Nigeria’s Reggae music superstar and author, Buchi Atuonwu, has registered a couple of milestones; including writing a blood-chilling book, ‘Ceasefire,’ on the consequences of participation in the activities of confraternities.
However, everything else he has done may recede into distant memory as he embarks on what he considers his life purpose-uniting the different denominators in Christendom.
The former English Language lecturer, paints an altruistic picture of why he was convening the first-ever National Hymn Festival.
“I am doing this as a patriot. God speaks to the one who cares and He spoke to me about doing things that could unite the church and I know that the unity of the church is not about belonging to an association, as beautiful as that may be. That is not what the Bible means by the unity of the churc,” he said.
In the estimation of Buchi, there is yet no platform that supports the kind of collaboration he would like to see among churches.
“The unity of the church,” he reasoned, “will come through knowledge. Knowledge of the word of God. How is that going to happen if you teach a different thing and I teach a different thing and there is no platform for us or our members to share, grow and investigate the word; even interrogate the teachings of one another?”
Therefore, on November 19, 2022 at the Sports Centre of the University of Lagos, Buchi and a couple of fellow compatriots like Dr. Panam Percy Paul, Joe Praize and Ada are set to give life to one of the last prayers of Jesus: ‘That they may be one as we are one.’
On the aforementioned day, delegates of the Catholic Church, the Pentecostal Fellowship, Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) and the white garment churches will constitute a 2,022-person National Hymn Festival choir to render some of the timeless hymns that inspired generations of Christians.
These denominations have also assembled their individual choirs to chase the top prize of N2 million and a trophy. There are also cash prizes, plaques and trophies for the second and third place winners, along with consolation awards for every participating choir.
The National Hymn Festival is Buchi’s way of ensuring that the great Hymns that built us up and sustained our faith, inspired us to things and to life for Jesus Christ are not allowed to die.