CHURCH OF NIGERIA (ANGLICAN COMMUNIONDIOCESE OF IHIALA

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The Anglican MissionThe CMS came into the Igbo land on the 27th of July 1857 through the efforts, works an activities of Samuel Ajai Crowther. They first established at Onitsha, and began to expand into the heartland of the Igbo nation – Ihiala inclusive.

Ihiala lying along the transverse of Onitsha – the nursery bed of the gospel and Owerri another centre. It took many years for the gospel to be established here due to inter-tribal wars ragging across the Igbo land then, thereby hindering the Missionary exploits.

However, in 1 908, the Missionaries through the activities of Revd. F. C. Payne, a West lndian Missionary engaged in Egbu Owerri brought the gospel into lhiala.

The gospel began to expand into the nooks and crannies of lhiala Division. When the churches in Onitsha area were grouped into the Diocese on the Niger, lhiala was a part of it. The Church continued to grow and expand and in 1 996, former Nnewi Archdeaconry of the Diocese on the Niger was constitute into a Diocese, lhiala was a strong arm of this new Nnewi Diocese. Before then, lhiala was in 1992 constituted and inaugurated an Archdeaconry in the Niger Diocese. As the Nnewi Diocese continues to grow, Okija area formerly of lhiala Archdeaconry was constitued and inaugurated an Archdeaconry in 1997.

As development continues, churches were planted in many villages and places in ihiala Local Government Area, thoughts began to come, godly men and women begin to pray, think and plan for the need to group the churches in the lhiala Local Government Area into a Diocese. These thoughts began to manifest in 2005 when Sir Laz. lfeanyi Nganwuchu singularly with the advice of some godly men began to move around, intimating, explaining, convincing and persuading prominent citizens of lhiala Local Government on the need for a Diocese of lhiala. He spent his time, money, and energy making consultations, phone calls, visits and calling meetings.

He climaxed these efforts when he summoned a meeting of all Knights of lhiala Local Government Area and talked to them about the need for a Diocese of lhiala. He later arranged a separate meeting with the Okija Archdeaconry Council of Knights at St. Matthew's Church lhembosi in the company of Mr. B. C, Uchendu and Mr. A. U. Ejezie and continue to explain to them the need for this Diocese of lhiala. He laterwrote circulars and sent to all churches in lhiala Local Government Area and summoned them to meetings at St. Stephen's Church lhiala and continued the explanation on the need for the Diocese of lhiala.

Present in the meetings were Knights and representatives of all the churches in lhiala, Okija and Ebonesie Archdeaconries. He eventually got most of well meaning citizens who accepted and appreciated the need for the Diocese. They whole heartedly joined in the pursuit for the actualization of the Diocese of lhiala.

Prominent among those that accepted the vision is His majesty lgwe Gabriel Umeh. The lgwe of Akwezikenyi Autonomous Community. He was tonic that tuned up the spirit. When the going became tough and the spirits of many began to grow cold and down, he came with the soothing balm that healed and binded up the spirits by his assuring statement ''Let us move forward, we can do it. God will provide all our needs.

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