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Growth of CMS in Mbieri

By 1912, the first church station had been established. Obazu was the pioneering centre in the growth of C.M.S. in Mbieri. “Obuma” or “Ibari” of late Nosiri of Umuchoke Obazu was used as worshipping place and Nosiri guaranteed the safety of the church worker.

The Holy Trinity Church was founded in 1912 when a group of twelve young men returned from Calabar, Cross River State where they worked as cooks and stewards for European merchants. These young men attended church at Holy Trinity Church, Calabar. When they returned home to Obazu on leave, they found out that the nearest church to them was at Egbu. They had to walk the distance from Obazu to Egbu every Sunday for church services, not minding the insecurity and danger of kidnapping and slavery that was rampant in those days.

These young men resolved to bring the church to Obazu to reduce the risk involved in their weekly ‘pilgrimage’ to Egbu. Negotiations with the church authorities at Egbu were made and  late Nosiri Duruori led a delegation of some Obazu elders to Egbu. Archdeacon Dennis was impressed at his visit to Obazu, especially with the hospitality accorded him. A piece of land called “Odo-Nwaicheku” was earmarked for church building, though the church would continue to hold at Nosiri’s compound.

The first  evangelist  the church at Egbu sent was Mr John Chukwu, followed by Mr Israel Onuegbu. Archdeacon Dennis later sent Mr Wilfred Odunze to show the people how to build the house and to construct seats since by 1912, there were no carpenters and bricklayers. By December 1912 when the church mud house was completed,  Archdeacon Dennis and his wife came and dedicated it. The church then moved out from Nosiri’s compound. As the congregation continued to grow, a station teacher, a church “Agent” Mr John Obi was located to Obazu. However, it was not an easy thing to move from Umuchoke to a central place.

The Rev A.C Onyeabo waded into the issue and was convinced that a more central place was better for the purpose of expansion. Rev A.C Onyeabo paid tribute to the memory of late Nosiri Duruori for the noble role he played in sponsoring the pioneers who brought the church from Egbu to Obazu in 1912 and providing accommodation for the church and teachers during the time the church was in his compound in Umuchoke.

It is important to know that the name: “Holy Trinity Church” was borrowed from the church at calabar, where the Obazu early pioneers, the young men who worked as cooks and stewards worshipped.

In 1914 as a result of the enthusiasm with which the gospel was received in Obazu, Archdeacon T.J Dennis sent a team of evangelists, led by Rev. F.D. Payne to carry out evangelical work in various parts of Mbieri. This team stayed for seven days in Obazu. From Obazu, they held open air preaching in villages of Mbieri such as Amankuta, Ubakuru, Umunjam, Achi and other places where they won converts.

 

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