By Chukwudi Ikpe
The Anglican Bishop of Owerri, Rt. Rev. Chukwuma C. Oparah, Ph.D, JP, has called on Christians and indeed all Nigerians to show genuine love for one another to attract God’s blessings.
He made the call at the 22nd Biennial General Conference of the Diocesan Women’s Ministries held at Emmanuel Anglican Church Avu in Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo State last Sunday.
According to Bishop Oparah, the theme of the conference, “God of love” (1John 4:8) was apt considering the present time when true love seems to be eluding the world.
He advised those in leadership positions to think of others first before thinking of themselves, stressing that love cares.
The Prelate pointed out that God loved us, adding that we should reciprocate God’s love by loving those around us.
Earlier in his sermon during the conference thanksgiving service, Bishop Oparah described love as the greatest commandment of God. He explained that the blessings of God, which is out of his love is inexhaustible.
The Prelate, therefore, enjoined the faithful to show love wherever they found themselves so as to attract the blessings of God.
Bishop Oparah cautioned Christians against hatred, wickedness, impatience and anger, adding that they should always be good to others.
The Executive Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha, who was present at the thanksgiving service as a special guest of honour, expressed happiness at the glorious sight of women dancing and praising God”.
He reminded the congregation that women are very important in the life of every human being and pledged to always support women activities.
The Governor called for prayers for Nigeria.
“What Nigeria needs now are prayers, so pray for Nigeria”, Owelle said.
In his goodwill message, the speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, expressed satisfaction at the choice of the theme of the conference.
According to him, humanity needs to be cleansed of all evil.
The speaker charged women to allow themselves to be used as vessels of honour to deliver our nation from all evils and troubles.
The Archdeacon of Avu and Vicar of Emmanuel Anglican Church Avu, Ven. Mike Amadi, who conducted the service, also described the conference as a huge success.
The first and second lessons of the service taken from Leviticus 19:1-18 and 1 John 4:7-19 were read by Mrs. Ijeoma Amadi and Mrs. Chidiebere Oparah respectively.
The service also featured conferment and decoration of conference mothers, cutting of conference cake and support for the women.
In his vote of thanks, the chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Chief Fidel Onyeneke, KSC, said that it is a blessing for Avu to be the first Archdeaconry to host a major Diocesan event in Bishop Oparah’s episcopacy.
Sir Fidel, who is former chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Imo State described both the Bishop’s visit and the conference as unique.
He thanked the delegates and special guests as well as all who assisted to make the occasion a success.
In her closing remarks, the wife of the Bishop and president of the Women Ministries, Mrs. Chidiebere Oparah, thanked the Bishop for his assistance and also expressed gratitude to other Bishops’ wives present at the service, especially Mrs. Jane Nwankiti, wife of late Archbishop Nwankiti of Owerri Dioces.
She announced that the next conference will be held at St. Peter’s Church Alaenyi Ogwa from Thursday 7th- Sunday 10th December 2019 under the theme “Be Prepared – a call for integrity” (Matthew 25:13).
Other dignitaries present at the service include the immediate past Bishop of the Diocese, Rt. Rev. Cyril Okorocha, Ph.D, the former Provost of Owerri Diocese, Very Rev. G.E.I. Nwaneri, Commissioner for Inter-Governmental Affairs, Imo State, Dr. Ernest Nwaigbo, the Traditional Ruler of Avu and host of others.