Another monumental event will be recorded in the annals of the Owerri Anglican Diocese as the N100 million ultra modern church auditorium of St James’s Anglican Church, Uzii, Owerri Parish will be dedicated to God by the bishop of the diocese, the Rt. Rev. Cyril Chukwunonyerem Okorocha (Phd) on Sunday, April 8, 2018.
The Church which began as a children’s club known as the Shepherd Group affiliated to the Christ’s Anglican Church, Owerri had teachers feedings it as a children’s centre from the said Christ Church which by all standard is assessed as the mother church.
According to the Vicar of the Church, Rev. Canon Chris Ogbugh, available records indicate that the First foundation stone of the church was laid on Friday, June 24, 1994 by the then Bishop of the Oweri Diocese, the Rt. Rev. Benjamin Nwankiti who later became the Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province.
The church continued to grow as the biblical mustard seed from the children’s centre to a sort of place of worship for adults with an ordained priest, Rev. Josiah Alozie and few pioneer members, though this was in 1992 before the First Foundation stone-laying took place.
As time progressed, many individuals, families and Christian faithful continued to identify the church as n ideal place of worship, even though there were no befitting structures.
The church continued to weather the storm as members persisted in keeping faith with it. They made an improvised place of worship from the car garage of the priest, to using of canopies, to erecting a mini church auditorium which lingered till 2006 when God’s agent of change, Rev. Canon Chike Samuelson came and remodeled the structure to a beautiful auditorium with state-of-the-art facilities, such as offices at strategic points, the gallery a church gate with a cybercafé, drinks and snacks bar and other modern facilities as the current Bishop of the Owerri Anglican Diocese Rt. Rev. Cyril Okorocha laid the foundation stone of the remodeled structure on December 10, 2006.
It was from this springboard that the building of the project caught fire and had continued to progress to this lattest stage of completion.
According to the secretary of the Dedication Committee, sister Uloma Igwe, the success story is as a result of the tireless efforts of the Vicar and his curate Rev. Joe Amako, the wife of the Vicar, Mrs. Ijeoma Ogbugh who through the women ministries played a strong supportive role through donation of large sums of money and tiling of some parts of the auditorium especially, and the erection of the marble altar.
It is noteworthy to mention that the men were not left out as they built the marble pulpit, reading desk and lectern in addition to tiling of the entire floor of the edifice.
The church which has witnessed the service of over 20 priests assumed the status of a parish under the then Parish Priest Rev. Chris Mbah in 2005 and gave birth to a chapel situated at Emmanuel College Owerri, in 2002 which now has snowballed to a fully fledged church known as the Church of the Redemption now located at West End, Second Inland Bridge, Owerri Municipality out of these number of priests, two are currently serving as bishops namely: Bishop Edward Osuegbu of Okigwe Diocese and Bishop Emmanuel Maduike of Ikeduru Diocese.
On how he feels as the N100 million worth church building project is being completed in his time, the Vicar, Rev. Chris Ogbugh returned all the glory and praises to God who had made it a success story as he pointed out that there was nothing to boast about, noting that it was the Lord’s doing.
Rev. Ogbugh said “he remained an unprofitable servant of the Lord” maintaining that what has been done was by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit with the support of the curate and staff both clerical and non clerical, family heads of the church, generality of the members out of sacrificial giving.
The cleric also acknowledge that it was as a result of the level of spiritual alertness of the members that had made them to give out with the encouraging indicator that when they gave they saw the items being put to the very use they were intended for.
It would be recalled that at the time of the planting of this church, in the ’90s,, the then diocese under late Bishop Nwankiti envisioned the work of evangelism through the establishment of local churches within every 11/2sq kilometers radius so that every individual has a local place of worship where he/she could access with ease without travelling a long distance and without stress.
This, therefore informed the establishment of many places of worship during this said time and beyond. So as the priests, parishioners, friends and well wishers of St James’ Anglican Church, Uzii Owerri Parish, located at Number 38 Mbaise Road Owerri (the church that loves, cares and serves, the Rehoboth City of God) warm up for this epoch-making event, come Sunday, April 8, 2018, there are line-up of activities such as cutting of the dedication cake by the Diocesan, Rt. Rev. Cyril Okorocha, hopefully to be accompanied by his amiable wife, Dr. (Mrs.) Eunice Okorocha (Mama Owerri) other members of the clergy and laity, members of the church in their special uniform, rendition by the primary school children, and church choir, unveiling of the dedication plaque and presentation of the Boys and Girls Brigade, it is expected that the success story will always re echoe which makes the saying “do not despise the day of little beginning” (Zech 4: 10A ) worthwhile because the journey of a thousand miles begins with a step.