BRIEF HISTORY OF ST SIMON’S CHURCH NNOBI
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light: “Those who dwell in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined” This Biblical expression can never be better visualized and understood than is the case with Nnobi with the introduction of the gospel message through the instrumentality of His Royal Majesty Igwe Solomon Ezeokoli Ezebube of Nnobi in 1908.
Solomon Ezeokoli a name he later chose when he became converted to Christian religion was the son of Ezebube of Umuagu, Nnobi. He was by vocation a traditional or native doctor famous for treating diverse diseases that afflicted people of Nnobi and far beyond in those days when orthodox medicine and methods of treating diseases and ailments were still strange to the people of this side of the globe. Solomon Ezeokoli was so famous as a native or herbal doctor that his fame went like wildfire around all the adjacent/adjoining towns to Nnobi. One of those towns was Obosi where he established a base for the treatment of the sick within the environment. Ezeokoli was a man who outside being an herbal medicine man with a difference, had an extraordinary and unimaginable foresight. He realized earlier than the people of his age that the rhythm of social life in Igbo land especially around Nnobi in particular was undergoing a rapid radical change under the British Colonial Administration. His experience as an itinerant herbal medicine man in far and near Nnobi community fueled his fast-changing ideology more. It must be put on record that his experience from regular healing visits which the Nnobi people translated as “Mbi Ogwu” to Obosi, gave him a lot of insights into the Christian Society Missionary CMS activities within the Obosi and Onitsha axis. At that time, in history, Christian Missionery Society CMS had already firmly established the gospel of Jesus Christ in Obosi, through the effort of one Mazi A.C Onyeabo who later became Bishop Onyeabo in the Church Missionary Society CMS Church later. Mazi A.C Onyeabo an indigene of Onitsha was serving as a catechist in Obosi then. It was at this time that Ezeokoli Ezebube was converted and baptized with the name “Solomon”
It is noteworthy to put on record that Nnobi town at the point in history was wallowing in the pitch darkness and barbaric environment of heathen lifestyles and practices which pervaded the entire Igbo land and clime at that time. Human sacrifice killing of twins, burying big influential chiefs with slaves alive, trading in human beings (slave trade), cannibalisms (eating of human flesh) and other such hideous acts were the order of the day. With the friendship of Onyeabo and Ezeokoli kindled the eternal light of change that will later liberate Nnobi and indeed many neighboring towns from the clutches and hellish dungeons of primitivism and backward living. That singular friendship set in motion great change and revolution that was championed by Ezeokoli which began gradually and simmered into all the fabrics and strata of Nnobi town and its environ and later manifested with speed of rocket.
In 1960 when the friendship between Ezeokoli and Onyeabo has grown much stronger, a very remarkable thing in the relationship between Ezeokoli and Alphonsus Onyeabo happened. Oyeabo started from time to send some gifts to Ezebube his friend’s aged father at Nnobi. Onyeabo as a famous hunter sent on one occasion gift of a leg of an antelope called “Ene” in Igbo language. This rare item of gift to Ezebube was so much valued and created great impression in the mind of Ezebube who asked his son Solomon to invite his friend Onyeabo to Nnobi for him to see and know him.
This invitation of Onyeabo to Nnobi in 1908 kickstarted great change and revolution which led to the successful planting of Christianity in Nnobi in general and ultimately the planting of St. Simon’s Anglican Church Nnobi as it is known today. In responding to the invitation, Mr Onyeabo paid the visit to Nnobi carrying along with him lots of good gifts strange items for Ezebube. These include: Kerosene Lantern Match Boxes, Rice, Biscuits and other such items which Ezebube and the people of Nnobi considered as astonishing and novelty. History had it that in the evenings of those days of Mr Onyeabo’s visit, his kerosene lamp was lit that it continued burning from dust till dawn. These strange gifts especially the kerosene lamp caused greatest sensation in Nnobi that people thronged to the palace house of Ezebube to see for themselves the strange Onyeabo’s lamp, which could burn throughout the night. The lamp was nicknamed by Nnobi people then as “Oku Onwufolu chi” (lamp which could burn till daybreak). Literally the Onyeabo’s Kerosene in Nnobi provided the enabling environment for the preaching of gospel for the first time in Nnobi at the Ezeokoli Ezebube spacious compound. As many people came around to behold the “Oku Onwufolu chi” - the wonder lamp, Onyeabo had ready audience to receive the gospel message of Jesus Christ in Nnobi. The first few nights of Onyeabo’s wonder lantern – “Oku Onwufolu chi”, provided great opportunity for many people to listen for the first time to the gospel of peace, got converted and believed the gospel on the spot. Therefore, the mustard seed of Christian religion and faith was planted in Nnobi in 1908 through the friendship of Ezeokoli of Nnobi and Mazi A.C Onyeabo of Obosi.
The Ministry of Miss Hornby (Oji ugo) at Nnobi
The success of Catechist Alphonsus Onyeabo’s missionary visits to Nnobi in 1908 was received by the Niger Mission at Onitsha with great appreciation. This propelled the Mission to send out a British Missionary Lady of Church Missionary Society CMS called Miss A. Hornby to Nnobi to help Catechist Alphonsus Onyeabo in the work of nascent evangelical activities at Nnobi. Miss Hornby on her visit to Nnobi was nicknamed “Oji Ugo” as a result of her strange and beautiful complexion first of of such seen at Nnobi ever. Miss Hornby’s evangelical activities at Nnobi was smooth and easy. She moved freely among and with people of Nnobi because she was very much liked by the people. This helped in no small measure to support in the laying of solid foundation of gospel of Christ in Nnobi.
ST. SIMON’S CHURCH NNOBI WAS BORN.
As at this time in the growth of evangelism in Nnobi, the overreaching influence of Chief Solomon Ezeokoli led to the mobilization of increasing number of believers and the members of Church Missionary Society CMS began to increase tremendously. Idea for a permanent place of worship was muted and communicated to His Majesty Solomon Ezeokoli. Without delay, the increased numbers of converts Christian with unimaginable and unshaken faith decided to gather themselves together to cut down and clear the evil forest occupying the present site of St. Simon’s Anglican Church. Many of the people on the other side expected that all the believers won’t live next day to tell the stories. To their surprise and astonishment, no member of the believers suffered any of the imagined evil that were expected to befall them. This feat of clearing Udo Nwa Ushi evil forest and safely building a worship house in it by the early Nnobi CMS believers marked the beginning of strong foundation for Christian faith in Nnobi town and its environs. Therefore St. Simon’s Anglican Church Pro-Cathedral Nnobi as it is known today came into existence in the year of our Lord 1908. Ever since then, St. Simon’s Nnobi became the spring board for the spread of the gospel to the four corners of Nnobi town and even beyond to towns like Uke, Ideani, Oraukwu, Alor, Nnokwa, Adazi-Enu, Ichida, Azigbo and Igbo-ukwu.
The Church of God as planted in Nnobi through the doggedness of His Royal Majesty King Solomon Ezeokoli started growing in leaps and bounds albeit with its own social and cultural challenges but with the marvelous grace of the Almighty God. As early as 1912, a unique success was recorded when the Church Missionary Society CMS authority at Onitsha directed one Mr. Chikwendu to go from St. Simon’s Church Nnobi and plant a church at Igbo-ukwu. That initiative was a big success and opened the road for planting of Churches by St. Simon’s Church Nnobi.
Again in 1910, the Church continued its match forward with the introduction of western education in Nnobi under the name St. Simon’s School along with the gospel of Christ. This new addition to the gospel happened so fast that as early as 1912, C.M.S Central School Nnobi had started producing those who served as Church Teachers, Interpreters and Clerks in the Mission, Government, and Commercial establishment. Soon enough, CMS Central School otherwise called St. Simon’sCentral School Nnobi produced teachers like Elijah Uzoewulu, Alfred Okoye, Julius Chukwuka, Samuel Ibekwe, Frederick Ogbuka, Frederick Ezeyim and many others too numerous to mention. These early products of missionary intervention and western education in Nnobi contributed with overwhelming zeal to consolidate the works of evangelism and education in Nnobi and its environ.
THE GROWTH OF ANGLICAN CHURCH WITHIN AND OUTSIDE NNOBI
By 1910, Nnobi was already a very strong base for spread of the Missionary works both within and outside the borders. Solomon Ezeokoli singled himself out as a man so zealous and anxious to be the chosen vessel for that great task of evangelism. This he exhibited by forming very close friendship and alliance with the white missionaries. He cooperated with them in all manner possible to propagate their mission and vision in Nnobi. Solomon Ezeokoli volunteered to be a personal assistant to Chief Ezenwabulue, the first Warrant Chief of Ngo, Nnobi. Solomon Ezeokoli took the decision so that by accompanying Chief Ezenwabulue to the Native Court at Eme Nnewi, he would have the opportunity of getting gradually acquainted with District Commissioner who came to preside at the court. By 1911, Ezenwabulue abdicated his post as a Warrant Chief because of old age and infirmity. The stool of Ngo village became vacant. By virtue of his little education, as well as his experience at the Eme Court, Nnewi, Solomon Ezeokoli became the most qualified candidate for the position of Warrant Chief of Ngo Nnobi. By this development Solomon Ezeokoli became a not just big asset to Nnobi Community but even a bigger asset to Church Missionary Society CMS at Nnobiu and beyond.
‘UKA EKE’ DOOR-TO-DOOR EVANGELISM
As the church grew, so many ideas for reaching and converting souls for Christ were deviced. One of such ideas that caught-up very strongly was the ‘Uka Eke” Door-to-door evangelism. It was an outstanding method of evangelism adopted at that period by the early faithful brethren where all church members moved out to the village every Sunday that fell on Eke market day on the traditional calendar of the Igbo people. The early converts went from house to house, singing evangelical songs along their routes and ways. Their methods of singing melodious songs made it attractive for the natives to allow them into their compounds and houses. They would usually assemble members of any household they enter with their interested neighbors to preach and pray for them. People recalled with nostalgia the popular and familiar songs the early converts use to sing during the “Uka Eke” Door-to-Door Evangelism to include: “Ka uzo ora obu Jesu” (It is Jesus all the way) or Biakute Jesus kita (Come to Jesus now). “Uka Eke” Door-t-Door Evangelism procession was led by such men of faith like: Job Okafor, Peter Okafor, Cleopas Okongwu, David Obichili, Wilson Okolo, Nathan Amanjo, Paul Ochiagha, Isaiah Ekwue, Aaron Umeji, Obed Ekwue, Albert Asomugha, Gabriel Ifezue, Charles Igwilo, Joseph Eruchalu and many others.
The result of the “Uka Eke Door-to-Door Evangelism was so obvious. The pagans who were yet to believe the gospel of Christ started seeing their already converted neighbors wearing better clothes and in the group of other Christians singing and praising God in fellowships. They had very little choices that to begin to respond positively to missionaries and in most cases begin to accept Christ. By this, the number of Christians increased tremendously.
THE RIVALRY AND CHALLENGES OF EARLY CMS IN NNOBI
With the accession of Solomon Ezeokoli to the throne of a Warrant Chief of Ngo Nnobi in 1911, the Warrant Chief of Awuda village at that time Chief Ezeomeisheuku, son of Ezeokigbo was miffed and jealous. He saw the growth popularity of Solomon Ezeokoli as a degradation of his popularity and performance among his own domains. He therefore decided to undermine Ezeokoli’s influence and popularity by introducing a rival christian sect call Roman Catholic Mission in Nnobi. The new christian sect started with few converts. The CMS led by Solomon Ezeokoli did not rest on their oars. Therefore, to counter whatever challenge the rival sect posed for them, the young CMS (Anglican) Church in Nnobi decided to pursue a strategic line of action of decentralizing the CMS (Anglican Church) Communities in Nnobi. This led to the planting or founding of sister CMS churches at Ebenesi called St. Paul’s Anglican Church Ebenesi Nnobi and at Awuda called St. Andrew’s Anglican Church Awuda Nnobi. These new churches at Ebenesi and Awuda villages were also complimented with the establishment of “Uka Eke Door-to-Door” Evangelism and building of schools within their premises where pupils could be converted to Anglicanism and educated in western education from their early childhood.
The history of St. Simon’s Anglican Church Nnobi will not be complete without the inclusion of an event that brought about the exodus of a group from the church. In the year of our Lord 1936, an issue of dogma that proved to be a very big challenge to the nascent Church reared its head. It was the issue of whether polygamous men within the fold would be allowed to participate in or receive the Holy Communion in the Church. Resolving this issue was very tempting to the growing Anglican Church. While an ecclesiastical and canonical attention was being giving to the matter, the concerned polygamists within the fold of believers who would not wait for amicable solution to the issue broke away and formed their own new church known as the Salvation Army Church. The church continued to march forwards after the break-away faction. Within a very short while the Anglican Church family in Nnobi replenished its lost faithful through the grace of God and grew even stronger in strength, number and faith. The pride of fulfilling the necessary prerequisites for being accepted converts brought about a fresh zeal among the members of St. Simon’s Anglican Church Nnobi.
As the church was recovering from the little setback of break-away brethren, the devil conjured another challenge for the church. The issue of whether people who have taken traditional Ozo title would be accorded full rites as members of St. Simon’s Anglican Church came up strongly. In other to avoid a repeat of earlier seed of discord sowed by the evil one into the Church of God, the Ecclesiastical Authority of Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion by the grace of Almighty God finally resolved the issue and the Church kept matching on till date.
Up till the year of our Lord 1938, St. Simon’s Anglican Church Nnobi was administered under Nnewi District. In that same year St. Simon’s Church became a parish of itself with Rev. Agoriwe as the first Parish Priest. In 1947, St. Simon’s Anglican Church Nnobi was made a District with Rev. J.A. Iwuorah as the Priest in-charge. The new St. Simon’s Anglican Church Nnobi District was made up of the Anglican churches in Nnobi, Oraukwu, Nnokwa, Alor, Awka-Etiti, Azuigbo, Ikengha, Ekwulumili, Unubi, Orsumenyi, Ebenato, Ezinifite, Utu, and Akwa Ihedi. It is noteworthy that all these towns had long been made parishes of their own.
NNOBI ARCHDEACONRY GREW OUT OF ST. SIMON’S CHURCH NNOBI
In year of our Lord 1992, Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion Nnobi Archdeaconry was birthed with St. Simon’s Anglican Church Nnobi as the headquarters. Venerable P.N. Ukachukwu became its first Archdeacon. Churches under the Nnobi Archdeaconry were Nnobi, Oraukwu, Alor, Uke, Ideani, Awka-Etiti, and Nnokwa. In the same year 1992, St. Simon’s Anglican Church Nnobi hosted the 1st session of the 22nd Synod of the Diocese on the Niger.
WOMEN OF HISTORY IN ST. SIMON’S CHURCH NNOBI
In the short- and long-term growth of St. Simon’s Anglican Church Nnobi, the women were not left out in the history and advancement of the Church right from its inception. Like the ministering women of the Bible, St. Simon’s Anglican Church Nnobi women have made and are still making wonderful contributions to the growth of the Church. The following among others many other very prominent women of history of St. Simon’s Anglican Church Nnobi include: Irene Ifezue, Deborah Okoye, Irene Obichili, Jane Okoli, Zipporah Uzoewulu, Elizabeth Ichenku, Margaret Nwajinka, Rachael Okoye, Virginia Nwajiudo, Maria Ezeyim, Bessie Nnoli, Emily Ochiagha, Juliana Ezeama, Esther Eruchalu, Catherine Ogbuka, Maria Eruchalu and many others too numerous to mention.
BUILDING ST. SIMON’S NEW CHURCH: THE BEGINNING
The first church building of St. Simon’s Anglican Church Nnobi was a little mud church house built of burnt cricks. As the church matches on, a plan for the new church building was initiated by the Church. A Building committee under the leadership of Sir, U.C.D Okoye with Mr F.O.N.Ogbuka as the Secretary were saddled with that responsibility. In 1998, a new zeal was injected into the progress of the works by the ingenuity of our son, Rev. J.A. Ekwue, (late), who as a result of his sermon awakened the rather sleeping giants. With Sir. B.O Ezenwenyi as the Chairman of the task force on building and his men, there was an astronomical awakening and response by the congregation. Days passed into weeks and into years and to the astonishment of all a new Church building of St. Simon’s Anglican Church Nnobi was ready for dedication. On that blessed day of 22nd August 1999 the new ultra-modern new Church building of St. Simon’s Church Nnobi, the spacious Church Hall and Parsonage that we enjoy today was dedicated to God Almighty and for the harvesting of souls for the Kingdom of God. History was made on Sunday 26th December, 1999, when the erstwhile Idemili Nwonyushi shrine hanging loosely at the west end of old cemetery near the central entrance of St. Simon’s Anglican Church was demolished after a week-long fasting and praying revival service spear-headed by Ven. A. I Ibe the Archdeacon and Vicar of St. Simon’s Church Nnobi, the Curate Rev. E.A.C Ibezim, and His Royal Highness Igwe Edmund Ezeokoli II of Nnobi. It is on record that the encouragement given to the Church to demolish Idemili Nwonyushi shrine by His Highness Igwe Edmund Ezeokoli II was enormous because he gave the first fist blow to the shrine himself and others did the eternal damage to the shrine. The Church ever since the demolition reclaimed its glory and matched on and the gates of hell never again stopped it.
GROWTH OF ORGANISATIONS IN ST. SIMON’S CHURCH
St. Simon’s church derived its growth from various organizations which acted as stimulus. By the 1950’s, a new militant organ was born as in other strongholds of the Anglican mission. This was the Anglican Youth Fellowship, which tried to excel in all aspects of Christian youthful exuberance in all its activities, especially by supplying the most melodious songs in all important occasions of the Anglican Church – “Onitsha Youth Choir”. It is noteworthy to add that the Men’s Group known as Self Denial Society SDS also was formed and waxed very strong until the elderly men of the church that formed the Group became extinct lately. Also in the late fifties and early sixties was the Women’s Guild which became a very strong arm of women’s organization. At this time was the emergence of a sister organization, the Mothers Union which conferred its members the status of motherhood within the Anglican Mission. Another strong arm for the young Boys And Girls came up, the Boys and Girls Brigade whose main objectives were to inculcate the sense of duty and discipline in those who will in future take over the helm of pushing ahead the affairs of the Anglican mission in Nnobi at large and in St. Simon’s Anglican Church in particular. As St. Simon’s Church approached its hundred years birthday, it acquired more vitality as far as other organization in the church were concerned.
It is therefore worthy of note that the DONMCF (Diocese on the Niger Men’s Christian Fellowship) today started from St. Simon’s Church Nnobi during the era of Ven. P.N. Ukachukwu as the Archdeacon of Nnobi Archdeaconry and Vicar St. Simon’s Church Nnobi in 1992 when it was captioned “Elders Prayer Meeting” and their motto “Arise and Build” it was in 1998 that the name was changed to Men’s Christian fellowship. St. Simon’s Church therefore became the first church in the Diocese to have an organized M.C.F before it was inaugurated in 2004 in Nnobi Archdeaconry by Ven. Obi Ubaka, then later inaugurated in the Diocese on the Niger. To God be the Glory.
ST. SIMON’S ANGLICAN CHURCH NNOBI AFTER 112 YEARS
It is now history and it is heart warming that St. Simon’s Anglican Church Nnobi planted, in 1908 by the evangelical efforts of the Church Missionary Society CMS as one of the outreach centers into Igbo land, has paid her evangelical bills having celebrated her FIRST HUNDRED YEARS ANNIVERSARY ON CHURCH EVANGELISM on 5th October, 2008. It is now One hundred and twelve years after the God sent son of the soil in the person of His Royal Majesty King Solomon Ezeokoli I of Nnobi went to Obosi on one of his itinerant herbal medicine visitation in 1908 and returned to Nnobi as a Church Missionary Society CMS Agent. The seed of gospel he brought back to Nnobi was planted and nurtured and it has blossomed into a Mustard tree till date that Nnobi can boast of producing a the present Bishop of the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion Diocese on the Niger in the person of Most Reverend Dr. Owen Nwokolo. To God be the Glory. It will forever be indelible in our minds. There is need at this point to express our gratitude to everyone who had contributed in nurturing that seed planted by HRM King Ezeokoli into an Oak tree of gospel in Nnobi and environ. May your labor and that of all who contributed in one way or another not be in vain in Jesus name, Amen!
THE LIST OF PRIESTS WHO SERVED ST. SIMON’S CHURCH NNOBI, PAST AND PRESENT
1. Rev. Agoriwe 1938 – 1939
2. Rev. B. P. Apena 1940 – 1941
3. Rev. S. Jumbo 1942 – 1943
4. Rev. A. O. Ekpunobi 1944 – 1945
5. Rev. J.A. Iwuora 1946 – 1950
6. Rev. J.A.Okafor 1951 – 1956
7. Rev. D. I. Okechukwu 1957 – 1960
8. Rev. C. A. Mbonu 1961 – 1964
9. Rev. C.N. Emelugo 1965 – 1978
10. Rev. M.M. Ilechukwu 1969 – 1969
11. Rev. J.I.E. Okoye 1970 -1974
12. Rev. P.N. Onwuzulu 1975 – 1978
13. Rev. M.I. Mbogu 1979 -1983
14. Rev. Canon B.N. Okeke 1984 -1991
15. Rev. B.M.A Ike 1991 -1992
16. Ven. P.N. Ukachukwu 1992 -1998
17. Rev. S.O. Onuigbo 1993 -1993
18. Rev. G. I Ufele 1993 -1994
19. Rev. N.N. Anyichie 1994 – 1996
20. Rev. A. Ikeokwu 1996 – 1998
21. Rev. E.A.C Ibezim 1999 -1999
22. Ven. A.I. Ibe 1999 – 2000
23. Rev. J.I. Ifediegwu 2000 – 2000
24. Ven. Obi Ubaka 2001 – 2005
25. Rev. Inno. Chuks Onwuemelie 2001 – 2001
26. Rev. G.O.C. Ekekwe 2002 – 2002
27. Rev. Chidi Nwadike (Now Ven.) 2002 – 2003
28. Rev. Rowland Obi 2003 – 2004
29. Rev. G.I. Okoye 2003 – 2005
30. Rev. J.C. Nwaka 2004 – 2006
31. Rev. Nath. Egwuenu 2005 – 2005
32. Ven. Okey Ukpeke 2006 – 2007
33. Rev.C.A. Iloka 2005 – 2007
34. Rev. G.N. Nnalue 2006 – 2007
35. Ven. Joe Nweke 2007 – 2008
36. Rev. E.C. Nwabunike 2008 - 2008
37. Rev. Ikechukwu Elobisi (Now Ven.) 2008 – 2010
38. Ven. R.U.C.Obiekwe 2008 – 2010
39. Rev. F.C. Chukwurah 2010 – 2011
40. Rev. Emma. Mbanugo (Now Ven. ) 2011 - 2011
41. Rev. B.S. Okoli 2012 - 2012
42. Rev. M. Awogu 2012 - 2012
43. Ven. Angus. I. Umeh 2012 – 2017
44. Rev. O. Eriobunah 2013 - 2013
45. Rev. C.S. Okoye 2013 – 2019
46. Rev. Samson Enwelum 2016 – 2017
47. Ven. Oswald Ezekwere 2018 – 2019
48. Rev. Emma Ogugua 2017 – 2018
49. Ven. Chris Amaku 2019 – till date
50. Rev. Albert Chukwuneke 2019 – till date
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->1. <!--[endif]-->Rev. J.A. Ekwue (Late) 1st Priest
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<!-- [if !supportLists]-->3. <!--[endif]-->Rev. Canon Nonso Arinze
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->4. <!--[endif]-->Rev. Ikechukwu Okudo
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->5. <!--[endif]-->Ven. Dan Okpala (Late)
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->6. <!--[endif]-->Rev. Canon Kennethe Chukwgozie
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->7. <!--[endif]-->Ven. Dr. Chuks Eruchalu
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->8. <!--[endif]-->Ven. Samuel Emeka Etuka
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->9. <!--[endif]-->Ven. Chukwuma Ibekwe
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->10. <!--[endif]-->Rev. Osita Okoye
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<!-- [if !supportLists]-->12. <!--[endif]-->Rev. M.C. Ifezue (Late)
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->13. <!--[endif]-->Rev. David Okongwu (Late)
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->14. <!--[endif]-->Rev. Dr. Uchenna Maduka
HISTORY OF ALL SAINTS’ ANGLICAN CHURCH IFITE NNOBI
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of shadow of death, upon them has the light shined (Isaiah 9:2) We are grateful to God Almighty for bringing the light of the gospel to our land Ifite Nnobi. All Saints Anglican Church Nnobi is under St. Paul’s Parish Ebenesi Nnobi. The history of all Saints Anglican Church Ifite Nnobi will be traced back to 1954, where the present-day Church building is being erected. It was through the efforts of the following persons Mr. Benson Moghalu, Mr. Eleazar Okafor, Mr. Benjamin Ezenwas, Pa. Simon Omekaodinma, Pa. Andrew Chukwuka that the Umuchukwuma kindred bequeathed the land to the Church to set up a church and a school building. The Church and school took off accordingly and were nurtured by the late Pa. Benjamin Ezenwa who was then a church agent. One Mrs Azuka Akubueze was teaching in the school as well Anglican praying Ministry (APM) now Anglican Children Ministry (ACM) in the evening. Then only A.C.M branch holds at All Saint’s from Monday to Friday at 5pm daily. In 1993 She went to the then Vicar Ven. Vincent Igwebuike for permission to start Sunday Service. She also told the Vicar aged people will not be able to go to St. Paul’s Church because of the distance.
The Sunday service started with the permission of the Vicar but it was only children and few elders - Mrs Azuka Akubueze, Mrs Harriet Onyebuchi, Late Mr. Nelson Ezediniru, Late Mr. Isaiah Mbazelu and Late Mr. Micheal Akubueze that comes to worship God other people nicknamed the church (Uka Azuka) and refuse to worship God; at All Saints Church rather they preferred going to service at St. Paul’s Church on Sunday and weekly activities Rev’d Canon Eugene Okoye in his effort to move the church forward detailed Bro. Edwin Edeh (now Rev’d Edwin Edeh) who served as a church helper, to hold service every Sunday. Bro. Edwin Edeh, Mrs Azuka Akubueze and few old people were persistent in worshipping God every Sunday despite all odds.
In the year 2010, Ven. Dr Fred. Nwachukwuma was posted to St. Paul’s Church who stirred up members the need of worshipping God at All Saints Church Nnobi. He was briefed with the attitude of the church membership towards the church, he mapped out strategy of sending up to fourteen (14) adults in turn to worship at All Saints Church every Sunday. This paid off very well and people liked it. He retained Bro. Edwin Edeh (Now Rev’d Edwin Edeh) as a resident church helper to hold the congregation with other weekly activities like Hour of Refreshment, Follow up, Bible Studies and Wednesday prayers.
In 2011 the fencing of the church was done within two months. When the original owners of the land wanted to repossess this parcel of land. The Vicar Ven. Dr. Fred. Nwachukwu in a swift action met and convinced one Chief Anthony Okeke, the leader of the donors of the land and he withdrew their legal action against the Church. He allowed for the survey of the land and signed the land agreement, bequeathing the ownership of the land to the Diocese on the Niger. During this period illustrious son of the Eziora Sir Ebuka Okafor accepted to single- handedly build a place of worship which he fulfilled by building magnificent, multimillion, Ultramodern worship place in 2012 which is first of its kind in Nnobi Community.
The foundation stone was done on 13th February, 2011 by his Lordship the Rt. Rev’d Ken S. E. Okeke, th Bishop on the Niger while Dedication was done on 31st December, 2012 by his Lordship the Rt. Rev’d Dr. Owen Chiedozie Nwokolo (JP) the Bishop on the Niger to the glory of God. The pioneer church teacher that serve at All Saints Church was Samuel Chizoba Ikesi 2012 – 2014 Second Church teacher was Ikechukwu Christopher Ogidi 2015 – 2016 and the third is Walter Chijioke Umeh 2017 – till date. The present vicar is Rev’d Matthew Uzochukwu Chukwuneme. To the glory of God All Saints Church is moving from strength to strength, the Church hall is under construction and All Saints Model Nursery & Primary School Nnobi is moving forward. We commend the sons and daughters of All Saints Church for their support and right hand of fellowship. We equally commend our church teacher Walter Chijioke Umeh and Vicar Rev’d Matthew Uzochukwu Chukwuneme for their untiring effort to see that things are taking shape for expansion for Christ kingdom.
To God be the glory.
A HISTORY OF ST. JOHN’S EBENESI ANGLICAN CHUCH, NNOBI
St. John’s Anglican Church, Ebenator sprang up from St. Paul’s Anglican Church Parish, Ebenesi, Nnobi It is situated at Umuafor Village,Ebenesi Nnobi for the proximity of worshippers from Ubaha, Umafor, Umuhu and environs. This areas is greatly seen as a very “ferile” area for evangelism; certainly an area where the harvest is very plenty but labourers are very scarce. Few but seemingly very committed families from this area are worshipping at St. Paul’s Anglican Church Parish and have been associated at Ebenator zone. Such families are Etudo, Onuah andElodi from Ubaha; Chukwuka, Ezeume, Oguegbulu, Uche, Obiefuna Ezeugo and Anyika from Umuhu; and Okongwu, Anyaeche; Ogbuefi, Mbaneko Osilike, Okafor, Okpala, Egwuchukwu, Anosike, Nzewi, Nwawelu, Ezeigbo, Nwokolo, Fredick, Okwonna, Ezenwas, Ojukwu and Uzigwe fropm Umuafor. Members of these families, especially men who worshipped at St. Paul’s Anglican Church Parish do regularly meet “n’Obi be Walter Nzewi” at St. Paul’s Men, Ebenator to discuss issues that enable them to foster the progress of the Church. It was Rev. Dr. Fred Nwachukwuma (now Ven. Dr. Fred Nwachukwuma) who during his tenure as the Vicar of St. Paul’s Anglican Church Parish received the vision to establish a church at Ebenator. He believed that it was necessary to bring the church closer to the worshippers to make them more committed to evangelism in order to win abundant souls in the area and advance the gospel. In pursuance of his vision of a church at Ebenator, Rev. Dr. Nwachukwu initially started a Church outreach at Mr. Christopher Obiefuna’s compound by Umuhu on February 5th 2012. The attendance recorded was sixty-five (65) persons and the church collection yielded thirteen thousand, one hundred and fifty naira (N13, 150.00) He pursued the idea of securing a land at Ebenator for the Ebenator Church and was already sourcing fund and almost making a commitment of N4m for a piece of land at Umuafor before the negotiation turned in way the vicar and the PCC decided to keep it in view. Shortly after this incident, God performed his Miracle and marvelous deed through the families of Mr. Nelson (Late) and Mrs Lady Anosike, and Mr Josiah (Late) and Catherine Anosike. They made an uncommon sacrifice (a generational sacrifice) by donating more than two plots of land to St. Paul’s Parish at Umuafor village. While Mrs Gladys Anosike family donated their own portion of the land unconditionally, the family of Mrs Catherine Anosike accepted only just a token for their own portion. Several blocks were molded at the site and a temporary structure was erected and the church started. The church at Ebenator now called St. John’s Church Ebenator was formally inaugurated on Sunday April 14, 2013 at the temporary structure with Mr Rueben Ezea as the coordinator. The property is now properly secured with fence and two (2) standard iron gates. The Church has a convenience facility and also a temporary structure for children service. The families of late Benson Okpala (Onyeocha Calabar) is constructing a 3-bedroom bungalow meant for the Church Teacher. The bungalow is still at the lintel level. Engr. Ernest Odebeatu (now Rev. and Mr. Ifeanyi Alokwu served as Church Teachers before the current Church Teacher, Mr.S. Samuel Ikesi. The Church which is making gradual but steady progress started a modern building in 2018.
BRIEF HISTORY OF ST. CHRISTOPHER’S CHURCH / PARISH NDAM NNOBI
The Church started as St. Simon’s Church Nnobi Extension on a Palm Sunday, 20th March, 2005 under the then St. Simon’s Nnobi Parish Vicar / Archdeacon of Nnobi Secretary and Mr. Nnamdi Eruchalu as the Treasurer.
Worship started in the Church on 3rd April 2005. By his letter dated 3rd March 2006, Rt. Rev. Ken. S.E. Okeke, Bishop on the Niger named the Church, St. Christopher’s Church Nnobi. Ven. Emmanuel O. Ukpeke came on board the same year as the new Vicar of St. Simon’s Parish Nnobi/the Archdeacon of Nnobi Archdeaconry, and watered the seed sown by his predecessor by organizing a mini fund-raising ceremony to rehabilitate and expand the small old and dilapidated kindergarten school, popularly known as “Nta Akara be Ezenwekwe” used for worship. He also, by his letter dated 27th July, 2006, constituted by appointment a Church Management Committee with himself as the Chairman, the pioneer Church Teacher Mr. Now Rev. Henry Nwachukwu who came to the church on 12th April 2006, as the vice –chairman and comrade Emma Maduka, as Secretary, to manage the affairs of the new Church. On Sunday, 29th October,2006. the foundation Stone laying ceremony/ another fund –raising activity was done in the new church, under the auspices of Ven. Emma. O. Ukpeke, with Now Rev. Henry Nwachukwu as the chairman and Comrade Emma. Maduka as the secretary to the Planning Committee.
In January 2007, Ven.J.O.I.Nweke, the Vicar St. Simon’s Parish / Archdeacon Nnobi Archdeaconry, superintended the elected of pioneer P.C.C. members of the church, with Mr. Cyprian Uba as the People’s Warden, Comrade Emma. Maduka, as the Secretary, Mr. Emeka Okeke, as the Treasurer and Mr. Jonathan Okeke as the Pastor’s Warden. Mr. now Rev. James Achugbu, who came to the church in January 2007, was on board this time as the second church teacher posted to the church. Mrs. Ifeoma Nwenyi was coopted to serve as the Financial Secretary. It should be noted that from August 2007, the church attendants were taking tea once every month until sometimes in 2008. The project was financed by voluntary donations for example, late Jonathan Okeke donated teacups and spoons used. The arrangements were spearheaded by Mr. Onyekwelu Ichenku. The Third church Teacher Mr. Now Rev. Chikadibia Okeke, came to the church in 2008 with Ven. R.U.C Obiekwe also on board this time as the vicar of St. Simon’s Parish, Nnobi / the Archdeacon of Nnobi Archdeaconry. The Church was dedicated by Rt. Rev. Ken S.E. Okeke Bishop on the Niger on 23rd November 2008. The Chairman of the Dedication Planning Committee was Mr. Joseph Ukpaka with Comrade Emma. Maduka as the Secretary to the Committee This time Hope Ashara was covering the church as the Accounts Clerk.
The pioneer Priest Rev. Christian Mozie arrived at the church in January 2009.
The Church was inaugurated a Parish on 27th June 2010 by Rt. Rev. Ken S.E. Okeke, Bishop on the Niger. He also on the same day instituted and inducted Rev. Christian Mozie as the Pioneer Vicar of the Parish with Princess Obioma Nnatuanya now Mrs Obioma Owoh as the pioneer substantive Account clerk. The chairman of the inauguration Planning Committee was Mr. Chinonso Ochiagha with Comrade Emma. Maduka as secretary.
Succession of Church Teachers in the Parish
1. Rev. Henry Nwachukwu 2005-2006
2. Rev. James Achugbu 2007 - 2007
3. Rev. Chikadibia Okeke 2008 - 2008
4. Rev. Obum Owoh 2010 – 2012
Succession of Priest/Vicars in the Parish
1. Rev. Christian Mozie 2009 – 2011
2. Rev. Solomon Onwumelu (Chimeleze) 2012 – 2014
3. Rev. Innocent C. Ezeokoli 2015 – 2018
4. Rev. Victor Ebirim 2018 - 2018
5. Rev.Josiah Nwankwor 2019 – till date
Succession of Accounts Clerks in the Parish
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->1. <!--[endif]-->Mrs. Ifeoma Nwenyi (Financial Secretary) 2007
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->2. <!--[endif]-->Hope Ashara (covering St. Andrew’s Parish Nnobi as well) 2008
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->3. <!--[endif]-->Princess Obioma Nnatuanya (now Mrs Owoh) 2010 – 2012
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->4. <!--[endif]-->Miss Ezenwa 2014 – 2015
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->5. <!--[endif]-->Auntie Ann Amaka Umechukwu 2015 – 2018
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->6. <!--[endif]-->Mrs F. Onuorah 2019–till date
Succession of Secretaries in the Parish
Succession of Parish Treasurers
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->1. <!--[endif]-->Mr. Nnamdi Eruchalu 2005 – 2006
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->2. <!--[endif]-->Mr. Emeka Okeke 2006 -2010
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->3. <!--[endif]-->Mr. James Arinze 2011 – 2012
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->4. <!--[endif]-->Mrs. Ngozi Christie Eruchalu 2013 – 2018
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->5. <!--[endif]-->Mr. Kenneth Ndinechi 2018 – till date
Succession of parish Council secretary
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->1. <!--[endif]-->Lady Mercy Mkpajide (2010 -2011)
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->2. <!--[endif]-->Comrade Emma. Maduka (2012 – 2015)
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->3. <!--[endif]-->Mr. Kenneth Ndinechi (2016 – 2018)
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->4. <!--[endif]-->Mrs Patricia Okeke (2019 – date)
Succession of people’s warden in the church / parish
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->1. <!--[endif]-->Mr. Cyprian Ubah (2005 -2015)
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->2. <!--[endif]-->Mr. Kenneth S. Ndinechi (2016 = 2018)
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->3. <!--[endif]-->Comrade Emmanuel C. Maduka (2019 – date)
Succession of Pastors’s warden in the church / parish
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->1. <!--[endif]-->Mr. Jonathan Okeke (2010 – 2011)
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->2. <!--[endif]-->Mr. Nichodemus Ezeh (2012 -2014)
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->3. <!--[endif]-->Mr. Nnamdi Eruchalu (2015 – date)
Succession of sextons in the church / parish
(i) First Holy Communion Service in the church, officiated by Rev. C.A. Iloka was held on 19th June 2005.
(ii) The first pastoral visit to the church by the Bishop on the Niger, Rt. Rev. Ken. S.E. Okeke, was on 30th May 2006.
iii The first candidates baptized in the church by Ven. Emma. O Ukpeke on 25th January 2006 were eleven infants and one adult.
iv the first candidates from the church to be confirmed by Rt. Rev. Ken. S.E. Okeke, Bishop on the Niger on 1st January 2006 were eight in number.
v the first General Cash Harvest Thanksgiving in the Church was held on 31st December 2006.
vi the pioneer cross bearers in the church were Mr. Chibuike Okeke and Mr. Friday Edeh.
vii the pioneer choir master was Mr. Augustine Ichenku, assisted in 2008, by Mrs. Ifeoma Ejabukwa.
viii the first wedding in the Church officiated by the Rev. C.C Mozie, involving Mr. & Mrs Chimezie Okpala was on 14th November 2009.
ix the first substantial Account Clerk, Princess Obioma Nnatuanya now Mrs. Owoh, was posted to the church on 3rd February 2010
x The Bishop on the Niger, Rt. Rev. Ken. S.C. Okeke made his last pastoral visit to the parish on Tuesday July 2010.
xi Mr. Isaac Eruchalu was the building contractor who built the main church building, Later , Mr. Vincent Iwuamaeeze handled the toilet/part of the uncompleted parsonage building.
xii Mr. now Ven. Ifeanyi Ogbueli acted as the local church helper and Mr. Nelson Agwuncha as reader at inception of the church.
xiii Mr. Joseph Ukpaka and Mr. George Okeke spearheaded the vision of having the church established.
BRIEF HISTORY OF ST. ANDREW ‘S ANGLICAN CHURCH AWUDA, NNOBI
By 1910, Nnobi was already a promising base for the spread of the Anglican mission, both within and outside its borders. It has to be recalled that Chief Solomon Ezeokoli who was the prime figure for the introduction of the Anglican mission in Nnobi was able to realize early enough that the evolving colonial society, its overt resistance was raging throughout Igboland and beyond. Through his capacity as a redoubtable evangelist and his position and influence as a warrant chief, the Anglican mission of which he was a patron at Nnobi had a golden opportunity to expand and was stronger within and outside Nnobi.
Thus from 1908 -1914, all Anglicans at Nnobi were compelled to worship together at St. Simon’s which had then come into being at Ngo-Nnobi. This arrangement however started fragmenting when in 1914; Ebenesi members went back to their reconstructed church.
With the accession of Chief Solomon Ezeokoli to the throner as a warrant chief coupled with his dazzling popularity, jealousy took the lives of many. Among the lot was the warrant chief of Awuda quarters, Chief Ezeomeisheukwu. The son of Ezeokigbo, who saw Ezeokoli’s growing popularity as a source of major disturbance. He therefore set machinery in motion to undermine Ezeokoli’s influence and popularity by introducing a rival sect, the R.C.M in Nnobi As it has always been with Awuda quarter, early Anglican converts met with diabolical oppositions from some of their
fellow kinsmen who went in sympathy with Ezeomeishukwu who went all out to bring in the Roman Catholic Mission as an instrument to fight a rival Anglican warrant Chief whose Christian group the C.M.S has strongly dominated Ngo and Ebenesi quarters respectively and gaining more grounds in the remaining of his, the Awuda quarters.
Chief Solomon Ezeokoli having been elevated to the rank of paramount chief as well as the founder and president of Nnobi nature court, came up with a counter strategy by decentralizing the Anglican Communion in Nnobi by planting churches in Ebenesi quarter through the rebuilding in 1914 of the defunct church “Uka Amaefuna” which collapsed in 1906 under the leadership of Chief Abraham Arinze on the ruins of the first church building of 1906 where the present St. Paul’s Church Ebenesi is today.
In 1915, Chief Solomon Ezeokoli took up the work of building the St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Awuda and with the kind gesture of Ezeokeanya Nwabueze (Chief Abraham Arinze’s brother - in law), land was freely donated for the building of the first church which was completed that same year as services commenced there with Mr. Moses Ntika (Now Aniegbu) from Amichi as the first Catechist –all courtesy of Chief Solomon Ezeokoli and the UKa Eke evangelism adherents of Awuda that include fathers like Daiel Ekwufolu, John Ekwufolu, Samson Metu, Simon Ezunagu, Izuegbunam Ezuragu, Fredrick Ukeje Okokwo Ezeokeanya Nwabueze, Jonathan Ezewudo, Ebenezer Okachukwu, Nelson Nwosu, Okeke Ogbujingidi Uchedili, Moses Okafor, Hezekiah Obi, Ngolu Ezeoke, Elijah Odunukwe, Benson Ezewudo, Okeke Omenkwu, Onuagbala Okeakpu,
Josiah Onyaogulu, Josiah Okaekwu, Barnabas Ezeonu. Barthemeuos Uzuafor, Alenxander Nduka, Isaah Umechukwu including their wives too. These were men who bequeathed determination, perseverance, sense of mission and dynamic traits still existing in St. Andrew’a Church, Awuda Nnobi to this day
It is noteworthy that in 1915, the following Awuda patriots, who with their counterparts from St. Simon’s Church formed Uka Eke evangelism: viz Samson Ezunagu, Daniel Ekwufolu, Samson Metu, Izuegbunam Ezunagu, John Ekwufolu, Abel Okoye etc decided to bring home to Awuda this light that has started shinning around ; “Oku-Onwufolu Chi”, the lamp used by early missionaries: A.C. Onyeaboand Miss Hornby known as “Ojiugo” for her beautiful fair complexion. Thus under the supervision of Mr. Moses Ntika from Amichi, they commenced worshipping during Martins at St. Simon’s Ngo on Sundays and their evening services (evensong) at Awuda under a thatch buiding sited on a land donated by Abanefo Ezeokanya Nwabueze a new convert. From this piece of land they performed exploits as Uka Eke evangelism, moving from house to house and market places spreading the gospel with their popular song “Jesus nazoputa” infact the Belfry was sited on Anieke, a diety believed to punish couples who copulated on Eke days. They over ran the deity, planted Mango trees on the land and made it possible for people to now pass through it unmolested spiritually or otherwise. The motor road through which you now enter the church premises is part of it.
The gigantic and magnificent new church building started in 1985 attests to the determination and sense of mission for which St. Andrews Anglican Church Awuda had been known since inception in 1915, when they had the first church building , modified in 1927 with a mud pulpit.
The vision of the modern church building was initially conceived by late Messrs. Josiah Ogwu Metu and Charles Nwabueze who during their tenures as Chairman and Treasurer respectively of t he general Home and abroad members meeting of the church . Nevertheless, work did not start properly until years after when, under Bazaar set up, Samuel Nwabueze and Goddy Okaekwu made spark donations to rekindle this dream . Thus under Catechist Enoch Ejikeme of Ojoto, the home of and abroad meeting led by Mr. Levi Okpala (Eziifedinma), Charles Nwabueze, B.J. Ezenwudo & Co, a building committee, was convened in 1985 Festus Iweka Ezunagu was elected chairman building committee, with late Mr. Charles Nwabueze as works supervisor. Other members were Edwin Dunu, Ude Metu Beniah Metu, B. J. Ezewudo, Anthony Ibewelu, Rev’d Stephen Dozie Ekwufolu and Micah Onyeogulu. The committee decided that it was no longer expedient to construct the usual oblong structure which may eventually call for early demolition and replacement within the first decade of dedication.
The foundation laying ceremony of the church was laid during the tenure of Ven. P.N. Ukachukwu the then Archdeacon of Nnobi Archdeaconry, Mr. Albert Udememezue (church teacher St. Andrew’s Church Awuda Nnobi),
by his Lordship Rt. Rev. Dr. Jonathan Arinze chukwu Onyemalukwe on Monday 24th April, 2000. the church was dedicated by His Grace, the Most Rev. Dr. J.A. Onyemelukwe visit to this new church building, reveals instantly that in any computation of the modern standards of aesthetic excellence, the said building scores very high.
It is worthy of note to recognize and appreciate the efforts of late Mr. Micheal Onyeogulu the one and only indigenous Choir master, for over 40 years may his soul rest in peace.
A century is a year when people celebrate something important that happened one hundred years earlier. For a church to celebrate her centenary, it is a God given period for total rehabilitation and assessment for Awuda Nnobi Christians 30th December, 2015 therefore was greater than any other day with the celebration of 100 years of existence as a church . We therefore thank God for the gift of people of this parish, people with talent, dogged will, substance and potentialities. To God be the Glory.
LIST OF PARISH PRIESTS
1. Rev’d B.C. Momah 1999 (1st Priest)
2. Rev’d Can. J. Ochuba 2000 – 2001
3. Rev’d A. Echefudike 2002 – 2003 (Now Late)
4. Rev. Henry Okoye 2004 -2007 (Now Late)
5. Rev. Chidi Chukwukelu 2008
6. Rev. Can. Iyke Egbuonu 2009 (Now Rev. Can)
7. Rev. Ikechukwu Elobisis 2010 - 2014 (Now Ven.)
8 Rev. Izuchukwu Ndubisi 2015 – 2017 (Now Rev. Can.)
9. Rev. Ugochukwu Onukaegbe 2017 – 2019
10. Rev. Ugochukwu Nweke July 2019 – Date
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->1. <!--[endif]-->Late Rev’d Stephen Ekwufolu
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->2. <!--[endif]-->Ven. Moses N. Ekwufolu
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->3. <!--[endif]-->Ven. Samuel A. Ezewudo
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->4. <!--[endif]-->Rev’d Festus C. Nnabuike
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->5. <!--[endif]-->Rev. Chinedu Agbazue
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->6. <!--[endif]-->Rev. Okpala Tony
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->7. <!--[endif]-->Rev. Arinze Nwokike
HISTORY OF ST. PETER’S ANGLICAN CHURCH, UMUAGU NGO NNOBI.
In the year 1990, move was made to establish St. Simon’s Anglican Church extension in Mbana Umuagu, Nnobi when late Rev. Canon B.N Okeke visited his members who live within this area popularly known as Mbana Umuagu. He was led and assisted by his “Pastors Warden Mr. Obichili Emmanuel. He visited many of his members. The space given was very much limited to put the names here one by one . It was an indelible pastoral visit that led to discovery of the difficulties that his flocks were encountering coming to the church . Services and other programmes being done at St. Simon’s Anglican Church and saw the need of planting the church down here. To the will of God, he could not actualize his vision before he retired but made it known to his successor late Ven. P.N. Ukachukwu in 1992.
Moreover, two men in person of Mr. Jerome Ogbuonyalu (Sanction) and Chief Stephen Ochiagha (Omemgbo) hearing of the pastoral and proposal to plant Church at Mbana Umuagu. They decided to take a bull by the horn; they met late Rev. B.N Canon Okeke who wrote a letter demanding a portion of land from Agu-Umuagu which was sent to the chairman Umuagu Brothers Association late DPO Pius Ochiagha through the two men.
In August 1991, late D.P.O Pius Ochiagha read the letter to the UBA Executive that Umuagu Anglican Community are demanding a portion of land to erect a church building at Agu Umuagu it was supported by late Mr. Emmanuel Nwanjika, late Mr. Godfrey Nnoli late Mr. Ephraim Uzoewulu. Infact, all members of Anglican Community supported the request. At the general meeting there was much opposition from Catholic Community members and for this two portion of land was set out for each community.
In 1994, series and series of meetings were held with the PCC members and late P.N.Ukachukwu.
On 10th April, 1994 (Easter Sunday) the Ven. P.N. Ukachukwu announced to the hearing of all the congregation at St. Simon’s Anglican Church that by January 1996, there will be planting of Church at Mbana Umuagu. This was accepted by a lot of members including their guest speaker and indigenous priest Rev. John Ekwue some of the members from Mbana Umuagu jubilated on the announcement made. Committee for the planting of church was set up which was headed by late Lay-reader. Alex Nwachukwu assisted by Elder Prince Jerry Ezeokoli.
In 1995, they were inaugurated in t he 1st Sunday of January.
The first challenges the Committee had was the place of worship on Sundays. Many offered spaces in their houses. The one accepted was that of Late Mr. Peter Nwabugwu’s one half of his building ground floor, for the Adult Services while upstairs was for children’s services.
On the 14th day of January 1996, the Church was planted by Ven. P.N. Ukachukwu at late Mr. Peter Nwabugwu’s house.
In the first service only few members attended service. Moreover after service, Ven. Ukachukwu called on members to wait. He shared and allocated duties to the members.
On 21st January, 1996 work began in earnest members responded faithfully and positively.
On Saturday, 21st December, 1996 the church held its first General Harvest and Bazaar.
In the year 1998 on the 13th January, being Tuesday late Archbishop J.A. Onyemelukwe gave the name of which she bears till today as God directed him ST PETER’S ANDLICAN CHURCH UMUAGU NGO NNOBI because it was the name of the man who offered his house to be used as John Mark’s mother’s house i.e. Mr & Mrs Peter Nwabugwu. All the members accepted the name. Many more donation continued to flow into the church.
God in His infinite mercies sent us a local church helper in t he person of Mr. Charles Oraelosi on January 2000 by Archdeacon Ven. A.I. Ibe.
In 2001, Mr. Linus Akudolu (now ordained priest) in the diocese was sent to the church as the first church teacher. He stayed from 2001 to 2006
In the year 2006, Mr Chukwudi Ezeh was posted to be the second church Teacher.
In the year 2008 the third church teacher was posted to the church in person of Mr. Peter Nnake.
In the same year 2008, Ven. R.U. Obiekwe attended his first service and was able to realize 50 bags of cement for the unplastered part of the Church.
In the year 2009, Mr. Chikadibia was posted to church as fourth church teacher. He worked in the administration of Ven. R.U.Obiekwe.
From the church he entered into Divinity Course, to be a priest
In the year 2009 and in August women‘s 1st General meeting was held in the year 2010 Mr. Chikadibia Okeke highlighted the Church members on the dedication of their church through the suggestion made by Ven. R.U. Obiekwe. The Church saw it as very vital.
On the juncture, 15 man committee was set out of which Mr Ojukwu Vincent was made to be the chairman of the committee.
In the year 2011, God incited the mind of our new Bishop on t he Niger the son of our soil, the Rt. Rev. Owen Chiedozie Nwokolo set aside 3rd September, 2011 Saturday for the dedication of the church building.
After the dedication more developments had been flowing into the church.
In the year 2015 on the 2nd January the laying of Foundation Stone for the workers house or parsonage was done by his Lordship Rt. Rev. Owen Chiedozie Nwokolo, the Bishop on the Niger Diocese. Building of theis workers’ house was through the suggestion made to the P.C.C by Angus Umeh.
In the year 2016, Eva. Ossy Ugwuegbu took over the matter from Mr. Chikadibia Okeke and built a very beautiful School for the children and other children from other Anglican Church was baptized with the name St. Peter’s Bright Future International Nursery/Primary School.
Mr Ossy Ugwuegbu left the church on transfer to another church and handed over to Evan. Elkana Ubakama who is still in the church engineering the members of the church to be more energetic over getting their minds ready to worship God always. The school was established in the academic year 2016/2017. The headmistress of the school is Mrs Kate Ojukwu. The school headmistress management the controller Evang. Elkana Ubakamma.
Notwithstanding, it was on record that many personalities conttibuted immeasurably, immensely, indefatigably, materially, morally, spiritually, physically, socially and otherwise to progress and promotion to the Church but based more to the church leaders and indigenous priests for the lack of space..
(A) THE CHURCH LEADERS:
(i) Lay Reader Alex Nwachukwu - 1996 -1999
(ii) Mr. Charles C. Oraelosi (Now Rev. ) - 2000
(iii) Mr. Linus Akudolu (now Rev.) - 2001 – 2005
(iv) Mr. Chukwu Eze - 2006 – 2007
(v) Mr. Chukadibia Okeke (now) Rev’d - 2009 – 2015
(vi) Evan. Ossy Ugwuegbu - 2016 – 2017
(vii) Evan. Elkana Ubakam - 2018
B INDIGENOUS PRIESTS:
(i) Rev. Iyke Samuel Okudo
(ii) Rev. Ken Chukwugozie Okeakpu
(iii) Rev. Ephraim Nwaolisa
(iv) Rev. Ven. Chigozie Aniukwu
(v) Rev. Ebere F. Ojukwu
(vi) Rev. Ikenna Nwolisa
(vii) Rev. Azubike Okudo
(viii) Rev. Johnson Iwuamaeze
“ To God be the Glory “
“Long live Niger Diocese”
“Long live Nnobi Arch.”
“Long live St. Simon Anglican Church Nnobi
“Long live St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Nnobi.
Compiled by :-
1. Mr. Ojukwu David C.
2. Evan. Elkana Ubakamma (the Church Teacher)
BRIEF HISTORY OF ST. PAUL’S ANGLICAN CHURCH EBENESI,
ACTIVITIES OF THE C.M.S AT EBENESI NNOBI LOCATION AND COMPOSITION OF EBENESI NNOBI
Nnobi is in Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State. Ebenesi is one of the three major quarters in Nnobi . The others are Ngo and Awuda. Ebenesi is the eldest and is bounded to the South by Nnewi, to the North by Ngo, Nnobi, to the east by Awka-Etiti and to the West by Awuda, Nnobi.
Ebenesi, is intersected by roads that pass from Nnokwa to Nnewi and from Ekwulobia to Nkpor through Afor Nnobi market. There are six villages viz: Umuona, Amadunu, Ifite, Ubaha, Umuhu and Umuafor. The first three make up what is referred to as “Uhuani” while the last three consist of what is referred to as Ebenato.
St. Paul’s Anglican Church is occupying a spot almost central to all the six villages.
THE FIRST CONTACT
C.M.S. had an outpost that was active and thriving at Obosi early in this century. By 1900 they had established so well that many of the Obosi citizens were educated and many more converted and were busy as traders. Also at the time, around 1901 the Royal Niger Company had a trading station at Onitsha and people were trekking to Onitsha through Obosi to sell palm produce and to buy fish with other imported general goods. The contact of Ebenesi, Nnobi with such traders brought in Christianity.
It came in 1906 through a palm produce dealer from Onitsha alled Mr. John Amalunweze, a Christian convert who had become an eloquent preacher opened a palm produce depot at Nnobi in 1906 and used the house of Chief Ibah Nwalie at Umushim (Amadunu). Chief Ibah Nwalie was made the first warrant Chief of Ebenesi in 1905 when the first Whiteman was said to had visited Nnobi. Apart from the routine business deals in palm produce at Chief Nwalie’s house, Mr. Amalunweze often used the house to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to his customers. He attracted some few converts and they started worshipping at Chief Nwalie’s house. Although Chief Nwalie was never converted to Christianity he was interested in the progress of both the produce trade and Christian evangelism which used his house as a base. Reports had it that as the number of converts grew, Chief Nwalie provided them with a plot of land where they set up a thatched church building. That was still in 1906.
The thatched church building was situated where the present St. Paul’s Nursery School is located. It was then popularly known as “Uka Ama-Efuna” in reference to its closeness to the Amaefuna’s compound. At this time the members of the young church included Eze Ikesebe, Mr. Okwulogu, Mr. Gideon Agu, Mr. Ezenabo, Mr. Ezulum and Eze Agbudugbu to mention a few. In those days it was said that the worship seemed funny as the congregation mispronounced some words, for example, when the teacher says “ka aha gi din so” in Our Lord’s prayers, the congregation repeated “Agbangidi nso” So some people also called the converts “Ndi uka agbangidi nso”
The church continued but unfortunately, however, the plot of land where the church was situated caused a serious misunderstanding within the family of the donor and so one night, Umeasi, a junior brother of Chief Nwalie burnt down the church building. That was in 1908. The members of the church scattered and the worship stopped abruptly. Although the church was suddenly discontinued in 1908, its effect, coupled with the fact that Ebenesi is traditionally the eldest quarter of Nnobi gave rise to slogan “Ebenesi No 1.”
THE SECOND CONTACT
Shortly after the collapse of the church at Ebenesi, Nnobi, another Anglican Church - The St. Simon’s Anglican Church was established at Ngo, Nnobi in 1908 from obosi through the efforts of Ezeokoli Ezebube and his friend Mr. A.C. Onyeabor. Ezeokoli, the son of Ezebube of Umuagu was by profession a traditional physician (Nwadibia). As the then paramount Chief of Nnobi he was famous for treating many diseases which afflicted people in those days when modern scientific methods of treating diseases had not been introduced effectively in this area. He used Obosi as one of his temporary base to attend to his numerous clients.
During Ezeokoli’s frequent visits to Obosi he came into contact with the British Colonial Administrators and Christian Missionaries. At this time the C.M.S Church at Obosi was already very strong.
Unlike other traditional physicians who do not quite like the missionaries because they believed that the Christian teachings of the missionaries was affecting the validity and acceptability of their profession in Igbo society. Chief Ezeokoli accepted the missionaries warmly. Chief Ezeokoli was consequently converted to Christianity at Obosi in 1906 by Mr. Alphonsus C. Onyeabor an indigene of Onitsha serving as a catechist at Obosi. He was baptized and given the name Solomon. Chief Ezokoli and Mr. Onyeabor became friends and according to the records Mr. Onyeabor started sending gifts to Ezeokoli’s father and the latter in due course invited Onyeabor to Nnobi. It was this visit by Onyeabor in1908 that served as that watershed of Christianity in Nnobi.
He was said to have arrived with commodities like lamp, kerosene, matches, rice, biscuit, etc which Nnobi people considered strange. We remember that the people of Nnobi then called the bush lamp “Oku Onwufoluchi” (a light which could stay on till day break). The report – A history of the Anglican mission in Nnobi, stated that many people gathered to see this wonderful lamp in the house of Ezeobube. It afforded Mr Onyeabor the opportunity to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and many people became converted.
As soon as t he good news of the success of the Anglican mission at Nnobi reached Onitsha, the headquarters sent a young British Missionary called Miss A. Hornby to reside in Nnobi in order to nurture the young Anglican Church planted by Mr. Onyeabor Miss Hornby was warmly received at Nnobi and the records show that she was given a local name “OjiUgo.” She circulated very well from one part of Nnobi to another, she mixed freely with the people, visiting them in their homes and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to them. She won so many converts including aome women and men from Ebenesi. Some of these women like Naomi Chukwuka and Margaret Etudo Snr. Were reputed to go to Ngo to worship often hiding their dresses with cocoyam leaves.
Immediately St. Simon’s Anglican Church was established at Ngo, old and new converts from Ebenesi attended the new church.At that time also C.M.S. Station at Uruagu Nnewi was thriving as it had arrived there through Oraifite as far back as 1893. Most weddings at this time were conducted at St. Mary’s Uruagu for the converts from Ebenesi Nnobi. However, due to inter village wars between Uruagu and Nnewi Ichi, the early missionaries withdrew and went back to Obosi but then they had trained out some converts to a point where they became teachers and interpreters. By 1909 Mr John Kanu from Aro Ndizogu had been posted to serve as Catechist at St. Simon’s Anglican Church Ngo, Nnobi. Between 1909 and 1914 most devout Ebenesi men and women worshipped at St. Simon’s Church Ngo which had continued to grow in strength.
In 1914, the St. Paul’s Anglican Church Ebenesi which collapsed in 1906 was rebuilt by the converts from Ebenesi under the leadership of Chief Abraham Arinze who was Chief Ezeokoli’s maternal uncle. The church building was once again erected on the ruins of the first church building, which was destroyed in 1906. Mr. Ephrim Udoye from Uruagu, Nnewi was posted to this new church as its first catechist in 1914. Mr. Menakaya, the late father of the famous Dr. T. Menakaya of the Menax Hospital of Umunya was posted in January1917. The church was then built with mud and had thatched roof. The walls were regularly scrubbed and beautified by some women some of whom were not yet converted to Christianity but were married to men who have been converted. Such women like Ugoji Ikesebe, Mrs. N. Chukwuka and Mrs. M. Okpara to perform this function.
St. Paul’s Anglican church at Ebenesi continued t o grow in strength and converts continued worshipping in t he thatched house until 1932 when the foundation of a more befitting church was laid. The new church was constructed directly opposite the new parsonage on a portion of land jointly donated by the Ikebotu, Ezeofia and Nwosu families. The building of this church was supervised by Mr. Isaiah Okeke. Records show that the roof of the building was put up by Messrs Daniel Umeji, Fredrick Unachukwu, Jonathan Onyiagha, Wilson Okpala, Ishmael Okafor, Simon Okonkwo to mention a few. These men were contractors and they came back from Makurdi to do this job in their home church free.
When Mr. Udoye left the services of the church he was replaced by Mr. Nwasike who was formerly serving at St. Mary’s Akwa-Etiti. He stayed three years and was replaced by Mr. Udeh who was popularly called “Udeh Onu Mpe.”
It is important to note that the chrch building started in 1932 waas dedicated in April 1936. Some of the foundation members (i.e. the late generation members) include Chief Abraham Arinze, Mr. James Okeke, Isaac Arinze, Mr. Enoch Okafor Etudo, Simeon Ifemeludike, Matthew Obiaku, Zephnaiah Okafor, Elijah Obikudu Ifionu, Alfred Ngwuakpu, Thomas Madueme, Joshua Okpala, Lazarus Chukwuka, Benjamin Nwokolo, David Achuka, George Okafor, Ben Ezenwa, Joseph Okpala, Joseph Obiaku, Samuel Ikebotu, Andrew Chukwuka, Jeremiah Ifemedike, Theo Osilike , Aaron Nzewi, Nathaniel Nwawelu, Edward Dunu, Richard Onwuka,
Jacob Ezenyem, Eleazar Okafor, Herbert Onyiagha, Mrs. Eunice Okeke, Mrs. J. Arinze, Mrs M. Ezenyem, Mrs Dorcas Nwenyi, Mrs. Fanny Okafor and Mrs. Edna Chukwuka, etc
In these early days the great majority of the citizens of Nnobi were idol worshippers Juju shrines abound and juju priests wilded a lot of powere . Some of these dreaded shrines then include Aho, Idemili Nwa Onyeushi, Ukpaka Ndam, Udo Umuhu, Udezuna, Udide, Udo Agbom. These shrines were venues of captivating programmes and their priest terrorized the citizenry psychologically, it therefore , took super human courage for the early converts to attend church worship and to undertake development programmes for the church . These men and women demonstrated a great act of faith in 1937 when they cleared the great “Ichie abia groove” This faith continued to revitalize members of the Anglican Communion in Nnobi in general and Ebenesi in particular
Also, during this period the deification of “Eke” (the phyton was in vogue. Nnobi people like most people in Onitsha province then were worshipping these snakes as their agents of Chukwu who they approached fro protection, freedom from calamities, drought etc. Thus “Eke” Idemili” was held in very high spiritual esteem. Any misdemeanor within the community was believed to be visited with wrath of “Eka.” It was regarded as a favorite spirit watching over the whole of Nnobi. |Thus then, it was sacrilegious for any person from Nnobi to kill the python. In fact any man who killed it accidentally must inform the Chief and must give it a
befitting burial. If it was found dead from natural causes the priests will be notified and they take care of its disposal in a most “reverent manner”
Story has it that in 1939 a man named Nathaniel, a new Christion convert from Ngo killed the snake and used its meat to prepare his meal. When the act was confirmed the “Inyom Nnobi” in nudity went to Onitsha to lodge their complaints to the resident officer. At the sight of the spectacle the officer ran away. When he later discovered what happened he authorized the women to avenge their sorrow in their customary way. The women went back to Nnobi singing ferocious songs. Om reaching Nathaniel’s house they could not find him. They burnt his house and performed the “Ituaja” rite on him. This story was narrated to show the hostile atmosphere in Nnobi during the period early Christion converts functioned. This was a period when the seven principal Agwus oin Nnobi “Ebo awu isa” were wielding tremendous influence too. These converts were therefore, men of great faith and courage. They exercised the power our Almighty God, the father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ invested on them and took dominion of all creatures. They demystified the reverence to all these idols and enthroned the worship of the only true God. Their early activities have continued to sustain the church.
Ebenesi Primary School: The school was established by the CMS in 1915. It was established and called St. Psul’s CMS School, nnobi. It started as one teacher infant classes one and two. After the infant classess 1 and 2, the pupils went to St. Simon’s CMS School, now called Centra School, Nnobi, for standard one to six. Later, the school rose up from infant classes
to standard one to four. After standard four, the pupils still went up St. Simon’s CMS for Standard five to six. St. Paul’s CMS School later rose to standard six and got approval to take First School Leaving Certificate Examination.
The school was completely managed by the Church. Unfortunately, however, after the civil war in 1970, Government took over the school and the name was changed to Ebenesi Primary School, Nnobi.
Some of the head teachers who headed the school include:
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->1. <!--[endif]-->Mrs. Margaret Etudo
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->2. <!--[endif]-->Mrs. Chikeluba
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->3. <!--[endif]-->Mr. Okokwo
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->4. <!--[endif]-->Mr. Megwalu
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->5. <!--[endif]-->Mrs. Ifemeludike
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->6. <!--[endif]-->Mr. Linus Ezedum
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->7. <!--[endif]-->Mr. L.Chikobi
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->8. <!--[endif]-->Mrs. M.C.Okolue 1977 - 1999
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->9. <!--[endif]-->Mrs. P.N.Ezeanya
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->10. <!--[endif]-->Mrs. J.I.Udeaja
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->11. <!--[endif]-->Mrs. C.N. Umeh 1992 – 1994 (retired from service)
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->12. <!--[endif]-->Mrs. W. U. Umeh 1995 – 2007 (transferred in 2007)
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->13. <!--[endif]-->Mrs. N. Ezeimo 2008 2010 (transferred in 2010)
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->14. <!--[endif]-->Lady M.C.Mkpajide 2010 – 2013 (retired in 2013 from service)
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->15. <!--[endif]-->Mrs. Nkoli Ogbuka 2013 – 2018
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->16. <!--[endif]-->Mrs. Pauline Oti 2019
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->17. <!--[endif]-->Mr. Edith Anigbogu 2019
THE JOURNEY TO DISTRICT STATUS
THE DEFUNCT ST. PAUL’S ANGLICAN DISTRICT, EBENESI
In the early years of the church St. Paul’s Anglican Church Ebenesi was part of the Nnobi group of churches in the Nnewi District (St. Mary’s Uruagu District) . In 1938, the St. Simon’s Anglican Church Nnobi was elevated to the status of a parish and St. Paul’s Anglican Church Ebenesi and St. Andrew’s Anglican Church Awuda formed part of the Parish. Rev. Agori Iwe who served from 1938 – 1939 was the first priest of the parish. He was followed by Rev. A.N. Ekpunobi (1944 – 45)
In 1947 St. Paul’s with other 15 churches were excised from Nnewi district and they became St. Simon’s District Nnobi with Rev. J.A. Iwuora as the priest in charge. The St. Simon’s Anglican Church was the district headqurters which looked after all the Anglican Churches in Nnobi, Oraukwu, Nnoka, Awka –Etiti, Azigbo, Ekwulumili, Unubi, Amichi, Osumenyi, Ebenato , Ezifinite, Utu and Akwaijedi etc.
St. Pauls’s Church remained under the St. Simon’s District until 1970 when it was granted A District Status. Rev. A. C. Odilora was installed as the first superintendent on 11 January, 1970 at the end of the Nigeria – Biafra Civil War. The late Rev. David Nwosu succeeded Rev. Odilora as the second priest of the district. The district status was however, revoked later by the Diocese because of acute shortage of priests many of whom had gone back to their old stations at the end of the war. St. Paul’s Anglican Church Ebenesi was sent back to St. Simon’s District. However, by this time the
Church had grown tremendously. A statistic of the church in Diocesan records of 1971 showed as follows:
Laymen and women = 8
Communicants = 565
Baptized adults for the year = 70
Baptized children for the year = 48
Catechumens = 5
Total = 688
The same record showed that 308 scholars were registered in Sunday school.
THE PRESENT ST. PAUL’S ANGLICAN CHURCH PARISH, EBENESI , NNOBI
The church building where the first district operated was considered unfit and inadequate for the growing congregation. Thus a new church building was embarked upon. At the same time under Ven . P.N. Ukachukwu as series of negotiations took place and St. Paul’s Anglican Church Ebenesi came out again as a one Church District. Rev. V.I. Igwebike was sent to be first District Superintendent of this Second District. The new District was inaugurated on Sunday 7th February, 1993 by the Bishop on the Niger . The Rt. Rev. Dr. J.A. Onyemelukwe. The journey to this second elevation started with a motion moved in the men’s General Meeting of July 1992 to the effect that the church should apply fr a district status. Even though the church was not so sure that the application could go through. Pleasantly however, by the December, 1992 Meeting of the men’s General Meeting the feedback was positive and the news was that application had
been granted. There was great jubilation and ovation at hat meeting. It meant that from then the church started acting as an independent church district for the second time in her history. Rev. V.I.Igwebike stayed on the job for four years piloting the affairs of the young district. He left in 1996. In January, 1997 Rev. J.O.I Nweke and Mr. Patrick Onwuzulike (Caterchist) were posted to the district. They showed total commitment, zeal, competence and courage in the discharge of their duties. The journey of the church so far, even though painfully tortuous has yielded enormous fruits.
THE PRESENT CHURCH BUILDING, THE PARSONAGE, FURTHER FUNDAMENTAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE CHURCH AND THE PRESENT REMODELLING OF THE CHURCH.
Shortly after the Nigerian –Biafra civil was, some active members of St. Paul’s Church observed that the church dedicated in 1936 was fast becoming unfit and inadequate for its growing congregation. The church built with mud blocks was ageing and gradually getting unsafe for people to worship in . In 1972, Mr. E.D.C Etudo the then district treasurer initiated a move to acquire land for a new church building. He approached the families of Timothy oliaku, Josiah Ogbuka and Umeji and requested them to sell their lands where the present church is located to St. Paul’s Church. He got a positive response and a committee was formed and he was the chairman. The other members of the committee were: Josiah Ogbuka, S.C. Ikebotu, Isaiah Ogbuefi and W.A Arinze. They overcame all oppositions from within and outside the church and acquired the land from Timothy Oliaku’s family on 25th July, 1972 at £200.00. The land from Josiah Ogbuka’s family was acquired on 6th August, 1972 at £150.00while the land from Umeji family was acquired on 24th August, 1972 at £200.00. All the Nnobi traditional ceremonies needed in buying and selling of land including the traditional killing of goat (Igbu ewu ani) were duly performed on the land. On 3rd June, 1974 the church purchased another portion of land from Fredrick Umeasi family at ₦546.50 and performed all the necessary ceremonies. This portion of land was offered to the school in exchange for another piece of land at a portion more comfortable to the church.
The plan for the new church building was drawn by an Aba Based plan maker (draughtsman). The contract for the construction of the new church building was first awarded to Mr. Amos Ndubisi of Alor, then it was later awarded to Danson Construction Ltd. Owned by a building contractor from Uke, when Amos could not interpret the drawings. The work started in 1976 under the supervision of Mr. E.D.C. Etudo, Mr. Christopher O. Okongwu (Odika Ehihie) was the Chairman of the Building Committee at this period and Mr. Nnuriam was the catechist in charge of the church. A separate fund for the construction of the church was created and members of the church were graded and requested to contribute money towards the building according to the gradings. After the foundation stage the builders Mr. Amos Ndubisi and Co. could not continue the construction work due to some problems in interpreting the building plan. Engr. A.U.J. Ezinmo a son of St. Paul’s Church Ebenesi who was a famous engineer was contacted and he redesigned the church building gratis. The construction work the n continued under Danson Construction Ltd.
The construction work which was collectively started with great determination and zeal did not however progress as expected . Several problems which included internal crises kept on interrupting the progress of the work. We shall not delve into these problems here. The summary of the whole episode is that the devil is never happy when the work of God is progressing. When Mr. C.O. Okongwu died, Mr. L.C. Okpala took over the Chairmanship of the building committee. He resigned after three months and he was replaced by Mr. H.C. Obiaku. Work on the building continued
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at a very slow pace until 1988 when Mr. O.I Afamefuna (popularly called “Nna anyi Abraham”) was the catechist. At that time the old church building was at the verge of collapsing. Mr. Afamefuna summoned up courage and with great faith he proposed a date when the church services will be transferred to the new building. The church was roofed and church service was held within the building on the proposed date. The foundation stone of this new church was laid on 22nd October, 1988 by His Lordship, the Rt. Rev. J.A.Onyemelukwe, the Bishop on the Niger. Mr. Rowland C. Okpala was the chairman of the planning committee fir the foundation laying ceremony. The building plan was further modified in 1989 by Engr. Ifeanyi Agu – another son of St. Paul’s Church Ebenesi. The modification which became necessary was in order to make the building meet up with the modern designs and gratis. Mr. E.D.C. Etudo also contributed some ideas in modifying and adjusting the construction of the building. From 1988 to 1990 the construction of the church witnessed an impressive progress. It is worthy of note that the terrazzo on the church floor was done as a donation by the St. Paul’s Women General Meeting which celebrated their golden jubilee anniversary in August,1997. The Men General Meeting installed the hand rail and the generating set. These were done during the time Mr. Emma. Ezenyem was the Chairman.
As we mentioned earlier, St. Paul’s Church Ebenesi was again granted a district status in 1993 as a one church district with Rev. Igwebike as the superintendent. In the address presented to the Bishop during the inauguration of the district, St. Paul’s Church promised among other things that we are going to build a befitting parsonage and that the church building will soon be completed and be ready for dedication. At the end of 1996, the church building still had no ceiling and was not yet painted. The old pulpit inherited from the old church building was still being used, and the seats which were inherited from the old church were the only seats available for the congregation. Some other aspects to the building were yet to be completed . Rev. Igwebike left at the end of 1996. He was replaced by both Rev. J.O.I Nweke and Mr.Onwuzulike P.
(Catechist) in January 1997. Rev. Nweke showed a great deal of concern and commitment towards th completion of th building and the building committee headed by Sir. Simon Omekaodinma and the Parochial Church Committee cooperated with him. Mr. Onwuzulike also played a key role in this development of the church.
On 28 December, 1997 Rev. Nweke called for donations towards the ceiling of the building during the church service. Ven. Sam. Chukwuka who earlier in the year had presented a new pulpit to the Church during his thanksgiving service for his installation as Archdeacon joined Rev. Nweke in making the call. Ezeume who was also present joined in the call. By the grace of God people responded to the call, and cash as well as pldges higher than the estimated cost of the building was realized. Our God is a miracle working
God. The ceiling was done in 1998 and shortly after the ceiling, Mr. Ebube Etudo single handedly painted the church building. Earlier in the year, it was estimated that forty new seats were needed in the church . Rev. Nweke called for donation of seats and individuals and organizations in the church responded . A contract was awarded for the construction of the forty seats. The seats were completed in January 1999. Rev. Nweke achieved rapid success in connection with the building project. His charming public relationship and commitment to duty served as a great source of motivation and inspiration to the children of God. Rev. Nweke, the building committees then headed by Sir Simon Omekaodinma, the Church Committee, and Mr. Patrick Onwuzulike (the Catechist) also succeeded because they always used the money generated for what it was meant for. The church building was dedicated on February 14, 1999.
Members of St. Paul’s Anglican Church Ebenesi promised to build a befitting parsonage in 1992 when they applied for the district status. During the inauguration of the district in 1993 they reaffirmed the promise.
The foundation of the parsonage was made in 1993 by the by the first Superintendent Rev. V.I Igwebuike. The construction work however stopped after the foundation due mainly to lack of funds.
Construction resumed in 1997. In November 1998 when some delegates led by Rev. J.O.I. Nweke visited the Arch Bishop, His Grace, the Most Rev. (Dr) J.A. Onyemelukwe to fix a date for the dedication of the church building, they yielded to the Arch Bishop’s persuasion that the Parsonage will be dedicated at the same with the church building on February 14th, 1999. They raised the tempo of work on the parsonage. By the end of December, 1998 the parsonage had no roof but by January 20th, 1999 it had been roofed , plastered and frenzied efforts were made and by the grace of God the set goal was achieved and the set goal was achieved and the parsonage was also dedicated on February 14th, 1999 under Rev. J.O.I Nweke.
FURTHER FUNDAMENTAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE CHURCH
Rev. J.O.I. Nweke was transferred in 2001, and was replaced by Rev. Canon C. Umeakafor (who is now late). During the period of Rev. Canon C. Umeokafor, the parish Clerk’s Office was equipped with manual typewriter and cyclostyling machine. The church generating set was also reactivated and an under-ground water tank was constructed for harvesting and storage of rain water. The fencing of the parsonage started during Rev. Canon Umeokafor’s time. It was between 2001 and 2003 during Rev. Canon Umeokafor’s time that an initiative to build a two storey building expected to be a hall was taken. The foundation was started in front of the parsonage. Th building did not however continue after the foundation due to some fundamental logistics.
In 2004, Rev. Canon Umeokafor was transferred and was replaced by Rev. C.Okechukwu. During the short period, Rev. Okechukwu stayed (2004- 2005) the fencing of the parsonage and the entire school compound together with the new Nursery and Primary School was completed.
When Rev. C. Okechukwu was transferred in 2005, Rev. E. Amugo took over as the superintendent of St. Paul’s Parish. Rev. Amugo also superintended over the church for only one year: 2005-2006. During his period of stay, the entrance gate to the parsonage was constructed and fixed. Also, over-head tanks were constructed at the parsonage and the church compound for water distribution at the parsonage, and for the effective cleaning of the church.
As Rev. E. Amugo left on transfer in 2007, Rev. Canon E. Okoye arrived and served as the superintendent of St. Paul’s Parish till 2009. During his period, the floor of the parsonage was tiled. It is during this period that some good spirited members of St. Paul’s Church who cherish working in God’s vineyard made some marvelous donations to the church. One of such children of God constructed and installed marble pulpit , marble lectern and marble reading desk in the church. It was during Rev. Canon E. Okoye’s period that activities was renewed at our church at Ifite (now All Saints Anglican Church, Ifite). The site was again cleared for church activities.
As we send forth Rev. Canon Okoye in December, 2009 Rev. Dr. Fred Nwachukwuma arrived in January, 2009. Rev. Dr. Nwachukwuma arrived with a clear vision and direction and did not allow any form of challenges to distrct him. He introduced the church bulletin and constructed excellent modern (water system) conveniences in the church compound. As he received a vision of a St. Paul that will have at least two other flourishing churches before he leaves it, he reinvigorated the effort to make the church at Ifite grow.
Oftentimes, members of ST. Paul who are not from Ifite are mandated to worship there. Rev. Dr. Nwachukwuma was led by the Holy Spirit to minister the vision of building a church at Ifite to a young flourishing son of St. Paul from Ifite who cherish working in God’s vineyard. The young man – Chief Ebuka Okafor , son of Felix Okafor (late) and Mrs. Eunice Okafor accepted to build a church at Ifite. Chief Ebuka Okafor started and ultramodern church in 2010 and on December 31, 2012 the ultramodern church that have the capacity of more than 1500 worshippers was dedicated by the Bishop on the Niger, our own son, Rt. Rev. Owen Chidozie Nwokolo. During Rev. Nwachukwuma’s period, a borehole was drilled and a large over-head tank was constructed for effective storage and distribution of water from the borehole. The water is also being used to minister to members especially those who participate in hour of refreshment. The period of Rev. Nwachukwuma, with the assistance of the first school board Chairperson Mrs. Charity Nwokolo, witnessed the proper approval, registration and documentation of St. Paul’s Model Nursery and Primary School with the Anambra State Government, and the beginning of the construction of a magnificent storey building for St. Paul’s Nursery an Primary School. The ground floor, which has taken more than ₦6m, and which consists of classrooms staff Offices has been fully completed and is in use. He re-activated, revitalized and re-positioned the English service, and re-inaugurated the gospel band group.
During this period also, one of the sons of St. Paul beautified the frontage of the church with interlock, and the family of Oliaku donated their piece of land in front of the Parsonage to the church. In appreciation to Oliaku family, the church extended the water from the borehole to them.
In pursuance of his vision of a church at Ebeneator, Rev. Dr. Nwachukwuma initially started a church outreach at Mr. Christopher Obiefuna’s compound at Umuhu on February 5, 2012. The attendance recorded was sixty-five (65) persons and the church collection yielded three thousand, one hundred and fifty Naira (3, 150.00) He pursued the idea of securing a land at Ebenator for the Ebenator church and was already sourcing fund and almost making a commitment of ₦4m for a piece of land at Umuafor before the negotiation turned in way the way the Vicar and the PCC decided to keep it in view. Shortly after this incident, God performed
His Miracle and marvelous deed through the families of Mr. Nelson (late) and Mrs. Gladys Anosike, and Mr. Josiah (late) and Catherine Anosike. They made an uncommon sacrifice (a generational sacrifice) by donating more than two plots of land to St. Paul’s Parish at Umuafor village. While Mrs. Gladys Anosike family donated their own portion of the land unconditionally, the family of Mrs. Catherine Anosike accepted only just a token for their own portion. Several Blocks were molded at the site and a temporary structure was erected and the church started. The Church at Ebenator – now called St. John’s Church Ebenator was formally inaugurated on Sunday April 14, 2013 at the temporary structure for with Mr. Reuben Ezea as the Coordinator. The property is now properly secured by a fence with two (2) standard iron gates. The Church has a convenience facility and also a temporary structure for children service. The family of Late Benson Okpala (Onyeocha Calabar) is constructing a 3-bedroom bungalow meant for the Church Teacher. The bungalow is still at the lintel level. Engr. Earnest Odebeatu (now Rev). And Mr. Ifeanyi Alokwu served as Church Teachers before the current Church Teacher, Mr. Samuel Ikesi. The Church which is making gradual but steady progress started a modern church building in 2018.
The tremendous work of Rev. Dr. Nwachukwuma attracted the attention of the Bishop and on he named him as one of those that will be collated Canon of the Cathedral on September 8, 2013. There is no doubt that the way Rev. Dr. Fred Nwachukwuma touched souls at St. Paul’s, his evangelism and his developmental strides reached the Almighty God as a living sacrifice. God further altered the decision of th bishop and when on September, 8 2013 St. Paul’s members accompanied Rev. Dr. Nwachukwuma to Onitsha for his collation as Canon of the Cathedral, t he bishop instead collated Rev. Dr. Fred Nwachukwuma an Archdeacon. This was to the amazement of those who attended , but with the assistance of his dear wife Mrs. Nwachukwuma; Mr. Samuel Ikesi (Catechist) and wonderful assistance of Ordinand Sylvanus Ugonwenyi. Ven. Dr. Fred Nwachukwuma retired from St. Paul and a send-fort service wa held on January 5, 2014. He was replaced by Rev. Sylvanus Ugonwenyi Rev. S. Ugonwenyi’s stay was brief and he made his modest contributions in the development of the Parish. He started the Zion Secondary School and it was during his tenure as Vicar that St. Paul’s Parish celebrated Centenary Anniversary.
The transfer of Rev. S. Ugonwenyi witnessed the arrival of Rev. Matthew Chukwuneme (Uko Chukwuneme) in 2015. Rev. Chukwuneme has recorded monumental developments in the Parish in both spiritual and physical dimensions. He completed the St. Paul’s Nursery and Primary School building and secured government approval for the School as centre for both First School Leaving Certificate Examination and Common Entrance Examination.
He has been making a lot of improvement on the Zion Secondary School. He started and completed the school secretariat with furnished offices and the School has procured two (2) school buses during his tenure as Vicar. During his tenure the Parish demarcated and equipped Vicar’s office at he parsonage and successfully hosted the Nnobi Archdeaconry Conference in 2017. He pursued vigorously the control of erosion that should have swallowed the parsonage and some classrooms of Ebenesi Primary School and secured the intervention of Anambra State Government.
In May, 2018, the Church still under Rev. Chukwuneme, started the remodeling of the church building. This remodeling has since blossomed into a construction of a new monumental ultramodern church.
THE HARVEST OF LABOURERS
As it is the will of God, St. Paul’s Anglican Church District Ebenesi, Nnobi has contributed her own quota of labourers in the vineyard of God. In a brief scanning of vital areas of her contributions will suffice.
These are professional clergies who help individuals within the congregation achieve their personal acceptance of grace, so that God reveal Himself to the conscience and inner spiritual apprehension of every man . They are the men heeding the call of Jesus Christ to “Go into the world baptizing men in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost”. They are servants of God, sanctified with divine authority and they interpret the words of God and divine will to the people. St. Paul Anglican Church district produced the first Priest in Nnobi the Late Rev. (Canon) F. C. Nwokolo and Rev.W.C. Ifemeludike who were both ordained deacon in December, 1963. To the glory of God, a distinguished vibrant priest who is a son of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Ebenesi Nnobi – Rt. Rev. Sam Chukwuka also became the first Bishop of the Anglican Church Communion from Nnobi. He served as the pioneer bishop of Isiukwuato – Umuunochi Diocese till December 2012 when he voluntary retired meritoriously. In 2010, Ven. Owen Nwokolo, a young unassuming son of Late Canon F.C Nwokolo was to the glory of God enthroned as the 6th Bishop on the Niger. Apart from these landmarks on our harvest of labourers, St. Paul’s Anglican Church has been blessed with numerous outstanding clergy men. The Table below shows a comprehensive list of Anglican Clergy produced by Paul’s Anglican Church, Ebenesi, Nnobi.
Anglican Clergy From St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Ebenesi Nnobi
Date of First Ordination
Current/ Last Status
Canon F.C. Nwokolo
Rev. W.C Ifemelidike
Rev. C.A Onyiagha
Rev. D.M.C. Umeh
Rt. Rev. Sam Chukwuka
Rt. Rev. Owen Nwokolo
Bishop on the Niger
Ven. Engr. Prof. T.C. Madueme
Rev. Emeka Ezeume
Ven. Victor Ibah
Niger-Cem Archdeaconry Ngbo Diocese
Ven. Clement Okoye
Mutum- Buyu Archdeaconry, Diocese of Jalingo
Ven. T. Madunagu
Vicar, Holy Trinity, Akaboukwu, Nnewi
Ven. Samson Ifeanyichukwu Ogbuka, JP
St. John’s Church Umueze Anam
Ven. Ike Chukwuka
Rev. Canon Ifeanyi Chukwuka
Rev. Grateful Umeh
The district produced notable catechists in the persons of Mr. John Mbachu, Mr, S.C. Ikebuotu, Mr. Josiah Okeke, Mr. J. Ifemeludike, Mr. Temple Madunagu (now Ven.) and Mr. Isaiah Ogbuefi, Mr. Emma Ifesie, Mathias Obiakor, etc.
Licensed Lay Readers
St. Paul’s Anglican Church district also has produced lay raders in th person of Mr. A. Chukwuka, Mr. K. Ezeonu, Mr. S. Omekaodinma, Mr. E.C. Nwawelu, Mrs. C. Okwuegbu, Mr. F.C. Z. Okpala, Prof. Micah Osilike, Prof. (Mrs) I.S. Madueme, Mrs. Catherine Anosike, Mr. Martin Nwawelu, Mrs Charity Nwokolo, Mrs. Edith Okafor, Mr. Francis Umeh, Mr, Wilson oliaku etc.
SCHOOL TEACHERA (Retain only Professors)
St. Paul’s Anglican Church parish can boast of men and women in the different professions. They have produced numerous teachers in the different tiers of educational institutions. Among the outstanding teachers include: Mr. Elisha Etudo who was the first Principal Nnobi produced and in fact, one of the first graduates Nnobi produced . It is worth noting that St. Paul’s Women contributed to his education financially. Among the numerous outstanding teachers produced by St. Paul’s Anglican Church Parish , we have the following professors in various tertiary institutions around the world: Prof. M.O Osilike, Prof. O.Agu, Ven Engr. (Prof) T.C. Madueme, Prof. F. C. Okafor, Prof.(Mrs.) i.S. Madueme, Prof. Goddy Onyiagha, Prof. Osita Anyaeche to mention a few.
Furthermore, the church has contributed her quota inll the filds of human endeavours as she has her sons and daughters in government, commercial and health institutions.
In the early days of the church at Ebenesi, there was no organized choir as we have it today. What happened was that there were individuals with good voices who usually introduced tunes during worship. These people chose the tunes for the congregation. Examples of such men were Late Mr. Joseph Oliaku and Late Mr. Timothy Nzewi. However, by 1930s the Church had an organized choir. At this time, one Mr. Ufele the Catechist doubled as choirmaster. He was assisted by Mr. Mbachi. In fact, the choir that sang on the day of the dedication of the old church building still has its choristers among the congregation now. Under Mr Mbachi the choir won shields in singing competitions. The choir was later handled by Mr. Oti a teacher from Central School Ngo. After him came Rev. Canon Felix Nwokolo, now late who took over as the choirmaster. When Felix Nwokolo left, Mr. Edward Etudo took over. He later went down to onitsha as he joined the Christ Church “Choir from where he usually comes home to assist Mr. Micheal Ngwudo who took over from him. Mr. Ngwudo had a long term as choirmaster and the late Mr. David Akubueze also came in to assist him. After Mr. Micheal Ngwudo, in about 1966, the mantle fell on Mr. Peter Okafor, who stayed a long time and was joined in 1980s by another choirmaster by name Mr. Nwokolo, I.G who was a youg graduate. IG as was popularly known introduced modern style of singing and taught the choir so many oratorios Nigro Spiritual, Classical pieces and so many other kinds of Igbo and English Anthems that helped to further raise the standard of the choir, that hey are now the choice of many during different church and traditional ceremonies.
In this onerous task to further improve on the standard of the choir, the then Vicar of the church now Ven. J.O.I Nweke appointed Sir Emmanuel Nwokolo and Mrs. Charity Okwuegbu as choirmaster II ND III respectively to help manage the choir whis is now growing both in size and in strength . This was a result of the fact that Mr. Nwokolo IG was moved to Nnobi Archdeaconry Headquarters St. Simon to raise a standing choir for St. Simon’s Church after which he came back to St. Paul’s Church still the choir master. All these choirmasters/ choir mistress have been playing astute coordinating, inspiring roles in shaping and equipping the choir.
We have had so many chairmen of the choir like Mr. Henry Nwokolo, Mr. Theophilus Okpala and currently Mrs. Ibekwe Ifeyinwa and Chiyere Ikekpeazu as Chairperson and Secretary respectively. The Choir also had good keyboard, which always accompanies it during services. Among the pioneer organists were Mr. Levi Achuka, Mr. Felix Okafor, Engr. Emma Umeh (all of blessed memory) and Sir Prof. Goddy Onyiagha, Mr. Andrew Ifemeludike, Mr. Nwokolo Joel, Miss May Umeh and Ngwudo Patrick.
There were so many notable choristers among our elders, people like Albert ikebese, Robert Umeh, Mrs. M. Onyiagha (all late) and Ndu Madunagu, Ik. Osilike, Madam Caroline Onyiagha to mention a few, also there are other scintillating stars whose solo voice performance enthralled and thrilled the Congregation. Such individuals. Like the Chukwukas (Charity and Mirian) late Caroline Maduekwe, Christiana Onyiagha and presently Master Abuchi Okeke. St. Paul’s choir reached a very important height in t heir performance in1947 and this had been the focus of every generation of chorister. In that year, they represented Nnobi group at the Nnewi District Singing Competition and won. Even now, theystill perform very well in both Diocesan and Archdeaconry levels. In 2013, they took first position in the Combined Niger Archdeaconry Music Competition and thereafter took third position in the 2013 Diocesan Music Festival held at the all Saints Cathedral Onitsha where they took the first position at the Diocesan Rural Archdeaconry Music Festival and is currently the best rural choir in the Diocese.
In the early days of the church around 1920s the converts were prohibited strictly from watching or participating in heathen activities no matter how captivating (for example Ikpu Okwa of Umuoha). They were also to find ways of attracting converts . So, St. Paul’s Ebenesi had a brass band that thrilled people in all important occasions. The atmosphere they created during their performances was electrifying . A popular song by the band then was “Ebenesi nomba wan a bia” (which means Ebenesi number one has come). The band had people like Mr. Andrew Chukwuka, Mr. Jodeph Oliaku, Mr. Ephraim Enemuo (flutist), Mr. Ben. Nwokolo, Mr. Peter oguegbulu and Isaiah Arinze among others as members of the band.
This band was later absorbed by another band (its rival) at St. Simon’s Church when they unified
Today , St. Paul’s Anglican Church has another Gospel band that is successful. This band was donated by Mt. Chukwukelu Okwulogu, but presently being re-branded and re-equipped by St. Paul’s home and abroad women and the P.C.C. who made sure that the band is in good from. This band perform similar functions as the old band. The active members are Emma Ikebeotu, Ebere Achuka who is current band leader, Miss Adaolisa Achuka, David Okafor, Onyeka Nwokolo, Chinyere Ikekpeazu, Emeka Uche, Mr & Mrs Sunday Onwughalu, David Chizoba etc.
THE YOUTH FELLOWSHIP
In the 1950s, a militant ogan of the Anglican Church was created and is called Anglican Youth Fellowship. This was a fellowship of young vibrant Christians and they entertained the congregation in most occasions with their melodious songs. They made worship an exciting experience and they did the manual jobs of the church. They also actively evangelized in various forms. They engaged in humanitarian activities. Their activities reached the climax in the early 1960s and through them the Anglican Church won many converts. St. Paul’s Anglican Youth Fellowship had in its fold one time or the other men like Mr. Ebenezer Ofoma, Stephen Ukadike, Emmanuel Nwawelu, Peter Okafor, Henry Nwokolo, Solomon Okpala, Ephraim Ezume and Isaac Okpala, to mention a few. Other young men who served as adtute youth leaders included Mr. F.C.Z Okpala, Mr. Innocent Nwokolo, Mr. Emma Onua, etc Today, this organization is still strong under the able leadership of Mr. Elochukwu Obidike. One remembers their clarion call with excitement – “ Ndi Youth Holy ,Holy” – “Holy, Holy”. It has always been a spectacle watching them perform and they have contributed immensely to the growth and development of this church. Most of today’s leaders cut their teeth in the Youth Fellowship.
The Anglican Church at Ebenesi, like its counterparts elsewhere derive their strength from some key organizations like Men’s General Meeting , the Women General meeting (Home and Abroad), the Mother’s Union, the Women’s Guild. Most of these are instruments of development, discipline and socialization. Most functions of the church depend on the cooperation of these organs and their leadership from inception have all been exemplary.
The Women’s General Meeting are making invaluable contributions to the development of the Parish. They rendered immeasurable support in the completion of the present church building, and had supported immensely in the provision of cars for some clergy produced by St. Paul’s Parish. Recently, in pursuance of a befitting centenary anniversary celebration, they resumed work on the church hall which was abandoned long ago at he foundation level. They have decked the hall, raised the first floor, and have roofed the hall. In fact, they have almost completed the hall that it is now being used by St. Paul’s Zion Modern Secondary School as tentative school building.
The young boys and girls are not left out. The “Saturday Boys” the Boys Brigade and Girls Brigade are all organizations that help build up our youth in disciplined Christian living. The other groups include the Scripture Union that was once active in the organization of Sunday School Classes and Bible Studies. This job has been taken over in the church by the EFAC (Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion). There is the A.P.A (Anglican Praying Association) which is now active as A.C.M (Anglican Children Ministry) and other organs all participating in the growth of the church.
1 D.M.A (Diocesan Merit Award Winners)
The following sons and daughters of the district have been awarded the Merit Award of the Diocese: H.C. Obiaku, S.C. Ikebuotu, E.D.C.Etudo, R.C. Okpala, Mrs. Catherine Chukwuka, Simon Omekaodinma, Charity Okwuegbu, Samson Ezeigbo, Comfort Umeh, F.C.Z. Okpala and Isaiah Ukadike.
2 Jerusalem Pilgrims
The following sons and daughters have paid official pilgrimage to Israel.
Sir I.K Akubeze
Mr. H.A. Onyiagha
Mrs. Eunice Okafor
Rev. Canon S.I. Ogbuka
Rt. Rev. Dr. Owen Chidozie Nwokolo
Dr. Mrs. Else Nwokolo
3 Knights in the Anglican Communion:
The following have been Knighted in one of the approved Order of Knights in Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion.
Sir Simon Omekaodinma
Sir I.K. Akubeze
Sir Ezekiel Ibekwe
Sir David Ikebuotu
Sir Goddy C. Onyiagha
Sir Micah O. Osilike
Sir Fabian C. Okafor
Sir Emma Nwokolo
Sir Goddy Oguegbulu
Sir Henry Okpala
Sir Philip Onwuka (late)
Sir Felix Okafor (late
Sir Innocent Nwokolo
Sir Ebuka Okafor
St. Paul’s Anglican Church like the other Anglican Churches in Nnobi served the immediate community in many ways one of which is education of the youths . School began in Nnobi in 1908. Ezeokoli I was literate (a stammering of English Language) so he realized that Western Education was an indispensable instrument for social change so he encouraged Nnobi people to pursue education. In St. Paul’s a school was attached to the thatched roof church and pupils study there. After the class two they moved over to Central School Ngo to study from standard one upwards. Much later, the school was upgraded and pupils can study up to Standard 4 at St. Paul’s. By 1962 St. Paul’s School was allowed to reach standard six. This school has produced, several categories of individuals some of whom are successful businessmen, academicians, clergies and other specialized professionals.
St. Paul’s Anglican Church Ebenesi also contributes in the running of the Maternity Home even though it is a Community Development Project of the town.
In the church there is a poverty alleviation programme that caters for the destitute, providing Food for the hungry and shelter for the homeless. Some widows - Dorcas, Margaret Okpala and Joy Nnaji were provided with a home among others as examples of some benevolent acts. The church also runs a scholarship programme. Somebody like Mr. Adolph Uzoefie benefited from such programme. The programme is still viable with about 30 students under the scheme in 1997/98 academic year.
The other areas of activity are social. The church declared war against such vices as killing of twins. For example, records show that such prominent citizens as Chief Ekechukwu, Mr. Camillus Ezeogu and Mrs. Catherine Chukwuka to mention a few benefited from such actions.
List of Priests that served St. Paul’s Anglican Church:
1 Rev. Agori Iwe (1940 – 41)
2 Rev. B.P. Apena (1941 – 42)
3 Rev. S. Jumbo (1942 – 43)
4 Rev. A.N. Ekpunobi (1944 – 45)
5 Rev. J.A.Iwuora (1946 – 50)
6 Rev. J.A. Okafor (1951 – 56)
7 Rev. D.I. Okechukwu (1957 – 60)
8 Rev. C. Mbonu (1961 – 64)
9 Rev. R.C.Emelugo (1965 – 69)
10 Rev. A.O. Odilora (1968)
11 Rev. M.IIechukwu (1969)
12 Rev.J.I. Okoye (1970 – 77)
13 Rev. L.C.M. Mgbemena (1975)
14 Rev. P.D. Onwuzulu (1976 – 78)
15 Rev. M.I. Mbogu (1979 – 83)
16 Rev. (Canon) B.N. Okeke (1984 – 91)
17 Rev.E.M.A. Ike (1991)
18 Ven. P.N.Ukachukwu (1992
19 Rev.V. I. Igwebike (1993 – 96)
20 Rev. J.O.I Nweke (1997 – 2001)
21 Rev. Canon C. Umeokafor (2001 – 2004)
22 Rev. C.Okechukwu (2004 – 2005)
23 Rev. E. Amugo (2005 – 2007)
24 Rev. Canon E. Okoye (2007 – 2009)
25 Rev. Dr. Fred Nwachukwuma (2009 – January, 2014)
26 Rev. Sylvanus Ugonwenyi (January 2014 – 2015)
27 Rev. Matthew Chukwuneme (January 2015)
To nurture the church from infancy to this adult stage, the church also benefited from the services of some catechists. The history of the church cannot be complete without mentioning their names. The wife of one these men Mrs. Maduekwe initiated the “Nzuko ndi ofia na ndi uno” for the women of St. Paul’s Anglican Church Ebenesi, Nnobi.
The List is as follows (not in chronological order):
Mr. S. Onyenwe
Mr. J. Ikezue
Mr. W. Ezenwa
Mr. J. Asuzu
Mr. T. Madusolumo
Mr. S.O Ejelua
Mr. T. Madunagu
Mr. S. Nnuriam
Mr. R.O.C Okpala Akunne
Mr. Isaiah Okeke
Mr. P. Onwuzulike
Mr. Samuel Ikesi
Mr. Ifeanyi Alokwe
Mr. Reuben Ezea.