Forty people were invited to Grace & Light’s first leadership conference – and 49 attended, confirming social righteousness is a topic that challenges church and business leaders.
The conference was billed as an interactive discussion in which delegates shared their experiences, understanding and desire for social righteousness in all facets of Nigerian life.
“We wanted leaders to understand social righteousness from God’s perspective and how it can bring positive change to the issues in our society including corruption, poverty, gender inequality, health and education,” explained conference organiser Tassie Ghata.
“We are delighted they came to realise that only about ten per cent of Nigerian Christians are currently living in righteousness. There was plenty of space to brainstorm how to respond as leaders in their congregations and work places.
“They realised change starts with them and they agreed they want to change and lead lives that are soulful rather than soulless. They appreciated being able to meet other leaders and discuss these issues together; usually this is very difficult.”
The three-day conference, from 19-21 September, in Jos attracted church leaders from across the denominations, business executives, medical professionals, local government officials and leaders of other charities. They came from five states – Nasarawa, Plateau, Gombe, Bauchi and Abuja Federal Capital Territory.
Two speakers came from the UK for the conference. Rev Andrew Baughen is vicar at Saint James Clerkenwell and spoke about soulful and soulless business, while Peter King, a Grace & Light UK trustee and leading mergers and acquisitions lawyer, shared what it is like to be a Christian and a senior partner in a global legal practice.
Peter King said: "It was a privilege to apply some of my experience working with businesses around the world on legal and ethical issues to the Nigerian situation. The audience were fully engaged, discussing and giving feedback on many of the issues I raised.
“The most interesting part of the conference for me was hearing about the difficulties delegates and members of their congregations face in putting social righteousness into practice against pressure from society. I felt I learned more from the participants than they did from me."