By Nick Chibunna
Activities marking the 8th anniversary of the Anglican Diocese of Ikeduru, in the Ikeduru Council Area of Imo State were rounded off last Sunday at the Cathedral Church of St. Matthew, Atta; amidst joy and excitement.
The week-long event which was celebrated in a grand style featured among other things, prayer summit, football competition, music festival, foundation stone laying of a new Chapel Complex at the Bishop Cocking Church Centre (BCCC), Atta, thanksgiving and presentation of awards.
Addressing the August gathering, the Bishop of the Diocese, the Rt. Rev. Emmanuel C. Maduwike, JP, said that the event was a celebration of God’s goodness, faithfulness, mercy and loving kindness, in spite of challenges and obstacles.
Bishop Maduwike, who said that God had been so faithful to the young Diocese in the past eight years, listed some of its landmark achievements, which included, the building of over 5,000 capacity ultramodern cathedral that is nearing completion; the building of modern nursery and primary schools as feeder institutions to the Diocesan missionary schools, rehabilitation of the BCCC, Atta as a modern retreat centre, excellent performances of our missionary schools in both West African Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO) examinations and the rehabilitation of St. Christopher Hospital.
The prelate said that the Diocese also received spiritual blessings, as all arms of the church had worked as a team during the past eight years.
He commended the Knights and Ladies in the Diocese, the Anglican Christian Fathers Fellowship (ACFF) and Anglican Men’s Fellowship (AMF), the Anglican Youth Fellowship (AYF), the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion, (EFAC), the Diocesan Music Directorate, Children and Women Ministries, priest, church workers, and their wives for their team spirit.
Bishop Maduwike thanked Sir (Dr) E.C. Iwuanyanwu, for keeping his promise to single-handedly complete the Cathedral building project which is now nearing completion. He also thanked others who had executed, and are still executing projects in their respective church stations, parishes and Archdeaconries and prayed to God to reward them abundantly.
Preaching earlier at the thanksgiving service, the Rev. Canon Jonathan Nwachukwu, the Administrator of Uzoagba/Amatta Archdeaconry had called on the people of God to always have faith in God.
In a homily entitled, “Our God will fight for us” (Exd. 13:13-14), Rev. Canon Nwachukwu said that, as God delivered the people of Israel from the hands of Pharaoh, and gave them victory over their enemies, so would God deliver His people from all the devices and plans of the wicked.
He said that for the past eight years, Ikeduru had been on the march through steady progress in order to actualize the visions of its founding fathers, and thanked all who had contributed in one way or the other to achieve this feat. He also thanked the diocesan, the Rt. Rev. Emma Maduwike, and his wife, Mrs. Anuli Maduwike, for the able way they had been piloting the affairs of the youngest Diocese in the Province of Nigeria, Anglican Communion.
Five persons were presented with the Diocesan Merit Award (DMA) while one person got the Nehemiah Award.
DMA awardees included, Ada Zion Rachael Onuoha, Sir Alex Onyemekara, Sir Charles Ehuchie, Mr. David Onyemasi and Mr. Isaac Egbujor. Nehemiah Award was for Sir Cliff Unachukwu.
Prizes were also given to the winners of the football competition. Akabo Archdeaconry emerged the overall winners and clinched the golden trophy while Uzoagba/Amatta came second, with Owu Amakohia Archdeaconry taking the third position.
The gold cup was donated by the family of late Rev. Canon Paul Njoku of St. John’s Church Amaimo, in memory of their patriarch, and is redeemed with the sum of N100,000 in brotherly competition among youths in the Diocese.
The Diocesan Choir led by Rev. Canon Chidi Njoku presented special anthem at the service while the Boys Brigade added fanfare.
The service was conducted by Ven. Sydney Akuwudike, first lesson was read by Sir Cliff Unachukwu while second lesson was taken by Mrs. Joy Emeribe.