By Vera Wisdom-Bassey
March 21 was a day members of United Evangelical Church (UEC) will not forget in a hurry. It was the day the church held its first convention, though it had existed for 134 years.
The three-day programme, with the theme “Abundance of Rain,” was held at the church’s international convention ground in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos.
The church was founded in 1887 by an Irish missionary, Rev. Samuel Alexander Bill, who was the first missionary to serve with the Qua Iboe Mission that metamophosed into UEC.
Daily Sun gathered that when Bill arrived in Calabar, Cross River State, he named the church Qua Iboe Church, after the River Qua Iboe, and since then the church has spread across Nigeria.
The programme, which was scheduled to hold in 2020, was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Praise and jubilation marked the convention as it finally held this year. The presiding pastors led the guests to dance to the glory of God.
An apparently elated cleric was seen rolling on the altar. According to him, it was a promise he made to God in appreciation of the success of the convention.
He could not hold back tears as he sang and worshiped God for fulfilling His promises concerning the church.
Speaking at the event, Governor Udom Emmanuel, represented by the Senior Special Assistant on Religious Matters, Rev. Daniel Akwatang, said he was fulfilled, encouraged and happy for having the convention in his time.
His words: “It is a very serious event. Anytime you have a good number of people to learn the word, impact into their lives, that is a convention. Jesus Christ used to hold conventions too when he was on earth.”
He said though there were annual conferences in the church, where God used anointed servants to give hope to people through healing and other acts of transformation, the convention was unique.
The governor, in his goodwill message, encouraged the congregation to continue to live a righteous life, in words and practice. He also encouraged the organisers to sustain the programme.
Udom supported the project of the church with N2.5 million. He called for unity among the Qua Iboe Church so that it would progress like the 12 tribes of Israel, adding that there was strength in unity.
The guest speaker, Bishop Emma Isong, general overseer, Christian Central Chapel International, spoke on “The Purpose of Rain.” He described rain as a time of harvest, joy, life and happiness. He encouraged the people to look out for rain of blessings in the church.
“There shall be green pastures, because rain increases productivity, creativity, and the rain, as a major catalyst for agriculture, will bring increase in the church. Poverty is over in the lives of the people,” he said.
He prayed for Nigeria to continue to live together in love and prosperity.
The chairman of church’s conference, Rev. Samuel Ebukiba, declared that God had visited the church, that was why they were celebrating.
He said God was going to expand the church to other countries and prayed to God to speedily bring it to manifestation.