L-R: Chancellor of the Diocese of Lagos, Justice (Mrs) Adedayo Oyebanji; Bishop and Missioner of Lagos Diocese, Rt. Revd. Humphrey Olumakaiye; his wife Prof. (Mrs) Motunrayo; Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Dean Emeritus, Church of Nigeria, Most Revd. Adebola Ademowo and his wife Mrs. Oluranti, during the opening of the 2nd session of the 34th Synod of the Lagos Diocese at Our Saviour’s Church, TBS, on Monday, September 7, 2020.

The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has charged Nigerians, especially Christians to pray to God, serve and do their best for the growth of their respective faith, State and the nation at large.

Speaking on Monday at the official opening ceremony of the second Session of the 34th Synod of the Diocese of Lagos, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) at Our Saviour’s Church, Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, Governor Sanwo-Olu said COVID-19 has shown in reality that people need to pray and therefore implored the people of Lagos State to continue to pray.

The Governor, who disclosed that Monday September 7, 2020 would be the first day in over six months that he is entering into “House of the Lord,’ thanked God for sparing his life and millions of Lagosians, especially members of the Diocese of Lagos to witness this year’s Synod even as Lagos State continues to see a reduction in the numbers of confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Stressing the need for Christians to pray and serve in reference to the Synod theme “Pray, Serve and Grow” with Romans 12:11 as reference scripture, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the theme of the Synod was apt because for all to build a ‘Greater Lagos’ there is need for people to pray to God, serve and do their best for growth of the State.

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Governor Sanwo-Olu, who started his Goodwill Message with songs and appreciation to God, said: “Following the rude, unexpected and difficult events of COVID – 19 which we have all witnessed in Year 2020 beginning from early December 2019 in Wuhan city of China, there can be not better befitting theme for our Synod than to “Pray, Serve and Grow (Romans 12:11 says ‘not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.’

“We are to pray in order to acknowledge our limitations as human beings because God remains sovereign. He remains the Supreme God; He knows it all and he is in charge of all circumstances we human beings might face.

“Service to the Lord is serving one another; it is about loving one another, supporting one another. Serving the Lord is serving one another in active ingredients of the work of our faith, which without one another, we are all dead as said James 2:17 ‘Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.’

“It is therefore pertinent to say that we can surely grow spiritually and in every wise, when we pray and serve the Lord. As we begin to regain our lives again as a Church, State and nation, the best way possible for us is to stand on our feet and to stand resolute in faith and believing that God is always with us.”

Sanwo-Olu, while stressing the importance of prayer and service to growth of Lagos State, said: “For us in Lagos, to build a ‘Greater Lagos’, we certainly need to hold on to God. We certainly need to pray. We certainly need to use God as an instrument of contact for all of us because of what we have gone through in 2020.

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“It was said that we would be taking dead bodies on the streets. But thank Almighty God, He kept all of us during the COVID-19 pandemic. We had less than two per cent of fatality in Lagos when the statistics had projected we would have 10 to 15 per cent.

“What we preach and heard in the Bible is here with us in today’s reality. COVID-19 has shown us in reality that we need to pray and this is why we will continue to pray in Lagos State. We need to serve wherever we find ourselves. Whatever we found our hands to do, let us do it well. Let us do it for the best of intentions because we do not know who is watching.

“And of course we need to grow. We need to grow in the house of God. We need to grow as a people. We need to grow as a nation. We need to grow as a denomination. We need to grow as a Diocese.”

Sanwo-Olu commended all the frontline workers for their readiness to serve the State passionately during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Service in the context of the times we are in and in line with Apostle Paul’s admonition to the Romans to serve eagerly and earnestly is being exemplified by our frontline health workers who have remained steadfast in offering selfless service even at the risk of their lives and those of their families,” he said.

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The Governor also commended religious leaders in Lagos State, especially the Diocese of Lagos for their support and cooperation in ensuring strict adherence to the directive of the State government in respect of COVID 19 pandemic.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, said despite over 18,000 people testing positive to coronavirus infection, the State recorded less than two per cent fatality.

He, therefore, commiserated and sympathised with the families, congregation, friends and people of all faiths and tribes that lost their loved ones during the pandemic.

In his address, Bishop Humphrey Olumakaiye, who described Sanwo-Olu as indefatigable and result-oriented, said the governor had approved the construction of the road leading to the Centenary City of the Diocese and mobilised contractors to move to site.

He also commended Governor Sanwo-Olu for showing leadership in managing the COVID-19 pandemic in Lagos State as well as delivering on some of his campaign promises in line with “Greater Lagos” agenda, which is being carried out through the T.H.E.M.E.S. developmental agenda of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration.

Also speaking at the event, Primate and Metropolitan of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev Henry Ndukuba, who was represented by the Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos West, Rt. Revd. Olusola Odedeji, wished the Diocese of Lagos a fruitful synod and also commended Governor Sanwo-Olu’s administration.

The Dean Emeritus and the immediate past Bishop of Diocese of Lagos, Most Rev Ephraim Ademowo commended Bishop Olumakaiye for the great works he is doing in the diocese, noting that he is happy that the incumbent bishop has taken the Diocese of Lagos to a greater height.