Retiring Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province and Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Professor Emmanuel Olisaemedulim Chukwuma ,Sunday, January 14, 2024, celebrated his valedictory church service, preceding his retirement ,after 34 years of meritorious Episcopal service in the church.
Pix- Archbishop Chukwuma
Speaking at the event held at the Cathedral Church of Good Shepherd, Enugu, Archbishop Chukwuma thanked God for keeping him alive, healthy and strong to serve as a Bishop for 34 years, the longest years served by any Bishop in Nigeria and 10years as an Archbishop. He also thanked his wife, Dr. Joyce Chukwuma for being very supportive, the Clegymen and their wives, leaders, the Government, knights and Ladies, teachers , lay- readers, men, women, youths, Brigade and all who supported the mission and evangelism activities in the Diocese.
The Archbishop said during his service years , he achieved giant strides which included, building of churches, Vicarages, parsonage’s, schools, hospitals , banks, empowerment of the less privileged, medical evangelism, Crusades, Conferences, media evangelism, market evangelism, among others.
Pix – Archbishop Chukwuma (L) Wife,Dr. Joyce Chukwuma (R)
He said he had three-point agenda, Evangelism , Education and health. The retiring Archbishop decried the state of the nation, saying Nigerians were suffering. He urged Nigerian leaders to be sensitive to the plights of the people, noting that people were suffering so much in Nigeria. “Our people are spiritually thirsty in this present situation when all helps and hopes are failing. . The only one to turn to now for solution is Jesus. I therefore appeal to all especially Pastors to wake up from slumber , arise and shine Let there be light over shadowing darkness in this Diocese” , he said .
He added that he was leaving a peaceful Cathedral. ” Am leaving this Diocese peaceful I met it in crisis. Am not in debt. I built hospitals, schools, churches. If I offended people on the course of performing my duties, please forgive me. I have forgiven anyone who offended me. I am not owing. I am leaving a peaceful Cathedral”, the Archbishop said .
He urged Christians to be prayerful and the church to be obidient to authorities.
Speaking with Newsmen, the wife of the Archbishop, Dr. Joyce Chukwuma, thanked God for seeing them through the service years. She urged the incoming Archbishop’s wife to be prayerful and to continue from where she stopped.
Archbishop Chukwuma’s wife
On his part, the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Professor ( Sir) Chukwuma Ozumba, described Archbishop Chukwuma as a”Soldier of Christ”. He thanked God for keeping the retiring Archbishop alife, strong and healthy. He said it was a thing of joy having served meritoriously for 34 years as a Bishop. Prof Ozumba prayed God to keep Archbishop Chukwuma alive and healthy to enjoy his retirement.
Pix- Professor Ozumba
Speaking too, the Sub-Dean, Cathedral Church of Good Shepherd, and former Chaplain to Archbishop Chukwuma Vernerable Azubuike Nduka, who worked with Archbishop Chukwuma for 16years described him as a man of experience, visionary, spirit filled, go- getter, a disciplinarian and a fighter. “He was a Chaplain to the former Prilate. He made sure he transferred some of his strength to me. I have an edge against others. He has paid his quota nationally and internationally..He has contributed to the growth of the Church and the nation.
Pix- Archbishop Chukwuma handing over the staff to the Cathedral’s Sub- Dean
“My prayer is that God will give him strength , good health, the grace to enjoy his retirement and He will surround him with good people”, Nduka said.
Highlights of the event was Archbishop Chukwuma’s handing over of his staff to the Sub-Dean of the Cathedral Church of Good Shepherd, Venerable Azubuike Nduka, signifying his retirement. He presented a gift to his Supervising Driver, Ikenna Okoye, who he described “as a good man and a good driver”.Awards were presented to some prominent Nigerians who contributed to the growth of the Church. They included former President Obasanjo, Anayo Onwuegbu, Prof Nnaji, among others
Archbishop Chukwuma was consecrated the first Bishop of the Missionary Diocese of Bauchi in 1990. He assumed the Bishop of Enugu Diocese in 1998(having been transferred from Bauchi). He was elected and presented Archbishop in 2014 and re- elected Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Enugu , Anglican Communion in 2019.
Dignatries at the event included the former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, former Governor of Anambra state, and presidential candidate of the Labour Party,Peter Obi, Governor of Enugu state,Dr. Peter Mbah, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Ifeanyi Ossai, Secretary to the State Government,Professor Chidiebere Onyia among others. .
Author: Maureen Ikpeama