To mark this year’s Church Missionary Society (CMS) Anniversary, the Cathedral Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord (CATOL), Owerri penultimate Saturday and Sunday became a beehive of activities with the priestly and deaconate ordination as well as longevity award to faithful elders aged 80 years and above and thanksgiving by the newly-ordained priests and deacons.
The Anglican Bishop of Owerri, Rt. Rev. Cyril Okorocha, PhD presided over the two events where he counseled the new and old priests and their wives to keep to their ordination vows for them to succeed in their ministries and to pay regular visits to their parishioners more so, the less-privileged in order not to be seen as associating with only the affluent members.
And at the award service to the faithful octogenarians and above, the bishop explained that they were being honoured because of their faithfulness to the Anglican Church with their sponses all these years and assured others of similar honour if they followed the footsteps of the awardees.
In his sermon at the ordination service, Rev. Canon (Engr) Echi Nwogu who stood in for Ven. Prof. Chinedu Nebo, noted that priests are confronted with challenges in their ministry and urged them to resist them.
The preacher submitted that every born-again Christian, whether ordained or not, is a minister of God and advised the newly-ordained to seize the opportunity of their ordination to more actively profess the gospel of God.
Can. Nwogu exhorted the newly-ordained not to be deterred by any sin they had committed in the past as God is always a forgiving Father like He forgave Peter who denied Christ when he repented unlike Judas Iscariot who, instead of repenting, committed suicide.
And in a brief sermon at the thanksgiving and award service last Sunday, Ven. James Onyekwelibe urged the newly-ordained to fight the current ills of society like armed robbery, kidnapping, cultism and other anti-social manifestations through unceasing prayers and evangelism.
He reminded them that with their ordination they are now in the mainstream of church work unlike before when they were critics of their superiors and urged them to be submissive to them.
On the C.M.S anniversary, the preacher paid glowing tribute to Bishop Ajayi Crowther and his team for brining light, education, administration through the Gospel of Jesus Christ which he said abolished darkness in Igbo land.
He therefore urged governments at all levels to show gratitude to the Anglican Church for being the first to bring Christianity and its advantages to Igboland since 155 years.
To the awardees and elders, the preacher advised them to always pray for the church and priests and not to oppose the church authorities or encroach on church land.
The occasion was also used to raise fund for the completion of the CATOL building.
While speaking, a prominent member of the congregation, Sir Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu noted that many Anglican youths have backslided from the Anglican faith to what he refereed to as “new-genera ion churches” attending Anglican Church when they return home or during ceremonies.
He therefore challenged parents to work on such children and “re-covert” them to the Anglican faith.
Two priests and 10 deacons were ordained at the occasion while 17 faithful Anglican elders aged 80 years and above were honoured among them, a retired high court judge, Justice Duke Njeribeako, prominent politician, Sir Sampson Onyensoh Nwachukwu, the traditional ruler of Eziama Obiato who recently abolished the Osu caste system in his community, Eze Sir Denis Nwaba, Dame Elfrida Aguta and Lady Keziah Ekeocha, among others.