WELCOME ADDRESS PRESENTED TO THE PRIMATE AND HIS ENTOURAGE ON THEIR VISIT TO THE USA (CONNAM&ACNA), AND FOR THE DEDICATION OF HOLY TRINITY CATHEDRAL CHURCH, HOUSTON, TEXAS ON JUNE 26TH, 2021.
BY THE RT. REV. DR. FELIX ORJI,
BISHOP OF THE ANGLICAN DIOCESE OF THE WEST& COORDINATING
BISHOP OF THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA NORTH AMERICAN MISSION(CONNAM)
Your Grace, the Most Rev’d Henry Chukwudum Ndukuba, BD, MA, MA(ED)
Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
and Mrs. Angela Eberechukwu Ndukuba (Mama Nigeria)
Your Grace, the Most Rev. Dr. Ali Buba Lamido –
Bishop of Wusasa,
Archbishop of the Province of Kaduna & Dean, Church of Nigeria.
His Lordship, Rt. Rev. Dr. Owen Nwokolo (Bishop on the Niger)
His Lordship, Rt. Rev. Dr. James Odedeji (Bishop of Lagos West)
His Lordship, Rt. Rev. Akinpelu Johnson (Bishop of Lagos Mainland)
His Lordship, Rt. Rev. Dr. Stephen Fagbemi (Bishop of Owo)
His Lordship, Rt Rev Derek Jones,
Bishop of the Diocese of the Armed Forces & Chaplaincy,
The Suffragan Bishops of CONNAM:
Bishop Olukayode Adebogun, Bishop Martyn Anagbogu,
Bishop Augustine Unuigbe, Bishop Scott Seely, and Bishop Celestine Ironna.
Our guest Bishops and Bishop Suffragans:
Bishop Bill Atwood, Bishop of the International Diocese & Dean of International Affairs(ACNA);
Bishop Michael Williams and
Bishop Mark Nordstrom, Bishop Suffragans
of the Diocese of the Armed Forces & Chaplaincy.
Hon. Barr. Abraham Yisa (Registrar, Church of Nigeria)
Ven. Dr. Gershinen Paul Dajur (General Secretary, Church of Nigeria)
Ven. Dr. Yemi Fatusi (Personal Assistant to the Primate).
The Church of Nigeria North American Mission Chancellors:
Attorney Muyiwa Sobo, Chancellor, CONAM
Attorney Christopher Milner, Chancellor, Diocese of the West
Other Chancellors & legal officers of CONNAM Dioceses
Noble Knights & Ladies
Distinguished State and City Officials
Members of the Press
Ladies and gentlemen,
“This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”(Psalms 118:24).
In humility and sincere gratitude to God we, my wife, Mama West/CONNAM, the Bishops, Clergy, and Laity of CONNAM, the Anglican Diocese of the West and I, welcome you, our beloved Primate, the Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, and your wife, Mrs. Angela Ndukuba, with your entourage to our Diocese. We are grateful to God for granting you all traveling mercies and for the privilege of sharing fellowship with you.
Your Grace, all members of this Diocese and Holy Trinity Cathedral Church are very grateful to you for presiding at the dedication of this Cathedral. We are very honored and deeply appreciative of the effort you made and the priority you placed on the dedication of this Cathedral outside Nigeria. Most people present may not know that Your Grace presides over the largest Anglican Province in the world, with more than 20 million congregants or about a ¼ of global Anglicans. And added to Your Grace’s other national and international responsibilities, your presence here today is more than a gracious gift and blessing.
We thank God for the good work the Lord is doing through Your Grace in Nigeria and our many missions abroad, especially in focusing the ministry of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) on the Reign of God as a matter of urgent priority for all. We believe that by the end of your primacy we will look back with thanks to God that this season was indeed a season in which we experienced and submitted ourselves to the reign of God in all aspects of the Church of Nigeria. You have demonstrated for us what it means to be a godly, irenic, evangelistic, mission-minded, gracious, and disciplined leader. Your Grace’s record of rugged evangelism in Northern Nigeria, of suffering, and courage for the sake of the gospel is remarkable. By the grace of God you have remained undaunted despite adversities, the burning of your house, and assassination attempts on your life. Undeterred and encouraged by the Holy Spirit you have demonstrated your love for the poor and the oppressed by serving the community, building schools, and medical facilities wherever God has allowed Your Grace to serve. We are thankful to the Lord that our Primate is a dedicated missionary, liturgist, educator, and humble preacher of the Word of God. Thank you for being a good example and model for us in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON). Thank you for your commitment to gospel ministry to the Youth and young adults of our Province. We pray and believe that Your Grace’s tenure will indeed reposition the Church to achieve her wholistic mission in the world as we prepare God’s Elect for the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The Church of Nigeria North American Mission (CONNAM) comprises the Anglican Diocese of the West (ADOTW) led by Bishop Felix Orji; the Anglican Diocese of the Trinity (ADOTT) currently under my supervision; and the Diocese of the Armed Forces & Chaplaincy (JAFC) led by Bishop Derek Jones. There are currently five Suffragan Bishops in CONNAM: three in ADOTT(Bishop Kayode Adebogun, Bishop Martyn Anagbogu, & Bishop Augustine Unuigbe) and two in ADOTW(Bishop Scott Seely & Bishop Celestine Ironna). I’m grateful to the Suffragan Bishops of ADOTT- Bishop Anagbogu, Bishop Adebogun, and especially to Bishop Augustine Unuigbe for his assistance in my work as Supervisory Bishop of ADOTT especially at the beginning when the going was tough he stepped in and assisted me for the good of the kingdom of God. I’m also very grateful to the our retired Primates, Archbishop Peter Akinola and Archbishop Nicholas D Okoh, the Dean Emeritus CoN, Archbishop Ephraim Ademowo, the Registrar of the CoN, Honorable Barrister Yisa, and especially the Dean of the Church of Nigeria, Archbishop Ali Buba Lamido for playing a significant role in the stability of CONNAM. Thank you, Archbishop Lamido for many several discussions and words of encouragement! The previous chancellor of CANA Attorney Christopher Milner, the current Chancellor of CONNAM, Attorney Muyiwa Sobo, and the Executive Archdeacon of our Diocese Venerable Dr Myles Calvin have been extremely helpful to me in my role as the Coordinating Bishop of CONNAM. We thank God for the opportunity and grace He has given the Bishops, Clergy, laity, of CONNAM to do the work of mission and ministry and to carry out the various assignments given us by the Primate.
Our mission in North America is to reach Nigerians and others in North America with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are not hear to build a legacy and kingdom for ourselves. Rather we are here to make disciples for Christ and draw people into the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. It has not been easy to do this, I must say due to problems from within our mission and from outside of it, but it has been rewarding and a great privilege for us to serve Christ in this mission. Your Grace’s clear, prompt, firm, disciplined, and mission-oriented approach in addressing many of the present and long-term problems in CONNAM has been very refreshing and extremely helpful in dealing with many of the issues bedeviling our mission in North America. We thank you for restoring discipline, godliness, respect for leadership and instilling a gospel-centered focus to this mission. I trust that this approach will continue so that God’s work will be done in peace and with integrity. We will continue to do our best trusting God that His work committed unto us will not suffer any setback as we look unto Jesus Christ, who is the author and Perfecter of our faith. The grace of God is undoubtedly sufficient for us, as we forge ahead in fulfilling His mission in North America with respect and due consideration of our Anglican brothers and sisters in ACNA and around the world.
Our Diocese, the Anglican Diocese of the West has approximately 90 clergy in more than 50 churches, spread out over 14 US states, 4 Canadian Provinces, and the Persian Gulf. We lost some parishes after we left ACNA but God is building his church and for that we must rejoice. I’m grateful to the Lord for the laity and lay leaders of our Diocese. God in his mercy has given us two godly Suffragan Bishops, Bishop Scott Seely and Bishop Celestine Ironna, and many capable, skilled, and committed clergy who serve in parishes and leadership positions as Archdeacons and Canons. I want to thank our Executive Archdeacon, Venerable Dr Myles Calvin, Canon to the Ordinary Venerable Canon Don Armstrong, Venerable Michael Kelshaw, Diocesan Officer for Ethics Venerable Dr Cleo Kukeya, our Diocesan Chancellor, Attorney Christopher Milner, our Deputy Chancellor, Attorney Solomon Kanu, our Diocesan Treasurer, Sir Charles Napier, our Cathedral legal officer Attorney Sir Okey Dike, other Diocesan legal officers, our Diocesan Medical Director, Lady Dr Obiageli Obijiofor, Sir Ron Munden, Sir Bill Burton, Sir Sonny Brown, Sir Forster Duru, Sir Emma Ezeji, Sir Randall Crossland, Sharon Butterworth and many men and women in this diocese who have been integral and selfless in faithfully serving the Diocese. Thank you to all the clergy and laity who serve and support this Diocese faithfully, prayerfully and financially in carrying out our mission for Christ.
Today, we are simply and extraordinarily blessed. We have a historic Cathedral in El Paso, Texas, St Francis Cathedral Church. It was the first Cathedral for the Diocese who faithfully and sacrificially supported me and this Diocese in our early stages and continues to do so under the leadership of Venerable Layne Hansen. In 2019, we moved the Headquarters of the Diocese to Holy Trinity Cathedral Church here in Houston, Texas, in order to be more central and for efficient resource management and stewardship.
Holy Trinity Cathedral is a Bible believing, family-oriented, and mission-minded church. This parish has always supported the Diocese during the leadership of the Very Rev Dr. Godson Paul-Nzeh and continued by Venerable Chukwuma Ubadinobi, the Archdeacon of the Cathedral. To the glory of God, the parish of Holy Trinity purchased the land for the building of the Cathedral in 2011. We laid the foundation in 2017, and actual construction commenced in 2018. To His glory and expansion of His Kingdom, God has enabled us to complete the Cathedral being dedicated today by Your Grace, the Primate of all Nigeria.
We thank God for and sincerely appreciate the perseverance of the Cathedral congregation and their sacrificial giving towards the construction and completion of this Cathedral. We also commend and congratulate the Cathedral Vestry, the Archdeacon of the Cathedral, Ven. Chukwuma Ubadinobi, along with his wife, Ijeoma and the dedicated team of clergy and lay leaders, especially the Building Committee and its Chairman, Dr. Charles Udolisa; and the Dedication Committee and its Chairman Sir Charles Onuogu (Will the Building Committee and the Dedication Committee, please stand to be recognized) and the Communication officer/Men’s leader, Sir Paul Chukwujekwu. I will be remiss if I do not appreciate Sir Innocent and Lady Onyinye Ohalete for the beautiful Bishop’s throne gifted to the Diocese. The Lord has used you all mightily to achieve this project to His glory. On behalf of the Diocese we thank members of Holy Trinity Cathedral for the gift of this church to the Diocese to be the Cathedral of the Diocese. This gesture will not be forgotten. May God bless and richly reward you all. Amen
Your Grace, the Most Rev’d Henry Ndukuba, our beloved Primate, once again, we are indeed grateful to you and your entourage for finding time to be with us and for graciously accepting to dedicate our Cathedral. May God continue to bless you and your family. May He grant you good health, protect you, and enable you to finish well and strong. In your time, the Church will continue to grow spiritually, materially, and in numbers, depopulating the Kingdom of darkness and populating God’s eternal Kingdom through the Gospel of Christ.
On behalf of my wife, Lilian and myself, this Cathedral, and my brothers and sisters in CONNAM, we welcome you all, and we thank you for taking the time to be here to rejoice with us. May your fellowship with us be a source of continuing blessing even after your departure to the glory of God.
Thank you, Your Grace, and thank you all for coming. May the Lord bless us all. Amen.
The Rt Rev’d Dr Felix Orji, BA.Ed, M.Ed, DipCs, M.Div, D.Min, DD
Diocesan Bishop | Anglican Diocese of the West
Church of Nigeria North American Mission(CONNAM)
Houston, Texas, USA