It was a moment of great joy and jubilation last Sunday when parishioners from all the church stations in the Anglican Diocese of Ikeduru gathered in their thousands at the Cathedral Church of St. Mathew Atta, in the Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State to celebrate their New Year thanksgiving service.
The occasion is an annual ritual in which the new diocese extols the name of God in appreciation of His numerous blessings and loving kindness.
This year’s event was celebrated in a grand style as parishioners and their priests danced and clapped their hands in praise of God. The highpoint of the occasion was the lifting of the thanksgiving golden trophy by the Atta Archdeaconry which emerged as the over-all winners in the annual brotherly competition in support of the new diocese.
Addressing the faithful that was visibly exited, the elated prelate, the Rt. Rev. Emmanuel C. Maduwike JP, Bishop, Anglican Diocese of Ikeduru thanked all who endeavoured to be present at the thanksgiving service. He thanked all the arms of the church in the diocese: the Council of knights, Women Organization, the Anglican Christian Fathers Fellowship (ACFF) and Anglican Men’s Fellowship (AMF), the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion (EFAC), Anglican Youth Fellowship (A.Y.F.) , the Anglican Children’s ministry (A.C.M.), members of Boys and Girls Brigade (BB,GB), Girls Guild and others for their support and encouragement, imploring them not to relent.
He also commended the Archdeacons, priests and other church workers for their uncommon support and loyalty and prayed to God to always strengthen them.
In his homily entitled; “The need to appreciate God’s Goodness”, taken from Psalm 150:1-2, Bishop Maduwike called on the Christian faithful all over the would to always praise and appreciate God’s loving kindness, no matter the situation.
He said “as a diocese, we have come to say; ‘Father thank you for your numerous mercies and loving kindness’, so that more blessings would abound in the young diocese.”
According to the diocesan, in the year under review, many children of God encountered several problems, dangers and unmitigated hardship, yet they did not die, because His grace and mercy were sufficient. He enjoined the people of God to always rejoice, even in the midst of troubles and tribulations; assuring that God would always make way where there is no way.
Bishop Maduwike also spoke on the need for God’s people to be patient while waiting for the promise of God. He said as God did not disappoint our father Abraham and his wife Sarah who waited for 25 years for the promise of a child to be fulfilled, so would the same God answer the prayers of His children this year. As He crowned their long patience with joy and laughter, so would this year be a year of joy and laughter for the children of God.
The prelate who said that the antidote for the present conflicts, crises and calamities in life is complete trust and faith in God, enjoined all to persevere so that their light would shine. He summarized with relevant scriptural references.
The occasion witnessed the inauguration of 2014 planning committee for this year’s Diocesan ACFF Conference with Hon. Okechukwu Ezurike as chairman, and also the Board of governors of Akabo High School with Dr. Nnamdi Anumihe as chairman.
The service was conducted by Ven. J.B.C.Njoku, 1st lesson taken from Gen. 8:1-22 was read by Sir Gideon Ezeji while 2nd lesson taken from Luke 17:11-19 was taken by Dr(Lady) Chioma Obinna Njoku.
Among personalities present were Bishop’s wife, Mrs Anuli Maduwike JP (Nnedinma Ikeduru), Archdeacons and priests, Diocesan legal team, knights and ladies of St. Christopher and others.