By Chukwudi Ikpe
In continuation of his Church planting mission, the Anglican Bishop of Owerri, Rt. Rev. Chukwuma Oparah, Ph.D, JP, last Sunday planted a new church at Akwakuma in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State.
The new church which was also named by the Bishop same day is Good Shepherd Anglican Church Akwakuma. It is an offspring of St. Luke’s Anglican Church Akwakuna.
In a brief homily during the church planting service, Bishop Oparah encouraged Christians to always approach God with confidence as a child approaches his father.
He enjoined them not to be discouraged by their resistence and to eschew fear.
The Prelate commended the congregation for erecting such a giant structure, even at their starting point and expressed gratitude to God for Barr. Vincent Anyanwu who gave out his land on lease to the church.
The Bishop also dedicated the temporary church building before the commencement of the service, which was conducted by the Archdeacon of Amakohia, Ven. James Onyekwelibe Ph.D. assisted by Rev. Chima Iwuchukwu, the Vicar of Akwakuma parish. The first lesson of the service from Deuteronomy 28:1-15 was read by Mr. Uche Mbanali while the second lesson was read by Evangelist John Osondu.
The highpoint of the service was the appointment of Evangelist John Osondu, former Church Teacher of St. Paul’s Anglican Church Umuguma as the church teacher of the new church.
In his vote of thanks, Ven. Onyekwelibe thanked the Bishop and his wife for their Episcopal visit to Akwakuma parish and Amakohia Archdeaconry. He specially thanked the Bishop for appointing an experienced church Teacher to the new church, describing it as a right step in the right direction.
The Archdeacon gave kudos to the vicar of Akwakuma Parish, Rev. Chima Iwuchukwu, who he described as a vibrant vicar.
Bishop Oparah charged them to take good care of the new church Teacher and his wife.
Meanwhile, the newly completed ultra modern parsonage of St. John’s the Evangelist Church Akwakuma, was also dedicated by the Bishop earlier on same day.
Bishop Oparah’s 2-day Episcopal visit to Akwakuma parish started on Saturday with the dedication of a 3-classroom block at St. Luke’s Academy.
A total of 80 Anglicans were confirmed by the bishop at St. Lukes Anglican Church Akwakuma same day. It was a parish confirmation.
Preaching a brief sermon during the confirmation service, the Bishop Chaplain 11, Rev. Chigozie Chukwuma called for total repentance inoder to have eternal life.
Speaking on the topic, “God’s love for man” and taking his text from John 3:16, the cleric enjoined the confirmation candidates, to bear, believe and behave like Christ.
According to him, the love of God, which he gave in Christ, is the only way to salvation.
The glorious confirmation service was also conducted by the Archdeacon, Ven. James Onyekwelibe, assisted by Rev. Chima Iwuchukwu, the vicar.
The Old Testament from Ezekel 38:8-13 was read by Rev. Engr. Evans C. Ndubuisi while the Epistle from Acts 8:14-17 and Gospel from John 16:23-end were read by one of the confirmation candidates, Amarachi Iwuoha and Rev. Ernest Mbah respectively.
Ven. Onyekwelibe, in his vote of thanks expressed gratitude to the Bishop for bringing joy and hope to Akwakuma parish.
The climax of the service was the issuance of certificates to the newly confirmed Anglicans by the Bishop.