By Chukwudi Ikpe
As Anglicans East of the Niger celebrate this year’s Christian Missionary Society (CMS) anniversary, the Anglican Bishop of Owerri, Rt. Rev. Chukwuma Oparah, Ph.D, JP has called on other Igbo communities to emulate Mbieri in abrogating all forms of inhumane and discriminatory practices.
Speaking exclusively to Christian Voice, shortly after the CMS anniversary thanksgiving service at the Cathedral Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord (CATOL) Owerri on Tuesday, Bishop Oparah expressed gratitude to God for the event, which is observed annually by Anglicans East of the Niger in commemoration of the advent of the gospel to the region more than 150 years ago.
He extolled the CMS missionaries, who brought the gospel, for their great sacrificial efforts, which brought light to the region which hitherto was living in darkness.
The Prelate disclosed with delight that the people of Mbieri in Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo State, has concluded arrangements to hold an abrogation ceremony to censor and denounce Osu, Ohu, Ume and Diala Caste System, adding that the motivation came from the missionaries.
He vehemently condemned the obnoxious practices, which, he noted, were still prevalent in many Imo communities.
“The CMS anniversary is an annual event to celebrate great sacrifices by people who gave themselves for the gospel to spread. It is a great service. They followed the footsteps of Jesus Christ who sacrificed all. They did a great job and a great work. Their efforts are very useful to us today. They saw that such practices as killing of twins, human sacrifice, discrimination paganism, etc were not good in the system.
The people were living in darkness but suddenly light came. They brought schools, good communication, hospitals, civilization. Those practices are evil. Mbieri people have seen the light and are following it. The light started with the missionaries. Other Igbo communities should emulate Mbieri against this inhumane actions, discrimination and caste system. People should stand against them. This is what Mbieri has done”, Bishop Oparah stated.
Earlier in his sermon during the service, Rev. Nneji Anukam urged Christians to present themselves before God as living sacrifice to emulate the sacrifice of the CMS missionaries.
He called for more commitment and dedication towards evangelism, stressing that people should sacrifice their time, resources and strength to ensure that the light of the gospel do not quench.
Rev. Anukam regretted that despite seeing the light, of the gospel, many are still living in darkness. He enjoined the faithful to ensure that the light reaches down to their hearts. He condemned idol worship, rape, kidnapping, killing which still exist among the people.
The service was conducted by the Cathedral Administrator, Ven. Innocent Agunanne, while the first and second lessons were read by Ordinand Chijioke Ukaga and Mrs. Ihuoma Anukam, respectively.
The service also featured lighting of candles and special thanksgivings by stations and Chapels under the Cathedral.