The remains of Venerable (Dr) Albert Ukonu have been laid to rest at his home church compound, St. James (Anglican) Church, Amaimo 1, penultimate Friday. Until his death, Venerable Ukonu who was sick for sometime was the Archdeacon in-charge of Aladinma Archdeaconry and Vicar of St. Andrew’s Church, Aladinma-Owerri.
He also served as the Spiritual Director, Council of Knights of St. Christopher Diocese of Owerri. As he began his homeward journey that fateful Friday, a commendation service was held in his honour at theCathedralChurchof the Transfiguration of Our Lord (CATOL) Owerri, conducted by the Cathedral Administrator Ven. Paul Nwozuzu and later a funeral service at St James (Anglican) Church, Amaimo 1, conducted by Ven J.B.C. Njoku. At both services, the Anglican Bishop of Owerri, Rt Rev Cyril C. Okorocha, PhD, preached.
Bishop Cyril Okorocha described Venerable Ukonu as a priest with vision, determination as well as a man whose commitment was uncompromising; a man through whom God established the present Family System in the Diocese of Owerri – where the church has become a family, a man who, according to him, gave his all for Jesus Christ.
The Diocesan Bishop listed several churches within theOwerriMunicipalitywhere Venerable Ukonu proved that he was not only a church planter, builder, but also exhibited his administrative skills and confirmed that he was indeed a blessing in the vineyard of God.
Bishop Okorocha expressed the belief that God would bring up Ven Albert with those that have died in Christ when the trumpet shall sound, including those that are alive and have remained in Christ Jesus.
In trying to answer a question as to why Ven Ukonu had to die at this time, the prelate attributed his death at this time to God’s sovereign purpose, adding that God’s love and incidences are not often revealed in a pleasurable manner and as such, all those who are touched painfully by his death should not mourn like those who have no hope.
Prior to the funeral service, several services of songs were held by different churches within theOwerriMunicipalitywhere the late Archdeacon had served at one time or the other.
On one of such occasions organized by the Diocese at St. Andrew’s Church where the late Archdeacon was the Vicar before his death, Ven. Zion Ngoka who gave the admonition at the sing song urged the family members, sympathizers, friends, and well-wishers, to allow Jesus Christ to always abide in them as the Hope of Glory.
Preaching at the service of songs organized by the Council of Knights of St Christopher, Owerri, for their fallen Spiritual Director, Rev Onyinyeoma Onyeagocha who is the Assistant Spiritual Director of the Council reiterated that Ven Ukonu lived to serve the Lord with everything he had and described him as an administrator par excellence, who would ever be remembered for his zealousness in the things of God and for introducing a lot of innovations in church management in the Diocese of Owerri including the Family System.
The burial attracted eminent personalities from all walks of life, including the former Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Sir Gabriel Toby, Bishops, both serving and retired including the host Bishop, Rt Rev Emmanuel Maduwike.