HISTORY OF OBOSI ARCHDEACONRY
Obosi Archdeaconry was inaugurated on 7th February 1992 with Ven. Dr. J.P.C. Okeke as the First Archdeacon, by His Lordship Rt. Rev’d J.A. Onyemelukwe (Bishop on the Niger). Obosi Archdeaconry by then covered the entire Oba Community, Nkpor Community, Awada Community and Obosi. Toady, Obosi Archdeaconry covers only Obosi and Umuoji communities with the following Churches:
1. St. Andrew’s Church Obosi – Ven. Oswald Ezekwere (JP)
Rev’d. Victor Nzegwu
2. St. Mary’s Church Obosi – Rev’d. Wisdom Okeke
3. St. Philip’S Church Umuoji – Rev’d Canon Lious Ezenwata
4. St. Peter’s Umuoji – Rev’d Albert Ikeokwu
5. St. Peter’s Obosi – Rev’d Alex Chijindu
6. All Saint Church Obosi – Rev’d Friday Okonkwo
7. St. Mary the Virgin Umuoji – Rev’d Benson Okafor
8. St. Luke’s Church Obosi – Rev’d Wilfred Nwankwo
9. St. Stephen Church Umuoji – C/T
10. St. Barnabas Church Obosi – C/T
11. Bishop Samuel Nkemena Memorial Church Obosi – C/T
12. Emmanuel Church Umuoji –
13. Chapel of Healing Cross Obosi – Rev’d Barr. Oscar Akabuogu
ST. ANDREW’S OBOSI
Obosi received a band of Christians from Onitsha Easter day 1882 with Archdeacon Johnson as the foremost missionary to Obosi. In 1884, 67 persons were baptized. The new converts through misdirected Zeal for the new faith clashed with the heathens and persecution broke out. In 1889, Rev. P.A Benneth, an European Missionary was appointed to Obosi. In 1942, Obosi was constituted a District. The following indigenous priests were among the earliest missionaries. They were : Rev. Abel N. Ekpunobi with Hezekiah Nweje Were Ordained on 30th July 1914. Rev. Isaac Ejindu, July 16th 1916, Simon Okechukwu January 25th 1920. Alfred Ekwulugo August 24th 1923, Samuel Nkemena (Bishop) on January 13th 1929, William Eneli January 14th 1940; Henry L. Okechukwu; Dec. 8th 1943; J.C. Nwankwo, Rev. N.N. Iwenofu and C.C. Moghalu etc.
The earliest converts at Obosi included Peter Anyafumuo, Andrew Ejiofor Utobo, Solomon Enebeli, The grandfather by the Enelis, Mark and Mary Ekpunobi, Onubogu Umebe, Isaac Enkebe, Ben. Ikenwa, Father of the Ikenwa family of Umuezeagu in Obosi.
The Igwe Anene, Eze Obosi offered a Land for a Mission Station near the Akuora Market. The foundation of the first St. Andrews Church was laid by Mr. J. Strong of Sierra Leone in 1882. The first Church of bamboo walls and wattle roof of dimension 60 feet by 20 feet. On Dec 28th – Holy Innocent Day, the first baptism of Obosi convert, were performed by Archdeacon Johnson in the presence of Bishop Crowther at Christ Church Onitsha. 22 Children and 26 Adult males and 19 females totally 67. Attendance to Church had an average of 125. Mr. Strong, Isaac Mba, Stephen Obosi, George Anyaegbunam and Josisah Obianwu kept up by rotation especially on Saturdays and Sundays.
In 1900, Land was purchased from Chigbogwo Ogbuezie for two pounds ten shilling, for construction of a new St. Andrews Church which would have a zinc.
Many missionary activities took place between 1900 till date. Until 1992 when Obosi was made an Archdeaconry, many Archdeacons had served in this succession: Ven. Dr. J.P.C. Okeke, Ven. Marchie G.I, Ven. E.O. Okonkwo, Ven. E.E. Meoba, Ven. I.I.Ikele, Ven. J.O.I. Nweke, Ven. T.I. Umeh, Very Rev. Dr. Emma Ekpunobi and presently Ven. Dr. Oswald Ezekwere.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF ST. MARY’S ANGLICAN CHURCH UGAMUMA, OBOSI
In that auspicious day in 1894 the Church Named St. Mary’s Church Obosi which had been planted in 1882 came on an evangelistic Mission to the Isiowulu area of Obosi specifically to Ugamuma. The group was led by the Rev. P.A. Bennet who was the resident Priest at Obosi from 1890 – 1900. He was accompanied by Mr. T.O. Agusiobo, the church teacher at St. Andrew’s Church and a native of Onitsha. The group was kindly received by Ekwulugo, the Ezeani II. They held an evangelistic crusade at Ama Ezeani Ugwuenu Ugamuma village. Consequent on this evangelistic effort the following were the early and natable converts from the church labours. Luke Chiekweta, John Ikeogu, Mark Onugha, Obed Obionwu, Peter Iloduba, Isaac Ejindu, Samuel Ikwele, David Mjanwufor, Jacob Moka, Phiilip Uyelumuo, Alfred Ekwulugo, Gius Ibetoghi, James Orakwute, Emmanuel Nwobi, Moses Oyaka, Peter Ogbogu , Enochi Nwobi, Gilbert Abadom, Paul Anasiudu, Michael Ifeobu, Ben. Orakwute,David Osuno, Stephen Osuno, Henry Ilokobi, Joseph Anyaeji, Peter Ejindu, Benard Osuno, Henry Onwuka, Ezekiel Obionwu, Jonathan Oranwa, John Akabogu, Daniel Ifemedebe, David Ikeokwu, James Ubakanma and their families. John Ikeogu and Peter Iloduba were the first two to be baptized at Ugamuma (St., Mary’s) in 1898. On April 2 1899 Isaac Ejindu, David Njanwufo and Jacob Moka were taken to Idemili River, where they were baptized in order to dispel the rumour among the heathen community that the water used for baptism was the blood of the Local shake (Eke Idemili) which was held in Veneration by the community.
On November 23, 1896, Rev. Bennett and the Church Committee of St. Andrew’s decided to build a contemporary church at Ugamuma to carter for the new converts, catchumon and children who could not trek to Umuota. The church measuring 36 feet by 18 feet of bamboo walls was built at Ama Ezeani and completed in 1897 is the nucleus of what is today St. Mary’s Church Obosi embracing the entire Isiowulu community comprising Ugamuma, Mmakwum and Uruowulu villages.
A second church building made of iron roof was started in 1901 on a land acquired by Luke Chekweta from one Onwuachu adjacent to his (Chiekweta’s) compound on the road to Ama-Ezeani. The building was completed in 1906.
St. Mary’s Church Obosi became a one Church District on January 29th 1967 and the Rev. G.O.Iloaba was inducted as the first District Supritendant Rev. E.C. Odina from Obosi replaced Rev. G.O. Iloaba who head fled because of the civil in 1969.
The present St. Mary’s Church building designed by Arc Okechukwu Onochie was started in March 1981 with proceeds from it’s launching on June 30th 1979 totally N44,439.32. it’s foundation stone was laid on December 29th 1982 by His Lordship Rt. Rev. Jonathan Anrinze Onyemelukwe. It was dedicated on December 21st 1991 by the same Bishop.
With the turn of the New millennium St. Mary’s Church has remained on the path of growth and progress successive workers have made their contributions to the growth of the church adding to the church a well thriving Nursery and Primary school. A functional borehole, an imposing workers house dedicated by the Bishop on the Niger Rt. Rev. Dr. Owen Chiedozie Nwokolo on September 11th 2011 an improved internal and external estimative of the church.between 2006 and date St. Mary’s has birthed three church planted: St. Lukes Church Uruowulu, Chapel of the Healing Cross and the St. Barnabas Church Mmakwum.
To God be the Glory.
ST. PETER’S CHURCH OBOSI
Through the ingenuity of the then Vicar of St. Andrew’s Church; Ven. Dr. J.P.C Okeke, the Church at Afor Adike square formerly built for Ozo tittle holders was formerly founded, consecrated and named St. Peters Church Obosi in 1992. This Church was formerly founded based on Tradition whose adherents were also Christians.
ALL SAINTS LITTLE WOOD CHURCH OBOSI
In 2006 after about 115 years the Gospel was planted in Obosi, the P.C.C. of St. Andrew’s Church Obosi under Ven. I.I. Ikele saw the need for a Church in and around Little Wood for proximity reasons and it was upheld by all. A school farm of Umuota Primary School originally owned by St. Andrews was considered and approved by the P.C.C. as empowered by the edict of relinquishment of Schools from Church to the State Government.
The first Sunday Church Service was held on 7th January 2007. It was presided over by catechist Amos Nkwoeze with 110 Chruch members in attendance, while Canon J.U. Ochuba was piloting the affair before Ven. Joseph Nweke was posted as the new Archdeacon. Rev. Chris Amaku was posted to the Church as Pioneer Priest. In 2012, Rev. Sam Adoro (Now Archdeacon) took over from Rev. Chris Amaku and the Church continued to grow. In 2015, Rev. Friday Okonkwo arrived as Vicar.
ST. MARY THE VIRGIN UMUOJI
In 1970 precisely, after the end of the Civil war, the Parochical Church Committee of St. Philip’s Church Umuoji Appointed Mr. Lawrence Azogini (alias 404) to lead and teach in the C.M.S. School on which this present Church is located. The school as a Church which eventually meter mophosed into the church we know toady as St. Mary the Virgin.
ST. PETER’S CHURCH, UMUOJI
In 1957, a land was allotted to both Roman Catholic Church and CMS Church by Umuoji improvement Union – jointly with Igwe in Council, then an empty acres of land was left between the two denominations for unrevealed reasons. The owners of the land were allowed to use their land for farming and any other of the land were allowed to use their land for farming and any other purpose. The Roman Catholics facing the present Nkpor – Nnobi Road while the Anglican built a small kindergarten school. The kindergarten was managed by Late J.C. Egesionwu (Mr). For more effective occupation, one school mater (Late Raph. Obianinwa) attracted ministry of Agriculture to make the whole area, apart from the school building, a palm plantation. The CMS was running the school to Standard 11 and harvesting the Palm nuts until the start of the civil war. It was called St. Philip’s Extension.
After the civil war all school, including this St. Philip’s extension, were taken over by the government. We toiled ceaselessly to recover the land but in vain. Even one Ruben Okpalaakune (a Catechist) at St. Philip’s then was chased by villagers on several occasions on his attempt to harvest the Palm nuts. The Anglicans were completely kicked out of the site, both the school and palm plantation. After the taking over of schools by the government, the Anglican Community lost this site teachers’ quarters at St. Philip’s premises. The Umuoji Anglican Community then requested Sir Eugene N. Mbonu, who was then the Director of Internal Revenue in East Central State, to help. He tried so much to recover all landed properties including building belonging to the Anglican community except the palm plantation and the kindergarten school i.e. the present St. Peter’s Church. The reason was that there was no Church building of any type before and after the civil war. Our Sister Church, the Roman Catholic, used this golden opportunity to prepare a survey plan covering from the main road to our own compound.
ST.PHILIP’S ANGLICAN CHURCH UMUOJI
In 1925, Peter Iwugo Agina of Akalatiti viilage, Umuoji, who was converted at Oze in Oyi Local Government Area where he immigrated to farm became the first person, the biblical rock on which the Anglican Church was built.
He donated his land near the compound of the wealthy woman of Urumkpu village, known as Omebido, hence the first Church was nicknamed Owoko Omebido. The first Church service was on Christmas day 25th Dec., 2015 and the congregation comprised Peter and his wife, his two sons Samuel and Sidney and his two Nephews Gabriel and Obidiah a congregation of six.
Between 1925 and 1930, they were joined by some adult Umuoji citizens converted elsewhere, namely:- Luke and Bernice Ochuebe, Gabriel Okoye – Odu, Isaac Chikwendu, Nelson Mmachi, Clifford Mbelina, Elijah Okonkwo and some Children converts namely:- Daniel Chukwudogu, Paul Ekpunobi, Ebenezer Chukwudogu, Alfred Okafor, Lawrence Okafor, Emmanuel Okosa, Emmanuel Ezenwa, Late Rev. S.A. Crowther who first planted gospel at Onitsha in 1957 saw education as necessary instrument by the Church and the two functions sidelined each complementarity. Such was the case in Umuoji where the same Church Worker with one or two assistance took charge of both Sunday activities and school works. The first Church Teacher, Gabriel Nnaike, laid a solid foundation on which his successors had to build on before he left Umuoji on transfer in 1930 the year the Church and the school were relocated from Owoko Omebido to Chief Okafor Ugonweze’s land at Aguma. It is needless saying the fact that the following converts and more whose families are pillars in the Church now, were from CMS School at Aguma – Lazarus Iwugo, Sir J.N. Molokwu, Sir W.C. Mbonu, Felix Mbonu, William Muojekwu, Silas Ubadike, Christopher Ubadike, Emmanuel Ifekwe, John Anigbogu, Esther Onyima (nee Oguno)Hezekiah Okeke Eze, Samuel Obiefima, Augustine Igbokwe, Patrick Ubezuonu, Jonathan Egesionwu, Nathan Egwuatu, Emma Obianyo Okonkwo, Isaac Ndubuisi, Peter Obieze (Africa), Ignatius Mekowulu, Abraham Okeke Eze, Godwin Udezuka, Eugene Mbonu, Alphonsus Mbachu, James Iwugo, Samuel Akuchukwu, Oduche Anakpe, Christian Nnoka.
BISHOP SAMUEL NKEMENA MEMORIAL CHURCH OBOSI
The Church known then as “St. Andrew’s (Ang.) Church Extension” was planted and inaugurated by Ven. J.O.I Nweke on 1st November, 2009 along with Mr. Amos Nkwoeze his Catechist. The theme of his sermon was taken from Proverbs 14:34 “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people” section 9 and 10 formed the backbone of the new Church.
The congregation continued to worship in a dilapidated school hall at Ire Central School. They were determined and optimistic that one day the Church extension would grow to a full fledged church. Backed up by St. Andrew’s P.C.C., they started looking for a permanent site. Late Mrs. P.O.K Emekekwue found there and reported to the P.C.C. Messrs. Mike Ikwueme, Ogbueshi Motanya and Sam. Onowu were mandated to negotiate for the land. For (4) plots of hand were purchased from I.K Anekwu at the cost of six million, two hundred and fifty thousand (N6,250,000) only. The purchase was done under the auspices of St. Andrew’s Church and her extension church. The turning of the sord was performed by Ven. T.I. Umeh amid Jubilation of the entire Church on St. Andrew’s Day 2013. The clearing of the site lasted until December, 2013 when Ven. T.I. Umeh was transferred. A new dawn came with the coming in January 2014 of Very Rev’d Dr. Emma Ekpunobi. He encouraged the members of the Church extension to immediately move into the permanent site and put up a “Canpoy” for their Sunday Service He appointed committee.
On 4th May 2014, St. Andrew’s Church Extension was named “Bishop Samuel Nkemena Memorial Anglican Church, Ire Obosi” During the mini – Launching on that day, Chief David Mbanefo (Agba – Dike Obosi) took the bull by the horn by saying that he would single handed by provide materials and labour for the foundation of the new church building. By the following week, he started bringing in Chippings and bags cement to the site.