The wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr. (Mrs.) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, has charged Lagos State Christian Pilgrims to see the pilgrimage exercise as a spiritually rewarding journey rather than for site-seeing and relaxation.
Mrs. Sanwo-Olu stated this during the Service of Dedication organised by the Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board (LSCPWB), noting that the theme of the dedication service: “Tourist or Pilgrim” was designed to emphasise that the journey is for spiritual rejuvenation, just as all the stories in the Bible will come to life.
She prayed that the pilgrimage exercise will mark a turning point in the way participants handle their relationship with God and the people around them.
The First Lady also used the opportunity to express gratitude to God for the reopening of Israel for pilgrimage exercises after the closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Calling on all pilgrims to observe COVID-19 safety protocols and take necessary precautions against monkeypox, Mrs. Sanwo-Olu thanked the Lagos State Ministry of Home Affairs and LSCPWB for the successful take-off of the pilgrimage exercise.
In his goodwill message, the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Olanrewaju Elegushi, quoting from the book of Proverbs 18: 10, noted that the event was organised to dedicate and commit all the intending pilgrims as well as State officials to God as they proceed on pilgrimage to the holy lands of Israel and Jordan.
He enjoined the intending pilgrims to see the pilgrimage exercise as purely a spiritual journey and not a vacation, saying: “May I also remind us that the Pilgrimage Exercise is purely a spiritual journey and not a vacation, for this reason, you will be invited to attend early morning devotion, just as you will visit many biblical historical sites where you will offer prayers”.
The Commissioner also enjoined the pilgrims to offer prayers of intercession for their families, loved ones, Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole while expressing thanks to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his commitment and benevolence towards the Ministry and its Agencies.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Mr. Sewedo Oluseyi Whenu, charged intending pilgrims to shun abscondment or misconduct during the exercise.
Also speaking, the Chairman, LSCPWB, Rt. Rev Babatunde C. Akinpelu-Johnson, in his sermon on “Tourist or Pilgrim”, admonished the intending pilgrims to expect something different during the pilgrimage exercise and anticipate that God will meet them in a special way.
Reiterating that the essence of the Holy Pilgrimage is to gain deeper insight into the Ministry of Christ while on earth, he said, “As an ambassador, carry out the instructions, don’t be distracted, have an expectation that you want to receive the blessings of God”.
The Board Secretary, Mrs. Florence Yetunde Gbafe, also thanked Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his immense support, just as she applauded the intending pilgrims for their patronage of the Board for the spiritual exercise.
Mrs. Gbafe enjoined the intending pilgrims to be their brothers’ keepers, and good ambassadors and participate fully in the pilgrimage exercise.
The event also had in attendance the Special Adviser to Mr. Governor on Christian Religion, Very Rev. Bukola Adeleke; representative of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) Chairman, Mr. Chris Odegbuna, Presiding Chaplain of Christ the Light Chapel, Venerable Ezekiel Oluwadare, and Board Members, Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board among others.