By Abuchi Onwumelu
The Catholic bishop of Awka Diocese, His Lordship Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, last Sunday at the Cathedral Church of Saint Faith, Awka, attended the Thanksgiving Service of the Archbishop, Ecclesiastical Province of the Niger, Most Reverend Alexander Ibezim, PhD.
Speaking shortly after the service, Bishop Ezeokafor thanked God for the new Archbishop, stating that it was a special call and big responsibility as they came together in faith for the salvation of souls.
The charismatic and ecumenical bishop, while congratulating the Archbishop on his elevation, prayed God to imbue him (Archbishop Ibezim) with immense wisdom and understanding to enable him to shepherd His flocks efficiently and effectively.
Archbishop Ibezim who is also the Bishop of Awka Diocese, was presented to the House of Bishops as the fourth Archbishop of the Ecclesiatical Province of The Niger and Head of the Anglican faithful in Anambra State, Ugwuoba Missionary and Akpugoeze Arch Deaconries in Enugu State.
The thanksgiving service which was presided over by the Dean, Church of Nigeria and Bishop of Wusasa Diocese, Archbishop of Kaduna Province, Most Reverend Dr Ali Buba Lamido, was attended by the Catholic Archbishop Bishop of Onitsha, Most Reverend Valerian Okeke, represented by Monsignor Gregory Adibe; Awka Catholic Bishop, Most Reverend Paulinus Ezeokafor; House of Bishops and other clergy; the State Deputy Governor, Dr Nkem Okeke; Diocesan Legal Aids; Knights and ladies of the Church, among others who came to join Most Reverend Ibezim to thank God.
In a sermon, the Dean Church of Nigeria and Archbishop Of Kaduna Province, Most Reverend Dr Ali Buba Lamido, said the Church of God desired peace and togetherness, noting that if the leadership worked as a team, they would achieve success and warned against back biting, quarrels and argument.
He appealed to Most Reverend Ibezim to work with the people of his Province, be focused, dedicated and hardworking, stating that persecution would come but that God who called him would equip his Ministry and bless him the more.
In a speech shortly after the service, the Archbishop of Enugu Province, Most Reverend Dr Emmanuel Chukwuma, called on clergymen to be patient and dedicated to the work of God, not to lobby for posting, but to be spiritually guided and more, especially to avoid being materialistic.
In appreciation to God and to all who attended the service, the celebrant, Most Reverend Ibezim, said he would lead with the fear of God and prepare men for the kingdom of God by sharing the word of God without compromise and promote peace at all times.
The President, Mother's Union, Women's Guild and Girls Guild, Province of The Niger and Diocese of Awka, Mrs. Martha Ibezim, was not left out in the joy as she led the women's ministry in thanksgiving and prayers to God for the new dispensation in the Province.
The former Governor of the state, Dame Virgy Etiaba; former Governor of Central Bank, Professor Chukwuma Soludo; Chief Ndi Obi and a host of other dignitaries were present at the thanksgiving service which featured cutting of cake, thanksgiving by Ibezim family, prayers, performance by the brass band of Akwa Ibom and Cathedral Choir.