The jubilant sounds of celebration resonated through the St. Mathias Christ Army Church Nigeria (CACN), headquarters of Bori Diocese, Rivers Province 2 on Tuesday, January 30, 2024.
The occasion marked the grand celebration of CACN’s 108th anniversary, founded by Garick Deketima Sokari Braide in 1916.
Amid the infectious rhythm of traditional Ogoni songs, the Cathedral band set the tone for a day of unbridled joy.
From the pew to pulpit, it was celebration galore as the Bishop of Bori Diocese, Rt. Rev MacJob Mkparo, JP, and fellow clerics enthusiastically joined parishioners in an unforgettable dance.
A significant part of the festivities included the elevation ceremony, where some workers in the church were elevated.
Among the esteemed newly ordained was Rev’d (Priest) Jerry Needam, a distinguished journalist, and Publisher of the National Network newspaper, elevated to the ecclesiastical rank of Reverend Canon while Rev. Canon (Dr.) Joseph Johngbo was elevated to the rank of an Archdeacon.
Rev. Can. (Engr) Uebari A. Gbaraneh Francis was also elevated to Canon.
The joyous Reverend Canon Needam, accompanied by his wife, Catechist Promise Jerry Needam, expressed their exuberance through lively dance moves and heartfelt embraces in the midst of the celebration.
Speaking at the sideline of the colourful ceremony, Rev Canon Needam pledged to uphold the weighty responsibilities accompanying his new rank.
He expressed gratitude to God and affirmed his commitment to prioritize service to God, church, and humanity over personal interests.
“I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work”, he said.
In a brief but impactful sermon, Venerable J. C. Afi of Andoni Archdeaconry of CACN charged the newly elevated ministers to be unwavering in their service to the Lord’s vineyard.
Using the theme “Our labour shall not be in Vain,” he emphasized the importance of staying focused on God without seeking assistance elsewhere.
Bishop MacJob Mkparo, in his address, traced the historical journey of CACN, acknowledging the challenges faced since the time of Gareth Braide.
He emphasized God’s faithfulness in guiding the church through persecution and attacks.
The Bishop cautioned against pride and urged every member not to consider themselves indispensable, emphasizing that the church is enduring and will persist beyond any individual’s influence.
The ceremony’s highlight featured a special fundraising effort for the procurement of laptop computers and printing equipment for the church.
The Cathedral choir contributed to the atmosphere, rendering a melodious Ogoni song titled,”Ue Alleluia” (sing hallelujah).
As the celebration concluded, the echoes of gratitude and hope reverberated, marking a historic milestone in the enduring journey of the Christ Army Church Nigeria (CACN).
Rev. Can. Jerry Needam, JP, ACACN started his ministerial journey 35 years ago rising from the rank of Lay Preacher, Junior Catechist, Senior Catechist, Deacon, Rev. Priest and now Rev. Canon.