The end of the episcopacy of The Rt Rev Ralph Cornelius Ebirien JP came on Thursday, 12 May 2022 as he clocked 70 years.
The service for the retirement thanksgiving &70th birthday was packaged by the Diocesan Transition Committee headed by the Diocesan Chancellor, Sir Alabo Biobele Abraham Geogewill, JCA, DSSR. The Rt Rev Wisdom Budu Ihunwo, the Bishop of Niger Delta North Diocese, who preached at the service, spoke on being grateful to God for His mercies endures forever (Psalm 103:1ff). God’s mercy could be seen in the healing of the ten lepers in which one returned thanks to Jesus Christ. It’s by God’s mercy that His people were not consumed, rather have the mercy of God renewed every morning. This gratitude, which the Diocese was showing in the retirement thanksgiving Service, and not the demise of their Bishop who was greatly challenged by life-threatening sickness last year, such thanks would shield as many who live a life of gratitude to God, particularly from one’s enemies. “One could hide from known enemies but unknown enemies, especially those smiling with one and yet planning evil at the same time”.
The Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Dame Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo also appreciated God for the life of the retired Bishop whose humility and spirituality have brought tremendous change to the Diocese. She spoke of the goodwill of the Executive Governor of Rivers State, His Excellency Chief Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, for the Bishop in his prayers for the State. The Deputy Governor Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo said the Governor who was unavoidably absent in the Service will be properly communicated to on the Bishop’s retirement.
The Rt Rev Ralph Cornelius Ebirien, who had put in forty years in the ordained ministry appreciated God for the parents, relations, community, and Church for supporting him, especially his wife Mrs. Victoria U Ebirien, children, and grandchildren. He requested more prayers and goodwill from the Church for his private life.
In the course of the Service the Archbishop Ecclesiastical Province of Niger Delta and Bishop of Ikwerre Diocese, the Most Rev Dr. Blessing C Enyindah announced the Supervising Bishop of the Diocese, in the person of The Rt Rev Wisdom Budu Ihunwo.
The service was attended by a lot of dignitaries, including the Chairman of Andoni Local Government Council, Barr Erastus C.Awortu. Bishop Gberegbara of Ogoni, Bishop I U Ordu, the Retired Archbishop of Methodist Church, Port Harcourt, the Retired Bishop of Okrika, the Rt Rev T R Abere, the Rt Rev Precious O Nwala, Mrs. Chinyere O Elenwo.
BY VEN JOHN UBULOM