some blocks are in the frontage from the highway. Inside the building, under the decking is the worship area. Here we find the Preacher’s and Moderator’s table at the centre (front). There are the secretariat’s table on one side and the table used by the Financial Secretary, Registrar and the Welfare Committee Chairman on the other side of the central table. There is the public address system comprising sound mixer and microphones in an iron box; two loud speakers, one at the front and the other at the rear of the hall all connected with a network of wires.
There are a number of plastic chairs (19 in number) usually placed at various positions in the hall. There are also long pews for members in two rows in the hall (30 in number). There are also short benches (six of them in number in the hall) for the children. There is a glass and aluminium cast lectern for speakers. There is a glass and aluminium cast collection box. In the hall also are old ceiling fans and some light bulbs. The generator and room is outside the hall at the point opposite late A. U. Umoh’s house. Two generators are in there, one old and the other new. The old one is no more functioning. There is a fuel jerycan inside the gen house too. Farther down the hall is the make-shift store-room which houses a number of items. This will be elaborated in another section. The Church hall is work-in-progress as one can see a heap of broken stores from old demolished walls. There is a notice board on the wall adjacent to the secretariat’s table. Three wall clocks also hang at strategic positions on the wall. Behind the Minister’s table is the song board hanged on the wall. Outside the Church hall by the side along Idak Okpo Street are the urinary and the toilet. These are still functional.
- CHURCH STORE AND ITEMS IN IT: Many important items are in the store room. There is the big cupboard in which are table cloths, secretariat’s materials (Minutes book, Announcement books, stationeries, and files). The cupboard also houses the Church letter head pack and many files, receipts, etc. In fact, several important Church documents and records are in the cupboard. In the store-room are also water containers, washing basins, cups and trays. Communion items and materials are also in the room. There is a smaller cupboard in the room also housing sundry items of importance. There is a box for keeping communion items and other refreshment materials. A few other things are also in the room.
- COMMUNION ITEMS/MATERIALS: Communion plates (for the Bread) and trays (for the Wine) with cups are in the store room. Bro. Essien Ituen Umo is in charge of the supply/preparation of the communion items. He usually gets some men and women to help in putting the communion materails in order. After use on Sundays, Sisters Affiong Collins Ntia and Grace Ituen Umo usually take care of washing the communion materials – trays, plates, clothes, etc. Some other sisters opting to serve usually joined them. The Church normally buys the communion wine in a carton to last for a long time. Temple Wine is the brand usually consumed here.
- CHURCH BUILDING PROJECT: In 2013, I met the current building project at the foundation level. The spirit of the brethren towards the work was very high. I keyed into the project effectively and gave all the moral backing, motivation and encouragement I could muster to ensure that the project progressed steadily. By God’s grace, all block works are almost completed as the upper storey is mounted. A little portion of the internal beams still remains to be fixed. Funds had been raised for that. The high cost of building materials made the Church to hold on a bit before proceeding. The next big phase of the work is the roofing. This would demand a huge funding and I hope that God would make a way for that to be realized as He has always done. All other aspects of the project would be done gradually. It is my firm belief that the whole edifice would be eventually completed in the nearest future. The Church has to remain focused and united as when I was there in order to realize the dream of the completion of the project.
Nobody is owed any money concerning the building project at the moment. The contractor Mr. Asanama has been doing fantastic work in supplying the necessary technical advice and expertise and doing some of the work himself especially the iron-related activities. The Church pays him for each day and time as he comes to work. There is a Building Project Committee who ensures that the work goes on according to the vision of the Church. The committee headed by Bro. George Okon Akpan has been very active. They usually prepare and render accurate and accurate accounts of the income and expenditure of the building project for each phase or year.
- FUND-RAISING: Fund-raising is one of the strategies of gathering funds for various major programmes/projects in the Church. We normally embark on fund-raising for the following activities: Building project, Evangelism/Youth Forum. The fund-raising for these projects are sometimes done internally and externally. Major fund-raising is usually done twice a year. The time for each fund-raising is usually arrived at and agreed upon at the Church Business Meeting.
There is also a micro fund raising done internally wherever a member of the Church is bereaved/deceased. In this case, a benevolent record is usually opened with the Welfare Committee Chairman, Bro. Edet Essien. All donations during the major fund-raising events are often recorded in special account books for that purpose. Bro. Essien Ituen Umo and Bro. Anietie Usung (Evang.) usually harness and take custody of the books. Accounts of the fund-raising are often rendered by the finance committee of the Church every year. In the last fund-raising done in December, 2020, a total cash of N158,800 (One Hundred and Fifty-eight Thousand Eight Hundred Naira) only was raised. As at June, 2021, the amount had risen above N300,000 as more donations kept coming in including those paid into the Church bank account.
- VISITORS: Visitors usually come to the Church, especially during worship service on Sundays on a regular basis. Some come on official assignment, others unofficially just to attend service with us. The moderator of the day’s service would always ask if there were visitors not familiar with our language (Ibibio/Efik); if there were, we usually speak through interpreters. We should always look out for such occasion. The official visitors whose notices of visits usually got to the Church prior to their visits usually got special attention. Food is usually prepared for him (or them). All visitors (unofficial) usually got entertained/refreshed after service by the Welfare Committee. Certificate of participation is usually issued to them before they leave. During announcements, the visitors are usually recognized and greeted/welcomed into the service. Those on official visits usually get some transport fares from the Church. This practice should continue. On some special occasions, the Church usually receives students on internship (preaching practice) from Bible Colleges. Arrangements for their accommodation, feeding and activities are often put in place.
- HOME-DISTANT MEMBERS MEETING/FORUM: This meeting exists in the Church and meets occasionally to crossbreed ideas and take updates on the developments in the Church. It is usually an avenue for our distant brethren to come home and offer their assistance to the Church. The Chairman of the Forum is Bishop Augustine U. Isang. Sadly, the meeting of the forum has not held for some time now (about two years) due to some tragic incidents that befell the members of the chairman’s family while returning from one of the forum’s meeting in 2017. It is hoped that in the nearest future, the meeting would be reconvened. The Church should not sleep about it.
- BOOKS AND STUDY MATERIALS: The Church has a library of a variety of books and study materials. Some are in the Church main building, others are in the shelves at the Preacher’s residence. There are some Bibles, Song books (Efik and English), commentaries, pamphlets and some old tracts. The tiles and quantity are in the Church inventory book.
- PREACHER’S QUARTERS: The Preacher’s quarters is outside of the Church premises. Inside there are a set of cushion chairs for the parlour, a big mattress/foam in the bedroom. In the kitchen are some water containers. Cooking and eating utensils are in the store room adjacent to the visitor’s room. The Church’s shovel and two wheelbarrows are also in the Preacher’s quarters. These items are in the inventory book. In the back of the kitchen is a small space for gardening. The native fence is periodically repaired and strengthened with live sticks, bamboos and ropes.
- CHURCH GROUPS: For effective administration and execution of projects and programmes, the Church shared the members into four groups labeled Group I, Group II, Group III and Group IV. The groups have helped tremendously in catering for the welfare of some weak/needy members, doing sanitation/sweeping of the Church premises; helping in the food service during the Youth Forum, doing some other allied services not exactly spelt out. Through this system, there has been room for massive involvement of members in spiritual work. The spirit of unity and cooperation is also engendered through the groups action. The Preacher always ensures that there is update of the group’s membership as new matters are added to the Church and some members either leave or die. The groups are not to work for the interest of the Preacher because they are not his but the Church’s. This initiative by me should not be allowed to die.
- PREACHER’S WELFARE/SUPPORT: The Church here understands the importance of the Preacher’s welfare and they have not relented in their effort to see that they uphold it according to their means. Aside from the Preacher’s monthly salary, there is always a special donation to support the Minister at every last Sunday of the month. I do not know how they did with previous Ministers, but I must confess that I suspect that they have done better to me than any other Preacher before me. I can’t thank the Church enough, but I believe in the biblical assertion that God will not forget your labour of love (Heb. 6:10). Not only that, the Church always procures farmland every year for the Preacher (me) and helps to cultivate it and take care of it. That is marvelous. Besides, the general support, there are countless individuals, young and old, men and women, and even those in distant places, who from time to time would send support items to the These ones understand fully the biblical stipulation that we should share all good things with him who teaches the word (Gal. 6:6). I also enjoyed a reasonable degree of goodwill from people even outside the Church in the community. God will bless them all. I appreciate it. As I handover, I want the same legacy to be maintained and even surpass my standard for whoever takes over from me because, believe it or not, the job of the Preacher is a very hectic work.
- MEMBER’S SPIRITUAL STRENGTH: From my fair assessment as the Minister, I can posit that I am leaving a strong, dynamic and mature congregation. The majority of the members understand the deep things about the gospel of Christ, the stipulations and operation of the Kingdom of Christ and function of the Church. The spiritual strength and insight of the members is high and commendable. This can be seen in attendances to activities and programmes, performances at meetings and services and active involvement in Church projects. Only few individuals still wait to be pushed and heavily persuaded before they work. Those assigned one duty/role or the other most often did them effectively.
Despite some constraints from the outside world that can cause backsliding, most members struggle to show great love for God and never miss Church activities. This trend should continue. Those who have not been very active should step up because we know that each individual will appear before God in judgement to give account of his deeds. I handover this kind of congregation hoping that it will get better than I left going forward.
- CHURCH-COMMUNITY RELATIONS: The Church is located in a rural community and is expected to impact the community in diverse ways positively. The relationship between the Church and the community is not a frosty one. The Church existed to be the light to the world (community). This is done through the messages of salvation and hope by preaching the gospel. The Church has always encouraged peaceful coexistence among members of the community. The Church has occasionally extended some hands of benevolence to needy members of the community. The Church never relented in putting the community in prayers for peace, progress and development to thrive. Most members of the Church hold key positions in the leadership structure of the communities surrounding it. As the Minister I often made myself friendly and accessible to members of the community.
Through this, many of them opt to become members of the Church. This was the strategy that Jesus Christ adopted during His earthly ministry. Sometimes, I participated in the community’s sanitation project as I had chance. This healthy relationship extended to the Palmer Memorial Hospital. The hospital often gives special attention and consideration to members of the Church seeking medical attention. The hospital often invited the Minister (me) to some of its key functions such as the graduation ceremonies. The Church usually goes on a routine visit to the hospital at least every month to pray for and encourage the patients. More lofty positive community relation activities should be initiated going forward.
- RELATIONSHIP WITH SISTER CONGREGATIONS: We believe strongly in Church cooperation while maintaining congregational autonomy. That was why we often invited sister congregations to our functions – burials, lectureships/seminars, youth forum, etc. We also make arrangements to attend functions organized by sister congregations. We usually offer financial assistance to them when necessary and seek assistance from them as the occasion demands. We involve their Ministers and members in our events as they also involve our Minister (me) and members. It is always a win-win situation. A very cordial relationship existed between Ikot Usen and other congregations during my time. This should be upheld.
- ATTENDANCE AT FUNCTIONS: The Church under my watch often made efforts to attend functions of other congregations or our members when invited. We attended lectureships, seminars, burials, child blessings, meetings, etc. Some of these usually involve financial commitments which we obliged under benevolence. On some occasions, the Church would sent a delegation and pay their transport. Attending these functions added to boosting the inter-congregational relationships and enhanced our reputation. This should be upheld after I left.
- DISCIPLINE: The Church at Ikot Usen, as it is with the Church of Christ everywhere, does not condone indiscipline. Members who behave untowardly are usually brought before the congregation. This is usually done when all efforts to curb their excesses do not yield fruits. A recalcitrant and uncooperative defiant usually gets a disfellowship verdict. The remorseful, submissive and humble offender often gets a pardon following their genuine appeal for forgiveness. The Church is encouraged to maintain the standard, but must do everything in love.
- CONFLICT MANAGEMENT: Expectedly, a congregation as large as Ikot Usen Church is bound to be handling issues of misunderstanding among members on a regular basis. This is exactly what I faced. There were countless disputes that I mediated single-handedly and solved. There were others that required assembling a few brethren to handle and that would settle the case. Others used to drag longer than expected and critically grave that the entire congregation would have to sit and deliberate. Some conflicts often ended within hours, some a few days, and others would drag for weeks. There were some that the Minister advised to handover to the families involve to settle among themselves. But it is usually breath-taking and head cracking moments. The Church after my departure should stand strong to help members settle their grouses and live peaceably.
- PENDING MATTERS/ACTIVITIES: My plans and that of the Church was to ensure that these four things were done in the nearest future: (a) Completion of the Church building (b) Appointment/ordination of Elders and Deacons (c) Reception/ Appreciation and Send-forth of past and present Ministers, and (d) Procurement of Church bus. This dream is still alive and realizable if the Church would keep an eye on them. The building project is on-going; the Eldership appointment process had started, while the Preachers’ reception/send-forth and the bus project are still pending. I want to encourage the Church to be optimistic that God willing, these dreams would come to fulfillment.
- ICT MATTERS: As was captured in the section on committees, there is an ICT unit in the Church. The aim is to ensure that the Church activities and programmes get to the attention of the global community. The social media is a veritable tool for information and education with the hope that something positive can come out of it. The congregation has a Facebook account (Church of Christ, Ikot Usen); Twitter (@cocikotusen); SMS: 08119644553; Email: Churchofchristikotusen@gmail.com. These accounts are maintained by Evang. Udeme Umo Inyang and Evang. Victor John Asanga. I equally created a WhatsApp Group: COC IKOT USEN. Anyone can join the group through my WhatsApp number: 07039710238. Those with smartphones or the computer should endeavour to tap into these avenues and sell the Church to the world beyond our locality. It works wonders. Global inter-connectivity is the order of the day. Hence, we should not play down the power of the social media and ICT. My dream for the future is that the Church should get a website. This would be the best thing. But it is a bit costly.
- PRISON EVANGELISM FORUM: Prison Ministry is one area of evangelism that should be our priority. The Church in realizing this fact, joined the Prison Evangelism Forum, an initiative of the Church of Christ, 7 Esa Atan Road, Uruk Uso, Ikot Ekpene. We often attended the Forum’s meetings whenever they were scheduled. In most cases, it is the Ministers of the congregations that attended the meetings. Other members (even sisters) can attend. It usually involves some financial commitments. Letters or text messages about the meetings are often sent the congregations. Whenever such information gets to this congregation, plans should be made to attend.
- AFFINITY WITH C.A.O ESSIEN BIBLE COLLEGE: I met the Church which gave birth to the Bible College in memory of Late Evang. C.A.O. Essien. The Church usually sent a token monthly support to the Bible College; I encouraged it. The Church was praying and hoping that the college would one day stand on its own. I hope that time would soon come. Because of the affinity, the Annual Youth Forum usually hosted by the Ikot Usen Church is now done in collaboration with the Bible College. That is fantastic as it would boost the growth of the college. As it stands, anything affecting the college is of interest to the Church. This partnership/affinity, I hope would continue after I left. After all, the provost of the college, Min. Emmanuel O. Essien is the son of the soil.
- BILL OF QUANTITY: Some kind-hearted and spiritually minded individuals/brethren had called for the compilation of the Bill of Quantity on the on-going Church building project. The vision is to have an estimate of what it would take to complete the Church building in its entirety. As this was done in confidence with the Minister (me), I encouraged the Church to get the contractor (Asanama) to get his team of technical experts in the various aspects of the work together so that each person would give the cost and materials required. At the end, all the bills would be put together and submitted to whoever it concerned. With this, going out to source of funds for the building would be realistic. A lot of energy had been put by me and the Church to ensure that those concerned did their work. Up till now, some of them have not submitted their quotations. Those who sent in theirs were the tiler, the painter and the plumber. Asanama, the contractor has not submitted his quotation. He was to do the roofing, doors and windows. Also, the electrician has not submitted his own quotation. These two persons have caused unnecessary delay in the progress of that activity. The Church should impress upon Asanama and Bro. Emem Etok (electrician) to expedite action on their assignment as those who sought this estimates are still waiting. We can’t afford to lose an opportunity that God may have opened for us. I expect to be invited from wherever I am to be a part of the presentation of the Bill of Quantity of those who required it.
- SWEEPING/SANITATION OF THE CHURCH PREMISES: I give kudos to the Church for the initiative of selecting a group of brethren, (mainly sisters) to take care of the sanitary condition of the Church premises on Sundays. These sisters have been doing fantastic job. They should be encouraged to continue doing this happily. Equally the youths deserve some praises for always scheduling compound cleaning occasionally. They should keep on doing that. God will bless them.
- BURIALS (INTERNAL): For burials involving our members that the Church would handle, there are certain arrangements and logistics that must be observed. The bereaved family would meet the Church (usually through the Preacher) to agree on the date for the occasion. The Church here does not ask the bereaved family to give certain items or money before the burial is conducted. No consultation items are demanded by the Church or the Minister. Whatever the bereaved family could offer as refreshment at the burial venue is accepted by the Church. The grave of our deceased member is dug by the men of the Church. The family usually gives food for the workers thereat. The Church normally sends out invitation letters to a few sister congregations around after relating with the family that that be done. The Minister prepares the order of events for the funeral programme, fixes names of officiating Ministers and other functionaries. After the burial proper, the Church gives little token of transport fares to the key functionaries. Before the burial day, the Church had opened records and persuaded members to make individual donations to assist the bereaved family. The amount realized from this and agreed upon by the Church is usually presented to the bereaved family a few days to the burial proper. One cardinal culture upheld by the Church during burials is that the bereaved family should not involve any musical adventure in the name of vigil night. Violation of this stipulation can cause the Church to take drastic action of any dimension on the offending bereaved family. I pray that the Church upholds this culture after my departure.
- PROCUREMENT OF CANOPY: The Church had the need to acquire personal canopy in view of the limited sitting space during worship service. The need for canopy was even stronger because of the COVID-19 Pandemic whose protocol demanded social distancing. The canopy would help in spacing out people at Church. The cost of the canopy was N100,000 (One Hundred Thousand Naira). As at June, 2021, the sum of N68,000 (Sixty Eight Thousand Naira) only had been raised. The Church should continue to impress upon members who had not contributed to do so. The canopy should be procured in the nearest future.
- CONCLUSION: Some people view a handover note as a mere document of scribbling a scanty things. By my training in composition writing, it is not supposed to be a small paper with a few itemized content. I have to go to the nitty-gritly of the document. I am doing this so that the next Minister who takes over from me would not be groping in the dark about where to start and what to do.
Just present this document to him, and within a week or two he would hit the ground running. However, I must confess that I haven’t been able to capture all the aspects of the Church’s life during my stay. If I omit anything, it is not deliberate; it is human; I am not perfect. But the few areas captured here are very vital to the development of the Church. Please accept it in good faith and God will lead the way.
- RECOMMENDATIONS/ADVICE: Having made the foregoing submissions, I would like to make the following recommendations:
- The Church is the sole property of Christ, hence no one individual or a group of individuals should try to muscle authority and overwhelm others. Everybody must have equal say. The Church should guard against domineering tendencies of some people.
- I should not be castigated and looked down upon in view of my weak points. I could make mistakes like any other human beings. Nobody should be allowed to perpetrate the pull-him-down syndrome in the Church. Remember, Jesus told the Pharisees/Jews, whoever has not committed sin should be the first to cast a stone.
- Brethren should act in love toward one another. Going to backbite, gossip and slander your brother/sister before the unbelieving society is unchristian. Let’s endeavour to get close to out alleged “sinful” brother/sister and have audience with them before going public.
- No one should go to Church or serve God because of the person of a Preacher. Let our devotion to God’s service come from our inner conviction and relationship to God.
- The Church should expand the existing committees arrangements and create some more. For instance, there should be Evangelism Committee, Maintenance Committee and Storekeeper.