By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu
Special church services were held last Sunday by the Anglican faithful across Igbo land to mark the one hundred and sixty first year anniversary of the coming of the gospel of Christ through the Christ Missionary Society, CMS.
The C. M. S. which came to Igbo land on July 27, 1857, saving and winning souls for Christ, has continued to spread to remote areas for evangelism, providing education and health care services, among others.
The faithful who turned out in the uniforms of their different groups and societies in the church, rejoiced and danced to the lord for his mercies and institution of the Church which brought light and salvation to mankind.
In his anniversary message during a Eucharistic worship organized by the Cathedral Church of Saint Faith Deanery, at Igwebuike Grammar School, Awka, the Bishop of Awka Diocese, Right Reverend Alexander Ibezim, described the gospel of Christ as life; and Christianity as a race of fortification, stressing the need for all to continue with the practice of scriptural doctrine.
Bishop Ibezim stated that God gave the Church the mandate of soul winning and evangelism through crusades and Sunday school, among others, noting that without it the Church became a mere social gathering. He asked the clergy to preach the undiluted word of God.
The Archdeacon, Cathedral Church of Saint Faith, Awka, Venerable Silas Ike, in a sermon, went down memory lane on how the gospel came to Onitsha from where it came to Awka, stating that the Anglican faithful initiated and instituted education through the missionaries. He pointed out that Christ came to set man free from every shackle which, he said, was evident in the work of the missionaries who stopped slavery, killing of twins, idolatry and other obnoxious practices.
In an interview, Reverend Canon Basil Orji of Saint Augustine's Anglican Church, Abagana in Njikoka Local Government Area, said that the advent of Christianity to Igbo land ended some obnoxious practices such as killing of twins and slave trade.
As well, Reverend Canon Jason Onyeakagbusi of the Church of the Holy Spirit, Awka, who spoke extensively on the role of Christianity in nation building, called for unity amongst all Christian denominations in the propagation of the gospel.