SUNDAY, APRIL 21, 2013.
‘Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your panelled houses, and this temple lies in ruins?” Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: “consider your ways!’ -Haggai 1:3-5
PROPHET Haggai would not like believers to mortgage their conscience, live in affluence and pretend that the house of God is not important. He, therefore, calls on them to consider their ways and do something to uplift God’s work.
Such thoughts might have filled the heart of the Bishop of Ohaji/Egbema Diocese, Rt Rev. Chidi Oparaojiaku. Upon assumption of office as pioneer Bishop, he wasted no time in tackling the demanding Bishop’s Court project.
It was a thing of joy as men and women of goodwill converged last Tuesday April 16, 2013, at St Peter’s Cathedral Church, Umuokanne, for the dedication of the new Court, built within five years, following inauguration of the Diocese.
The missionary diocese is situated in a rural setting and is part of the dream of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) to reach the unreached and bring the church closer to the people through evangelism. We thank God that this young diocese has kept alive the vision of founding fathers of the church.
Performing the dedication ceremony, the Primate of All Nigeria, Most Rev. Nickolas Okoh, assisted by the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Owerri, Most Rev. Caleb Muduoma, and other Bishops within and outside the province, observed that the diocese has grown tremendously in infrastructure and spiritual development.
The Primate, who praised the achievements of the young diocese, implored parishioners to ensure that the good work is sustained.
Speaking before the dedication ceremony, Oparaojiaku recalled the challenges that faced the diocese when it took off on June 6, 2008 – there was no archdeaconry; there were only four parishes; the Bishop, some times, operated from Owerri because he had no official residence; at a time, there was only N15, 000 in the diocesan bank account; the diocese inherited a workforce of just six priests from the mother diocese in Owerri.
Today, however, the Bishop testifies that God has made a name for Himself. The diocese now has nine archdeaconries, 43 priests and is building churches and chapels. It has also ventured into agriculture, production of table water and the building of hostels, among others.
Friends and partners assisted the diocese in several ways. Worthy of mention is the freewill donation of 10 plots of land by Registrar of the Diocese, Rt. Hon. Noel Chukwukadibia Agwuocha, and three plots by a Mr. Benneth Nwosu.
Deputy Governor of Imo State, Eze Madumere, attended the colourful event. He represented Governor Rochas Okorocha. Also in attendance was Justice Ijeoma Otti, among others.
We at the Ibru Centre salute the courage of the growing diocese, particularly its resolve to build a Bishop’s Court. According to Ellen Whyte, a songwriter: ‘it is not a vain thing serving the Lord. There is always a priceless reward to those who serve the Lord.’
Ride on Diocese of Ohaji/Egbema!VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.