In a bid to address prevalent societal issues plaguing the society with Bonny Kingdom in focus, the Prelate of Christ Army Church Nigeria (CACN), Most Rev Dappa Abbey, has called for collaboration with the Kingdom of Bonny and the Bonny Local Government Council.
The Prelate, who made the call during a courtesy visit to the palace of the King of Bonny, His Royal Majesty, King Edward William Asimini Dappa Pepple III, the Amanyanabo and Natural Ruler of Grand Bonny Kingdom last Saturday, highlighted the imperative for joint efforts in curbing and eliminating societal ills.
During the visit, Most Rev Dappa Abbey emphasized the CACN’s dedication to prayer and its commitment to fostering peace and tranquility within Bonny Kingdom.
The Prelate expressed concerns regarding the pervasive issues of killings, cultism, and the destruction of lives and properties, branding them as significant challenges confronting the state and nation at large.
“As a church reputed for prayers, we advocate collaboration to tackle these societal ills,” remarked the Prelate during the visit, adding, “It is incumbent upon us to strive for a society free from such vices, thereby ensuring a better place for all.”
The Prelate emphasized the visit’s spiritual dimension, aiming to usher in blessings and reinforce the bond between CACN and the Bonny Kingdom. He projected an optimistic outlook for the future, stating, “Starting from 2024, more blessings will begin to flow in Bonny Kingdom.”
Highlighting the historical ties between the church and the kingdom, Most Rev Dappa Abbey drew parallels with the origins of leadership in the Kingdom of Israel, echoing the importance of collaborative governance.
“The relationship between the church and kingship has deep roots, dating back to the arrival of Christianity in Bonny through King William Dappa Pepple in 1864,” the Prelate explained. “Our visit seeks to strengthen and further consolidate this historical relationship.”
Responding, the Vice Chairman of the Bonny Chief’s Council, Se-Alabo Haniel T. Jack-Wilson Pepple who stood in for the Chairman, praised the CACN’s pivotal role as a spiritual pillar within the kingdom.
He acknowledged the longstanding partnership between the church and the monarchy, underscoring their intertwined history.
Se-Alabo Pepple assured full cooperation from the Council towards the success of the Prelate’s initiatives and the regrets of King Edward William Asimini Dappa Pepple III for his absence during the visit but extended warm regards to the Prelate and the church.
The Prelate was accompanied to the visit by the top leadership of the church including Archbishops and Bishops from the four Dioceses of CACN, signifying the unified commitment of the church in fostering collaboration and positive change within the Bonny Kingdom.
During their visit to the Executive Chairman of Bonny Local Government Area, Dame Alabota (Hon) Anengi Barasua Claude-Wilcox at the Council Lodge in Bonny, the Prelate said they were on the visit to pay homage to the LGA boss, formally invite her ahead of his thanksgiving service, pray for her together with the land of Bonny and commend her for the peace and evident development in the LGA.
In her response, the Chairman rejoiced with the Prelate over his ascension to lead the CACN, adding that she was happy this was happening in her time in office which was a further prove of God’s overflowing blessings upon the LGA.
The Chairman added that it was now a matter of one week, one good news, while commending His Eminence for being a worthy Bonny son with enviable traits, praying for the blessings that come with his heartwarming elevation and the Synod to rest upon the land.
Meanwhile, the special thanksgiving service in honour of the Prelate who is also President of Synod held on Sunday at St. Michael’s CACN Cathedral, and witnessed an atmosphere charged with reverence and celebration with dignitaries from various spheres of influence thronging the coastal town to celebrate the iconic religious leader.
The Prelate, in his firm address, pledged to honor and carry on the legacies established by revered patriarchs and founders of the church, namely Prophet Garrick Sokari Braide, Rt. Rev’d Moses Opuene Hart and Rt. Rev’d William Brown.
He emphasized that his ascension to the esteemed position would herald an era of peace and blessings for Bonny Kingdom, highlighting the historical significance of his appointment, being the third son from the Igbani lineage to assume this prestigious role.
Reflecting on the Island’s pivotal role in the introduction and spread of Christianity across Nigeria and West Africa, Most Rev’d Abbey invoked the memory of Prophet Garrick Sokari Daketima Braide as an instrument chosen by God to emancipate Africa from European religious dominance, revitalizing the prophetic ministry and manifesting Pentecostal power in the 20th century.
Further acknowledging the pivotal role of Bonny Kingdom in the genesis of the CACN, the Prelate stressed the genuine and peaceful nature of his succession. He assured the congregation that his tenure would consolidate and perpetuate the profound legacies bestowed upon the church by its founding patriarchs.
Adding spiritual resonance to the proceedings, the Arch Bishop of Rivers Province II, and Bishop of Ogoni-South Dioceses, Most Rev (Dr) Monday Needom, in a brief sermon, hailed the return of CACN leadership to Bonny after a century.
Quoting Zachariah 4:7, he fervently prayed for the Prelate to fulfill the visions of the church’s founding fathers, affirming that the Prelate’s roots in Bonny were integral to his ascension.
The ceremony culminated in the bestowal of the “Beacon of Christian Faith (BCF)” Award upon His Royal Majesty, King Edward William Asimini Dappa Pepple III, the Amanyanabo and Natural Ruler of Grand Bonny Kingdom.
The Executive Chairman of Bonny Local Government Area, Dame Alabota (Hon) Anengi Barasua Claude-Wilcox was honoured as “Beacon of Development and Hope (BDH)”, while Sir Amasenibo Idabelema H. Hart was conferred with the award of Solomon as “Builder of God’s House (BGH)”.
The thanksgiving service reverberated with melodious hymns and songs rendered by an elegantly attired choir, encapsulating the essence of gratitude and celebration permeating the congregation.
The event not only marked the Prelate’s inauguration but also signified a profound commitment to preserving the rich legacy and spiritual heritage that have been intricately woven into the fabric of the Christ Army Church Nigeria.
Accolades in the form of award presentations were also made to some personalities of Bonny Kingdom as well as a spill over awards to some ‘selfless labourers’ in the vineyard in Bonny Diocese of CACN. The ‘Ambassadors of Christ Army Church Nigeria (ACACN) Award were bestowed on 23 indigenes of Bonny Kingdom.