London Igbo Anglican Church – Opens its doors to Nigerians in DiasporaAdmin
All roads led to the All Saints Church, London, Edmonton on Sunday, the 7th of November 2010, for the inaugural church service of the Anglican Igbo Church of the Holy Trinity. The weather was good and the sun was out throughout the afternoon.
The Church service started promptly, as published and in attendance were over three hundred worshippers; mainly Igbo Anglicans with their families, friends and relations, from all part of United kingdom. These are Anglican worshippers, born and bred in the Southeast Zone of Nigeria, Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo and Rivers states of Nigeria. The executive officers of major Town Unions/Community Associations and Social Organisations in Igbo land, Southeast Zone of Nigeria were fully represented too.
Others in attendance were Nigerian and non-Nigerians, Africans, from other church denominations, such as the members of the Roman Catholic church, Methodist, and Pentecostal Churches. some members of All Saints Church, including the Rev Father Stuart Owen, the Vicar of all Saints, also attended, participated and witnessed the history in making. Rt Rev. Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden and Stepney and the current Deputy Bishop of London was there and represented the Bishop London. In attendance was, His Excellence. Ambassador Dozie Nwanna, OON, the Deputy Nigerian High Commissioner to United Kingdom, the father of Nigerians in Uk, as well as Honourable Goddy Anunihu, the Chancellor, Diocese of Orlu and Province of Owerri, of the Church of Nigeria.
The service which was conducted and officiated by Ven. Dr. Amatu Onundu Christian-Iwuagwu, the Vicar of St Marys, the Virgin, Hamoundsworth, assisted by The Ven. Samson Anwasia, Rev. Canon Nelson Ajoku, Rev. Ifeanyi Chukuka and Lay Reader, Mrs Rose Odu, with hymns from Ekpere na Abu and readings from Igbo Bible and in keeping with the published order of service.
Yes. The cold weather did not stop these worshippers from dressing in Igbo traditional and colourful outfits, some of the women in their Mother’s Union uniform. They sang in Igbo, worshipped in their traditional manner, and this included dancing, clapping of hands, with rendition, backing from the choir and the organist.
At the middle of the service, item eleven on the order of worship and Programme, the Deputy Bishop of London, Rt. Rev. Pete Broadbent, stepped forward and before the congregation, apologised on behalf of Rt. Rev. Peter Weatley, Bishop of Edmonton, who, due to a prior engagement could not worship with this congregation today. He then said ‘I am here in your midst, first, as the Bishop of Willesden and Stepney; and on behalf of the Bishop of London, to convey his good wishes and endorsement to this congregation and the steering committee, which made this possible’. This is what we want to see and said ‘‘I look forward to worshipping with you and in your language, in future services’’ and showered his blessing to the congregation, shouted “Praise be to the Lord’’. The congregation exploded with a response, Amen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He also stated that he will report back this success to the Bishop of London, tomorrow 8th November.
Bishop then asked members of the Steering Committees to step forward for his blessing and after a short prayer, that ended with ‘’Praise be to the Almighty God’’, the congregation exploded with a response ALILUYA.
That was it. This is the only thing this movement was asking for. It is an opportunity, and a place to worship in their language and it happened before me on Sunday, 7th November and in the presence of the Lord. It was touching and a moving experience, some members of this congregation were in tears, tears of joy, as they sang, danced, and clapped to the admiration of this open endorsement and blessing from these Bishops, who have supported them, from inception.
During ‘Ekele Udo’ (The peace), a member of the congregation turned round and whispered, and said ‘‘In London too?’’
The service lasted for two hours; light refreshments were served and the Church hurriedly cleared, to make way for the next service. The next Igbo Anglican church service, a carol of nine lessons, will be held at the same venue and is scheduled for 12th December, 2010 at 3pm prompt.
After the service, I managed to speak to a member of this congregation, the man that spoke to me earlier. He said, My brother, I don’t know how long you have lived in this country. “To God be all the glory, honour, dominion and power. Amen