The long awaited inauguration of Rivers Province 2 of the Christ Army Church Nigeria (CACN) was finally performed on Sunday, July 23, 2023. In a grand and historic ceremony which held at St. John’s Cathedral, CACN, K. Dere in Gokana Local Government Area, His Grace, Most Rev. (Dr) Monday Barinaadaa Needom was also installed as pioneer Archbishop of the new Province.
Attended by thousands of CACN faithful from across the respective Dioceses and Provinces of the church, the event was expectedly graced by dignitaries from all walks of life, gathered to witness the momentous occasion.
As the music from the Provincial Mass Choir filled the air, faces in the congregation beamed with joy and anticipation. The atmosphere was palpable showing a harmony of faith, tradition and profound gratitude.
As the ceremony commenced, the deep echoes of traditional praise and worship resonated through the sanctuary. The congregation joined in unison, their voices a symphony of devotion.
Every member of the congregation had a unique story, a personal connection to their Archbishop. To them, this day is more than just an event; it is a testament to their unwavering love for him and faith in God.
Performing the consecration, Prelate and President of Synod, His Eminence, Most Rev. Abel Serebe Vurasi, cloaked in his regal attire, approached the altar, radiating an aura of humility and strength. He announced that the decision to inaugurate the new Province was driven by the church’s commitment to catering to the growing congregation and to better serve the spiritual needs of the faithful in the Province.
The Prelate went on to bestow his blessings upon Archbishop Needom, symbolizing the divine authority and guidance of the Holy Spirit in his new role.
Prelate Vurasi then delivered a powerful sermon outlining the essential roles of the Archbishop as a vessel to the members of the Province and, reciprocally, the roles of the members to their Archbishop.
In the sermon with text taken from the books of Exodus and John respectively, the Prelate emphasized the profound spiritual significance of relationships, narrowing it to that between the Archbishop and the members of the Province.
He spoke passionately about the divine calling and responsibility that accompanies the position of an Archbishop, and how it represents a sacred bond between the spiritual leader and the flock they are entrusted to shepherd.
The Synod President, who is expected to step down from office next month of August following his retirement after decades of fruitful service to the Lord, emphasized that the Archbishop is not merely an administrative figure but, more importantly, a spiritual guide.
He added that as a vessel of God’s wisdom and grace, the Archbishop is entrusted with the task of leading the faithful on their spiritual journey, offering counsel, support, and encouragement during both moments of triumph and tribulation.
He further added that the Archbishop plays a crucial role in fostering unity within the province. His words: “The Archbishop must strive to create an atmosphere of inclusivity and love, embracing all members regardless of their backgrounds or differences. By promoting a sense of belonging, he can strengthen the bonds among the faithful, creating a harmonious and loving community”.
Conversely, he reeled out the roles of the members to their Archbishop, stating that they are called to support and respect their Archbishop. This, he said, involves praying for him as their spiritual leader, uplifting him during challenging times, and showing gratitude for his dedication to the service of the church and the community.
He also encouraged active participation and engagement from the members in the life of the province, adding that by attending services, participating in church activities, and volunteering for charitable endeavours, the members demonstrate their commitment to the mission of the church and the vision of their Archbishop.
In his speech at the occasion, Archbishop Needom expressed his gratitude for the trust bestowed upon him by the church leadership and promised to dedicate his tenure to fostering unity, peace and spiritual growth within the Province.
The Archbishop while thanking God for the clement weather all through the ceremony, said his topmost priority is for the Province to secure a land and build a Convention Centres.
“We trust God for resources to also acquire land and build a befitting office for the Archbishop outside of K Dere. In that place, the church will be built, so also will be Archbishop Court and other facilities”, he said.
Earlier in his speech at the occasion, Chairman of the occasion who is the Synod Media Communicator of CACN, Pastor Jerry Needam commended the Prelate for nurturing the church from what it used to be to what it has become today.
“This church used to look like a ‘Prayer House’ but today, CACN is known globally, thanks to His Eminence, Most Rev Abel Serebe Vurasi, GSSRS, Amb Peace, JP”, he said.
The Synod Media Communicator while describing the Prelate as a beacon of light, wisdom and compassion, also applauded his varying attributes which qualified him as leader par excellence.
His words: “I want to urge us, including our new Archbishop, to look at and emulate the qualities of the Prelate. If you and I copy the sterling qualities of the Prelate, this Province, even though it was inaugurated late, will be more than the other Provinces.
“Our Prelate is very innovative, humble, tenacious, humane, trustworthy and a content developer. He has developed people like me. Our Prelate is a sincere worker in the Lord’s vineyard. Our Prelate is convivial and sophisticated. He is very, very sophisticated when it comes to God’s work. He is a peaceful and loving father and husband. Our Prelate is charismatic. He is a man you can depend on anytime, anywhere. He is hard working. I congratulate you sir”
Pastor Needam, who publishes the National Network newspaper in Port Harcourt also congratulated the new Archbishop of Rivers Province 2, Most Rev. Monday Barinaadaa Needom on his new role.
He described the Archbishop as a friend and father who almost shared same surname but for the second to the last letter which bore O while his is A.
“In just a few seconds, his title has changed to ‘His Grace, Most Rev. Monday Barinaadaa Needom, Amb of Peace, JP. Let me also congratulate mummy, the First Lady of Province 2.
“And as we consecrate Archbishop Needom today, we are reminded of the profound responsibility that comes with spiritual leadership. We look up to him as a role model and a guiding force in our lives, and I am confident that under his stewardship, Rivers Province 2 will thrive and continue to make a positive impact on the world around us”, he said.
Pastor Jerry Needam used the moment to appeal for bountiful donations towards the new Province appeal fund, urging that nobody leaves the cathedral without committing a minimum of N100, 000 for the growth of the new Province.
The Vice President of Synod and Archbishop Province I, His Grace, Most Rev. Dappa Abbey; Bishop Bori Diocese and Vice President Province 2, Rt. Rev. MacJob Mkparo; Rt. Rev. T. G. T. Henry, Bishop, Rivers Diocese/Supervisory Bishop Andoni Diocese; Bishop Uche Opara, Bishop Lagos West Diocese were amongst other ministers of Christ Army Church Nigeria who attended the occasion.
Also present at the occasion were Rt. Rev. S. S. Gberegbara, Ph.D, Bishop Ogoni Diocese, Anglican Communion and wife amongst other visiting ministers of God.
The Synod delegation includes the Synod Legal Adviser, Elder Sunday James, Ph.D., Elder Joy Koko, Elder Dr. N. T. Iboroma, Elder A. L. Eebee and the Synod Acting Secretary Barr. I. G. Igani.
Venerable W. D. Wiri, Administrator, Khana Diocese; Rev. Can Joseph Johngbo, PhD, Administrator Babbe I Archdeaconry and others were also in attendance.
The Chairman, Planning Committee, Elder Bornu God’swill was full of gratitude to God for the successful ceremony. He also congratulated the Pioneer Archbishop of Province 2, Archbishop Needom and thanked members of his committee for their active participation and commitment which made the ceremony a huge success.