THEME: Costly Commitment; The imperative in following Christ ( Luke 9:23)
Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
We, the entire Clergy and Laity of the Diocese on the Niger heartily welcome our Primate, The Most Rev’d Henry Ndukuba and wife, Mrs. Angela Ndukuba, to our beloved Diocese. We also welcome the House of Bishops, House of a Clergy and the House of Laity of the Church of Nigeria to this Standing Committee holding at All Saints Cathedral, Onitsha, Anambra State.
Diocese on the Niger hosted the Church of Nigeria Standing Committee in 1997, General Synod in 2005 and has also hosted various other national church events in this Cathedral. However, the uniqueness of this meeting is that it is the first Standing Committee in this Primacy. We feel honored to host this first Standing Committee of Archbishop Ndukuba’s Primacy. We are privileged to host this meeting during the period of the 10th year anniversary of our Episcopacy. Saturday the 9th day of January, 2021 marked our 10th year consecration anniversary as the Bishop on the Niger.
From historical records, Onitsha was the headquarters of the then Diocese of the Western Equatorial Africa. Over the years, till the present, the Church Year Calendar of the Church of Nigeria ( Anglican Communion ) consistently reflects 1864 as the year the Diocese on the Niger started. As a ancient See, old age has started to take it’s toll on our resources and facilities; however, by the grace of God, within the past years, we have worked with the Clergy and Laity to reposition the Diocese to enable her take her place in Mission and Evangelism and in the scheme of things in the society. Our vision, “To be be a leading church that wins souls, impact lives and dominates her environment for Christ”, has helped greatly in this repositioning. The efforts and inputs made by God’s grace are beginning to yield positive results.
Since this august occasion fell within our 10th year episcopal anniversary, we crave your indulgence to state briefly what the Lord has accomplished with us these ten years. Within this period, the Diocese has planted 79 new churches, established 49 new Primary Schools and 41 new Secondary Schools. Iyienu Mission Hospital, one of the oldest Mission Hospitals in Nigeria, the hospital that trained the first Midwife in Nigeria, has been modernized and equipped to curtail the health challenges of our day. Two new hospitals ( Bethel Hospital Awada and Mary Elms Mission Hospital, Onitsha) are kicking off. Primary Health Centres have been established in many of our Parishes.
The following Tertiary Educational Institutions have been established for the empowerment of our youths: School of Basic Midwifery, School of Medical Laboratory Technician, School of Dental Surgery Technician, School of Health Information Management, School of Pharmacy Technician, Beatrice Onyemelukwe Institute of Management and Technology and School of Nursing. The Diocese, through her Calvary Care and Mission Foundation has given scholarships to more than 150 youths to study various courses in (local and foreign) universities and other higher institutions.
Furthermore, our foreign mission is prospering to the glory of God with the planting of more than 45 new Churches spread across Togo, Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal. A Secondary School and Health Centre has been established in Lome, Togo. Also, we now have a promising media outfit Alpha Radio/Television Station, enterprising Akuchukwu Micro Finance Bank, well-furnished Olive Guest House, Kings Squad Security Outfit and Niger Printing Press. In Agriculture, we have Farm Lands for production of Diocese on the Niger Rice and Cassava. Our poultry is beginning to grow. Additionally, we have reached a reasonable stage in erecting structures and putting other logistics in place for the take-off of the University on the Niger at Umunya. We have also invested in manpower development and landed properties. It is our resolve to make this Diocese the pride of the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion. The journey is still challenging. There are still many grounds to conquer. However, thus far, the Lord has helped us.
We acknowledge our Episcopal forefathers, the Rt. Rev. Samuel Ajayi Crowther, Rt. Rev. Sydney Hills, Rt. Rev. Herbert Tugwell, Rt. Rev. Bertram Lasbery, Most Rev. C.J. Patterson, Rt. Rev. L.M Uzodike, Most Rev. Dr. J.A Onyemelukwe and Rt. Rev. Ken S.E. Okeke for the part they played in building this Diocese. The labour of these Heroes of our faith in the Diocese on the Niger cannot be taken for granted…
Relax and enjoy our hospitality with every assurance that you will have reasons to rejoice and glorify our Heavenly Father at the end of this Standing Committee. It is our earnest and sincere prayers that God will surely bless our fellowship and grant you traveling mercies at the end of the event. May God be glorified in all things, Amen.
Yours in Christ,
Rt. Rev. Dr Owen Chiedozie Nwokolo
Bishop on the Niger