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When Anglican Communion Consecrated Three Bishops in Onitsha

Posted: May 1, 2015 at 1:20 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Chukwujekwu Ilozue, Awka


It was a ‘harvest’ day for the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion when the church hierarchy gathered at All Saints Cathedral, Onitsha, to consecrate three Bishops.

The newly consecrated are Bishop of Gwagwalada, Venerable Moses Bukpe-Tabwaye, Bishop of Niger West, Venerable Captain Johnson Nwaohalama Ekwe, and Bishop of Ijesha North, Venerable Isaac Iwabi Oluyamo.

Their consecration was performed by the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Nicholas Okoh, leading over 60 other Anglican Bishops in solemn ceremony blended with melodic musical renditions by the cathedral choir.

The new bishops were administered with oath of consecration, of allegiance to God and canonical obedience to the Primate, Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion.

In attendance were the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, former Governor of the state, Dame Virgy Etiaba, top state government functionaries as well as knights, Ladies and Dames of the Church.

In his gospel preaching, Bishop of Akoko, Rt. Rev. Gabriel Akinbiyi, called on all Christians to live up to their calling by living according the dictates of Christ.

Akinbiyi condemned the erosion of moral values in the world, especially among Christians.

To buttress his observation, the Bishop asked: “When you look into the world what do you see? Today there seems to be no difference between the church and the world even though the Bible said that we are in the world but are not of the world. There seems to be no difference in the actions of the church and the world with acts of dishonesty, fornication prevalent among other vices.”

The cleric said the new Bishops were adequately prepared following a one week retreat in Onitsha where they were camped.

He, however, warned them that the preparation is not enough to shield them from the reality of the challenges of managing the flock of Christ.

“You are challenged to live in such a way that will not bring any disrepute to the episcopacy,” he said.

Turning to the congregation, Bishop Akinbiyi told them that theology without practice is useless. He quoted the letter of St Paul in Ephesians 4: 1-16 to buttress his call for unity among the faithful.

“As a prisoner for the Lord I urge you to lead a life worthy of your calling, one people, one church…”

He also condemned lack of unity within the church, stressing that unity and purity are two foundations which must go together.

Earlier, the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Archbishop Okoh, who noted that the church has one foundation in Christ, commended Governor Obiano for his efforts in uniting the church of Christ, which, he noted, is already yielding results.

He thanked Obiano for hosting the Bishops to a dinner at the Governor’s Lodge and praised his commitment and dedication to the course of ecumenism.

Okoh described the Governor as a visionary leader and great crusader whose dogged efforts are already yielding results towards breaking barriers created by the acrimony that hitherto existed among the various religious denominations in the state.

He commended Obiano’s support towards repositioning Mission-owned schools and health institutions in the state, his even-handedness in the treatment of each denomination in the state and assured him of the prayers and support of the church towards the success of his administration.

In his speech, the Governor urged the three newly ordained Bishops to be shepherd of all Christians and not just those of the Anglican faithful in order to ensure salvation for all.

The Governor made the call while reiterating the prayers of anointing by the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, Most Rev Nicholas Okoh, when he handed over pastoral staff to the new Bishops.

The consecration of the Bishops was held on Sunday at the All Saints Cathedral, Onitsha.

Obiano emphasised that the church is in need of devoted leaders who are conscious of the divine mandate given them by God to be shepherd of the flock of Christ under their care. He advised that the import of the prayers of the Archbishop and the responsibility it confers should not be lost on the new Bishops and all Christians, stressing that the admonition, ‘Be a shepherd and not a wolf to the flock’, “extends to all segments of the body of Christ, including Nights of the Church, Laity, Choir, and even myself as Governor and other leaders who must set good example in leadership”.

He thanked the Primate for the honour of attracting the epoch making consecration ceremony to Onitsha in particular and Anambra in general, and congratulated the new Bishops whose consecration, he noted, was the first ordination of three Bishops he had ever witnessed.

Also at a dinner at the Banquet Hall of the Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia, Obiano assured that he was leaving no stone unturned to establish cordial relationship with various religious denominations in the state, believing such bond will  avail his administration the much-needed peace and spiritual backing to realise its lofty dreams for the state.

According to Obiano, a clear understanding of the roles of the church will guide religious leaders in pursuing peace and unity with one another as a pre-requisite for the development of the society.  The Governor to the the people of God that the state is presently reaping dividends of its partnership with the church in key sectors of the economy and assured that such engagements will be sustained.

While assuring the church of his administration’s continued support towards their evangelistic strides, Obiano called for fervent prayers for the nation and its leaders in the task of administering the affairs of the nation.

The dinner guests were thrilled with performances by the famous Mkpokiti Dance Troupe from Umunze and the state NYSC Dance and Drama Troupe.