By Gid Ahanonu
Ten new Christian faithful of the Anglican Diocese of Isi-Mbano were penultimate Sunday investitured into the Knighthood Order of St. Christopher at a service marking the 10th Episcopal and the silver jubilee celebration of the diocese.
Performing the ceremony, the Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Godson U. Ukanwa PhD (JP) Amb. Of Goodwill (Israel) charged the knights to attend regular church services and other church activities while keeping to the integrity of their calling.
He urged them to always imbibe the culture of their calling as Christ’s bearers, by avoiding acts that smear the knighthood order.
Bishop Ukanwa counseled the congregation to be merciful and forgive each other with love, kindness. He said that they should shun propaganda but strive to move the church forward to the next level for God to bless them.
He then declared the present decade for the diocese as the “Decade of Evangelism”, stating that the Diocese had in the past embarked on infrastructural development of the churches but now, time has come to fursue the need for active evangelism in all parts of the diocese for converts to fill the church.
Everybody must be part of the programme the Bishop stressed.
Preaching the sermon at the thanksgiving service, the Bishop of Ikeduru, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel C Maduwike (JP) extolled Bishop Ukanwa for his ……….. achievements to build the diocese of Isi Mbano since he took over from the Bishop emeritus, Rt. Rev. A.I.S Nwaizuzu of former Okigwe North. He attributed Bishop Ukanwas’ success to the grace of God urging the congregation to thank god for his grace in whatever they do.
Bishop Maduwike noted that the diocesan was also able to achieve this feat because of his love for the priests under him including the peace of his home projected by his wife, Mrs Godwill Ukanwa.
He adviced the clergy to sustain the synergy between them and the Bishop, stressing the need for them to abide by statement of faith when the need assizes.
Describing the occasion as a celebration of God’s grace, the preacher stated that one is always what he is not by merit but by His grace, adding that God equips someone immediately he calls the fellow as he enriched Bishop Ukanwa with wisdom.
He noted that Bishop Ukanwa never levied any member to develop the diocese even in setting up a new cathedral building despite the challenges of the time.
The preacher counseled the knights to serve God and humanity while changing their old attitude and maintain honour and integrity as they assist the Bishop in the physical and spiritual life of the church.
The event featured the launching of a book written by Bishop Ukanwa which he dedicated to the new cathedral building project.
The book, entitled “Times and Challenges of the church and the Nation: Emerging perspective”, was introduced by Rev. Canon Emmanuel Ezirim and reviewed by the Rt. Rev. Markvirgin Iheanacho.
Highlight of the occasion also included presentation of honours award to some Christian’s faithful.
They include Mr Sylvanus Ohanugo Bishop Nwaizuzu’s driver for 25 year, Bishop Ukanwa’s drivers for eight years, immediate past president of the knights, Sir Lambut Nwokow, sir B.S. Echefu, sir Justice G.C. Ikekire (chancellor) sir Johna Nwebo and dame Azabuike among others.
The occasion attracted the attention of people from all work of life including the Archbishop and Bishop of Orlu, most Rev. B.C. I. Okoro, Bishop of Owerri, Rt. Rev. Chukwuma Oparah PhD JP and others Bishops and the clergy.
His grace Most Rev. B.C.I. Okoro PhD, prayed for Bishop Ukanwa and the family while Ven. Chris Onyemerekam conducted the service as the cathedral choir St Michaels Ohohia, St. Michael’s Eziama and the Diocesan choirs performed.