HISTORY OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH AT AMAFOR IHUOKPARA
The attention of the leadership of Chapel of His Resurrection (COHR), Parklane, Enugu, was drawn to Amafor village in Ihuokpara through the interaction of our Chaplain, Ven. Prof. Sam Ike with Rev. Innocent Ozor, who had served as priest at Anglican Church of Resurrection, Ndibinagu-Uzam, Ihuokpara, and the plight of the people of Amafor was made known to the Outreach Committee. Amafor village is one of the six villages in Ihuokpara, but incidentally, it is the only one without an Anglican Church. The community is dominated by Roman Catholic adherents, and idol worshipers. Thus, the spiritual darkness in the land needed to be confronted with the light of the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. [Click here to enjoy the pictures]
OUTREACH TO AMAFOR
Several surveillance visits were consequently made to Amafor village in preparation for an outreach. There was the need to plan for publicity, as well as meetings with the Igwe of Ihuokpara and other community leaders, and secure possible accommodation and venue for the outreach and crusade.
The outreach proper came up in November 2016 from the 18th to 20th, with the theme, “Prepare to meet thy God” (Amos 412). On the first day of the crusade, Friday 18th November, 2016, the film, “Glorious Arrest” was shown and Rev. Dr. Chuks Ajare ministered the Word of God. Eighty-two (82) villagers attended the crusade, while eleven people surrendered their lives to Christ.
On Saturday night, the film, “Last Chance” was shown and Bro. Damian Duruewuru preached the Word of God. A medical outreach organized earlier on Saturday morning had preceded the crusade and about ninety-eight (98) people received medical attention with prescribed drugs given to them. Welfare items such as clothes, shoes, bags etc., were also distributed to the villagers that came for the medical outreach.
FIRST SUNDAY SERVICE
The first Sunday service was held at the Community Central Primary School Amafor on November 20, 2016, where eighty-four (84) people, comprised of at least forty-two (42) indigenes of Amafor attended the service. Villagers who attended were mostly the elderly people. Mr Mike Ezeude, the Church teacher at previous stations at Imeama-Nomeh and Akegbe-Ugwu was assigned to oversee the church here.
ACQUISITION OF LAND
After the second Sunday service at the primary school, the worshippers in the young church were stopped from worshipping there. The members thereafter met in front of Mrs. Ngozi Edeh’s house (the landlady of the church teacher) for services, where they were exposed to harsh weather elements. Soon after, the church teacher was also given a quit notice and there was practically no other meeting place. The number of worshipers at this time dropped drastically to as low as two (2) or three (3).
It became imperative to acquire a piece of land. By the approval of the Chapel Council meeting held on January 17, 2017, the Land Committee, led by Mr. Damian Duruewuru, swung into action. With the assistance of the pastor of the Apostolic Church, Apostle Francis Ede, an indigene of Amafor, and Mr. Izuchukwu, three (3) plots of land were bought from Mr. Williams Amechi Nnaji at the cost of two million, nine hundred thousand naira (N2.9m) on the 19th of January, 2017.
The Works Committee of COHR immediately constructed a temporary structure on the land, which housed the church teacher and served as a temporary place of worship. The land was surveyed by Mr. Monday Ngene and beacons placed, at a cost of one hundred and eighty thousand naira only (N180,000).
The deed of lease was prepared by Barrister Dr. Chijioke Agbo at no cost to the chapel, and the deed of conveyance was endorsed by the Diocesan Trustees – Synod Secretary, the Registrar, and eventually the Archbishop of Enugu Province and Bishop of Enugu Diocese, the Most Rev. Dr. E.O. Chukwuma (OON).
The construction of the church building commenced on March 9, 2017, without a motorable access road to the site. Negotiations to get the access road proved difficult but the church continued to pray. Finally in May 2017, the access land was secured at a cost of nine hundred thousand naira only (N900,000). The first installment of five hundred thousand naira was paid on 20thMay, 2017 while the balance of four hundred thousand naira was later paid off in August 2017.
A consolidation outreach was thereafter scheduled for 19th – 21st May 2017. On Friday, the first day of the Weekend Outreach (19th May), Rev. Dr. Chuks Ajare preached the message. Ninety-two (92) villagers attended the crusade and twenty (20) people (seven adults and thirteen children) gave their lives to Christ.
The Saturday programme started with a follow-up programme for the new converts, and a salvation message followed for those that came for the medical outreach. The medical outreach team with 14 doctors of various areas of specialization attended to one hundred and ninety (190) villagers. Welfare items were also distributed to men, women, and children from Amafor and nearby villages. During the Saturday night crusade, Rev. Goddy Ezeali preached the message after a film, “The Invisible Bond” was shown. Thirty-three people (12 children and 21 adults) also surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ.
The Sunday service was held at the church site with ninety-six people (65 people from Chapel of His Resurrection and 31 villagers) in attendance. The Church teacher, Mr. Mike Ezeude, conducted the service while the Archdeacon, Ven. Prof. S.O. Ike preached the message. [Click here to support our missions]
CHURCH WORSHIP AND GROWTH
At the very first church service at the Community Central Primary School Amafor Ihuokpara, on November 20, 2016, forty-two (42) villagers attended the service. However, because of the difficult times that followed, and the uncertainty of a place of worship, many of the foundation members withdrew. The first adult members were Mr. Luke Ogbodo and Mrs. Chinyere Anike. The number of worshipers hovered between one and five for quite some time.
After the consolidation outreach and concerted discipleship efforts spearheaded by Mr. Mike Ezeude the church teacher, the church has grown steadily to an average of about twenty people every Sunday. The Outreach Committee also continued the monthly follow-up visit to the young church while the congregation of COHR continued to offer fervent prayers for God to strengthen the church.
CONSTRUCTION OF THE CHURCH BUILDING
Engr. David Okeke (of Daverine Multiventures Limited) was awarded the contract for the construction of the church building at Amafor, after a competitive bidding with other contractors. Despite the challenges of access road and the extra cost of moving the building materials from the road to the site, the contractor was able to deliver the building within the six-month period given to him.
The Chapel through her unwavering faith in God was able to meet up at every stage of the construction work and payment schedules. All thanks to our God who richly provided the funds and resources for His work, sometimes through very miraculous ways. A total of seventeen million, three hundred and twenty thousand naira (N17,320,000), excluding the interior furnishing has been spent on the project.
We deeply appreciate our Archbishop, His Grace, the Most Rev. Dr. E.O. Chukwuma (OON), and his wife, Dr. Mrs. Joyce Chukwuma who rendered their support at every stage of this work.
The Outreach Committee of Chapel of His Resurrection under the leadership of Dr. Mrs. Nkeiruka Mbadiwe and Dr. Charles Udemba has shown great commitment for furthering the purpose of God in soul-winning in this community.
The Works and Building Committee, led by Engr. Osita Okafor-Ezeadi also deserves heartfelt commendation. These men and women had made countless journeys on very unfriendly roads to expand the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you.
We also want to express gratitude to the following men: Rev. Innocent Ozor, Bro. Augustine Johnson (the church teacher at Ndibinagu-Uzzam, Ihuokpara), who laboured alongside the Outreach Committee to ensure that the outreaches were successful.
Deep appreciation is also due to the ever-faithful congregation of the Chapel of His Resurrection for the giving of time and resources as well as their fervent prayers. We thank the Amafor Church Dedication Committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Chidi Ikekpeazu. May our God who is no man’s debtor remember you for good.
Our Archdeacon, Ven. Prof. Sam Ike and the Chaplains, Rev. Prof. Uzo Aniebue (now at the Chapel of Pentecost – Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu), Rev. Dr. Ifeanyi Onah, Rev. Dr. Chuks Ajare, and Rev. Dr. Azubuike Okeke with their wives, as well as the church teacher Mr. Mike Ezeude, deserve heartfelt and sincere appreciation for their dedication to the service of our Lord Jesus Christ.