Christ Army Church Nigeria Unveils New Prelate, His Eminence, Most Rev’d Dappa O. Abbey

…Admits 13 Members Into Knighthood, Bestows Honorary Awards To Outstanding Devotees …As Pioneer Prelate, His Eminence, Most Rev’d Vurasi Retires

History was made on Sunday, August 27, 2023 as St. Stephen’s Pro Cathedral of Christ Army Church Nigeria (CACN), Ogoloma in Okrika Local Government Area following the investiture of His Eminence, The Most Rev. Dappa Opubo Abbey as the new Prelate of the Christ Army Church Nigeria.

The event which held as part of activities marking the close of the 2023 Special Synod, witnessed wide excitement as 13 members of the church were admitted into knighthood while some key devotees in the church were honored for their steadfastness and selfless commitment.

The solemn and colourful ceremony brought together members of the CACN from all Dioceses across the country, and clergy and dignitaries from various denominations.  It was a significant milestone for the Igbani-born Prelate as his investiture witnessed a surge of enthusiasm in the congregation with friends and family members from Bonny Local Government Area came in their numbers.

Abbey’s historic investiture as new Prelate also marked the end of a glorious era and productive reign of His Eminence, The Most Rev Abel Serebe Vurasi, DSSRS, JP and Emeritus Prelate who has taken a bow and proceeded to a peaceful retirement.

The atmosphere was filled with a sense of deep anticipation, as the congregation was immersed in the sacred and time-honored ecclesiastical traditions of the CACN. The church sparked with colours. From the retired and incumbent Prelate, to the Archbishops, Bishops, other clergy and choir members, everyone was adorned in elegant robes.

The St. Stephen’s Ogoloma and the Bonny Cathedral enchanted the congregation with their angelic voices as they reverently sang classical hymns by Handel. Each note resonated with precision, weaving a tapestry of timeless melodies that uplifted hearts and minds.  The occasion truly lives to its billing as severally, everyone stood in awe, captivated by the choristers’ harmonious unity and the profound beauty of Handel’s compositions!

The induction of thirteen members of the church into the esteemed order of knighthood and their wives, who are Ladies auxiliary, imbued the ceremony with a profound sense of legacy. These individuals, epitomes of unwavering service, embraced the mantle of knighthood with humility and pride. As the congregation witnessed their investiture, the significance of their commitment to the church and its teachings resonated deeply.

Among those knighted, Sir Joy Inimgba Koko of St. Bartholomew CACN, Okrika in Rivers South Diocese, Rivers Province 1 stood tall, embodying the values of selflessness and compassion. Others were: Snr. Catechist Sir Lekiah S. Deeyah JP, Hon. Dr. Simon Emmanuel Hart, JP, Sir John Nelson Brown, JP, Sir Nworgu Festus Chikweru, Sir Joseph Ibiboso-Ofori Hart, Sir Halliday Lawrence J, Sir Ellis Mieadonye Tam Jumbo, Chief (Sir) Iderima I. Igonikon Ama Toroko, Sir Tamunotonye Martins Brown , Sir Friday Tamunoigbeinbia and Sir Tamunodienye Pollyn.

As President of the newly inaugurated Council of Knights of Synod of Christ Army Church Nigeria, he said the honour would encourage them to strengthen their resolve to serve, adding, “May we be beacons of light, inspiring others to contribute to the betterment of the Christ Army Church Nigeria”.

Adding a layer of emotion, the ceremony paused to recognize longstanding contributors in CACN. Through their decades of service to the church, the Publisher of National Network newspapers, Pastor Jerry Needam, Sir Elder J I Koko, JP, Elder (Chf/Dr) N T Iboroma, Snr Cate I G Igani, BL, Elder (Barr) S. D. James, Ph.D, Elder (Arc) A.L. Eebee, Rt.Rev. M. F. Mkparol, Rt. Rev. T. G. T. Henry, Elder Famous Enearo and Elder Ibibia Dikibo were bestowed with the prestigious Long Service and Ambassador of Christ Army Church Nigeria Award. Their faces reflected a lifetime of devotion as they received certificates for this cherished acknowledgment.

In his address to the church, the new Prelate, His Eminence, The Most Rev. Dappa O. Abbey praised the faithful for their unwavering dedication and the retired Prelate for his dynamic leadership.

“I’m elated and my heart is filled with joy. I humble myself before this special synod that has ushered in this new administration. Firstly I want to thank God Almighty for this glorious and epoch making event. This event is remarkable, memorable and will stand the taste of time because it has honoured God and humanity.

“Words are insufficient but to God be the glory. I never campaigned or labored for it. But the will of God has passed through men of timber and caliber and the retired Prelate Emeritus. God used you all to select me and found me worthy and acceptable to serve the church on this exulted position of Prelate of Christ Army Church Nigeria.

“I want to sincerely thank the retired Prelate, the executive council of the Synod, the Prelate Court, members of the Transition Committee, my Archbishops, Bishops and all the Senior Ministers, auxiliary as well as collective members of the church. I am very grateful to you all. God has used you to manifest His will upon my life.

“I am standing here being inspired by the power of the holy spirit of God to say before you that God being my helper, I will not disappoint you. I will do everything physically, spiritually, materially, mentally within my little reach to ensure that this new dispensation of administration will carry everybody along. And we are going to work in collaboration to ensure that the dignity and integrity of Christ Army Church Nigeria will be respected and maintained.

“All that I need from you is your prayers are support. When we are together, nothing can divide us. When we are united, nothing can put us asunder. Your support is my desire. Pray for me and pray for the church. I promise you that God will use you and I to rewrite the narrative of Christ Army Church Nigeria .

“I want to use this medium to thank his majesty, the king of Ogoloma, His Eminence, Emmanuel T. I. Obudibo JP, DSSRS, (Ikow V) and all the special guests. I humble myself before you. The bible reflects the relationship between kingship and priesthood, and I believe it will be properly maintained.

For finding time to honour this occasion, God will surely honour you and celebration will not cease in your palace. May God bless you with good health and long life”, Prelate Abbey declared.

The out gone Prelate, His Eminence, Most Rev. Abel Serebe Vurasi in his parting words, charged the new Prelate to be bold and courageous in his service to God and the church, adding that leadership is not an easy road as it has its ups and down.

“The only thing that can help you is to repose confidence in God.  You must be strong and very courageous”, he said and prayed for the church.

In his first official function, Prelate Abbey commanded attention as he inspected a meticulously guard of honour led by the Boys Brigade of CACN. The Boys Brigade, resplendent in their uniforms, stood unwavering as they welcomed the Prelate. With a sense of shared purpose, this solemn moment spoke volumes about the continuity of faith and the guidance of new leadership.

Highlight of the event was a soulful rendition of a classical tenor solo ‘Sound and Alarm by Mr. Stephens Braide of St. John’s CACN, Bakana in Degema Local Government Area.

Some dignitaries who graced the event include the Executive Chairman of Okrika Local Government Area, Hon. Akuro Alfred Tobin, his Gokana LGA counterpart, Hon. Confidence Deko, Amanyanabo and Natural Ruler of Ancient Ogoloma Kingdom, His Eminence, King Emmanuel T. I. Obudibo (Ikow V), Rivers State Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), His Grace, Most Rev. Dr. Dokiboeriya B. Kala-Dokubo JP and the Amasenibo of Grand Bonny, Sir Dave Banigo amongst others.

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