Sam In the Niger Delta Diocese.
In the early days of Sam’s Tenure as the Bishop of Niger Delta Diocese, Sam was quoted to have said the following;
“My dream and ambition for my Diocese is to be renewed with faith and believe in things of the Spirit against the things of the physical so that I will have spiritual as well as material growth.”
Sam laid more emphasis on the spiritual rejuvenation of his members while at the same time ensuring that the physical condition of the Diocese was improved in line with his Decentralization policy. The result was the marked and tremendous growth (Spiritually, numerically and physically) of the Niger Delta Diocese.
See also Life and Times of Bishop Elenwo, Samuel Onyuku. Part 4.
Barely two months after his Enthronement, Sam was to carry out his first assignment as a Bishop; he presided over the meeting of the 3rd Session of the 10th Synod of the Diocese, which held at St. Peter’s Church, Okrika, 20th to 29th April 1981 with the theme,”faith, Hope and Love”. Details of the Synod is contained in the book “Omoluabi A man of good Character” Click here to Purchase the book.
Three new Diocese were created out of the Niger Delta Diocese during the Episcopacy of Sam. These are;
- The Calabar Diocese; Which was created inaugurated on the 20th of December, 1990
- The Uyo Diocese; Which was inaugurated on the 27th of November, 1992. and
- The Niger Delta North; Which was inaugurated on the 16th of May, 1996.
Sam sees this as one of his greatest achievements. He was quoted to have said “the greatest challenge of my Diocese is the successful creation of two missionary Dioceses of Calabar and Uyo and one full fledged Diocese (Niger Delta North), from the Niger Delta Diocese. It was indeed a worthwhile achievement after so many years.
From just a two Archdeaconry (Bonny and Port Harcourt) passed on to him and his progeny, the good Lord used Sam to expand and sustain the church of the Niger Delta for more than 15years (March 1981 to May 1996).
As at the time Sam left the Diocese, there existed 17 Arcdeaconries namely;
However, Port Harcourt, Ahoada, Ikwerre, Ogoni, Evo, Ikwerre South and Eleme has metamorphosed into new Diocese of Niger Delta North.
There was also a sharp increase in the number of districts and Parishes by the time Sam completed his Episcopacy. The number rose from 43 that existed upon his assumption of duties to a total of 147. Many new Churches were also planted.
Moreso, the problem of insufficient clergy in Diocese was also tackled by Sam. A total of 234 priests including the Bishop were in service as against 63during the Tenure of Sam in 1981.
Sam also formed the council of Laity, with the primary aim of encouraging and promoting evangelism. The inauguration of this council took place on the 11th of August, 1992 at St. Cyprian’s Church, Port Harcourt. They served the church in various ways. They served as parish Treasurers, Wardens, Stewards, and Ushers, Sunday school teachers, children service leaders, Organists, Choir Masters and sextons.
He undertook aggressive evangelism both in urban and rural areas. As a result, many became committed, born again Christians in the Niger Delta Diocese. He established the Bishop Crowther Memorial Secondary School in Port Harcourt.
Elenwo made regular pastoral visits throughout the vast Niger Delta Diocese, in spite of the difficult terrain and the rough seas and rivers. During such visits, he confirmed thousands of people, inaugurated parishes, created new archdeaconries, laid the foundation stones of new churches and dedicated completed ones.
The bishopric of Samuel Elenwo invigorated the Great Anglican Revival team, producing dynamic evangelistic Bible teachers and rigorous revival programs which led to church planting in many districts. They held evangelistic awareness conferences and seminars placing the emphasis on the importance of the Word of God as the true foundation for the Christian church. He encouraged every church in his diocese to be evangelistic.
To solve the financial issues that faced the Diocese at the time, Sam substituted the committee on financial instructions under the Chairmanship of Venerable S.S.S Not. With the recommendations of this committee, especially on financial management, the treasury of the Diocese became buoyant and the Diocese was also free of debt to any external bodies.
Elenwo devised fundraising strategies for the diocese which included joint ventures with the CSS Bookshop, belonging to the Anglican Church, introduced the payment of tithes by church members, ruled that burial dates of dead relatives should be no more than fourteen days after death (to reduce the expense of holding corpses in the mortuary for long periods and the very elaborate burial parties afterwards), and other noble ideas.
- Joy Elenwo Ofordu (2018) Omoluabi a man of good Character: Gospel Warehouse, Port Harcourt.
- 1. Dictionary of African Christian Biography, Elenwo, Samuel Onyuku dacb.org. Retrieved 2021-04-28