The Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, on Friday in Lokoja, confirmed the release of the wife of the Anglican Bishop of Bari Diocese in Kano State, who was kidnapped last week.
The Nigeria News Agency , reports that Archbishop Okoh announced this during the consecration service of five new bishops and presentation of two archbishops, at the Cathedral Church of Holy Trinity, Lokoja, Kogi State.
The service was broadcast live on the Church television channel and monitored by NAN in Abuja.
The victim, Mrs Saratu Zubairu and a Diocesan secretary simply identified as Deborah, were kidnapped on the morning of March 10, 2020.
They were taken by gunmen who reportedly laid siege to Gidan Mato in Bari, where the Anglican Cathedral and Bishop’s Court are situated, and looted the town and premises.
However, Okoh told the congregation that Zubairu and the secretary had regained their freedom.
NAN reports that the newly consecrated Bishops are Felix Olorunfemi for Etsako Diocese, Cletus Tambari, Gombe Diocese; Benson Chukwunweike for Awgu/Aninri Diocese.
Two Suffragan (assistant) bishops, were also consecrated for the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a missionary body of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).
They are Bishops Scott Seely and Celestine Ironna for CANA West.
Similarly, the Most Rev. Markus Ibrahim was presented as the new Archbishop of the Province of Jos, while the Most Rev. Cyril Odutemu for the Province of Bendel.
Meanwhile in light of the spread of Corona virus in the country, the clerics enforced the suspension of the administration of one chalice (communion cup), during Holy Communion at the consecration service.
Plastic disposable cups were used during Holy Communion.
NAN also reports that the Church also enforced the suspension of handshakes and hugs which were hitherto used for the “exchange of peace” during Holy services.
The congregants waved at each other instead of the traditional handshakes and hugs.
Also, the clergy were seen administering hand sanitizers to communicants before the communion.
NAN reports that the Primate had issued a pastoral letter to all Anglicans in Nigeria directing that certain steps be taken to guard against the spread of COVID-19 among worshipers
“Let the Church be encouraged to trust God who is well able to help us in our times of trouble (Psalms 46:1). This is the time to trust and obey God than to be anxious and panic (Phil 4: 6-7).
“Since this virus is communicable, the Church is to prayerfully put on hold the sharing of one chalice to all during Holy Communion. Other smaller communion cups should be used for individual communication.
“Also, handshakes and hugs during the exchange of peace should be substituted with non-contagious gestures such as hand waving, mutual bowing, or making the sign of the cross among others.
“Let everyone be encouraged to observe good personal hygiene through proper washing of hands with soap or hand sanitizer; covering of mouth with a handkerchief when sneezing or coughing,” Okoh said in the letter dated March 12, 2020.
Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore
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