By Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu,
On the 12th of November, 2016, the people of Akpugoeze in Enugu State will roll out their drums to celebrate 100 years of Christianity in the town. At the centre of the celebration is St. Immanuel Anglican Church, Akpugoeze Archdeaconry, Diocese of Aguata, Enugu State. What a wonderful coincidence! The centenary celebration of Christianity in the town coincides with that of the church.
Indeed, centenaries are not easy to come. It is for this sole reason that the church is celebrating this event in a grand style. Beautiful programmes have been lined up to mark the event. as a buildup to the event, the church recently honoured prominent personalities in the church who have distinguished themselves in various areas of their services to the church and as well attained 70 years and above.
The event tagged” Celebration of Centenarians” according to the Chairman, Centenary/Inauguration Planning Committee, Dr. Onwurah Augustine Emenike, was designed “to begin to prepare the minds of our people for the celebration proper. We also planned to use it to remember all those who have attained the God- given life expectancy of three scores plus ten (70 years) and above and to join the families that desire to use the occasion to celebrate their loved ones who have enjoyed this blessing from God.
He continued:” This is the idea and with the hope that people will also use the opportunity to support the church. During the celebration proper, we shall use the occasion to remember all those (saints triumphant) and (saints militant) whose contributions in this church have remained significant.
In his remarks, Chairman of the Publicity Committee,Tobias Chukwukerue Amara said that programme was targeted at creating awareness for the event proper, raising funds, and evangelism, among others. He thanked those who contributed to the success of the ceremony and urged every hand to be on deck for the success of the November ceremony.
Of a truth, those who have the privilege of crossing 70 years deserved to be honoured from both scriptural, social and economic perspective. Two scriptures are handy to buttress this assertion. “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away” Psalms 90:10. I am now eighty years old. Can I distinguish between good and bad? Or can your servant taste what I eat or what I drink? Or can I hear anymore the voice of singing men and women? Why then should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king?-2 Samuel 19:35.Also, according to a 2012 report, life expectancy in Nigeria has dropped as low as 52.11 years.
Among the centenary award recipients is Venerable Lawrence Nwekemezie Enemo (rtd), the first Archdeacon of Oraifite Archdeaconry. Venerable Enemo was also the first indigenous Archdeacon of Akpuigoeze Community and was instrumental to the establishment of a scholarship scheme for the whole pupils of Akpugoeze schools in 1964.
Venerable Enemo was born on 27th July, 1932, and attended the following primary schools: CMS, Akpugoeze (1950); CMS, Nawfijah (1951-53); and CMS, Ndike/ Ndiowu (1954-56). He obtained Licentious in Theology (L.TH), and served in the following churches: St. Faith Church, Awka (1972-73); St. John’s Church,Ekwulobia (1973-79); St. Thomas Church, Orakwu (1979-81); St. Thomas Church, Otolo- Nnewi (1982-90), among other churches.
Another recipient, Clifford I Ifebueme clocked 82 on 29th June. He is a fellow of several professional bodies, including The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and London.