What are your goals for the diocese?
The issues for me are mission and evangelism. We must take our social concerns to widows, orphans, and prisoners. In Plateau state, the majority are younger than 20. The under-20s are largely unemployable, uneducatedan HIV-prone generation.
What are you doing to reach them?
I have set up a little missionary effort. We have found young men and women graduates who agree to go to villages and start schools, and nurses are working with hiv patients. A good percentage of the pastors are involved in hiv work and community health projects. Agriculture is the next phasewe need to raise money for two or three tractors to let young men go back to the farm. Anything here grows. An army of young people can feed the country.
I don't want to just preach the gospel by word of mouth to the people. I want to be holistic in our approach to missions and evangelism.
What about your church-planting efforts?
The best thing in this diocese is church planting. They're opening churches without my say-so. It's wonderful. Let it be led by the Holy Spirit and not by the bishop. In the last month, three new churches have startedwe have an average of two churches in a given month every year. [We have] 70,000 parishioners, at least 211 churches, 10 secondary schools, and 21 primary schools.
How has the church been affected by the riots?
We lost 60 congregations in 2001 because of the religious conflict. Churches were burned, destroyed, wiped out. Some work has brought the churches back. Our policy is that if they can rebuild the church [building], I will [allocate funds to] roof it.
Our full coverage of the riots in Nigeria are available on our website.
Other recent articles on Nigeria include:1
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