The Chapel of His Resurrection, ESUT Teaching Hospital, Parklane (then Parklane Specialist Hospital), GRA, Enugu, was approved for inauguration (alongside two other Chapels in tertiary hospitals in Enugu) after the proposal to that effect by the diocesan Hospital Chaplain, Rev. Canon Dr. (then) E.N. Onwasigwe, was adopted by the diocesan synod, holding at the Christ Redemption Church, Ogui Enugu, in June 2004 with the Lord Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dr. E.O Chukwuma, presiding. Subsequently, mobilization efforts and meetings involving some staff and students of the then Parklane Specialist Hospital, ESUT Medical School and school of Nursing, saw to the creation of awareness about the Chapel-to-be established, printing of posters and handbills and the securing of an authorized place for worship.
The chapel was formally inaugurated by the Lord Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dr. E. O. Chukwuma OON, on Sunday, 5th September, 2004, at the School of Nursing auditorium /basement (whose authorization was obtained from the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, earlier in June). Attendance at the service was from members of the existing chapels in the Hospital Chaplaincy as at then- the Chapel of Resurrection, UNTH Enugu (old site) and St. Luke’s Chapel, National Orthopedic Hospital; the parklane Specialist Hospital Community, other health workers as well as interested members of the public in the then-larger Enugu Diocese (Anglican Communion). Rev. Canon Dr. Onwasigwe conducted the service with ordinand Dr. Sam Ike, the designated resident pastor preaching the sermon.
The Chapel was established as a bold initiative to further the diocese’s three-pronged holistic approach to evangelism, namely, preaching of the gospel, education development and healing. The aim was to provide an appropriate place of spiritual worship, guidance and service to the staff of the hospital and medical school, medical and nursing students, patients and their relatives, as well as other interested worshipers from the immediate neighborhood of the hospital and beyond. Her focus has been, under God, to be a centre of revival and healing, dissemination of the unalloyed word of God and proving the resurrection power of our Lord Jesus Christ- touching lives, both physically sick and whole, irrespective of denominational bias.
EARLY DAYS OF THE CHAPEL
After the inaugural service at the school of nursing basement, the chapel- for varied reasons- including the possible joint use of the venue moved into a smaller School of Nursing classroom. The congregation initially consisted occasionally of the resident pastor’s family(less than 10 members), but with a gradual and steady increase following particularly aggressive witnessing activities. Ward evangelism, with subsequent follow-up sessions and foundation bible class, was introduced to hole every second Sunday of the month, after service. The wards were rotated in an orderly fashion with patients, their relatives and the hospital staff on duty being visited; the word of god shared; players, with laying on of hands, made for each patient, tracts, chapel programmers’ and sometimes, consumables and toiletries being shared with them. The response was usually enthusiastic, with an average of 70% of the patients and their relatives indicating their desire to accept Jesus Christ as their lord and savior, during the the altar calls. Healing and discharge rate were also usually amazing. God used a core-group of self-less individuals such as Dr. Chiazo onyia, Dr. Nonso Enechukwu,bro. Ogochukwu Nwanchukwu, Mrs Nonye obianuko, Miss Amaka Okafor (nurse) and Miss Nneka Okwor (intern laboratory scientist) to significantly get this important aspect of the church mission started and stabilized.
The worship life of the chapel became enhanced with the acquisition of the generating set, public address system, digital piano, the dubbing machine, hymn books, and the active voluntary engagement of mass Amaka Okafor, Chinyere Egbuna, the Dr. (Miss) Chinyere maduechesi (now Dr. Mrs. Okafor) and Nzubechukwu Onwasigwe.
CHURCH GROWTH AND EXPANSION
By mid-200, with an average attendance of now 70 to 90 the narrow school of Nursing classroom had become inadequate, the school authorities had suddenly converted this worship venue to a library and there was need for a larger space for chapel use this could only be possibly in another school of nursing classroom for just one week service on serious concession, but, thankfully, God in His Mercy, in response to an application for an enhanced space provided a more spacious accommodation at the preclinical classroom of the ESUT Medicine (Prof Mrs. N. E.N. obianyo). This latter worship venue had managed to suffice for the chapel activities for three years, until August 31, 2008, when the first service was held in the now chapel building.
With the movement of medical students to the teaching hospital premises, aggressive and unrelenting evangelic thruss- involving not just the monthly ward evangelism but weekly ward service invitations outreaches to the medical student hostels, nursing student hostels, house officers, River Lane and Onoh quarters in GRA and the deployment of the yearly medical students, nursing student, nurses, doctors’ ands children’s days in the service programme as evangelistic services, the Lord has added progressively to the Chapel population which now averages between 170 to cover 200 worshippers. Biweekly follow-up sessions recording substantial devotees,with Dr. Chiazo Onyia, Mrs. Nonye Obianuko, brothers Ifeanyi Ugwu and Chika OGBONNA, particular, Have continued to thrive.
Persisting prayers with faith-backed amazing answers have continued to reel out as the bastion of God’s miraculous dealings with t6he chapel. Weekly, witout fail, the prayer cell meetings have been steered by sisiters Udoka llechukwu, Oge Egbuna, Nma Nwankwo and brothers Dan Oseji and Eric Ani, in the main.
The consistently inspiring renditions of the choir have been sustained under the leadership of brother Emeka Nebo ( the choir director) and prince Onyebum, a medical student; while Chidinma Nze, Bimbo Adebayo and Nduji Onyeka have variously kept the drama wing vibrant. The children Sunday School has been capably under the guidance of medical/nursing students Kelechi Aunwa, Chioma Maduekwe, Chioma Udenze, Hope Igbonagwam and, at sometime, input from Mrs. Ada Onah, Adokiye Onoka and Ruth Uzor.
Welfare needs of indigent students and patients as well bereaved members have also necessitated attention, ranging from visitation, counseling, financial and material assistance, with Dr. Dennis Onyia, the Pastor’s Warden, seriously assisting in this respect.
As the numerical strength of the chapel increased and the spiritual life of the worshippers deepened, so also has God added facilities and accessories of worship. These are properly documented in an inventory book. An equipment unit, under Ikenna Ngene, has helped maintain these items.
The men’s fellowship, as constituted, has been piloted by Dr. Okezie Mbadiwe, while the Sisters Fellowship, constituted by the young ladies and married women, is under the able leadership of the Chaplains wives – Mrs. Ruby Ike and Dr. (Mrs.) Nonye Aniebue. These fellowships have acted as the catalyst for much of the sacrificial giving and extraordinary commitment of the members. They have also been the launch-pad for some of the evenagelistic efforts that have resulted in providing television sets, video machine and tapes, food and consumables for pateients imn the wards at various times. These are in addition to the varied occasions- especially by the Christmas and New year- when the Lord Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dr. E. O. Chukwuma, had usually visited to offset hospital bill for many of the patients.
COMPONENT STUDENT GROUPS
The students belong to different fellowship units, which help them actively, express their gifts, mature in Christian growth and service and win souls in evangelistic outreaches both within the hospital and to the rural areas. These include the Anglican Students Fellowship (ASF), Nigerian Fellowship of Evangelical Students (NIFES), Scripture Union (SU), Nigerian Conference of Christian Medical and Dental Students (NCCMDS), Fellowship of Christian Nurses (FCN) and the healthcare Christian Fellowship (HCF). Te chapel has supported these groups morally, spiritually and financially (as occasion demands) in their unified efforts for the gospel of the kingdom.
The cardinal goal of the chapel has remained making every one within her congregation a candidate for heaven, with emphasis on personal encounter with the lord Jesus Christ, in salvation. Teaching sessions are deliberately built into the chapel programmes and opportunities availed the members in diverse areas of church life, to mature them and make everyone an able minister of the gospel. Over the period, 12 infants and adults have been baptized and 26 candidates presented for confirmation by the Lord Bishop.
The pastoral office of the chapel was manned by Dr. Sam Ike (a consultant Physician and cardiologist with the UNTH, Enugu) as an ordained, on inauguration, in September 2004. After a stint at the trinity theological College, Umuahia, he was made a deacon, and became the Chaplain, in December 2004. On completion of it theological training, he was priest in December 2006. Doctors Uzo Aniebue (a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist with the UNTH, Enugu) and Ifeany Onah (a consultant plastic surgeon with the National orthopedic Hospital Enugu), were posted to the chapel, as ordained, in July 2007. They helped in no small measure to advance the evangelistic thrusts and welfare concerns of he chapel. In Deember 2007, they were both made deacons, and while Rev. dr. Onah was transferred to Chapel of Pentecost, Rev. Dr. Aniebue has continued at the chapel here as a veritable instrument of God in ministering to the people.
The Diosan Hospital Chaplain, then Rev. Canon Dr. Ernest Onwasigwe, later promoted a professor of Ophthalmology in the University of Nigeria, was collated an Archdeacon by the Lord Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dr. E.O. Chukwuma, in July 2007. Since then he has continued to supervise the Hospital Chaplaincy Archedeaconry, visiting and mentoring the chapel in all respects. The chapel has immensely benefitted from their huble motivating disposition and mature guidance, as well as the unassuming support of his amiable wife, Prof. (Mrs.) Chika Onwasigwe.