SUNDAY, MAY 13, 2012.
DIOCESE ON THE NIGER’S EPISCOPAL HOUSE: A MODEL FOR CHEERFUL GIVING
But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? (I Chron. 29v14)
ON Thursday, May 3, 2012, faithful of the Diocese on the Niger gathered at their former Bishop’s Court (now rebuilt and renamed Episcopal House) for a formal dedication of the infrastructure to the glory of God.
The ceremony was performed by the Primate of All Nigeria, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, who was assisted by Archbishop of the Province on the Niger, Most Rev. Christian Efobi; Archbishop of the Province of Owerri, Most Rev. Bennett Okoro; Archbishop of the Province of Enugu, Most Rev. Amos Madu; and brother Bishops within and outside the Province on the Niger.
The Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, was also in attendance with members of his State Executive Council.
It is interesting to note that from Samuel Ajayi Crowther, the Diocese on the Niger has had, in quick successions, nine Bishops. The ninth, Rt. Rev. Owen Chiedozie Nwokolo, was consecrated at All Saints Cathedral Church Onitsha on Sunday, January 9, 2011, and later enthroned on March 1, 2011.
There had been desire to improve upon construction of the Bishop’s Court. The idea was the brainchild of Bishop Owen’s predecessor, Rt. Rev. Ken S. E. Okeke and his wife, Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Okeke (Nneobioma). They had requested, instructed and insisted that renovation be done before the incumbent Bishop moved in. And to the glory of God, men of good will rose to the occasion.
In the Bible, King David had a burden to contribute to building of a temple for God. He knew the venture would require a great deal of resources. David gave generously in support of the project. His devotion and commitment equally triggered sincere and willing donations from his subjects. Laden with emotion, David said: ‘But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to give as generously as this?’
Although the new Episcopal House gulped a lot of money, it was done by God’s people as expression of thanksgiving for His inestimable blessings. It is from God ‘every good and perfect gift comes from’.
Bishop Owen Nwokolo revealed that the journey to the dedication was a thing of joy because people, from their God-given resources, contributed generously. Worthy of mention are: Chief Sir. G. N. Iheaku; Prince Dr. Sir. Emeka Ezeh and Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah; Justice Ijem Onwuamaegbu; Mrs. Njide Onyekwelu; Lady Ada Nweke; and Ugochi Aniakor, among others.
The Building Committee, led by Sir. D. C. Nweke, deserves commendation also.
Speaking before the dedication, Most Rev. Okoh called on Christians to ensure consistency in God’s work, citing Hebrews 12v1: ‘Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.’
He said no contribution is insignificant in God’s vineyard and called on the Bishop and Diocese to ensure renovation of their spiritual lives, preparatory to becoming heaven’s citizens.
Conducted by Lady Ngozi Okonkwo (Music Director) the choir of All Saints’ Cathedral Onitsha rendered an anthem titled: ‘Bless This House’.
In a closing remark, Nwokolo expressed gratitude to God and the Diocese for completion of the project within a short time, praying for God’s blessing to fall on the people.
The project is a testimony ‘that in every age God has people who not only listen to Him, but (also) honour and worship Him with their resources’.
When was the last time you willingly supported God’s work?Ven. Ernest Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.