The Diocese of Amichi (Anglican Communion), Anambra State, has banned its priests from buying, owning and driving Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs), without building a personal house. The Diocesan Bishop of Amichi, Rt. Rev. Ephraim Ikeakor disclosed this in his presidential address at the first Session of the fifth Synod of the Diocese at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Ebenato, Nnewi South Local Council of Anambra State. Speaking on the theme of the synod, “Cross-less Christianity a contradiction of the mandatory demand of true discipleship,” Bishop Ikeakor, said clergy housing support scheme, which commenced some years ago was to support priests to start building their retirement houses.
According to the cleric, the scheme was suspended due to paucity of funds and attitude of some clergy who benefited from the exercise.
However, Bishop Ikeakor said: “Considering the economic state of things in our country today characterised by very embarrassing inflation index, one begins to wonder how an honest Anglican clergyman with very lean stipend serving in a rural diocese like ours can dream of having a personal house before his retirement.”
Based on the economic state of things in the country, the church decided to revive the Clergy Housing Support Scheme.
This time around, according to the man of God, “any Clergy who benefits from this welfare housing support must show us in concrete terms what he used the money to achieve as it pertains to preparing to build a house.”
Bishop Ikeakor, who reminded the clergy that the ban is still in force in the Diocese, said: “Today, we want to encourage the following clergy who are very committed to their work with this start up seed of N1m each. The beneficiaries are Ven. ThankGod Agu; Ven. Christopher Elochukwu; Ven. Samuel Omuka; Ven. Chika Mbeyi and Canon Isaiah Chukwubuikem.
“Brothers, this money is exclusively for housing project, and nothing more. Currently, I know this amount will mould two hundred bags of cement for you, which will give you not less than 6,000 blocks.
“I humbly and passionately appeal to our financially capable members to cue into this project of providing houses for our priests. A house built for a priest is a house built for God,” he said.
To further lessen the burden of its priests, the Diocese offered boarding fee scholarship to children of its priests in both Convent and Seminary schools of the Diocese.
Bishop Ikeakor also cancelled debts and unpaid assessment to the Diocese, which the Church workers and parishioners owned the Diocese over the years.