Anglican Bishops in the Owerri Ecclesiastical Province on Wednesday visited the flood-ravaged areas in Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta Dioceses where they donated some relief materials to victims and cash for rehabilitation of affected churches.
The Bishops, led by the Archbishop of the province and Bishop of Orlu, Most Rev B.C.I. Okoro, visited St. Luke’s Church Archdeaconry Headquarters, Eziorsu in the Diocese on the Lake.
In Abacheke, Ojiji and Nwari Chapels were submerged in the flood while in Eziorsu, Ascension Church, Ama Nwanyiocha, New Covenant Church, Afia Afor and Jehova Jireh Iaikwa were also affected.
In his opening remarks, Archbishop Okoro announced that the purpose of the provincial visit was to console and encourage the victims of the flood disaster, in keeping with the biblical injunction which requires them as Christians, to rejoice or mourn with those who are mourning, as in their case.
He prayed that such sour experiences would not befall them again, and announced a donation of N1 million naira to each of the two Dioceses, to enable them rebuild or effect necessary repairs on the affected church buildings when the flood recedes.
Speaking also, the Provincial Leader of the Women’s Ministries in the province, Mrs Okoro, noted, on behalf of herself and her fellow women in the entire Province, that in such disaster, women were more often touched as house-keepers and presented the following items to the women of each of the two dioceses 20 bags of rice, two bags of garri, 30 cartons of indomie noodles, five jerry cans of groundnut oil, ten cartons of bar soap, five cartons of toilet soap, more than 100 tubers of yam, 100 wrappers, six bags of salt, one jute bag of beans, six bags of fairly used clothes.
In their separate remarks, the Bishop of Ohaji/Egbema, Rt Rev. Collins Oparaojiaku, expressed gratitude to the Dioceses and said the visit has not only brought succour to the affected victims but would also go a long way to bringing deliverance and liberation to the areas, noting that the numerous gifts be seen as no debts owed to them, but a mark of philanthropy being extended to them.
Moving their vote of thanks on behalf of the Laity of the affected communities, Sir Wilfred Ike of Egbema, and Sir Harrison Aninwe of Eziorsu in Oguta, each expressed their profound gratitude to the Archbishop and the entire province for coming to their rescue in such a generous manner. He prayed for journey mercies to the Bishops and all the people that accompanied them to visit, saying that the sence of belonging and concern shown to them would not only remain indelible in their minds but would also make them to be stronger and faithful to the Anglican Communion.
According to them, it was a demonstration of practical Christianity.
The Bishops that were present at the sympathy visit included the Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province and Bishop of Orlu, His Grace, Most Rev. B.C.I Okoro, Rt. Rev. Prof Emmanuel Iheagwam of Egbu, Rt. Rev. C. C. Okorocha Ph.D of Owerri, Rt. Rev. Chamberlain Ogunedo of Mbaise, Rt. Rev. Geoffrey Chukwunenye, Ph.D of Oru, and the two host Bishops- Rt. Rev. Chidi Oparaojiaku of Ohaji/Egbema, and Rt. Rev. Chijioke Oti of On the Lake.
Speaking to news men later, Bishop Okorocha of Owerri stated that Christians should bear one another’s burden without attachment as Christ taught us, recalling that some institutions charged with distribution of relief materials during the Nigerian Civil War used the opportunity to attract new members to their churches while others indulged in immoral acts in the process. He recommended the distribution of the gift items to the needy irrespective of their denominations.
Baring her mind also, the president of the Owerri Women’s Ministries, Dr (Mrs) Eunice Okorocha, advised other religious groups and good spirited individuals in the society to assist in alleviating the suffering of the down trodden as the scripture teaches this: “weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice”.