From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
Members of Bethesda Bible Church, Onitsha, Anambra State, were in an ecstatic mood recently during the dedication of its cathedral building and the bishopric consecration of its Senior Pastor, Rev. Chidi Innocent Chidiebere.
The cleric is a former Divisional Superintendent and National Evangelist at the Grace of God Church Mission.
In 2014, Bishop Innocent was about completing the construction of a 3,500- seater ultramodern cathedral when the building suddenly collapsed. Six years later, a better church cathedral was built, and the cleric has now been elevated to the status of a bishop.
The event drew a crowd of dignitaries, including the College of Bishops, who performed the ordination rites.
In his homily, Archbishop Edward Ezenwafor noted that the new bishop, Chidi Innocent, had preached the gospel of God to international level, stating that it was possible for him due to the knowledge he had acquired.
He told the new Bishop that his acts must henceforth be exceptional, noting that he is a working tool in the hands of God. He advised the new Bishop to steer clear of any form of scandal.
Administering the oath of Bishopric duties, Bishop Prof. Moses Igweilo urged the new Bishop to be steadfast in the church and in other spheres, adding that he should never abandon the sheep entrusted under his care.
The new Bishop thanked those he said gave their support for the success of the event. He specifically poured accolades on the College of Bishops, friends and well-wishers who graced the event, assuring that the higher calling would be justified.
Recalling the ugly experience of the collapsed cathedral, Bishop Innocent said he was so downcast then and even contemplated quitting but the Lord encouraged him to press on.
“I felt like there was no point to continue as all hopes were lost to me. But the Lord spoke to me and encouraged me to realise that quitting is not the best option. It was hard to opt out of quitting but I encouraged myself in my God. The Lord also said that “a message would come out of the mess”.
I want to use what I’ve been through in the ministry to encourage you that out of your mess would come something pleasant, out of your barrier shall come a breakthrough, ” he said.
Wife of the bishop, Pastor Chidi Lois praised her husband for being a builder of men and church .
“At 27, you are already married. At 34 you built the first Cathedral in Osuma church under Grace of God Mission. At 39, you built the second Cathedral at 12/112 Awka Road under Grace of God Mission Onitsha. At 47, you built the 3rd Cathedral under Bethesda Bible Church at No.6 St Christopher Road 3-3 which collapsed. At this point people said so many things and thought that the end of your life and career had come.
“At 50, you shook off the beast into the fire and continued. At 55, you are dedicating another Cathedral. You are standing out today and because Jesus lives, you tomorrow is sure. You made it in the midst of adversity; you walked with men on foot and on horses and have triumphed. I know you will finish well and triumphantly. This journey will not stop half way,” the wife prayed.
Also, the Bishop’s daughter, Peace Mmesoma Chidi, eulogised his father for nurturing her in the way of the Lord.
President, Abia State Indigenes Forum, Anambra State chapter, Damian Ogudike, said the new Bishop was a member of his association.
“His elevation to the status of Bishop is a payback for his contributions in the church. I advise him to double his efforts as whom much is given much is expected,” he said.
Some bishops in attendance were Archbishop Edward Ezenwafor, Bishops Innocent Chigozie, Ebenezer Enikwa, Prof. Moses Igweilo, Edith Elisha, O.C. Dominic, Matthew Daniel and Chukwudubem.