Barr. Ogungbe Deyon Sienayon was recently ordained a priest of the Anglican Church at the Cathedral Church of St. Jude, Ebute-Meta, Lagos. In this interview with DNL Legal & Style Rev. Deyon shared his law and priestly journey.
May we know you sir (Name, Place of Birth, State of Origin)
My name is Rev. Deyon Sienayon Ogungbe, I was born on 3rd day of November, 1988 into the family of Ven. Noah and Mrs. Deborah Ogungbe. I Am from Ikoga Zebe, Badagry, Lagos State.
You are a Priest and a legal practitioner, which of this two was the first childhood ambition?
Because I was born into a priesthood family, my first ambition was to be a priest. The legal profession came in as an ambition while I was in junior secondary.
Which of these two came first? Where you ordained as a priest before being called to the Nigerian Bar?
No, I was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2013 and was made Deacon in the Diocese of Lagos Mainland on 25th of June 2016 and priested on 25th of June 2017.
How was the experience amongst your peers in the University and Law School when they discovered you were a Reverend?
I was not a priest while in the university and law school.
Would you consider yourself lucky to be both a priest and legal practitioner?
I do not appreciate the word lucky, I see it as a privilege, many wish to be in my position but don’t have the opportunity. It is only by God’s grace that we are who we are today. And to be called into the priesthood is by Gods privilege. Scripture says “for many are called, but few are chosen” Matthew 22:14 (KJV).
Is there any particular area where your training as a legal practitioner influenced your priesthood and vice versa? Please share any experience that comes to mind.
I have always been an enigma to my colleague while in the seminary; this is because my angle of giving answers to question and the way my opinion comes is always different to a theologian. I have always been in one way or the other compare the Holy Scriptures with the practice of law. In fact, I wrote my project at the seminary on wills (LEGAL WILLS AND THE CHURCH: AN APPRAISAL OF TESTAMENTARY DISPOSITION (ANGLICAN DIOCESE OF LAGOS MAINLAND AS A CASE STUDY)). This is because I am always of the opinion that the law is not effective without the church. God Himself is the founder of the law. He gave the children of the Israelites 10 commandment and other laws to guide them from disobeying. And in several places in the scripture He Himself being the almighty Judge perform the duty of chief Judge in disciplining them whenever they err against his principles. How then can we separate the law from the Holy Bible?
What is your goal for the profession?
My major goal for this legal profession is to make a difference, am looking for a legal profession where justice will be done. A legal profession where lawyers will say the truth and defend their client without additional lies. Where judges will deliver judgment without prejudice.
Is there room for you to achieve you goals in the profession while a priest?
Yes, scripture says with God all things are possible (Matthew 19: 26). Though it may be difficult and challenging, but trusting God.
As a Priest, are you allowed by the church doctrine to set up your private legal practice or join a paid employment as a legal practitioner?
In the Anglican Communion, priest are allowed to have their private vocation, these priest are called None Stipend Priest. Since I am one, I am permitted. Though, years back, lawyers are not permitted to come into the ministry, but thank God we have been able to clear our legal profession to be a noble one. Glory be to God I am one of the first set of lawyers to be admitted into the ministry.
Whenever there is conflict between your calling as a Priest and a Legal Practitioner, which one would you abandon?
Work in the Church is a ministry, while Legal practice is a profession, since one of my aim as a clergy lawyer is to make a difference in the noble profession, it now depend on the type of conflict, but I will always give priority to the ministry because everybody will one day give an account to God almighty. However, I don’t think there should be a conflict between the profession and the ministry because as a Legal profession, you are to pursue the cause of justice which is our practice as Christians.
Thank you so much for your time Rev.
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