The Primate of All Nigeria Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh has enjoined Christians especially Anglican faithful not to lose their faith in God.
Most Reverend Okoh who stated this while delivering a sermon at the Pilgrimage Eucharistic Thanksgiving Service held at the first Cathedral in Nigeria, the Saint Stephen’s Cathedral Bonny, advised Christians to always study the word of God to overcome worldly trials.
The Primate said the aim of the pilgrimage was to study and follow the footsteps of the founding fathers of the church.
According to him, Christians today are not courageous to exercise the power of God in their lives, by praying for the sick, without waiting for any person.
He called on Christians to maintain peace, unity, brotherhood and love for one another, warning strongly against the practice of tribalism and nepotism in the church, and called for a halt.
Highpoint of the service was administering of the Holy Eucharist and visits to about nine Holy Sites in the Cathedral.
During a guided tour of the Holy Sites, the Dean of the Cathedral, the Very Revd. Richard Ibituru Hart, gave synopsis of the exploits of the founding fathers, justifying their closeness to God, thus making the Cathedral a good spot for Holy Pilgrimage by Christians.
At the Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther Boat House (a holy site), Very Revd. Hart said the building was designed with eight suspended pillars to represent the eight Bonny dedicated believers who were martyred for their faith and also “accommodates the highly revered and priceless Bishop Crowther Missionary boat”, used by him for evangelical outreaches in the Delta.
On another holy site, the King George Pepple Square, the Dean pointed out, that Christianity was formally established in Bonny and beyond, during his reign and noted how the King assisted the then agent of the Church Missionary Society (CMS), Mr. J. Weber, on l9 December 1865, with ten labourers to clear a juju bush site known as perekule-iwoama sipiri, on which St. Stephen’s Cathedral was built in the late 80’s and stands today.
He noted that even as King, George Pepple was a Sunday School Teacher in the Cathedral, who gave a royal mandate to Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther to destroy, Kala Ikuba the national god of the Ibani people on 21st April 1867.
At the Bishop Johnson Chapel, the Very Revd. Richard Hart said “This reliquary holds in holiness the stalls and altar used by this Holy Father. It houses a second generation Bell built in 1945 and installed to celebrate the ancient miraculous bell which tolled itself when Bishop Johnson ascended the realms on high in 1917.”
The Dean at his tomb, described him as a Gospel Minister and politician, born in 1836 in Sierra Leone to Yoruba slaves and assistant Bishop in the Western Equatorial Africa among other things.
The Primate, Most Revd. Nicholas Okoh laid wreaths on some of the tombs of the founding fathers including the founder of the St. Stephen’s Cathedral Bonny, late Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther.
Other pilgrims were Dean of the Church of Nigeria, The Most Rev. Dr. Ikechi Nwosu, Archbishop, Niger Delta Province, The Most Rev. I.CO, Kattey, the host Bishop, Diocese of Niger Delta, the Rt. Rev. Ralph Cornelius Ebirien and his counterpart in the Diocese of Okrika, the Rt. Rev. Tubokosimie Abere.
Earlier, the Archbishop of the Province of Niger Delta, Most Reverend Ignatius Kattey urged Christians to establish a good relationship with God.
Preaching on the topic “One True God” while delivering a sermon at the welcome service for the pilgrims at Saint Stephen’s Cathedral Bonny, he enjoined Christians to worship the true God and desist from material things.
Most Reverend Kattey who is also the Bishop of Niger Delta North Diocese explained that “God decides everything that happens to mankind,” stressing that Christians should be steadfast in professing God as well as wait on Him for His direction.
The Cleric advised Christians to deepen their belief in God and also turn away from evil, pointing out that, “God remains the same, yesterday, today and forever.”
Dignitaries from all walks of life graced the service while the only lesson was read by Miss Amal Pepple, a former Minister for Housing under the President Goodluck Johnathan’s administration. ###