Newly consecrated first female Bishop of the Methodist Church Nigeria, Dr. (Mrs.) Nkechi Nwosu, set a record in the history of the Orthodox denomination as she attained the highest position in the church. In this interview with SEYI SOKOYA, she speaks about her vision for the ministry.
You are the first female bishop of the orthodox denomination in Nigeria; how do you feel about this development?
It is a humbling experience and a very joyous one for God to remember me at a time like this. The joy at the consecration was overwhelming.
Do you see it as a dream come true?
Yes. For me to get to the level of consecration as a bishop, of course, is a dream come true, because that is the apex of the ministry and it is not everybody that gets to that level. Many stop at the level of presbyter; it takes only the grace of God though not everybody can be a Bishop. I am very grateful to God and the Methodist Church, especially His Eminence Emeritus, Dr. Kanu Uche.
Do you mean he played a major role?
He did. If the Lord had not spoken to His Eminence Dr. Uche then it would be difficult. For God to do anything new, He has to speak to the leader. He was the one that did the nomination for the members of the Electoral College to either support or disagree. But to the glory of God, they all accepted and gave their support.
You did say at a time that God revealed you would be a Bishop…
God had been showing me revelations where I was elevated as a Bishop and I knew it had happened in the spirit realm. So every day, I offered thanks for my elevation even when it has not manifested physically because God cannot lie. The Lord revealed to me in the 80s that he had called me to be a priest in the Methodist Church Nigeria. He was specific.
With this, I continued doing what I know how best to do, serving him at all levels and in various ways. Then in 1994 when the church started to ordain women as deaconesses, the Lord spoke to me again that I should go to school to be trained as a deaconess. I said but Lord, you have called me to be a Priest. He said ‘go ahead, I know what I’m doing.’
It was my going to school to be trained as a deaconess that triggered the subject of women’s ordination because when I got to the school there was no way they could tell the world that they do not have women to be ordained because I was already a Ph.D. holder when they required only school certificate for the first order. That was how my journey started which God used as a catalyst to start speaking to the leadership of the church.
Eventually, God spoke to His Eminence, Emeritus Sunday Mbang that this woman is a Priest, not a deaconess. Following what he heard, he had to pursue the ordination of women with vigour before he retired.
By the special grace of God it was accepted, so I went to school to be trained as a minister having trained as a deaconess. I was doing it with the Tent Making Ministry, though the church was yet to accept women as Priests. The Rector at that time who is now retired, Rt. Rev. Bamgbose called me and insisted that I could do the tent-making ministerial alongside the deaconess order. I said ‘why not? I can do it. So I did both. I finished the deaconess order in 1996 at Methodist Training Institute (MTI), Shagamu, and completed my Diploma in Theology for Ministerial Training in 1997. Then in 1998, I was ordained, a deaconess.
I continued working as deaconess, though the church has accepted women as Priests. It was until 2010 I applied to be trained as a Methodist minister.
Were there days you felt like giving up?
From the beginning, God told me what He called me to be. Despite all the hiccups, I continued to look up to Him as the author and finisher of my faith. There were persecutions, silent oppositions, and all manner of challenges. Despite the church’s acceptance of women’s ordination, there were people who did not accept but cannot leave the church.
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The opposition of course was from the ministers, not the lay people. The lay people had no problem. They were happy to have female ministers. The challenge has always been the ministers who feel that one was coming to take over their job. Some also allow culture to affect their reasoning.
You know that some believe that in Africa, a woman should not be in a position of authority; they even quote some scriptures to back this up. They forget that the scriptures they quote were for a group of people on a particular occasion.
Can you recall an experience that was a test of your faith that you are likely not to forget in a hurry?
Do you have my book? I wrote a book titled ‘Priesthood of Women: My Journey’. A few minutes of the interview would not be enough to explain my experiences and how God helped me, though it is not as if I shared everything. I only shared some yet some who have read the book ask me ‘you mean you went through all these?’
As I pointed out earlier, though the Methodist Church in Nigeria accepted the ordination of women, those ministers who in their hearts did not accept it worked against my staying in the ministry.
What are the principles you hold on to that have helped you to this level?
Honestly, I always hold on to the scripture that I can do all things through Christ that gives me strength. I did not see myself as a woman when I came into the ministry. If not, I would not have been able to succeed because of challenges. From the beginning, I saw myself as an individual called to fulfill a purpose. I made the word of God and the Holy Spirit my guide. God’s words, the Holy Spirit, prayer, and fasting kept me. One could not have succeeded without living holy, praying, and fasting life.
Knowing that the Devil attacks servants of God to make them disobey, compromise, and live in sin while using the Scriptures to confuse people, I told myself that if I must make it He that has called me is holy so I must be holy. It has not been easy but I thank God for not disappointing me as I have chosen to live for him.
Child molestation is on the increase. How do you see this?
It is demonic, and abnormal because the devil and his demons have invaded the earth to twist the minds of people to disobey God. It is terrible how this vice has been on the increase; the influence of social media cannot be ruled out. When people expose themselves to evil, they start acting negatively.
It is unfortunate to note that women and even the male gender are sexually abused and also face domestic violence. It is also worrisome that churches abroad have accepted and celebrated homosexuality. It is demonic and it means that the second coming of Christ is at hand.
Suicide has been a recurring issue in recent times as a result of depression from economic hardship and failed relationships; what is the way out of this?
I will advise individuals to seek guidance and solace in God’s words. The devil comes with the deceit in the minds of people that there is no reason to live. But there is reason to live once you know God is the source of your life. You will not want to kill yourself because of disappointment. Neither human nor anything is big enough to make you want to take your life. Also, there is a need to know that there is no marriage in heaven, everything ends here on earth. Talking about today’s marriages, how many people take time to be rightly counseled? You find people prepare for the wedding instead of marriage, that is why there is an increase in depression and divorce cases.
There could be challenges but with faith in God, no situation is insurmountable. It is a lie from the Devil, for a person to think he or she is the only one going through a certain situation. No matter what we are going through let us put our hope in Christ because he is the only solution.
What legacy will you like to leave behind?
I will like to be remembered as one who loved Jesus in spirit and truth; who gave her all to win souls for God.
What is your prayer for Nigeria?
God will help Nigeria. Nigeria is a great nation and God has prepared the best for us. He will give us the leader he has chosen to work in tandem with him so that the manifestation of Nigeria that God desires will come true.