In the name of Jesus, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Lord who reigneth from eternity to eternity, I address and welcome you here today.
Today is historical! We are here to thank God as we look back and examine the life of the Diocese of Calabar, in the past 25 years. We are rejoicing and with gladness, try to answer the question: where are we coming from? If we closely look at the changes in our church through time, we may be able to prayerfully determine where we are going.
Today is also a day of celebration!!! Our Diocese has grown. We are gathered here today by the grace of God. The Bible says that His grace is sufficient for us. We give Him thanks and praise that at this moment we are all part of the history of the 25th anniversary of this Diocese. The actual date was in December, 2015. We could not gather for the celebration then because of the pressure from some other activities in the Diocese. By God’s grace, we are able to gather now under His canopy to celebrate the 25th anniversary, though sandwiched within this year’s Synod. This is historical.
TIME FOR PRAISE
We give God all the praise and glory. I wish to therefore welcome everybody, again, to this great occasion. It is time for jubilation! It is time for thanksgiving and praise! Let us enter God’s gate with excitement and let the praise of God flow from our hearts and mouths. I welcome you to this joyous and historic event. I wish to particularly welcome our distinguished guests here today. We have invited quite a number of friends of this great Diocese and they are too numerous to mention. Their presence is a great joy for us and we thank God for those who are able to make it. Thank you very much for coming.
Attempting to imagine 25 years ago, one would end up wondering how this environment looked like at that time. Of course, at that time, this place was not a Diocese. It was part of Niger Delta Diocese. The northern part of this state was under Abakaliki Archdeaconry. Even then, quite a number of the churches that now form our Archdeaconries were not existing. At that time, this compound was far from what it looks like now. From information available to us, the main building on this compound then, was the old church building now sandwiched between the classrooms in the Primary school. We salute the courage, the labour, commitment and fervency of all our founding fathers. Their names have been mentioned in the historical compilations for this Diocese due to be published soon. Looking at their entire labour and efforts we are bound to thank God for their lives. Many of them must have gone through a lot of stress and strain in this place.
As shown on our records, many of our churches started in people’s homes. Those churches grew from sitting rooms into classrooms; and, from there they became “churches.” Locating members, encouraging attendance, establishing identity, creating fellowship, getting relevance were part of the early challenges these churches went through. They also went through the task of purchase of lands for building of houses for churches and parsonages. Some of them became pioneers in all those places. In the northern part of the Diocese, the churches were founded by the entrance of many Anglican traders from Enugu and Abakaliki. These later grew into Ogoja, and subsequently, Ikom Areas. Before then, the Anglican Church was totally new in those areas. In order to further show the newness of the church in those areas, the Anglican Church was nicknamed “Foreigners’ Church” and “Igbo Church”, etc.
1. Jesus __Christ, our Living Lord
We believe you __ keep your word
Whatever may be-fall us stretch or stall us
We’ll trust your voice to call us
Bless, O__bless our Diocese
Bless, Calabar __ Diocese
Bless Lord our Bishop and his ministers, and
Bless us all Lord we pray Thee
In the __humblest things we do