Bishop Cyril C. Okorocha Ph.D … 20 years of change and spiritual explosion

A gem leaves the Anglican Diocese of Owerri soon as its Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Cyril Chukwunonyerem Okorocha and his wife, Dr. Eunice Okorocha are leaving big footprints behind. This very moment is emotional for the Diocese and certainly for them as a couple and family. It is soaked with feelings for Imo State  and the entire Church of Nigeria. The Church of England too, where he served before he came to be our Bishop, will surely miss him as a co-servant in the Lord’s vineyard.
As though born a Bishop, he hit the ground running when the beagle of his arrival sounded to replace Archbishop Benjamin Nwankiti. The first thing he did was to introduce the use of scintillating gospel choruses to energize Sunday services. This made the services, for the first time, participatory and interactive. It lifted the congregation to join in with singing and dancing, which spiced worship with indigenous musical entertainment that increased the number of Anglican Christians in Owerri by leaps and bounds.
Thumbs are up for him and will remain so for a very long time.
This Diocese has, at least, three solid reasons to thank God for making him its spiritual leader.
One is the cohesion and unity he has brought and consolidated in our Church during his reign. The other is the expansion and sustainable development from him. The third is the spiritual rebirth we have witnessed which has reached its highest intensity.
He did many things with exceptional zeal and stroke of perfection. Some of them are the planting of new churches in both urban and rural areas, the creation of more new Archdeaconries and parishes, reward for hard work among all church workers, especially the priests, who man the churches.
He introduced enhanced welfare for priests and eliminated stagnation and frustration among them.
His signature project, the boreholes (which he christened  mmiri ndu scheme) was donated indiscriminately to communities in need. This is a legacy which cannot be forgotten in a hurry. Through it many lives were saved who would have died through sheer thirst or water-borne diseases.
He made the Transfiguration Printing Press (TPP) which was almost moribund come to life again. Today, it employs more workers and is a veritable source of huge income for our Diocese.
Along the same line, he replaced the wobbly Outreach newspaper with a modernized and invigorated Christian Voice newspaper which today is not only a commercial success, but also one of the fastest growing newspapers east of the Niger. The newspaper has been an innovation of note in Christian communication and evangelization.
The Bishop set up several other outfits that provided jobs. All of these enterprises are successful and growing, the secret lying in the fact that they were given a free hand to operate. The Bishop never interfered in their affairs. The same applied to the priests who were free to apply their talent, intuition and creativity in their job.
A morale booster, the Bishop was passionate about making his Diocese a pace-setter. He was down to earth and a patient, good listener. He was professorial as a preacher, in that his audiences always felt like students in the university lecture hall. In his evangelical work, he made use of the radio and TV to good effect. As a great philanthropist, sometimes he used his personal resources to assist in projects before the Diocesan funds came.
His resilience, doggedness and determination saw the gargantuan CATOL edifice through, which compares with the National Ecumenical Centre in Abuja. Its dedication attracted a nearly nation-wide attention. The place has since become a popular center of Christian worship in the class of other such places in the country.
Throughout his reign, Bishop Okorocha’s words and actions reflected his commitment to the central gospel message of preaching JESUS CHRIST. He was never distracted in this.
He had taken great care to remain above politics. He never allowed the Church to be embroiled in politics. He was never to join issues or to take sides with politicians.
In preserving the sacredness and sanctity of the church and its establishments, he made sure they had serene, solemn and quiet atmosphere, yet of deep spirituality and holiness, to operate. He did many things, not just to paper over them, but with exceptional and remarkable touch of excellence earlier unknown to this part of the world.
We give credit to the Bishop’s supportive, dedicated and humble wife, Dr. Eunice. In every respect, both of them were an exemplary  couple worthy of emulation. The Bishop and his wife demonstrated a perfect marital union in their public and private lives that every Christian can look up to and copy. She always stood by him and he by her. It was a joint Episcopal assignment and duty for them, splendidly accomplished, from start to finish. No noise was heard in the relationship.
Dr. Eunice ran the Women’s Ministries with distinction and finesse. Under it, the Christ the Good Shepherd Center was built and has blossomed, as well as the Women’s hall at CATOL, which is now one of the busiest events centres in our state.
We cannot find enough space to write about Bishop Okorocha, his wife and their exploits during their reign as our Bishop. Thank God, they are both imbued with dependable, robust good health. We pray that continues to be their portion ever after. Suffice it also to say that, with their strong, inspiring leadership, the duo have been a huge blessing to Owerri Diocese and to us all who have been privileged to cross path with them. The Igbo would say to the good performer, JIDE NKE I JI. This is what we humbly say to them.
OUR PRAYER FINALLY IS THAT THE GOOD LORD TAKES CARE, BLESSES AND LOOKS AFTER THEM EVEN IN RETIRMENT AND FUTURE ENDEAVORS. It is hard for us to say this goodbye: Goodbye mama Owerri and our Lord Bishop. Chi nonyere  unu.

About the author

Christian Voice