...As RCCG, Gateway, Deeper Life, Mountain Of Fire, Salvation Ministries Bag Awards
It was a moment to savour at the beautiful auditorium of the Gateway International Church (GIC), Port Harcourt on Monday as the Rivers State Chapter of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) rolled out the drums to honour some of its founding fathers as well as those described as very supportive compatriots in the State, for their faithful service to God and humanity.
The event which was tagged 'Special Banquet/Award Day' with the theme 'Thine is the Kingdom' attracted a full house as the expansive Light House auditorium was filled to capacity. Some household names in the Christian community in the State who graced the event with their physical presence include the Rivers State chapter Chairman of PFN, Apostle Zilly Aggrey; Lead Pastor of Gateway International Church, Pastor George Izunwa; Apostle Eugene Egwuatu Ogu; Rev. Marius Alugwe and Pastor (Dr) Mrs Nonyem Eziamaka Numbere amongst others.
The honours list began with a post humous award on the late charismatic televangelist, Apostle Geoffrey Dabibi Numbere who pioneered the Pentecostal movement in the old and new Rivers State. Also in the list was Rev (Dr) Barrister Faraday Iwuchukwu, reputed to have brought PFN to the State; Rev. Stephen Akinola of the Wind and Fire fame; 86 years old preacher and former police officer Rev. (Barr) C.F.L. Membere, JP who pioneered the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship in Port Harcourt and became first Chairman of Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON).
Also given awards were Bishop Winston T. Iwo who served under the late Arch Bishop Benson Idahosa for 20 years as Sunday School Superintendent; Apostle Eugene Ogu who rose from obscurity to influence, pastoring one of the largest churches in Rivers State, Abundant Life Evangel Mission (ALEM);
Prominent in the pack was the charismatic Pastor David Ibiyeomie whose church, Salvation Ministries has become a global brand and whose David Ibiyeomie Foundation is said to have spent over N1.5bn and 300,000 dollars in charity.
The lady in the pack was Apostle Sarah Mina Enoch, the Vision Coordinator of the Word Power Ministries founded in 1988. In her citation, she was described as 'a woman of prayer and the word, Sarah is widely travelled with a sincere passion for helping the underprivileged'.
Also honoured was Pastor Belemina Obunge, the Special Adviser to the General Overseer of RCCG on Special Projects and Pastor (HRM) Eze Chike Ogbonda, currently the Zonal Pastor in the RCCG under Rivers Province 5.
Similarly, PFN also gave special awards to five churches in recognition of their support to the body. They are RCCG, Deeper Life Bible Church, Salvation Ministries, Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries and Gateway International Church.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Lead Pastor of Gateway International Church, Pastor George Izunwa praised the PFN for the privilege of hosting the august event, adding “God has called us all to impact on the world and with the multitude of oils in this meeting; I believe we are going places”.
Izunwa, who expressed joy over the unity embedded in the body of Christ, said it is risky to do the work of God alone. “God has ordained us to work together. When you get to the point of doing it alone, it becomes dangerous”, he said while urging younger pastors to be active in the activities of the PFN as according to him, that is where the body has challenges because they need mentoring.
In his speech before presenting awards to the recipients, PFN Chairman in the State, Apostle David Zilly Aggrey urged Christendom to be wary of prophesies as some does not originate from God.
He charged pastors to tell the people what the word of God says and not based on their intuitions. His words: “Prophesies may fail; revelations may fail but before you were born and after we leave this world, what is written here will remain the same”.
The Rivers PFN boss also called on Christians to pray for the church which has come under severe attack in places like Angola where over 60% of the church has been shut down by the government.
One of the awardees, Rev. Dr. (Barr) Faraday Iwuchukwu while speaking to journalists described the occasion as eventful and thanked the PFN for deeming it fit to appreciate the efforts of its members.
“To be candid, what happened today gave me the impression that no matter how long it takes, the records are being kept and one day, God will show you that you are not forgotten. Whatever positive thing you do, some day, somehow, somewhere, you will be rewarded”, he said.
Iwuchukwu, who is the Deputy Chairman of the Editorial Board of National Network newspapers, said he would never relent but continue work for the growth of the body.
“I may not have a congregation that is in the thousands, but when I look at the crowd that came out of what God used me to do in this part of the country many years ago, I feel fulfilled”, he said.
The highpoint of the event was the speech by the wife of late Apostle Numbere, Nonyem Eziamaka Numbere while speaking on behalf of the awardees. She said her husband while alive was very selective on the kind of awards he received. “I am here because this is the kind of award he would like to accept”, she said amid a thunderous applause from the crowd.
She lamented what she called a dark moment in the State following the criminal activities of the youths and called for prayers to reverse the trend.