SUNDAY, MAY 25, 2014.
NSUKKA DIOCESE AT 20
‘For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south but God is the judge: he putteth down one and setteth up another,’ Psalms 75:7-6.
THE Psalmist was right for: ‘promotion neither comes from the east, nor from the west or south but only from the Lord…’ The Diocese of Nsukka, situated in a rural setting, received a boost, when God remembered it not only as an Archdeaconry, but also elevated it to the status of a Diocese.
The journey to becoming a diocese received a nod from the national Church, when Nsukka Diocese was inaugurated on Tuesday, January 11, 1994 at St. Paul’s Cathedral Nsukka by the then Primate of All Nigeria, the Most Rev. J. A. Adetiloye. Thereafter, the pioneer Bishop of the Diocese, Rt Rev. Dr J. C. Ilonuba, was enthroned as the first Bishop of the diocese.
At inception, the diocese had only two Archdeaconries, 18 Parishes and 32 priests. The pioneer Bishop laboured hard to lay a solid foundation and to give the diocese a focus. He retired meritoriously after 14 years of service to God and humanity.
To the glory of God, the young, dynamic and visionary Bishop, Rt Rev. Aloysius Agbo took over the mantle of leadership as the second Bishop on July 6, 2008 and has since then consolidated on the foundation laid by his predecessor. The diocese now has 287 churches, 79 parishes, 19 Archdeaconries with 116 Clergymen and 180 Catechists.
In furtherance of the work of God, the diocese has been able to establish the following firms: Faith Foundation Mission Hospital (FFMH), SAMAH water Packaging company, Agric Farm, Bethany shopping Plaza, Filling Station (ongoing), Benedictus Petroleum Limited, Printing Press, Bethsaida Institute of Leadership and Mission (BILEM) and the ongoing imposing Saint Paul’s Cathedral building project.
It is interesting to know that Bishop Agbo is ably being supported by his amiable wife, Mrs. Ifeoma Agbo because he noted somewhere about the wife: ‘she has been a source of inspiration and support to my ministry.’ The wife is the President of Women’s Guild and Mother’s Union in the Diocese. What a helpmeet indeed!
Therefore, to mark its 20th anniversary, the Diocese had weeklong activities, which started from Monday 12 and ended on Sunday, May 18, 2014. Highlights of the anniversary includes: march past, Bible quiz, football competition, praise night, different awards to deserving individuals including the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the Archbishop Elect of Enugu Province, the Most Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma and Evang. Dr. Samuel Maduka Onyishi, MD, Peace Mass Transport Ltd. among others. Also anniversary lecture titled, ‘Church growth: the Biblical paradigm revisited’ was delivered by the Prolocutor of Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion), Ven. Prof. Israel Okoye.
A thanksgiving service to mark the anniversary of the diocese was held on Saturday, May 17, 2014 at the Cathedral. The preachers were Archbishop of Kaduna Ecclessiastical Province and the Bishop of Kebbi, Most Rev. Edmund Akanya, who spoke on the topic: ‘Our Ebenezer’. While the Rector of Ibru Centre and his wife, Ven. Ernest and Mrs. Chioma Onuoha served as retreatants for collated Archdeacons and Canons. Preaching on the Sunday sermon for collation, the Rector spoke on the theme: ‘Fulfilling your Ministry,’ Col. 4v17.
Indeed, God remembers His people for good at different times and that is why we sincerely rejoice with the Diocese of Nsukka under the spiritual guidance of the humble and God-fearing servant, Rt Rev. Aloysius Agbo on this 20th anniversary of the Diocese. May the good Lord continue to take the Diocese and its leadership to greater heights.Ven. Ernest Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.