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The History of Saint Augustine Anglican Church Amawbia (Read Details here)

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ADVENT OF CHRISTIANITY IN AMAWBIA

Christianity came to Amawbia along with the establishment of colonial administration dated back to 1903.

A team of missionaries of the church missionary society (CMS) arrived Awka, now the capital city Anambra state for the spread of the gospel in 1903 having failed in their earlier missions in 1901.

The team comprised of an English priest, Revd S.R. Smith and three west Indian priests, Revds Stuart, N, C Lewellyn and Brown.

They were received by Chiefs Nweze and Onwurah Usoku ( slias Egbinijeogu) both of Awka who showed them an evil forest, part of which they cleared and dwelt in.

The site was letter developed into the renowned Awka college otherwise known as St pauls college Awka (now St Paul’s university college Awka) the site was at that time called Be Uzu ( the home of Smith) taking after Revd Smith.

Having settled at Awka, the missionaries were then in a position to carry the gospel to nearby communities, with the kind assistance of their host.

One of the first communities they visited was Amawbia, as both Chief Nweze and Chief Onwura had become close associates of Chief Agbata Ikele the son of Chief Ikele Nwine, the Chief priest of Ngene-Eme shrine through their dealings with Major H C Moorhouse.

Led by chief Onwura Nsoku, Rev. Lewellyn, Brown and Stuart, paid a visite to the house hold of Chief Ikele Nwine in 1903 and were warmly received, as Onwura was not new to the household.

Subsequent visits brought Chief Ikele Nwine closer to the missionaries, whom he allowed free access to preach the gospel of God in his compound.

Although he did not join the missionaries, nor did he encourage members of his household to, Ikele Nwine allowed outsiders who were attracted to the scene. The first convert was one Okoye Anwu Katchy (later baptised James Anwu Katchy) of Umuoneli kindred Ngene village Amawbia, Mr Katchy at this juncture became the liaison between the missionaries and Amawbia community.

There was intensification of evangelistic activities at Ikele Nwine’s compound, involving regular worships and Catechism classes, leading to the baptism of James Okoye Anwu Katchy and his wife, Eunice as well as their subsequent wedding.

Another spectacular event was the conversion of Ikele Nwine daughter-in-law, the first wife of chief Agbata Ikele, Mrs Dorcas Ikele, as Nwine household could no longer escape the radiation of the gospel from within their premises.

She did this against the wishes of both her father-in-law and her husband.

As more persons gets converted, one Mr James Nrabalu from Ogidi was appointed later in 1904, to take charge of the growing flock, in collaboration with Mr James Katchy. The congregation now moved to Ngene village Square Ebe Akpu. With time the number of convert increased and the need for a spacious worship centre arose which a unanimous alternative site was located at the Evil Forest at Obodokwe, in Umukabia village, the present site of St peters Church. It was a bitter struggle, with pagan parents doing all in their power to dissuade their children from joining in what seemed like a suicidal bravado.

HOW THE CHURCH WAS INITIALLY CONCEIVED

Amawbia Anglican community had only one church previously which was St Peters church parish Amawbia.

As at the time of conceptualization of having another Anglican church in the town, the priest at St Peters then was the late Ven Uche Umeh, it was as a result of increasing population in the attendance of service,

Many aged people that were finding it difficult to come down from Aguogba to St Peters to worship

Because there is an available premises that is been overseen by Anglican community Amawbia.

These all together necessitated the thought of beginning a new church.

With the above mentioned factors happening simultaneously, the church PCC at St Peters decided to meet all the above mentioned needs by unanimously accepting to start morning prayers at the already existing premises which was announced by the vicar in the person of then Rev can Uche Umeh now Late Ven Uche Umeh at the church for it to take effect which eventually started some time in 2008 with 42 persons in attendance.

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The morning prayers continued to grow in number which prompted the vicar and the PCC to start to plan how to move to the level of planting a church there.

The church was given birth to and declared on the occasion of Palm Sunday March 16th 2008 which as usual will always start at St Peters and end at the premises at Aguogba but that of 2008 was with a different.

It was held in a grand style, the preacher that day was then Rev Architect Chuks Okoli now Rev can Architect Chuks Okoli he prophesied that the church that is yet to begin at the premises will be great and even greater than the mother church,

It was followed by launching which was geared towards building a residential place for the priest or catechist that will be in charge of the new church.

The new church was eventually given the name St Peters church (11) as of then.

Work eventually began at the premises after Rev can architect Chuks Okoli who was the curate at St Peters then and the Diocesan architect drew the building plan which was a bungalow to be positioned at the old headmasters place.

When it got to the point of roofing, some members of the PCC that are from Aguobga proposed that the bungalow should be changed to duplex because they are dreaming big and had done a foundation that will carry a duplex.

After due deliberations, the members of PCC from Aguobga which include Late Sir Andrew Odumodu and Late Sir Eric Dijeh with others requested that the money for the roofing of the residential building be given to them to be used for decking the building and allowed to see what tomorrow will bring.

The PCC agreed to that and the money was given to them which was used to deck the house. The building had been manned by 7 men committee which included the following persons:

Prof EIE Ofodile Chairman,
Mr Christian Ugorji Member,
Late Sir Andrew Odumodu,
Late Sir Eric Dijeh Member,
Mr Richman Ibe Member,
Mr Azuka Okeke Member and
Late Mrs Adline Obi Member.

The first service at the premises on Sunday was presided over by the Late Ven Uche Umeh and subsequently he sent Mr Ogugua Mogbo.

The new church was to be overseen by duly constituted 7 men caretaker committee who are to serve in the capacity of the PCC of the church. They are as follows
Late Sir Andrew Odumodu,
Late Sir Eric Dijeh,
Mr Richman Ibe,
Mrs Nwakego Nnogo,
Mr Joseph Maduka,
Mrs Ifeoma Chukwuma and
Mr Joseph Dijeh

  • until the posting of a catechist, late Mr Eric Nwanagu.Just almost a year after the church had been established, His Grace, the Most Rev Maxwell Anikwenwa decided to elevate the status of the church and sent a priest, Rev Sam Okeke from St Faith Cathedral Awka who came with zeal and open heart to work to the glory of God.

    KNIGHTHOOD IN THE CHURCH

    With the Advent of various order of knighthood in church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) six sons of St Augustine church Amawbia have been found worthy for selection and investiture as knights.

    While three of them were invested when the community had one church which is St Peters church Amawbia the rest were done after that they are as follows.

    1) _Sir S O Chinwuba Awka Diocese_

    2) _Sir Andrew Odumodu Awka Diocese_

    3) _Late Sir Eric Dijeh Awka Diocese_

    4) _Sir Alpha Odumodu Awka Diocese_

    5) _Sir Raph Nwoye Diocese of Calaba_

    and

    6) Sir Uzoma Odumodu

CHRONOLOGY OF CHURCH WORKERS

By the grace of God, St Augustine church Amawbia, since inception had several church teachers and priests who have contributed their quota immensely to the growth of the church till date.

God have used many of them at various stages of growth of the church up to its present level.

INDIGENOUS PRIEST FROM THE CHURCH

The Lord have been so good to the people of St Augustine Amawbia because he had continued to help her in various ways.

As the church was growing Numerically, structurally and spiritually in strenght, God in his infinite mercy helped the church also by giving her indigenous spiritually leaders and fathers who by His grace are serving in various diocese in Nigeria at large.

They include,

Venerable Ikechukwu Onwuka Lagos Diocese

Rev Can Obiora Nwoye Diocese of Enugu North

Rev Jackon Ezialor Enugu Diocese

and

Rev Gabriel Chinwuba Kaduna Diocese

THE BUILDING OF THE CHURCH

It was with joy that the Anglican faithful in Amawbia who worship at St Peters church 11 received the news that the Archbishop, His grace, the Most Rev Maxwell Anikwenwa had in his wisdom decided to send a priest, Rev Sam Okeke to her instead of a church teacher or catechist as is always the norm for a small church of its level.

These together with the zeal with which Rev Sam Okeke came with Spur the majority of the worshipers to move round the community to sensitize all Anglicans living in Adabebe and Enuorji to make it a point of duty to identify and worship in the church as it’s the right place for them to do so.

These resulted to the fact that the small class room building then for worship could not acvomodate the worshipers, together with the challenge that the priest Rev Sam Okeke was facing at the vicarage which its decking was licking as of then, moved the worshipers towards looking for A better and spacious place for worship to arrest the challenges at the vicarage which its decking was leaking badly to provide a place for a church teacher or church workers which the need must definitely arise.

This necessitated the constitution of a building committee in charge of the anticipated projects as follows.

Eng Christopher Odumodu Chairman

Late Sir Andrew Odumodu Member

Late sir Eric Dijeh Member

Late Eng Victor Nwokike Member

Late Eng John Onwuka Member

Mr Joseph Maduka Member

_Mrs Ifeoma Chukwuma Member_

and

Mr Joseph Dijeh Member

As the building committee moved into action for fund driveit spurred many sons, daughters and friend of Adabebe and Enuorji to give bountifully towards the building project which eventually started small as the saying goes a journey of a mile begins with a step.

Work started then by simultaneously completing the decked and licking vicarage to its present state, to building a hall which was used as a worship centre for children ministry and attached to it is two rooms which housed the local clerk then and the security man before constructing the security house. Presently, the two rooms is now housing the church teachers.

It was still during that time that the foundation of this present edifices was laid and God used his children immensely towards archiving that.

The church building accelerated to the point of mezzanine and in 2013 _Revd Sam Okeke_ was posted out of St Augustine and _Revd Obidajua_ was sent in the same year, and eventually the mezzanine was cast and in 2014 he was transferred and _Revd Bonny Okechukwu_ _Ogaraku_ was posted to St Augustine.

His presence was also felt greatly as it was during his time that the church was roofed and parish decleared by then the lord bishop *Rt Rev Chibuzor Ibezim Ph D* and now his grace _the Most Rev Chibuzor Ibezim Ph D_ and in 2018 he was transferred and Revd Sunday Chinedu Eze was posted to St Augustine Amawbia.

As the present parish priest came, he met a growing parish with ultra-modern building in progress but scarcity of resource to complete it.

He prayerfully invited his Uncle *Prince Eng Arthur Eze (Ozoigbondu)* who honoured the occasion on November 2018 and donated bountifully towards the building of the church and to the glory of God.

As the worshipers in St Augustine’s saw the effect of the visit of Prince Arthur Eze (Ozoigbondu) they were moved tremendously to see that the church building was completed.

This they did by donating bountifully towards that. God continued to use his servant Rev Sunday Eze who never relented in his moves by prayers and calls to illustrious sons of St Augustine to see that the parish church is completed and dedicated to the glory of God.

ROLES OF HIS GRACE, THE MOST REV. MAXWEL SAMUEL CHUKWUNWIKE ANIKWENWA

When the church began, it was known as St Peters church 11 and a church teacher who was to serve under the late Revd Uche Umeh was sent to man the church in the person of late catechist Eric Nwanagu. In just few months the church existed, his grace decided in his wisdom to send a priest, Rev Sam Okeke this indeed paid off greatly and paved way for speedy growth of the church.

This continued until in October 2010 during the 10th session of Diocesan Synod which was hosted by St Michael and All Angel Nawfia.
It pleased the lord to use his servant the Dean, Church of Nigeria Anglican communion, Archbishop province of the Niger and Bishop Diocese of Awka His grace the most Rev Maxwell Chukwuwike Anikwenwa JP to name / rename the church from St Peters church 11 to St Augustine Anglican church Amawbia

It was during the time Rev Sam Okeke was as the resident priest and late Ven Uche Umeh as the Vicar at St Peters church Amawbia.O

ROLES OF HIS GRACE THE MOST REVD ALEXANDER CHIBUZOR IBEZIM phd IN THE GROWTH OF THE CHURCH

By Gods grace, God have indeed used his servant magnificently in the growth of St Augustine to his glory. He carefully selects among the best priests in the Diocese to be in charge of the church which have indeed helped her both physically and spiritually. Secondly as a man that is being led by the spirit of God, the almighty God used his grace the Most Rev Alexander Chibuzor Ibezim Ph D on Saturday 26th of may 2012 to perform the dedication of the Vicarage and the foundation stone laying of the modern church auditorium as the bishop of Awka diocese. Thirdly his lordship deemed it fit and appropriate to elevate St Augustine church to Parish status by declaring her a parish on 6th of July 2014 and inaugurated her on Sunday 28th Auguste 2016.

As a result, St Augustine is now referred to as St Augustine Church Parish Aguogba Amawbia to the glory of God. We prayed that the good lord will continue to bless his servant. We thank God for haven elevated his servant who is now the chief servant of province of the Niger to God be the glory. Amen.

THE ANGLICAN YOUTH FELLOWSHIP AYF

The Anglican youth fellowship in St Augustine Church have been instrumental to the development of the church, they have played a leading role together with the women general cleanliness of the church and its compound.

The AYF in 2016 paid for two windows in the church. And in 2017 they bought the oil candle that was used in the church and in 2018 they paid for one pew in the church and in 2020 after the award Sunday that they organised, the proceed became instrumental to the beginning of the interlocking of the work way from gate to God be the glory Amen

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